Today we’re featuring Jade, who has such a unique feed style and lives out her message of approaching ethical fashion by not buying new. She hasn’t purchased anything new since summer of 2018–so nearly an entire year! Her style is adorable and she’s been incredibly inspiring to me personally, so I hope you all enjoy her!
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
I’m @notbuyingnew on Instagram – documenting my move away from a fast fashion addiction and living with a seasonal capsule wardrobe. My name is Jade and I’m a college teacher in North London. Originally, I’m from The Forest of Dean, UK. It’s a beautiful rural place and I grew up walking and riding my bike through forests whilst my Dad, who is a keen gardener, talked to me about different plants and birds. My respect for the environment definitely started at a young age. I spent all of my 20s living in London buying mainly vintage clothing. I still work in London and am constantly inspired by the fashion I see on my daily commute.
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
I bought my first vintage jacket (I still own it) in 1996 and I was hooked! It is a beautiful velvet jacket and it’s lasted the test if time. In the early 00s I lived near an amazing vintage shop and loved the thrill of buying something that no-one else had. However, after the birth of my first child, I struggled with finding my style again. I went on binges of fast fashion – ordering lots online and my wardrobe began to feel overcrowded with clothing that I didn’t really like. I was trying to find a ‘new me’ through clothing but nothing seemed to be working. I felt a lot of guilt about the money I was spending and eventually the guilt spread to feeling bad about the ethical and environmental cost to my fast fashion habit. I tried to stop buying new clothes many times and failed but in the summer of 2018 I announced my intention to stop buying on my personal Instagram and it worked. I felt I was accountable and so I didn’t buy anything new. Finally, I started @notbuyingnew in the Autumn of 2018.
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
The most sustainable fashion is wearing the clothes that you already own. Look into your wardrobe and extend the life of your clothing. Don’t be afraid of people who seem to lead perfect zero waste lives (they don’t) and are buying a lot of expensive ethical and sustainable fashion. You can make small, but effective, steps forward by re-wearing your own clothing. It starts with a really simple action.
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
I’m extremely lucky to know @larkrisepictures and she makes documentaries about the environment. Recently she went on an all-female expedition to document plastics in the ocean. She is a living, breathing inspiration. @igotitfromthecharityshop is one of the first Instagram accounts I followed and still one of my favourites. Also, @veshoevius is a style inspiration and has thought provoking content. Jameela Jamil is a super hero! I love everything she does and, in particular, her audio series on consent (for the BBC) was one of the best things I’ve heard in a very long time.
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
Buying thrifted clothing is a real joy but don’t get hooked on it and end up with too much that you don’t really wear. It still pays to be fussy. Touch everything on the rails and try to focus on good quality fabrics such as linen, silk or wool. Once you’ve found something, check the labels for the fabric contents. Next, check all the seams and hems to make sure it’s well made and will last at least 30 wears. Check the washing instructions and check that it’s something you’re able to do. There’s nothing more annoying than a ‘dry clean only top’ that hardly gets worn because it’s such a pain to clean. Ask yourself if you can immediately think of three ways in which you could wear this item. Finally, try it on – this one is really important. I’ve got lots more tips in My Highlights on my profile page if you want to read more.
What is one of your current favorite items of clothing you own?
I have a loose linen jumpsuit that I’ve found to be really versatile. When it was colder, I layered it with cardigans or jumpers underneath, now I’m wearing tees underneath, and in summer it can be worn without anything underneath. I’ve belted it in different ways and dressed it up with heeled boots, and down with trainers. It’s so useful.
What are you reading, listening to and/or watching right now?
I’m currently reading Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. I’ve only just started it but it has a unique narrative voice that I’m really enjoying. I’ve also just finished Tangerine by Christine Mangan. I was fascinated by the phycological manipulations within the female friendship. In terms of listening, I’m a huge BBC Radio 4 fan and it’s on constantly in my house. In particular, I love the ‘Soul Music’ programme which can be downloaded as a podcast. Each programme looks at one song and the emotional impact it has had on people.
Where can we find you?
On Instagram @notbuyingnew
It was an honor to learn more about Jade! I hope you’ll take time to check out her feed for tips for thrifting and using what you have to be more sustainable.