Инстаграм @welldresseddad Nick J
Tuesday already? My oh my, doesn't time just fly. I felt quite depleted after the 10 posts on sustainability, so took a day off from my social media commitments. Thanks to everyone that sent me messages wondering if I was ok, your concern was touching and appreciated. Today's post continues a thread from last week, namely that of garment longevity. @gloverall is a company that has been around since 1951. They started out selling surplus WW2 duffle coats and went on to produce their own. Here I'm wearing one from the early 1960s, still looks decent and still has almost full utility value My brother is wearing a brand new donkey jacket, from this seasons collection. Considering how they're still properly made in the UK, this could well be around in 60 years as well.
Sustainability part 9: Quality In part 5 I mentioned that a lot of the garments made now are rubbish the moment they are made. This is where you as an informed consumer come into the picture. Garment makers only make what they think they can sell, so if no one buys the crummy stuff, they'll stop making it. Be savvy, think ahead, consider what your money is really buying. It helps to break the fashion cycle and buy what you like instead of what you're told to like. Think classic, the styles that are never truly unfashionable, yet happen to be fashionable at random intervals in time. Once you start paying attention, you'll also become a lot more aware of the differences in how things are made, the fabrics used and what sort of real value you're getting. Is it a universal truth that the more expensive a garment is, the better it will be? Certainly not. On average the markup from maker to shop is around 4 times. So 25% of what you pay covers the cost of making the garment, the rest covers the expenses of distribution, wages, shop leases and profit margins. A point to consider is that most makers will produce a garment to a certain cost. So fabric, buttons, zippers and so forth will be eeked as low as possible, as will the way the garment is constructed. If you compare a new shirt to a vintage shirt, you'll notice how much simpler the modern piece is made, to save time, and hence costs, in cutting and sewing. . Today I'm wearing a jacket from @seracoffical. This jacket is unusual in that it has been designed not down to a cost, but to the best possible specification and utility. This is done through advanced design, quality components and a high-end factory. While the end price isn't for everyone, it is fascinating to see what can be made once the focus is changed from making something as cheap as possible to making something as good as possible.
Sustainability part 8: Buying secondhand Today I'd like to talk about the secondhand market. This is where you as an informed consumer come into the picture. Be savvy, think ahead, consider what your money is really buying. It helps to break the fashion cycle and buy what you like instead of what you're told to like. Think classic, the styles that are never truly unfashionable, though they may just happen to be fashionable at random intervals in time. Once you start paying attention, you'll also become a lot more aware of the differences in how things are made, the fabrics used and what sort of real value you're getting. Where do you find good secondhand clothes though? The obvious places are charity shops, they low prices, a feelgood factor and the lure of the treasure hunt. A greater scope can be found through eBay and Etsy, giving access to international sellers. You might even try the international version of the Japanese Rakuten, though language can be a barrier. There are even online small ads services that can give similar a similar treasure hunt feel, from your own home. There is also a slew of new apps for buying and selling online, such as @depop , @shpockapp and @tise . It can be quite compulsive, but it makes it easier to both buy and to sell what you no longer require. There are also more specialised services, such as @marrkt that take on the role of the middleman when buying and selling more expensive and collectable items. Remember though, it's very much more sustainable for a garment to find a new user than to be recycled for its fibres. While it may feel good to dump a bag of clothes in a recycling container, in reality very little of it will be offered to new owners, as it will mainly be sold to recyclers who shred it to use for insulation. This should really only be the fate of garments at the end of their life. . Today I'm wearing a secondhand shirt and tie from our local charity shop, Fretex, run by the Salvation Army, and a vintage Harris Tweed jacket I bought from an Oxfam shop in Liverpool and upcycled. Harris Tweed is quite remarkable as with almost no care at all it will last a very long time, all the while looking and feeling
Sustainability part 8: Sew your own and upcycle Another way you can become more sustainable in your clothing is to take an active part in the creation of what you wear. This can take many forms, from sewing or knitting clothes from scratch, to altering and redesigning existing garments. Patterns and fabric are widely available and the amount of equipment needed to start sewing is not overwhelming. It's not even that difficult to get started. I find tremendous inspiration in watching «The Great British Sewing Bee» with @patrickgrantism and @miss_esme_young . Competitive sewing anyone? It's a thing. Knitting requires even less investment, though to my eyes looks much more difficult. Both sewing and knitting are tremendously rewarding though and while offering an outlet for creativity also teach you what makes a garment well made, and likewise what doesn't. This also means that when you do look at clothes, you are an informed consumer and can judge both the quality of the fabric and the workmanship and design that's gone into it. It's quite rare that I inspect a garment and find myself thinking that it's really properly made. . In this photo, I'm wearing two garments I've made myself. The "Foreman" jacket is from a pattern made by @merchantandmills (details on the blog). The green corduroy waistcoat used to be a pair of trousers that were wearing out. With a little effort I redesigned it and it will now live on.
