When it comes to Christmas, there are a few things that can raise the stress levels a little; trailing the crammed shops to find the perfect gifts, the epic task of erecting and decorating the tree just so, and one that I personally find has me pulling my hair out each year – finding the perfect dress for your Christmas night out.
With fast fashion and internet shopping at an all time high, it’s no wonder we see more and more of our local shops and boutiques closing every day, and it’s even less surprising when you show up to the party and three other people have on the same sparkly number that you bagged online for £20 and felt super smug about it. Awkward.
We hear the phrase fast fashion being thrown about more and more these days, but what exactly does that mean? Generally we’re talking about poorly constructed runway knock offs that warrant one or two wears before being stashed in the back of the wardrobe, never to be seen again until the next charity shop clear out.
‘What’s wrong with that you might ask? These garments are cheap? Right?’ They keep you up to date with the latest trends and it’s no big deal when you decide you don’t like them anymore because you only paid £20 for that balloon sleeved sweater, right?’ Then it’s off to the charity shop you go!
It really couldn’t be more wrong. Now I’m not saying that the British highstreet doesn’t have a wonderful and well earned place in today’s fashion market, Topshop, Zara, H&M and beyond all provide incredible gateways for young designers and form the building blocks in their journey towards a more couture based career path, and lord knows even I call upon Primark in times of need, but when did that clothes that for a moment we loved SO much, become so… disposable?
Why is it that In a world that’s evolving to be more environmentally conscious every day; carrying our hydro flasks to avoid plastic waste, refusing to leave the house without a canvas shopping bag stashed in the bottom of our handbags, that we find it completely acceptable to treat time consumingly stitched, beautiful pieces of clothing as single use items?
If you ask me, we need to start treating our clothes with a little more respect. Hands up if you have a dress hiding in the back of your wardrobe that you’ve worn once to some glam event then never worn again? I know I’ve got a few of those! Well you’re not alone.
Let me give you a few facts…
- 80 billion pieces of new clothing are consumed each year. How many of those do you think are worn only a handful of times? Global clothing production has doubled over the last 15 years, with garments being worn much less and being discarded much faster.
- There are over 40 million garment workers in the world, and the sad reality is that many of them to not share the rights or protections that people in the West do, meaning that they are often not only grossly underpaid, but subjected to poor working conditions. When we buy from stores that mass produce these cheap tems, we are affecting individual people, 85% of whom are women, usually trying to support their families.
- Clothing made from polyester can take over 200 years to break down, so when we throw last seasons out of trend items away, they don’t just disappear.
- And then there’s the environmental factors. The fashion industry’s consumption of resources – like water and oil – is expected to double by 2030. The carbon emissions produced by textile factories are phenomenally high. Pretty scary, right?
So what do we mean when we talk about sustainable fashion? It’s about more than just using recycled materials, or picking up something from your local charity shop now and then. It’s about social change, and adjusting our attitudes when it comes to how we shop. It’s about fighting for workers rights to ensure that they are treated and paid fairly, and it’s about reducing the impact on the planet as much as possible when producing clothing.
There are so many ways that you can shop sustainably these days too, and it doesn’t mean making massive changes, you can start small – like having a quick Google for sustainable fashion brands. You can find local clothes swaps happening in your area where you can swap your unwanted items for someone else’s unloved treasure. We can shop on ebay and Depop where you can find some absolute gems in mint condition, and instead of spending hundreds of pounds on that stunning evening dress that you’re going to wear once then bury in the clothing graveyard. You can HIRE an amazing dress from somewhere like Must Have Dresses, and dazzle in a gorgeous new outfit, every time you have to glam up, for a fraction of the price.
Must Have Dresses are a dress hire company who have been flourishing online for some time, and have now opened a premises at 131 Rosemount place. Owner Vish and her team at this fabulous store can take all of the stress out of finding that perfect glitzy outfit without spending a fortune, and more importantly without the waste when that new dress inevitably finds its place at the back of the wardrobe immediately after its debut.
You can visit the store, either by dropping by or by making an appointment, and the lovely ladies at the store will act as a personal shopper, helping you try on and find the perfect showstopper to make sure you are the belle of the ball – and the best bit is, all you need to do is drop it off after the event and they’ll even dry clean it for you too – result!
Must Have dresses stock unique and independent companies and designers such as Forever Unique, Amanda Wakely, Nadine Merabi and To The Nines, who created the absolute knockout of a dress that I’m pictured wearing below. Literally the fanciest thing I’ve ever worn and I felt like a bloody princess (apart the manky hair and peely wally face…you can’t have it all, right?!).
With a stunning selection of handpicked dresses, there’s something for absolutely any occasion, from floor length sequins for rubbing shoulders with the beau monde at an awards do, to simple and chic two-pieces to attend an elegant wedding. I really can’t think of a single reason not to visit them this festive season.
Check them out at www.musthavedresses.com or on Instagram here.
Until next time,