You know those minimalist shots that you see on Instagram or those ideas in your head that slow living is all second hand, mismatched and old? Well I’m saying it doesn’t have to be. I’m a little unsure as to why it’s even been portrayed in this way and it took me a while to get on board with the idea in case one day I went shopping and didn’t buy from all 100% eco friendly brands. I’m a huge fan of heading to charity shops and buying secondhand from online marketplaces but sometimes you just see something that you want to buy. That only you have had. So here I am, on a slow living journey of my own. When I say this let me give you a little more detail.
I LOVE clothes shopping. I have a few favourite stores of course and we live close to the standard high street brands that you see everywhere so I tend to head there if I need anything new. I am also a fan of a good brand name as to me it usually says quality and time spent creating a product but that’s not how ‘slow living’ is perceived on social media so I wouldn’t ‘fit in’ with the usual photos of wooden stools and unread vintage books. A brand name handbag is probably one of the last things you’d find on a slow living blog and whilst not a bad thing it doesn’t really portray the baby steps we need to start off with. You can’t take a world full of fast fashion straight into second-hand or similarly take a nation from food delivery apps to home grown, home made apple pie bakers. What I’m saying is slow living isn’t a trend or a certain style, it’s a way of life and shouldn’t have a specific look. Not everything can be perfect from the beginning and maybe not even after.
When it comes to clothes I simply want to buy less and when I do purchase something I want it to be better quality, take care of it and not think of it as disposable. I also love handbags but I don’t need loads so I can save up for a quality piece that could last a lifetime and that right there is slow fashion. The same goes for most purchases I intend (or don’t intend) to make going forward.
There are also some great brands where their values completely match with your own yet sometimes they might not have exactly what you need so you have to go elsewhere. There once was a time when I would feel guilty about not doing better for the environment when making a purchase but you can’t hold yourself accountable for climate change alone and over time I realised this. I could choose to shop solely secondhand forever but if I saw a great dress when shopping on the high street I wouldn’t want to deprive myself of it. I just wouldn’t do it multiple times a month.
It is also about finding the brands that have their quality and values. Some of the big brands have great sustainability programmes in place and some are making changes in a positive direction. By putting money and making purchases in a specific area you’re showing you want more of that thing. For example if you shopped the eco range at a high street brand you’re showing that you want more of those products with those values. Same again if you shop at a small eco store for some items you’re also helping that business to grow and offer more options in the future.
So really when choosing the sustainable route it doesn’t mean missing out on something. It means thinking about the purchase and considering the options. If the options don’t work on that occasion try next time. Small steps lead to a bigger lifestyle change. We shouldn’t have to feel like we’re doing the wrong thing if we’re trying to start making a difference and like I mentioned previously we can only do our best with what is on offer. If there is anything we should be doing it’s respecting our values and making conscious decisions which, in turn, is what slow living is about.
Images by Jade Pogson Photography