Discussing all things sustainable fashion with conscious influencer Lottie Hanson-Lowe.
What led you to start being more conscious with your fashion and lifestyle choices and what have you changed as a result?
I always wore a mixture of second-hand and new pieces growing up.
We had a family friend who was also called Lottie but was a few years older than me. I can remember being given her old black heeled boots when I was about eight and wearing them around London and pairing them with a black and purple velvet two piece from M&S. I remember loving how they used to be called “big Lottie’s” shoes and how that made them more special because they had already been loved. I didn’t care that she didn’t want them anymore, I just thought it was cool that she had chosen them in the first place.
Throughout my teens I would visit Shoreditch and buy lots of vintage and pair 70’s dresses with Topshop cardigans and biker boots. I never really had put it together that I loved second-hand bits because of the story, I just thought they looked cool. Looking back now, I can see how much I loved the history of second-hand. My nana was giving me lots of her old clothes and I thought it was the BEST thing that she had worn these clothes at the same age but in a different time.
Once I hit university I had less money to spend on clothes and so filled my wardrobe with pieces from eBay and Depop. I had a real 70’s phase so just spent a lot of time searching for disco clothes from that period.
I started to think about sustainability in other parts of my life, like my period products and made small changes where it felt natural. Once I left university and started to have more money, I really fell into an ASOS hole and started buying a lot of newer clothes. I couldn’t find things I wanted second hand so just bought new, new, new and so on. I then got a job at @helloHubbub a sustainability charity and spent so much time focusing on waste that I realised that I was part of this global problem.
I was wearing all my clothes in my wardrobe and wasn’t binning anything which made me feel like my shopping habits were ok. I wasn’t thinking about how they were made at all.
Slowly I have rediscovered buying second-hand and the thrill of buying from small businesses.
How can you not love handwritten notes and being able to have direct conversations with the maker?
I started to learn, read and listen about how my clothes are made and massively stepped away from fast fashion.
I still like to buy things from the high street but I make much more conscious decisions and I mainly get things from independent businesses or second-hand. If I do buy something new, I always make sure it’s made from a more sustainable fabric like organic cotton or recycled materials (though if it’s recycled plastic fibres, I try to wash less to reduce microfibre pollution).
Slow fashion is a journey, not a rule book and it’s about finding what works for you.
Do you thrift/shop second hand? What do you enjoy about it?
Yes, I love it and always have. I find there is such a thrill in finding something that fits you perfectly or is exactly what you want… it is just for you and no one else will have it. I also like the face that the clothes have longevity in them. I don’t have to worry about putting them in the wash, they have already stood the test of time.
What are your top tips for reducing fashion waste?
– Write a list of what you need in your wardrobe. Keep that list on you when you get tempted to buy something new.
-Repair everything you can and make sure your clothes get the love they deserve. Pass them on if they’re no longer for you.
How do you keep up with the latest trends without over-consuming?
I don’t really get too phased about trends but if there is something on the Highstreet that inspires me, I will look for that on Depop or eBay. I always make sure something is really comfy too. If it is not comfy now, then I know I will never wear it so what’s the point?
What brands do you look at for the future of fashion?
There are so many exciting businesses that excite me. The small ones really are the game changers. Brands like Birdsong and Mary Benson really understand how to go slow with their production and how to support their workers and build a community around their business.
What are some of your favourite ethical/sustainable brands to shop at?
Faith Rowan Leeves / HODA / Chalsie Joan / Megan Crosby / Mary Benson / Birdsong / Ethical Superstore / Organic Basics. There are so many to choose from and I have loads more saved on my Instagram account in two highlights called ‘SLOW SHOPPING’.