The start of my journey.
For just over a year now I’ve been interested in sustainability in fashion. In 2022 I conducted a little experiment and set myself a challenge. I would limit how many items of clothing I bought within the year. I allowed myself only five of each article of clothing (five dresses, five skirts etc…). Of these five items two of them would have to be second hand and any items of clothing I already owned would need to be listed for sale on second hand sites if I wanted to be rid of them.
The problem with this is that I neglected to document this anywhere but in an excel sheet I kept a close eye on for around… seven months of the year (after this I lost track).
Though I think I did well and only went over my limit twice, I had nothing to measure my efforts against and so I decided in 2023 not only was I going to try again, but also make sure I documented ever piece I bought. I decided that peer pressure and the eyes of the internet would be my judge and as a result, this blog came to fruition.
I was first drawn to sustainable fashion through two podcasts. The first was an episode of Clementine Ford’s Big Sister Hotline (NB: This woman is my personal heroine) which I’m struggling to locate currently, however this was the beginning of an eye-opener for me. The second podcast is Dressed: The History of Fashion which often champions sustainability in fashion over a wide selection of their episodes. Sitting at my desk at work, dressed mostly in SHEin, Primark and Boohoo.com clothing, I’ll admit I felt guilty as hell and decided I was going to make changes to myself, and hopefully at least my own environmental impact.
The issue I found was this. Since the age of 13 I’ve been heavily invested in alternative fashion and subcultures. From the very first day I brought home my first Avril Lavigne album to the that one morning at 3am during an internet deep dive for a new anime to watch I discovered the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer and fell into Japanese alternative subcultures I have found that sustainability is very rarely talked about in these communities.
A Google search yielded hardly any results for sustainability in alternative styles and I have to wonder why. Is it because the clothing we buy is by definition niche and is therefore more scarcely made? Do we feel like we can slip under the radar because our clothing is not necessarily mass-produced? These are the questions that stick in my mind.
Yet we seem to forget that fast fashion often adopts our aesthetics and rebrands them as “this season’s must-haves”. Grunge will be in fashion for autumn, pastel-goth may well see a resurgence in spring and we are currently seeing a wealth of celebrities donning their best black dress and breaking out the “Wednesday dance” on social media. In fact its only a matter of time before Wednesday Addams is the inspiration behind half of London Fashion Week.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the influences are necessarily a bad thing, however when fast fashion brands take these influences and rush to get them out into shops before the next trend takes over what is left is a wave of discarded studded belts and lace dresses that are too flimsy to resell and contain too much plastic and synthetic fibres to be able to biodegrade for thousands of years.
This gives this blog purpose other than to document my own journey. I want to explore the ways in which we can bring sustainability to alternative subcultures and what we can do to ensure we too are doing our part for the planet.
So why is my blog named “The sustainable Gyaru?” It’s because after years of playing with fashion, both western and Japanese styles, I have landed comfortably on the Gyaru subculture. The hair, makeup and the fact that I can incorporate other alternative styles into the fashion really spoke to me. As a Lolita for numerous years I found that specific style restricting for me and found that Gyaru allows me the freedom to experiment as I wish.
So here it is, the first post of the exploration into sustainable alternative style. I also wish to collate information I find in relation to the topics and perhaps this will be helpful to others.
Thank you for embarking on this journey with me!