Despite being born well into the 1980s, the majority of my childhood wardrobe was stocked from my elder sister’s clothes, which in turn came from our eldest cousin. Therefore, most of my clothes started life in the disco era, so I didn’t have many outfits that weren’t tinged with that classic 1970s brown and orange hue.
Not that this bothered me. Apart from special occasions, when I’d usually get a new frock anyway, I wasn’t that concerned what I was wearing. My best friend and I would spend most of our free time getting covered in mud, so crisp white satin dresses wouldn’t have lasted five minutes. T-shirts, jeans, plimsolls: these were hardier and comfier options. In fact, despite being a year older than me, my best friend was (and still is) petite, so she often inherited my clothes and shoes after I’d finished with them - one particularly sturdy pair of Dr Martens lasted for years between us!Of course, donating clothes to a charity also raises much needed funds, either through sales in high street charity shops and online, or with textile fibre reclamation. A ridiculous amount of clothes are sent to landfill when they’re either still wearable or suitable for recycling. With increasing use of manmade fibres this isn’t good news. Keeping clothes in circulation as long as possible reduces both the energy and waste in clothes production and at end of life.
Environmentally, recycling textiles makes perfect sense. Whether it’s the old fashioned hand-me-downs that I remember so well, or upcycling into something new. Many parents hang on to precious first babygros but they end up languishing in a box in the attic. Instead, keep a couple of the really special ones to turn into soft toys or a memory blanket, and donate the rest to charity so that another little baby somewhere can get some use out of them.
|Sort of what me and my dad looked|
like in the 1980s (i.e. from the 1970s)
Although some people still keep alive the supposed stigma of buying second-hand, with a little rebranding preloved clothes have become chic again: it’s now called vintage. Clothes that would have previously graced a jumble sale 50p table now hang in Camden’s finest window displays with the decimal place hitched up a bit. Indeed, one of my favourite dresses is ‘vintage’. It’s a purple 1970s pleated and belted chiffon dress from Oxfam that always receives plenty of compliments when I wear it, and nobody can ever believe how much I paid for it. After all, what else can you get for £1 these days? Not even a new pair of socks.
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