A huge part of the university journey is learning alongside others. People from all over sharing an interest in the same subject. Community Education is a smaller degree which makes it easier to get to know everyone. When thinking of the theme of fast fashion I immediately thought of interviewing my friend and coursemate Rachel. Recently, Rachel has been buying a lot from a second-hand app called Depop. I sat down to chat with her – sadly online – about all things fast fashion, sustainability, and second-hand.
“Today I’m actually wearing a top I got from a small vintage shop in the [Dundee] city centre that opened up. Tilted Duck is the name. It’s a lot of 60s and 70s but the person who owns the shop actually makes her own designs. So, she gets stuff from like Pretty Little Thing, and Bohoo and stuff like that but then she makes it her own. So, she does a lot of painting and bleaching and dying, which is really cool. So, she’s kinda taken her sustainability but she’s selling it.”
Rachel went on to mention how she would’ve loved to buy from Tilted Duck, however, there wasn’t a lot available in her size. The sizes available were all too big for her. Rachel has been shopping around in second-hand and small businesses as of late. One of the main places being Depop, which is an app that allows users to sell and buy various items. Our conversation shifted to other projects Rachel knows about recycling and reusing old clothes. She told me about a group her dad works for. Rachel’s dad works for Dundee City Council as a community education worker.
“The Love Lochee group that dad works for, there’s an old Levi’s factory, like the jeans, they used to be made in Dundee. So, that building has been let out to voluntary groups that say people have donated t-shirts with holes in them. So, they donate it to this place and then their aim is to kinda mend it and then sell it. Or give it to people who are going through extreme poverty.”
We probably could have chatted all day about recycling old clothes and how poverty affects every aspect of life, but our conversation shifted to the impact fast fashion has. We began discussing the fact that fast fashion is in the top 5 of the most polluting industries in the world, according to Water is a Right.
“It’s an absolute joke. You just see the rivers dyed red because the big factories are just like ‘yeah we’re just going to shoot this out into the river and its not our problem now because it’s out of the factory’.”
Our chat finished by a final recommendation from Rachel. She recommended a YouTuber she has been watching recently, Keelin Moncrieff. She’s from Dublin but currently living in London. She is an advocate who is wanting to go into filmmaking and art. Rachel was watching this video about sustainable outfits ideas and finding our own style just before our chat:
What I really took from the video was how hard it is to have individuality with fast fashion. How we are pulled into buying clothes because other people are wearing them or because it’s trendy. The narrative that fast fashion pushes that trends come and go and if you aren’t up to date you won’t be liked by others. By buying slow fashion and going down the sustainable route and second-hand it allows us to think more about our fashion choices. We aren’t just buying something because it is currently in and it’s cheap. We then buy it because it is something we really want and that fits our own personal style.
Our chat only lasted our lunch break but was full of so many amazing comments and insights from Rachel. One thing that I could have predicted about university was learning alongside others. I just didn’t realise I would also be learning from them too. But that is the beauty of friendship and having conversations like this. You learn and you teach simultaneously without always being aware of it.