What I Learnt From Wearing One Dress To New Zealand Fashion Week
This year, the theme of New Zealand Fashion Week was: Sustainability. Naturally, I was stoked. As a sustainable fashion advocate and activist, I jumped at the chance to attend NZFW as a delegate. But the infamous question one asks themselves before attending these things…
WHAT DO I WEAR??!
Honestly, some people plan their outfits to fashion weeks, a year in advance. You know that stressful feeling you get when you’re deciding what to wear to your best friend’s wedding, or the party on Saturday? Well, imagine that but times it by 100. This is FASHION WEEK I’m talking about: your outfit IS the party.
This aside, it didn’t take ME long to decide what to wear. In the theme of sustainability…
I wore the same dress every day. See:
Why? Well to me, sustainability is using up what already exists, and loving what you have. The bullying fashion culture that pushes us to buy buy buy and never be caught in the same outfit at an important event, should die. This mentality is pushing people into financial debt, making us feel negative about our existing wardrobes and bodies, striping the planet of finite resources, and exploiting the people who are forced to keep making clothes at incredibly fast rates. That’s why I chose to be brave and break all the social norms.
Wearing one dress everyday for a week was quite the experience. I learnt a heck of a lot…
No one actually cares
Honestly? If I didn’t publicly share that I was wearing the same dress on my social media, and the media didn’t shout out (BREAKING NEWS article here) about it either, I really don’t think anyone would have noticed. I had comments from strangers like ‘nice skirt’ or ‘cool dress’ and I’m certain the team of people who saw me everyday didn’t blink an eyelid.
The fashion police did not lock me up. I felt happy and welcomed in society. No one gave me stink eye or thought anything less of me.
If you show up to an event with a smile, confidence, feel comfortable in your clothes and your own skin: you will look beautiful. You don’t have to buy something new to feel like this.
The most stylish are those who re-wear
Spending lots of money on clothes will make you look fabulous, no doubt. I think we’d all look drop dead gorgeous carrying a $3000 handbag (no joke, I saw one at NZFW). But styling what you already have, and working out different ways for the garments to hang on your body and compliment other items, is true style. Designer labels can be breathtaking, but the people who stand out most in the crowd are those who re-style garments in a way no one has thought of before (if I don’t say so myself! Hah).
Re-wearing what you have will still communicate your personality
I love fashion. Fashion is an art form; an expressive tool to communicate who you are and who you want to be. I love the way clothes change our moods, communicate messages to the public without anyone opening their mouths, and show our inner selves outwards. But like I said to NewsHub, “We should treat our clothes as investments, rather than disposable skins." This week I learnt you do not have to wear something new to express your fresh mood; it’s easy to mix things up with what you already own, while holding onto your personal style and flare. I didn’t feel boring or dull, I felt like I was communicating the messages I wanted to, simply without a trip to the mall and a dent in my bank account.
There is a HUGE problem with the fashion industry
I wore the same dress to NZFW to make a statement, but I didn’t realise I would wake up to emails from major news publications and radio stations to share about my outfit decision. It’s freaking awesome they care, but the fact this was a news headline, demonstrates the extent of the problem.
Fast fashion is dangerous.
Mainstream brands continue to sell us new seasons every single week (if not, every day!). Billboards tell us we need ‘the next best thing’, otherwise we’ll be unhappy. Truth is, the planet simply cannot sustain this amount of clothing production, and the seamstresses making our clothes cannot keep working overtime without extra pay, breaks, or fair working conditions (most commonly the case).
I’m not a stylist, and apart from a short night course, I have never studied fashion. I hope this statement demonstrates to you that no matter who you are, you have both the permission and the skill to style your clothes differently and re-wear them until they can be worn no longer!
For those asking about the incredible ethical fashion brands I wore to NZ Fashion Week, here’s the run down. Apologies a lot of the items are really old, so they are not on sale anymore… #slowfashion
What I Wore…
Note: I work with several of these brands as a content creator and influencer, to spread their awesome work to the world. These items were gifted from brands, borrowed, bought myself, second hand, hand-me downs, or gifted from friends.
Poncho: Carlson Store
Clutch: Duffle & Co.
Jewellery: Bohome & Roam
Shoes: Hello Darling