Happy Earth Day!
It should be said that Earth Day should be everyday. One small way to be eco-conscious in your daily life is to wear handmade and vintage. Handmade can connect you with age old traditions and support independent designers and artists. Vintage keeps items in circulation, that truth be told, are often made better than our affordable modern fast fashion.
As a child in the 1970's I grew up in hand-me-downs. Even though my oldest sister is 10 years my senior, I still went to school in "out of date" clothes. Some I loved and some I hated. Was my mom being eco-friendly? Yes, but that's not what was on her mind. She was being budget friendly. Vintage or even secondhand modern clothes are a great way to save the landfills and your wallet.
I then discovered real vintage in my teenage years in the 1980s. I used my babysitting money to buy treasures at our local vintage store- some I still have and wear! Oh, how I wish I had more money back then. I bought those items to be unique, I wasn't thinking of the planet. I was defining my style.
In the 1990's I was earning my BFA in Fashion Design. I loved being crafty and learning all about pattern making, draping, and sewing. Being eco-conscious became a thing in the '90's and I was able to draw a connection to my formative years and being earth friendly. I yearned to find ways to connect those dots and remain fashionable- I wasn't into wearing burlap which back then is what eco-fashion meant. Vintage and making my own clothes- became my ticket.
I went to work on Seventh Ave., as design graduates do, and when the made in NY label I worked for started switching production overseas in the early 2000's, I left. I then started my own "made by me" label named Ouvrez La Porte. I sewed 1940s inspired cocktail ensembles and sold to independent boutiques. I also opened a boutique in Brooklyn with the same name, selling my line, other independent handmade lines, and vintage. It was a dream come true! Until it became harder and harder to compete with fast fashion, especially in the economic down turn in 2008. I had to close up my shop, but it has now evolved into Bobbins and Bombshells. I discovered knitting and crochet and have never stopped hunting for truly great vintage pieces of all price points.
I will always remain connected to handmade and vintage fashion in some form or another. I know it's hard to wear a complete head to toe outfit in this fashion. Not all modern clothing is bad- just learn to look for well made pieces that you can invest in. Too trendy and cheap means it will be tossed next season. When we do shop at larger retailers, we should know where our clothes come from. Find ways to shop small, shop local, and shop independent. Be unique, be eclectic, and be you!
In honor of Earth Day- I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop! I don't have sales very often so you are going to want to take advantage of this! Use coupon code EARTHA for 22% off. Today only.