Sustainability 7: At this point you'll no doubt be wondering what the alternative to fast fashion might be, so let's move on in that direction. In part 5 I mentioned that a lot of the garments made now are rubbish the moment they are made and hence they are by design going to have a short lifespan. They'll be so poorly made, using fabric of such low quality, that after a few wears, let alone a few washes, they're used up. What if there were clothes that were made properly though, of good fabrics, cost pennies on the pound, and actually already have a track record for longevity? That's right, we're talking vintage clothes. There are lots around if you know where to look and with a little research, you can find what you're looking for. And apart from being better value for money than fast fashion, there is much more fun to be had during the hunt. Keep an eye out for wear and damage though, and do a sniff-test, as not all old garments have had the benefits of dry and airy storage. It's hard work getting that Eau De Vintage out of old garms (I did a piece on the blog about this recently though). One of the wonders of buying old clothes though is that this is truly without guilt. There is no jacket as sustainable as one that has already been made (the same goes for cars and many other consumer items). . The coat I'm wearing on the photo is a British-made Invertere wool coat, probably about 40 years old. Perfect condition and 50 pounds on eBay. It's even in the Prince of Wales check that appears to be currently very fashionable.
Sustainability part 6: Speaking to a friend from India yesterday reminded me that I'd forgotten something in the first half of this series. The Ganges. 2500 kilometres of vital waterway running through India and Bangladesh. What do we find situated towards the start of the river? The leather tanning and footwear industry of Kanpur. Tanning leather the traditional way, using chromium, is hugely polluting, yet with a grand river running past it's easy enough to get rid of the nasty stuff. Only, this river is also the source of water for drinking, washing, irrigation and pretty much everything else for an astonishing amount of people and it is heartbreaking to see. What is made using the leather of Kanpur that justifies destroying the Ganges for? Cheap leather used for shoes and bags for Westerners mainly. Which brings us smootly to a related topic. The boots I'm holding have been my winter boots for 5 winters now. When I bought them they cost roughly three times what a pair of cheap boots would cost. I would typically expect a pair of cheap boots to last a season and then be thrown out, either because they are falling apart or have "fallen out of fashion". Such is the way of fast fashion. These boots are still as good as new, with no notable wear. They are Goodyear Welted and can be resoled when the time comes, but so far there is no wear to the sole. I fully expect them to last at least another 5 years. If we look at the numbers behind this, we see that the boots that cost three times as much as a cheap pair, but last 10 times as long will end up costing a third of the cheapies over a 10 year period. This certainly backs up the old saying "buy well, buy once". It also means there are 9 pairs of boots that remain on the shelves, which again benefits the waters of the Ganges.
