Lauren Reynolds: Sustainable Superwomen Series
This week I speak to Lauren Reynolds, or @Loz_thebargainhunter as you may know her on instagram. Lauren has a 100% secondhand wardrobe and the outfits she posts using her #thanksitssecondhand hashtag are so trendful and stylish it's hard to believe everything she buys is from carboot sales and charity shops. Keep on reading to hear all about her love for secondhand..
Tell us about your relationship with fashion
I started to have a real interest in fashion in my early teens, but struggled even then to keep up with trends. The 'in thing' was always changing, whether it was Hollister tshirt, Jack Wills gillet or even these skinny school trousers that every girl had to have, it was impossible to keep up unless you bought new.
Once I was into my later teens I realised that fitting wasn't as essential, and I would say that this was really when I started buying secondhand. Back then I used to mainly buy from eBay as I would have been embarrassed if people I knew saw me in a charity shop. I remember I bought my prom dress secondhand from eBay for £8 and I made out to people that I had spent hundreds just to save face!
Now, I buy what I love and what makes me feel good. I don't worry about which secondhand source it has come from and I'm proud to tell people! I'm now able to be more adventurous with my fashion sense, as when you're only paying pounds for an outfit there is less pressure to play it safe. I've found that maxi dresses and skirts now really suit me, when previously I would never have even tried things like that on. Starting @loz_thebargainhunter has made me feel so much more confident with my fashion choices and I'm proud to say that I'm a second hand outfit wearer.
What first sparked your interest in sustainability?
For me it was the way I was brought up. I was always taught that there was enough in the world to not need to buy new. As a child my presents were always second hand toys, and my parents and grand parents would teach me the benefits of this. Whenever I would go and stay with my nan she would take me to the charity shop and give me £1 to go and buy whatever I wanted, I can't imagine having the same experience in a supermarket or a toy store. Growing up and seeing just the quality of things donated to charity shops, jumble sales and car boots meant that I never really had the urge to go and buy new.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to learn more about sustainable fashion?
I have introduced lots of my friends to car boots and charity shops and while they're completely on board with the idea, they don't tend to find much. I know this is really disheartening to them but you've just got to give it time as you're not going to find items you love every time you visit, you might have to visit several weeks until you find something, but I promise, the waiting game is worth it in the end!
Whats the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Mum's always give the best advice, and my mum has always said to me "It's only cheap if you need it!". In this disposable world it's so important that we remember that we only need so much. Even if I have found a coat down a car boot for £1 she makes me question if I really needed it, if it's that different to coats that I already own. I always have that sentence in the back of my head whenever I'm about to make a purchase and it helps me to be more rational with what I buy.
Where do you see the future of fashion going?
I saw an article the other day which showed that charity shop sales were up +3.2% year on year during the three months ending 31st December 2019 which is just incredible. The trend seems to be showing that secondhand shopping is on the rise whilst fast fashion brands are beginning to decline. Companies are going to need to rethink their business plans with sustainable, ethical business practices being crucial if they want to beat the curve.
What tips do you have for someone looking to shop sustainably?
My top tips for someone looking to shop sustainably would be:
Give yourself a budget
Have a wish-list of specific things that you're looking for
Don’t be afraid to rummage
Don’t buy for the sake of it
Tell us the story behind your favourite item of clothing
To choose a favourite item is really difficult for me, I pride myself on only buying what I love! If I had to choose I would say this gorgeous patchwork maxi dress that I bought down a car boot for £2. It has a slit up one of the legs which makes it that bit more dressy but I can also put a plain top underneath it to make it a really versatile outfit. I always get a lot of compliments wearing it and I'm proud of how many times it has featured on my Instagram!
Follow Lauren on instagram @Loz_thebargainhunter
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