oyster creek mitts gap jeans jacket circa 1987 tank top and repurposed necklace

The fashion industry has a bad reputation for the incredibly large amount of waste it produces. We are to blame, we want cheap clothes that fall apart made in far off corners of the world we’d never want to see ourselves, and there are vendors who are more than willing to oblige, H&M, I’m looking at you and your cohort of other disposable fashion vendors. So. in a direct response to this despicable aspect of the fashion industry, I take great care to buy only what is absolutely necessary for my photo shoots, from local retailers who manufacture domestically and consignment stores. Granted, it’s a big country, but there’s a lot less waste when you buy from American Giant a tank top made in Los Angeles instead of a cheaper lesser model from Old Navy manufactured overseas that spent months in a container somewhere.

What can you do to help? Buy once, buy well and when possible, buy from second hand shops rather than off-price brands or outlet stores. There are a few time tested tips and tricks, read on to learn more.

Where do you start when trying to style your new outfit? You start at the base layer and work out. It is amazing what a difference it can make if you wear the right under garments as a base layer then as you add on the public layers you will be working from a good base.

Next thing to do requires some leg work and a little investment of your time. You have to learn to shop the thrift stores and consignment shops near you. Not one around? Turn to on line resources like Shopgoodwill.com. Whether or not you agree with their mission, what matters is you are not buying new items and adding more new items you simply don’t want any more into the waste stream. Don’t like Goodwill? Local church thrift stores are always an option. Pro tip: Road trip to a consignment shop in a really nice town, you’ll find higher end brands there.

When you do find that irresistible piece, you might need to tailor it. It’s still cheaper than buying new and you are helping curtail an industry with centuries of waste generation from adding yet another piece to the waste stream. Good for your wallet and the environment – score!

While you are out and about, don’t forget to look for yarn, even if it’s already in a sweater, you might just surprise yourself and find a traditional Icelandic sweater you can re-purppose or much loved cashmere sweater far too big to wear but just perfect to repurpose for another project or cut down for a pillow. Let your creative side run wild and do what you can every day to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Extra credit if you can figure out what I actually bought new versus re-purposed and bought second hand when you look through the photos in Cozy Coastal Knits…. https://firstbytedesigns.com/product/cozy-coastal-knits/

Fun fact – more than one of the designs in the book was knit from repurposed skeins of a favorite yarn during the heart of the lock down when there simply was none available, can you tell which ones? Steam, time and a glass of wine was all it took to keep the knitting on track once I realized I could repurpose yarn from another project.

Want more tips? check out these great ideas from fellow stylists, your wallet will thank you and so with Mother Earth.


Take care, be well and remember to do something every day to make the world a better place for yourself AND someone else.

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