Filmmaker and former model Laragh McCann believes in the power of conversation. After learning that the fashion industry is more polluting than the aviation and shipping industries combined, McCann, who has modelled for brands such as Prada, Miu Miu and Chanel, was inspired to take action and fully embrace sustainable and circular fashion. “For me it simply means being more mindful of my clothes. At its core it means being more connected to the materials we wear and the people who made them.”
What became clear to her was that reusing clothes that already exist is by far the most sustainable and least harmful fashion option available. With her recently launched initiative, 100% ReLoved, McCann hopes to celebrate circular fashion and shine a light on clothes which have been purchased second-hand, passed down through generations or picked up at a swap shop. “The heart logo is a symbol of pride in giving clothes that already exist a new life.”
This month, McCann is encouraging people to get involved in the conversation on Instagram, to share stories of their favourite reloved garments and to open up the discussion. Fashion stylist Aisling Farinella was one of the first to share her story.
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Aisling Farinella – “I bought this tweed jacket in Harlequin last year after bumping into a friend in town in a high street store. I was trying on a check wool coat, a fabric I’ve always loved and at that time found myself surrounded by as a major seasonal trend. It was one of those moments when I wasn’t feeling particularly great and my slightly numbed brain was edging me towards retail therapy. My longtime trusted friend pulled me out of the fog and whisked me off to look in Harlequin with her. I spotted this check beauty, a softly aged Norfolk tweed which fitted like a glove and cost one quarter of the price. Made of pure wool with silk lining, it’s an original tweed design and made in a community not too far from home. It’s now 100% loved in my wardrobe, already serving me well beyond a fickle trend and changing seasons and enjoying a new life, 100% Reloved.” #relovedtales ??
But what is circular fashion, and how can consumers get involved? McCann explains how up until now our systems have been mainly linear, meaning that “clothes are made from scratch in a factory, sent to shops, bought, worn, then discarded. Which obviously creates a shocking amount of waste that in turn is extremely damaging for the environment; every single second a truck load of textiles is burned or landfilled.” Circular economy means that items stay in the system for longer, and go through several life cycles which saves huge amounts of energy and waste. For consumers, sharing clothes, shopping vintage, purchasing from luxury resale sites and upcycling clothing are all really accessible, effective ways to get involved straight away. With 100% ReLoved, the goal with the heart is to promote circular economy (simply rewearing clothes) by wearing the pin on your favourite reloved garment.
A firm believer in practicing what she preaches, McCann loves shopping vintage and swapping with friends: “Coats and blazers are my favourite type of clothing. I bought a knee-length black wool coat with a hood in a small vintage shop in Tokyo of all places about eight years ago. It’s really plain but I love it for some reason and feel really myself wearing it. I have had to repair the pockets and seams on it several times because I wear it so much. I also recently found a Donegal tweed coat in perfect condition worth about €700 and I got it for €8 in a charity shop on Capel Street!”
It’s no surprise that Instagram now plays a huge part in our shopping habits, which is why she wants people to join the conversation. She also suggests curating your feed so that you follow influencers and brands that promote and educate about sustainable fashion giving you daily insights and inspiration. It may also help to unfollow the brands whose practices you don’t agree with – taking them off your feed will reduce the temptation for impulse purchases.
“At the end of the day, the main responsibility lies on the producer not on the consumer – it’s a decoy if big corporations put the focus on us to recycle whilst maintaining insanely high production levels. But the consumer is already casting their vote with their buck; Depop is taking over and fashion resale has grown 21 times faster than traditional retail in the past three years – it’s happening whether the industry likes it or not.” McCann is excited to see the new generation of brands starting from scratch with sustainability as part of their business model from the get go. “I really believe people (consumers, designers, makers) will feel immensely better when that’s the norm.”
Get involved in the circular fashion conversation by sharing your story on Instagram using #RelovedTales to be in with a chance to win a voucher for Nine Crows vintage shop. www.100percentreloved.com