Sustainability part 5: Most of us will have seen photos of landfill sites bulging with once fashionable clothing. Or seen reports from clothes markets in Africa, where tonnes upon tonnes of Western garments are shipped in to be dumped, sorry, made available for resale. The problem is that Africa no longer wants the Western surplus (in the same way that China no longer wants all the plastics waste from the West), so unless we stop making as many junk clothes and find some way to reuse the clothes waste we already have, we've got a real problem. Stop for a moment and think about this though: We have insane amounts of clothes we can't get rid of. Isn't there some warped logic at work here? How about we actually use these clothes? Call it secondhand, vintage, pre-loved, collectables or the basic of upcycling, it would be a big step in the right direction to actually use things up before tossing them away. Use them, repair them, repurpose them and finally, say goodbye to them. Naturally, much of what is being thrown out now was almost worthless the moment it was made, so we'd need to do some sorting to find and keep the better bits. When even tiny Norway throws out unwanted clothes to the tune of 30 tonnes a day, we see how crazy it has become. . In the spirit of recycling I’m wearing a cardigan made from recycled denim fibres that @lyle_and_scott made a couple of years back and a shirt by @gant that contains 7% recycled plastic gathered from the ocean. And linen trousers by @hebtroco
Sustainability part 4: So, parts 1 to 3 were all doom and gloom, as required by traditions and so forth. In this part, I'd like to offer up a few suggestions to fabrics that help make our clothing more sustainable. I mentioned organic cotton yesterday, so I'll skip that now and go directly to more interesting ones. Wool is a good one. By no means news, but in reality, it may be the most sustainable and eco-friendly of materials and a contributor to human survival in so many ways, in addition to being very versatile and natures own tech fabric. Then we have linen, the fibres from the flax plant. The work involved in processing the fibres into fabric isn't the cheapest, but it makes a strong and distinctive, and very traditional fabric. Spare a thought for hemp as well. Hemp was widely used for all manner of things up until around a hundred years ago. A remarkable plant, creating strong fibres, requiring little water, fertilizer or pesticide. Why did we stop using hemp? I'm afraid hemp became a victim of its cousin marijuana, so when weed was outlawed, the identical-looking hemp plant was given the same treatment, even though it has none of the druggy properites of the marijuana plant. Times they are a'changing though, so hemp is slowly making a comeback these days, and I for one would absolutely get into a pair of raw hemp denim jeans. . Here I am standing in a hemp field wearing a hemp shirt by @thoughtclothing, linen trousers by @jernvirke, wool shirt by @haarscotland and a straw hat by @tomsmarte
Sustainability part 3: In part 2 I mentioned how cotton, viscose and synthetic fabrics were a problem. Facing up to the environmental impact of popular fabrics, we need to be aware of what is what. There is a lot of organic cotton being made today, which is well and good. I'd admit I'm surprised at how quickly this has become widely available, given the stringent demands made for something to be called organic, but I've no proof there organic cotton is faked. Viscose, the synthetic silk-like fabric, also known as rayon, Tencel etc uses huge amounts of acid to extract the cellulose used to create the threads and working conditions are harsh. And yes, the bamboo fabrics you see around result from the same process, and any beneficial claims made are absolute tosh. Then we have the synthetic fabrics made from an oil base. As most of us are aware, we're nearing the end of our guiltless enjoyment of oil. The wells are running dry and synthetic fabrics from nylon onwards will become too expensive to keep making. Should I even mention all the chemicals added to create tech fabrics and add water repellency? It’s not all doom and gloom though, tomorrow I’ll start looking at ways we can do better. Are we on board so far?
Sustainability part 2: It's pretty much agreed that the fast fashion industry is not sustainable, but why is this so? Two main issues: The environmental problems in production and the sheer volume produced. The former consists of the pollution and water involved in producing cotton, the pollution used in making viscose and related fabrics and the oil and chemicals used in creating synthetic and tech fabrics. The massive volume of cheap clothes produced means that the journey from factory to shop may be long, but the time taken for the garments to become landfill is stunningly short. Marketing micro-collections at ever shorter intervals, the shops need to shift stock rapidly to keep up, so sales are also increasingly frequent. And let's not forget the workforce that makes this possible: The factory workers in whichever third-world country is currently offering the laxest labour conditions and least stringent environmental laws. It's a race to the bottom that only the owners of the fast fashion companies will "win".
