Written by Harriet Davey
Each week on the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Bay Garnett – stylist and second-hand style queen – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about how to shop pre-loved and her latest partnership.
Do you love a good charity shop rummage? Get a thrill out of finding a hidden gem, or just love to wear vintage pieces that no one else can copy? Second-hand shopping is spiking even more than ever recently (according to World Economic Forum, there will be 180% increase in the next 10 years), and a shift in shopping is taking place, with people opting to swap, rent and thrift shop. And who better to give insight into the world of second-hand shopping than the self-proclaimed ‘queen of thrift’, stylist, editor and pre-loved enthusiast, Bay Garnett?
As the senior fashion advisor for Oxfam, Bay knows a thing or two about tracking down the best second-hand pieces, and supports it as ‘the most sustainable way to shop’. Now, the stylist has collaborated with agency Eco-Age – who help brands to be transparent and create a sustainable business strategies – and Goodwood Revival. The annual festival held on 17-19 September not only showcases the glamour of British motor racing through the years, the guests are also encouraged to attend in 1940s, 50s and 60s outfits. As an ode to vintage fashion, this year the spectacular event will have Bay as its revival style editor on-hand to help attendees with any styling questions.
Here, Bay Garnett, the stylist and sustainability advocate tells the Sustainable Shopper why shopping second-hand is the way forward and how consumers are slowly ditching fast fashion.
What is your earliest memory of sustainability?
Bay: I have been thrifting for 25 years or so, so when I started second-hand clothes shopping it was for the thrill of finding great original pieces that nobody else had. I loved the originality and creativity that goes into thrifting. I always love the idea of not buying into the ‘new’ system too – it always felt off-grid and an antidote to the endless cycle of of marketing.
I started to be more interested and then passionate about sustainability, though, when I stated working with Oxfam in 2016.
Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?
I think second-hand is the only truly sustainable fashion. It’s very hard for any new brand to use the word ‘sustainable’ – words like ‘responsible’ are more appropriate. Producing anything takes energy and resource; I think we all have to be careful about the words we do use as they have to mean something. Something important and transparent.
Who is your favourite sustainable influencer? And why?
I’m not sure if she is an influencer, she’s more of an activist, but it would have tobe Greta Thunberg. Her sheer determination, fearlessness and belief is incredible. I’m a huge fan.
Investment vs throw away fashion: how do you get customers to care?
I think soon it will be a no-brainer as to where people put their money in fashion. The landscape is changing so quickly. Look at the way second-hand has grown so fast, even in the last two years.
I believe people will be put off investing in fast fashion because as we know, it’s all about the consumer. And the consumer is finding the truth and reality behind fast fashion and it’s a disaster, on many levels.
What changes would you like to see happen in the fashion industry?
I would like to see the fashion industry SLOW DOWN. We don’t need these endless collections. ‘Seasons’ in the traditional sense are a thing of the past. People’s wardrobes are way more fluid now. Let’s have less of everything. And I think there should be some kind of legislation on how much fashion gets produced. High street fast fashion gets all the blame, but the luxury sector is just as wasteful – or so I’ve been told.
Give us three second-hand tips:
My favourite online platforms are Oxfam online – you can find the best stuff here. But be patient, I have found many treasures.
I also love eBay. If I’m really looking for something in particular and search for it, when it comes in, it pops up. I found the best Supreme leopard shirt doing this. A rare find.
My tips for second-hand shopping are:
1. Go into charity shops with an idea of what you would love to find, it’s good to be engaged with it. Even if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for, you’re bound to find something!
2. Look in your wardrobe – have a really good look. Bring out the stuff you love and haven’t worn for ages, this really halts the idea and desire to buy something new. It does for me anyway.
3. l aways look at the mens rail; you can get some brilliant oversized shirts and blazers.
Sustainable Shopper edit by Bay:
Vintage Levi’s at eBay
A classic that’ll never fail, a great pair of vintage 501 Levi’s will go the distance in your wardrobe. Try not to wash to often to make them last even longer.
Shop vintage 501 Levi’s at eBay, £29.99
Vintage jacket at eBay
A go-to for great jackets, eBay has a whole host of hidden gems waiting to be found. This vintage, velvet style is a showstopper that can be worn on repeat around the clock.
Shop vintage 70s jacket at eBay, £35
Harvie and Hudson shirt at Oxfam
It’s not just second-hand pieces you can find at charity shops, a lot of people donate new, unused items. A menswear striped shirt will work from the office to the beach.
Shop Harvie & Hudson shirt at Oxfam, £24.99
Charity shop hunts can also end up with a designer find. This Burberry jumper is 100% lambs wool and can be worn across all seasons with everything from shorts to a slip dress.
Shop vintage Burberry jumper at Oxfam, £140.99
Prada dress at Found and Vision
This 90s Prada dress is the LBD to invest in. The spaghetti straps and gemstone detail bring all the nostalgia needed for a night out.
Shop vintage Prada dress at Found and Vision, £250
Vintage earrings at Rellik
If you prefer not to rummage, heading to vintage sites is ideal to narrow down your search. Raid jewellery boxes from previous decades and you can find gems like these 80s statement earrings.
Shop vintage earrings at Rellik, £125
Images: courtesy of Bay Garnett, Eco-Age and brands featured
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