Mindful Fashion - Supporting the Indie Fashion Industry this Christmas

I’m sure you have all heard the phrases ‘fast fashion’ and ‘slow fashion’ over the past few years, but have you ever considered what they mean other than the cost of your garments? For many people, they consider fast to mean cheap, and therefore a hefty price tag at the other end of the scale. As as we near #SmallBusinessSaturdayUK and Christmas shopping, I would like to urge you this winter to consider where, and why, you are spending your hard earned pennies, and to help us make more mindful decisions we are delighted to be welcoming Annie of Flock By Nature back to the blog today with her top tips.

Mindful Fashion - Supporting the Indie Fashion Industry - The Hills Countryside Blog

Flock was born just after the arrival of co-owner Annie’s daughter, Eloise. During this time, when Annie’s awareness of her own postnatal wellbeing was particularly high, she came to truly value quality clothing made of natural fibres. Merino wool, in particular, quickly became a favourite due to its superior ability to regulate body temperature. Unlike many other wools, it doesn’t itch and feels super-soft next to the skin. Annie says “I spent many hours searching for the perfect merino sweater but found nothing with elegance that I wanted. This inspired me to create my own range. I wanted to capture a sense of elegance & luxury but with the honesty and simplicity of natural fibres. We love beautiful clothing and a little bit of luxury every now and again, but we also care about our impact on our social & natural environment and we don’t believe that one should be at the expense of the other. The fashion industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and environmental destruction and we don’t want to add to this wastage. We want to leave a positive footprint and so we give a lot of thought to how Flocks clothes are made.”

Did you know, the direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy is £26 billion - up from £21 billion in 2009, according to data released by the British Fashion Council to mark London Fashion Week. That is a lot of money invested into items which, for some, will not live to see another season. Ours is largely a culture of spur-of-the-moment, impulsive, recreational, mindless shopping; we typically put about as much conscious thought into it as we do into digesting.

Today, Annie brings some some tips for you to consider when heading out to your local shops and retailers this December:

1. What is your style? By understanding your style, your shape and lifestyle, it is possible to buck those ‘trends’ that seem to change year on year, and instead find classic pieces that you can style to suit the occasion. How many times have you opened your wardrobe only to be overwhelmed by the feeling that you’ve got nothing to wear? The key to easy mornings and solving all dressing dilemmas is to have a wardrobe full of classic staples.

Invest in - and take care of - these basics and you’ll be wearing them forever. On your next shopping trip look at each piece subjectively and consider its use in your wardrobe, how it fits with your colour palette and if it works for your body shape.

Is it representative of your style personality, how will it mix and match with your current wardrobe and does it fill a gap or is it similar to five other tops you already own?

2. Clothes are an investment. Choose items that are true workshorses, and can see you through a number of occasions and outfits. Why spend £50 on four tops that you might only wear once this season, when you can spend £50 on one which is the perfect favourite to wear time and time again? We all know the age old cost per wear trick but with the all too obvious insignificant costs of fast fashion these days this doesn’t hold much stead in some cases. A more measurable rule pioneered by Livia Firth, CEO of Eco Age, is to ask yourself of each new purchase “will I wear this a minimum of 30 times?”.

You will be surprised how many items in your wardrobe do not fit this criteria! Here at Flock, our knitwear is designed for years of enjoyment and we hope that you’ll wear your piece over and over again. To ensure your Flock sweater or cardigan remains a treasured part of your wardrobe for as long as possible, we offer a complimentary repair service for any minor damage that may befall your garment.

3. Question the manufacturing process. Do you know the design, development and manufacture processes? The time and effort that goes into producing a new line or even just one item is huge, and so imagine what the person who made your jumper would be paid if you purchased it at just £10!

Know what to look for when it comes to stitches, learn about different fabrications and their qualities, and understand how a garment is constructed. Human hands have created everything we wear, so let’s be interested and learn more about it. Greater knowledge leads to a greater respect. Value your clothing and the importance of how it ended up in your wardrobe.
Building your wardrobe should be a rewarding experience, for you, the planet and garment workers. Take your time on this journey and enjoy discovering and learning.

4. Finally, do you share the brand’s ethics? What can they tell you about your item, where the material was sourced and who made it? Are they a ‘green’ manufacturer? Do they import? Do they use a local supply chain?

The Fashion industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and environmental destruction and we should try not to add to this wastage. We have been sold the idea that owning something new can directly influence our happiness and marketing has turned us into professional consumers. We are so far removed from the realities of what this 3 trillion dollar industry is built on, only presented with the glossy exterior…an enviable advertisement, beautifully merchandised store and exciting new garment.

Let us be mindful consumers this Christmas, and purchase to last, to treasure and to bring us joy.


Janet Hill

I’m Janet, and I live at the foot of the beautiful Welsh Hills with my children Mary, 21, and Mark, 18. We share our four-acre plot with our six dogs, six cats , four hens, an assortment of wild ducks and all the other wonderful wildlife that visits our garden.