Indeed, I thought that would capture your attention. Good. I want to talk about sustainability over the next few posts. It'll be relative to garms and such, have no fears, I'm not about to tell you all to go vegan or anything, but I think the topic of sustainability with regards to clothes has a fair amount of merit. The reason I posted this photo was to kick off with was that on this occasion, I was styled to look fashionable, which to be honest was kind of an odd experience, as while I like nice clothes, I pay very little attention to what is deemed to be currently fashionable. Have you noticed though how much talk there is "going green" in the fashion industry now? Various talks and summits where they are discussing how to make the clothing industry more eco-friendly? As far as I can tell though, there is very little said about the real issue (making too much disposable fast fashion) and mainly talk about sustaining the industry (as in "how can we keep increasing volume, but without the environmental issues"). Very much like the car industry trying to convince us that we must all buy new cars if we're to save the planet. While I'm sure we'd all like nice new cars, even the most dim-witted see the flawed logic at play. More tomorrow.
Cricket, anyone? It’s probably one of the best-kept secrets in menswear, but cricket sweaters are going to be massive. Maybe not today, nor even tomorrow, but at some point, it’ll be as obvious as a hippo in a tight top. You heard it here first.
Inspired by watching the BBC programme about George Mallory and his ill-fated effort to reach the summit of Everest in 1924, I put together an outfit based on what he wore around that time. The «Mallory» jacket by @nigel_cabourn (inspired by the tweed jacket Mallory wore on the expedition) and a 1940s wool sweater by @alanpaine1907 (whose father supplied Mallory his woolly jumper for the expedition). Added a kind of regimental tie to, well, tie it together, if you like. Now where’s that pesky peak? . . . . . #빈티지 #tweed #아메 #gooutcasuallydressed #男士风格 #카지 #harristweed #gocd #denim #winter #홍대 #styleno #lookbook #メンズスタイル #남성 #メンズファッション #男装时尚 #selvedge #스타일 #snow #고아드 #styleblogger #menswear #ruggedstyle #instagood #데일리크 #gqinsider #nigelcabourn #georgemallory #everest
Is your seasonal accessory game strong, bro? Why not spice up your getup with the white sky fluff? Get down with what cometh down, so to speak? . . . #styleblogger #남성 #denim #メンズスタイル #winter #빈티지 #카지 #gqinsider #男士风格 #아메 #styleno #instagood #snow #고아드 #lookbook #fashionblogger #pitti #패션 #menswear #mensfashion #gocd #홍대 #스타일 #メンズファッション #ruggedstyle #데일리크 #gooutcasuallydressed #男装时尚
While the snow continues to coat everything with a thick layer of fluffy whiteness, I revert to colours. Always be the contrast, garmsmen. See, I can make rules as well as anyone. . . . #styleblogger #남성 #tweed #denim #メンズスタイル #winter #harristweed #빈티지 #카지 #gqinsider #男士风格 #아메 #styleno #instagood #snow #고아드 #lookbook #fashionblogger #pitti #패션 #menswear #mensfashion #gocd #홍대 #스타일 #メンズファッション #ruggedstyle #데일리크 #gooutcasuallydressed #男装时尚
Reached the summit via the North Face. Stunning weather, surprisingly easy climb, didn’t need oxygen flasks, the tall soy latte was adequate fuel. Team are all in top shape and all thrash collected for recycling. (Note to social media team: Edit out the building in the background to help the illusion of Everest, ok?) . . Photo credit @konsertreka . #남성 #メンズスタイル #menswear #fashionblogger #패션 #빈티지 #홍대 #gooutcasuallydressed #아메 #メンズファッション #스타일 #pitti #男士风格 #고아드 #styleblogger #카지 #데일리크 #instagood #男装时尚 #snow #winter #gocd #ruggedstyle #styleno #mensfashion #lookbook #gqinsider #instastyle #denim
Given the current blizzard here, the predictable position to take would be to post something artsy and cool featuring preposterous amounts of individually configured unique ice crystals. Hence I give you a cute overload on a hot summer day. Puppies are pretty much the direct opposite of snow and Winter 😊