We speak to journalist babe and author, Lauren Bravo – who wrote 'What Would The Spice Girls Do?' and recently released 'How To Break Up With Fast Fashion". Our conversation covers the dark truth of the fast fashion industry and how we can all do our bit to reduce funding companies who greenwash the clothes they sell.
Homethings: Lauren, hello. How did the topic of fast fashion first come onto your radar as a theme you wanted to explore for a book?
Lauren Bravo: From a young age, I've just loved fashion, but over the last few years, like a lot of people, I was starting to wake up to the environmental and humanitarian problems that are behind fashion. From a personal level, I realised at that my shopping habits just weren't making me happy – every moment of my being was taken up with thinking about clothes, browsing, scrolling, returning. I was trying to run towards a horizon that was never getting any closer and I realised we had lost an emotional connection with our clothes.
Homethings: What were the big challenges that you were either surprised by doing the 'year of nothing new' in 2019?
Lauren Bravo: It was both harder and easier than I expected. I'm quite an absolutist, so for me I found it was useful to just say: I don't buy new things anymore. And therefore change my life accordingly. One of the big challenges for me was every time the seasons changed – every time I didn't feel like I had the latest 'thing', I felt like the odd one out or I was being left behind. But I realise that's ludicrous. Instead, when I would find the urge to go shopping, I would steer myself into a charity shop instead.
Homethings: These choices, to give up fast fashion, are probably better for your bank balance, better for your sanity and inevitably better for the planet and human rights. What have you learnt about fashion and sustainability and how they go hand-in-hand?
Lauren Bravo: I think volume is one of the biggest shocks for me. We hear a lot a the moment from huge brands about the initiatives that they are taking to be more sustainable but unfortunately what I have learnt is that if these brands keep producing clothes at the rate that they are, then they are never going to be 'sustainable'. They can do all of the innovative, regenerated fibres, do all of the recycling take-back schemes, but ultimately it all amounts to greenwashing if they continue to churn out clothes at the same rate as they currently are. My mic-drop fact that I learnt from Lucy Siegel, is that it would take H&M 12 years to recycle the volume of clothing that they produce in 48 hours.