Slow and steady

Think about buying less to waste less, says personal stylist Hannah Checkley. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES
Think about buying less to waste less, says personal stylist Hannah Checkley. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES
 Queenstown personal stylist Hannah Checkley shares some advice on the SLOW approach to fashion.

Hannah Checkley
Hannah Checkley
The way in which we think has changed. Sustainability is a hot topic. Bags for life are a way of life, single use plastic straws are hard to find and the move towards SLOW living is being adopted by an increasing number of households.

The SLOW approach is Sustainable, Local, Organic, Whole.

It can be difficult to adopt the SLOW approach for all aspects of your life but even if you take fashion alone you can make huge differences. Create a vision, find your way, focus on priorities, take responsibility.

We are encouraged to reuse and recycle. Why not flip that on its head? Think about buying less to waste less.

Let me take you back a couple of decades when plastic bags were a given add-on to every fashion purchase you ever made, and we were a world where climate change was a new subject.

I was head buried in my fashion career as a product manager and visual merchandiser for a large retailer. You know the type - fast fashion, new lines hitting the sales floor daily.

Get friends together and host a ‘‘swap shop’’.
Get friends together and host a ‘‘swap shop’’.
For years it had been my job to visually enhance the product we sold, putting together displays and creating to-die-for outfit combinations that were so irresistible to anyone who cast their eyes on them that the lines were sold out in days.

I wonder how many times those outfits were actually worn, I wonder where those outfits are now.

After a while on this treadmill, I took a break to travel. My eyes were opened. I had seen at first hand the effects of waste (including that of the fashion industry) on our environment in countries who were not the root cause of the problem.

They were bearing the brunt of our consumerism, and for what? So, we could wear the latest trends, so we could massage our need to keep up with our peers.

Something had to change.

Spend an afternoon auditing your wardrobe.
Spend an afternoon auditing your wardrobe.
Fast-forward a few years and I embarked on my journey to help others to realise it is not all about having to have the latest trends. I encourage my clients to adopt more of a SLOW approach, to take a more holistic view to their fashion choices.

Getting it right so you buy less the perfect colours to complement your glow, the ideal shape, line and cut to enhance your figure and sometimes shopping in your own wardrobe rather than out on the high street.

Believe it or not, this can be just as rewarding and often more satisfying than trawling the internet or shops for new outfits. Conveniently you save pennies while you are at it.

So, while you sit here thinking about your next purchase, make it a good one. Make it ethical. Make it a piece you will cherish for years to come and do your bit to help the fight against throwaway fashion.


Why not give fast fashion the flick. Here are a few easy steps to help the fight.

• Spend an afternoon auditing your wardrobe. You will find some gems you had forgotten you had.

• Create a capsule wardrobe - three jackets, four bottoms and four tops will give you 47 different outfits.

• When purchasing make thoughtful choices, try not to act on impulse.

• Get some friends together and host a ‘‘swap shop’’.

• Borrow from a friend or website for those occasions when you know you will never wear the same thing twice.

• Make ethical choices: look for fair trade, organic and small-batch collections.

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