Having a spring clean and donating all those old t-shirts to charity? Why not make like Vivienne Westwood – who recently launched her second ethical range – and try a little upcycling? We like designer Elena Garcia’s suggestion in the Ecologist, of turning unwanted tees into kimono-style tops by cutting two short or long sleeved t-shirts diagonally, making sure they have different lengths and then wear one on top of the other to create an interesting layering effect.
Transform your worn-out jeans into cut-off shorts and get another few seasons out of them or try reviving a faded dress, shirt or pair of trousers by dyeing them. And then there’s the art of clever styling. Take some tips from Sheena Matheiken, who wore one little black dress for a year, freshening it up with vintage jewellery, hats, scarves and all manner of accessories so it looked different every day.
If you still feel the need for a retail fix think about the fabrics you’re buying. Hemp blends, bamboo, organic cotton and Tencel (made from wood pulp) are your best bet for mixing long-wearing comfort with eco-credentials, as are renewable fabrics including wool and silk.
And don’t feel bad about shopping. If you choose carefully, buy locally-produced or select from many of the growing number of ethically-minded brands, you’ll be supporting people whose livelihoods depend on textile production. One of our favourites right now (aside from the new Tluxe summer collection of course!) is Parisian accessories label Matières à Réflexion (pictured above), who transform old leather jackets and trousers into cool new bags.