We’re 7 months into the global pandemic, and to be quite frank, I’m not quite sure what the fuck I’m supposed to be wearing.
My heels are collecting dust, I’m washing the same OV Sets multiple times a week, and yet I can’t seem to stop myself from ordering new clothes. However… after watching The New York Times’ ‘On The Runway’ Live Event on September 9th with Gwyneth Paltrow, Virgil Abloh, Tory Burch and Antoine Arnault (& moderated by Vanessa Friedman), my gears started turning.
Some of the questions that were asked included (loosely quoted**):
- Are trends still alive? “I have a 16 year old in my house, so I can tell you trends are definitely still a thing”- Gwyneth
- How do you go about excess inventory? “What is the minimal impact we can make? OF course it’s a process but Tory is right when she says it is critical right now”- Gwyneth; “For me its important to make sustainability fashionable, trend-focused… if you buy a piece, you’re more aligned or drawn to one that aligns with your personal views on sustainable” – Virgil
- What happens if you take out seasons? “Women are thinking differently about the way they shop. They’re buying less and they want the things to have more longevity and be more meaningful. It’s about buying things and wearing them when you want to wear them.” -Tory Burch
- What are the economic implications of sustainability? “Economically, if temperatures increase by 1,2,3 degrees, we will not be able to make champagne anymore… Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but our economical future depends on it.” -Antoine Arnault
- Did you think about the issue of diversity [when bringing new white designers on] “We decide these things way in advance, so no. The quick answer is no. This topic of diversity has been at the forefront of our priorities not only during the BLM movement, but way before. We have a lot of work to do on this topic, we acknowledge it.” -Antoine Arnault
That’s a lot. So what was the takeaway?
In this new messy yet metamorphic 2020 landscape, we need to support brands who are *actually* sustainably focused, diverse, and create pieces for the long haul (and just because I’m writing this, I’ll add comfort to the mix: you will NOT find me wearing jeans during WFH.)
Style is completely personal (especially when you’re not leaving the house as much), but if you’re lost, let this post be a starting point.
Let’s be real for a second: there really isn’t a good reason to be spending money or precious closet space on clothes during a pandemic. Instead, use your free time and Tik Tok as insipration to upcycle the clothes you already have and give them a new life:
I’m a sucker for in-person thrifting, but depending where you are, it might be a) limited selection and/or b) straight up unsafe due to Miss Rona. Here are my two online thrift go-to’s (great for different reasons):
- Depop is a C2C (AKA Consumer to Consumer) business, meaning that your purchases are going directly towards the seller. Although Depop takes a cut (just as any other platform i.e. Poshmark, Mercari etc. does), the sellers have complete control over how they price their items, how much they charge for shipping, and how they list the products. I like buying from Depop because the sellers do a great job of using trend-focused key words (Penny Lane coat, sock top, psychedelic, retro…) so you can find an aesthetic quickly, and you can choose exactly who you are giving your money to. This is a good time to note there are thousands of incredibly talented Black sellers and artisans on the app, so this is a great way to support the Black community while buying exactly what you are looking for, and doing it sustainably!
- Thredup is more of a B2C (Business to Consumer, as you may have guessed, you smarty-pants) business, where they acquire gently used or new second hand clothes from other users and ship the pieces from Thredup warehouses. Full disclousre, when it comes to paying their suppliers, I’m not quite sure how it works since I’ve never sold anything to the company. I love browsing through Thredup and I’ve found AMAZING pieces. I have worked with them in sponsored deals but also spent my own money on the site after doing some browsing! You will need to do some digging, and I’ve found the best way to shop is using brand names, since this is how they organize products. Clogs
Stay tuned for a full guide to online thrift coming to the website soon!
Shopping– Shop Sustainable & Black Owned (& ideally, a combo of both)
READERS NOTE: Companies often greenwash their branding, a PR and marketing marketing tool used to persuade the public that the company is sustainable, even if they are not. Rather than ‘sustainable’, look for the term ‘climate neutral’, meaning that they are somehow giving back to the environment so their carbon use is at net zero. BE WARNED- this too, unfortunately, may sometimes be greenwashing, but as of right now, still might be the best indicator. Learn more here.
- For sustainable brands, reference these websites:
- For Black owned brands, reference these websites:
- Here’s a list of sustainable AND Black owned brands (!!!!) and here’s why this intersection is so important.
SO… to answer “WTF DO I WEAR IN A PANDEMIC”, I would visit the sites linked above, and check out these pieces I’ve had my eye on.