Sustainable summer style

Fashion writer Katie Day shares her top five tips to sustainably revitalise your wardrobe this summer season.

Photos: Getty Images
Photos: Getty Images
Create a vision

Vision leads the way when it comes to style, it’s simply a matter of imagination.

This summer, take time to engage with your creativity and form a personal vision for your style. This will look different for everybody: a visual approach could mean creating a mood board — take inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram and other visual sources.

Or perhaps you prefer words. Brainstorm key words to describe your style and how you want to feel this summer, for example: fresh, neutral, timeless, bold. Play with these words and feelings to create a personal style manifesto.

This vision can be created online, or with spare time on your hands, get crafty and recycle old magazines to create a hard copy of your mood board or manifesto. Place this somewhere striking as a reminder of your vision. Find the creative outlet that suits you and have fun dreaming of how you want to engage with style this summer.

Alongside vision, consider creating a summer style budget. This will provide freedom of mind as you know what you are able to spend. No matter the amount, you can creatively fulfil your vision, here are some more ideas.

Shop in your own wardrobe

A dear friend of mine once gave me some advice: ‘‘shop in your own wardrobe’’— I’ve never forgotten it. Take inventory of what is in your closet, know what you have to work with and you may even discover long-lost clothing that is looking to make a comeback.

Break tradition by mixing and matching your favourite outfits with less worn pieces to discover new style combinations. Experiment, sometimes this will be a disaster, laugh it off as sometimes you will strike style gold!

Treat your wardrobe like your own personal boutique and invite trusted friends and family into this process to gain fresh perspective. You’ll be sure to remember what you first loved about the pieces you own.

A well cared for piece of clothing can feel as good as new. Revitalise and extend the life of your clothing through taking extra care with laundering. Make the most of the sun this summertime by line drying your clothes, this will save power and reduce odour as the suns UV rays eliminate bacteria.

Clothing swap

Gather with friends and family to share your pre-loved clothing. Choose garments you are ready to let go of and know will benefit a friend, come together and share freely. Remember to bring with you a sense of celebration for each other’s differences and an open mind, willing to try garments previously unconsidered. There will be many treasures to find, in both clothing and community.

This can be done over tea and treats and is an ideal way to combat the potential loneliness of changing summer schedules, connect with loved ones and chat about mental health. Besides, do we ever need an excuse for a cup of tea and a catch up with friends?

Repair, mend, make

There is a mending pile in my house, it’s a destination that clothes travel to with hope of repair, but seldom return from. Perhaps you have one too? Summer, with its long hazy evenings, is the perfect time to review the mending pile and give life to those discarded clothes. Options for mending are abundant, gather with friends or family to share mending skills, research online to discover repair techniques or join the repair revolution and find a local workshop to attend such as those provided by Stitch Kitchen in Dunedin.

Summer offers extra time to some and this could be used to take your creativity a step further by making your own clothes. Visit a local fabric store, find a pattern that inspires you and research garment construction. Find books in the library, ask a friend for sewing tips, watch videos on YouTube or attend a workshop. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, find a local sewing room, learn the basics and get making.

Shop local

Style vision in mind, show support to your extended community by shopping local. Not only will you be helping the local economy thrive, but you will be giving back to the individuals and families behind the businesses.

There are many local designers and brick and mortar boutiques to support in Otago such as Belle Bird, Company of Strangers and Guild in Dunedin, Lily and Esther in Clyde and 47 Frocks in Wanaka.

Build relationships with retailers, style is their area of expertise and they will help you discover designs you’ll adore.

Before hitting the shops, educate yourself on the sustainable practices of your favourite designers, visit their websites and find information on their ethical and sustainable practices.

Armed with knowledge of sustainability, your personal wardrobe inventory and style vision, you can confidently browse the racks and find garments that you will love for a long time.

Don’t forget to forage the sale section, as they are filled with hidden gems at prime prices and if you see something a friend will love, let them know.

Reduce environmental impact further by patiently perusing the aisles of your local pre-loved or vintage clothing store. This offers unique one-off pieces and a new life cycle to clothing that has been lightly loved before. Find the store that suits you and invest your dollar in local community.

Have fun and take risks! Summer is the season to relax and play. Go wild with colour, boldly wear clothes you love and bring out your best self. Step out of your comfort zone, try different prints or fabric and experiment with texture and silhouette. Celebrate your body for it has carried you through this year and celebrate your style for it is individually yours.

Celebrate with clothing and community.

-By Katie Day

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