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Harriet Stannard Interview: Sustainable Superwomen Series

Meet Harriet Stannard - this weeks Sustainable Superwoman. She's an ultimate cool girl with a sense of style you could only dream of, I'm constantly in awe of every detail of each look she puts together. Like seriously, how does she make a vintage crochet waistcoat look THAT cool?!

Hey Harriet! Tell us a little bit about you and your blog

Hi! My name is Harriet but most of my friends call me Stan (hence the name Secondhand Stan) I am a vintage loving, secondhand embracing 25 year old sustainable blogger and creative! For as long as I can remember I have loved rummaging the charity shops and putting together unique and mismatched outfits. More recently this love led me to start my own blog and dedicate more of my time to creating content for my instagram page. 

I started my blog in February this year and it has allowed me to create a platform to highlight those who are leading the way in sustainability, encourage shopping secondhand through outfit inspiration and ideas and an all round creative outlet for my mental health! The response to the blog has been overwhelming and the people I have met along the way have been amazing and so welcoming. 

Describe your style in one sentence

Colourful and happy play clothes.

What is your relationship like with your wardrobe?

Thats a good question. For years I had a constantly evolving style and I always kept trying to copy styles instead of just wearing what I liked. I think coming into my mid 20s I suddenly had this sort of realisation that I didn’t want to dress the same as others, I just wanted to wear what made me happy and what brought me joy.

I look back on photos of my younger self and realised I spent along time creating a wardrobe that was full of clothes that's pure job was to make me look older and more sophisticated. I probably dress a lot more younger now than I did back then. I embrace colour, experiment with patterns and I sort of just stopped giving a damn! My wardrobe now definitely reflects this mentality. And waking up to a wardrobe made up entirely of secondhand and sustainable clothing makes me happy and excited to get dressed everyday! I can safely say I have a much more positive relationship with my wardrobe now than I ever did before. 

What first sparked your interest in sustainable fashion?

What really triggered my interest in sustainability was leaving my job working in fast fashion. I was working as part of the creative team for a well known high street retailer and my time there was incredibly eye opening. I first hand witnessed the unsustainable nature of both working in fast fashion but fast fashion itself. Recycling wasn’t a thing, the amount of waste was shocking and the staff were overworked, underpaid and over tired.

I left at the end of January realising I didn't want to contribute anymore to the system and wanted to be a part of the positive change. I then deep dived into the world of sustainable fashion and put all my time and energy into researching and coming up with ways I could help promote shopping secondhand. I learnt the facts, read the books and created my blog to share what I had learned! 

What do you think is currently missing in the world of sustainable fashion?

I think that the world of sustainable fashion has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and I am amazed by the amount of influencers and shops that are working so hard to promote secondhand shopping. But of course we still have a long way to go and as we have seen in the last couple of weeks with the reopening of shops; people still want fast fashion. I feel this is what we need to keep working on, we need to encourage people to shop sustainably through education, making secondhand accessible to everyone and not berating people’s choices. We need to try and understand why people shop fast fashion and therefore highlight what changes we can make to promote sustainability.

Where do you see the future of fashion going?

I think that people are becoming more conscious consumers and what to know where and who are making their clothes. I think there is a dissatisfaction with the high street and what it has to offer. I really hope that with more people advocating and promoting slow fashion and sustainability we continue to see change. I also think more people are realising that vintage isn’t just for bold maximalist styles, there are secondhand styles for everyone and with the rise of slow fashion businesses and shops, sustainable fashion is becoming more and more varied. 

What tips do you have for new-to-the-game sustainable shoppers?

I would say research can be very helpful and this is where Instagram can play such a major role. Most of the sustainable brands that I have discovered have been through social media. Through discovering one shop you can find so many more. Within the secondhand and sustainable online community, I have really found everyone to be cheerleaders for one another and really working hard to promote each others businesses, as in the end we all want the same goal, a sustainable future with less fast fashion. 

 Tell us the story behind your favourite item of clothing

My favourite item in my wardrobe would have to be a vintage leather jacket my mum got me for my 18th birthday. I remember to mark the occasion my mum took me down to London for a weekend trip and we went to Beyond Retro on Brick Lane where I found this amazing oversized leather biker jacket with some real power shoulders! It was pretty much the only jacket I wore for about two solid years! Sadly I wore it so much that the leather started to get very worn and the linings in shreds but I could never part with that jacket and will always have it in my wardrobe. 

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