A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

How to complete Labour Behind the Labels - Six items Challenge

As you are probably aware the Labour Behind the Label #sixitemschallenge is now over! I successfully completed it and I am really proud of myself! 

It is with mixed emotions that I write this blog post today. We are going to cover a fair few points from supporting slow fashion, fashion challenge tips, styling ideas, supporting garment workers and saving the planet, so strap in!  

Am I glad the Six Items Challenge is over? Well, kind of..

To my surprise I wasn't completely desperate to ditch my six chosen items that I'd been wearing for the past six weeks. They had become part of my routine, my style, I knew where I was with them, like old friends! I actually miss wearing them every day! 

Although, I had been looking forward to rediscovering my existing (and rather overflowing) wardrobe,  I suddenly became overwhelmed by the amount of choice. What the hell was I going to wear when the challenge ended? How can I possibly choose? Surely, it will have to be a showstopper outfit after all this time? Oooohhh, the pressure! 

When the time came, we were in lockdown and the weather was hot, so a simple shorts and t-shirt combo was chosen! Just wearing something other than the usual six items was kinda liberating and being able to show off some skin was a bonus; since all of my six items consisted of long sleeve tops and trousers and had been covering me up all warm and cosy for six weeks! 

The post challenge outfit a Fruit Salad t-shirt & denim shorts

Over the past few weeks I have started to appreciate what I already have, by taking time and really thinking about how I can update, re-discover and restyle my lovely clothes, and I'll be honest, there is a mountain to get through, it's a new fashion challenge in itself! As luck would have it (let's keep things positive here), I've gotta a little bit of extra time on my hands....

I am already a big supporter of slow and sustainable fashion but I have still learnt a few things since starting the challenge. Here are the most important things that I have discovered since taking part.

  • A capsule wardrobe helps to minimises stress and time spent choosing what to wear each day
  • Hang up and air your clothes to keep out creases and minimise washing
  •  Re-discover, rethink & restyle your existing wardrobe
  • Appreciate what you already have
  • Try to make and mend where possible
  • Consider who made your clothes and under what circumstances
  • Dress for yourself, no-one else! 

The Six Items Challenge has taught me that you really can style up each and every garment you own in so many different ways. Have fun with it, try out different outfit combos and wear your clothes in new ways.

You don't have to be part of the challenge to get involved....

There are infinite layering combos to try,  a simple tuck in or roll up can update your look in seconds, minimal accessories to maximum decor always add a unique spin and why not try upcycling to recreate new looks using your existing wardrobe? Don't be scared to experiment! 

The last few days of the Six Items Challenge featuring all six garments
 inc long sleeve t-shirt, dungarees, hoodie, trousers, bomber jacket and jumpsuit. 

A challenge within a challenge

It has been a challenge in itself dealing with the life changing pandemic we are all dealing with right now, alongside carrying out the Six Items Challenge. 

It's certainly put things into perspective about what really matters. You may think that this fashion challenge itself is not so important but what it stands for is so important - to support garment workers whilst slowing down on your fashion consumption!

Even more so now that we hear news that fashion giants are still putting extra pressure on Asian garment factories. 

With most factories in lockdown there are reports of fashion corporates, from both the UK & US, cutting off their workforce (rather than offering a living wage to workers on lockdown from coronavirus), cancelling orders (including work already in progress) at the cost of the manufacturers and on top of this demanding discounts (on the already ridiculously low-paid industry) on deliveries and products! Read more in this article by the BBC

The Six Items Challenge isn't about turning your back on fashion, it aims to show us how we can cope with fewer items of clothing and make use of our existing wardrobes; whilst raising awareness and money for the workers that are suffering under awful conditions like these.

Fast fashion can only exist if the garment workers are paid a low wage. If the fast fashion giants reduced the amount of garments that they produced and raised the quality of their garments, they could charge a little more for their products and pay their garment workers fairly. 

Slowing production would also create less demand and pressure on the workers, the quality of the products would go up and garments would last longer. This would reduce the amount we need to consume, plus, you cant buy into something that doesn't exist - Goodbye daily fast fashion drops!

This would also put an end to the shocking amount of waste created from the ridiculous 'wear once' fast fashion situation we currently find ourselves in. We need to create a circular economy that benefits us all and we need to do it now! 

Step away from your shopping apps and slow down with your fashion consumption! 

I feel like a broken record on this one but ask yourself before you buy anything new - Do I need it? How many tops, jeans, pairs of shoes do I already own? Why am I buying it? Chances are you already got it right there in your wardrobe! Slowing down on your fashion consumption will also save you money, reduce fashion waste and save the planet! 

You should also consider who made each fashion item and why it is so cheap? You can bet if it is super cheap it didn't get where it is sustainably or ethically! 

Should you try out the six items challenge?

It's a big fat yes from me! 

Perhaps, it is only for the hardcore and dedicated to do the whole six weeks, it's certainly a shock to the system and this is coming from an already converted sustainable, slow fashion supporter.  Here are a few ways you can join in with the idea behind the challenge and how you can support it. 

  • Select six items of clothing and see how many outfits you can create 
  • Set yourself a challenge, how long can you last wearing just six items? A week, a month?
  • Not that interested in fashion? Why not donate or share the love to raise awareness for Labour Behind the Label and slow fashion articles
  • Hang up your clothes after each wear to reduce the amount that you wash them
  • Learn to make and mend before you buy new

These are simple ways to start your slow fashion journey. Give them a go and please tag @nodebutante or get in touch if you do. I am always here to help advise you at every step! 

Here a few extra points that I always share, make them your fashion mantra! 

  • Only buy new clothes when you need to
  •  Consider pre-loved, vintage, upcycled, sustainably and independently made. 
  • Stop buying into fast fashion 
  • Stop following trends
  • Love your clothes

Thanks to everyone for your support throughout the Six Items Challenge and thanks to Labour Behind the Label for opening my eyes a little further into supporting slow fashion. You can always learn and do more! 

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