EVERY ROOM HAD CLOTHES
Hi, I'm Brenda, a recovered fast fashion addict.
It’s interesting how addiction is often limited to drink, drugs and gambling, whilst others like fashion addiction slips under the radar. Maxing out your bank cards; claiming you have nothing to wear, yet your wardrobe is bulging at the hinges; always on the hunt for the next fashion fix and outfit repeating considered sacrilege, all scream fashion addiction!
This was me, for YEARS.
I never saw it as an addiction. It didn’t occur to me that there was something quite wrong with not being able to return home without a new purchase (or five!). ‘Shop til you drop’ was fun to me. There was never a shopping mall or high street I graced without leaving bag-laden with my latest finds.
Storing the behemoth of clothing, shoes, bags and accessories was tiresome. My wardrobes were in constant spillage-mode; the doors had not shut for ages! From wardrobes to shelves, my bed to the floor, boxes to cupboards, suitcases to bin bags… my bedroom exploded and the clothes needed to spread further afield for refuge. I dreamed of an endless walk-in wardrobe, but the reality was more like a stock room. As my buying increased, so did the need for space, and soon, every room had clothes.
There is much to share on how clothes conquered my home, but I’ll keep that for another time!
THE IMPACT OF FASHION
I did not realise other types of fashion existed aside from fast fashion. To my knowledge and understanding, there were two categories: designer and high street, but it was all 'fashion'.
I was an easy marketing target for the retail goliaths, repeatedly falling prey to their advertising campaigns and spending money oblivious of the impact of fashion.
But I am not alone. This rings true for millions of fashion lovers throughout the world.
With various reports claiming the fashion industry is the second or fourth most polluting industry in the world, it did not take me long to begin looking at fashion through a different lens.
My new perspective saw how the increase of poor quality clothing that couldn’t survive a wash cycle was the norm; cheap prices and too-good-to-be-true sales had hidden human and environmental costs; expedited shipping, regardless of the carbon footprint was a must; items worn once and returned or thrown away was the trend; renowned brands were guilty of burning surplus stock… and it goes on.
The rise of fast fashion has come with such a catastrophic consequence, and I needed to re-install self-control. I no longer wanted to give away my power.
I’LL NEVER WEAR SHOULDER PADS
Once you know, you can’t un-know. I refused to settle for naivety. I wanted to change and engage a more conscious and meaningful relationship with fashion, but I didn’t know how.
I had always donated clothes and other items to charity shops, but to actually shop in one, the thought had never crossed my mind.
Honestly, this is probably because of the once-held views of how charity shops were the dumping grounds for smelly old people’s clothes. The scathing reputation was that charity shops were only frequented by people who could not afford to buy ‘proper’ clothes and vintage shops were the playground for unfashionable, outdated cast-offs for fancy dress and theatre costume. Thank goodness perceptions have come a long way from this skewed view!
When I did eventually step foot inside a charity shop, I was pleasantly surprised and the experience led me to finding one of my most treasured vintage coats. As I became more comfortable shopping in charity shops and vintage boutiques, my fondness for different styles and silhouettes became apparent. I fell in love with unique pieces no-one else had.
Watching Mum dressing up when I was younger was fun, and I remember vowing I'll never wear shoulder pads, yet now, of all the decades, I’m partial to the eighties power dressing! I've come a helluva long way from keeping up with the trends to now owning my style.
THE TRUE COST
Adapting from scouring the high street to shopping preloved was a quick and bold move.
I swiftly dumped years of a fast fashion mindset without any withdrawal symptoms.
Cold turkey, literally. I was done with it!
Inasmuch as I was exploring vintage and secondhand fashion, there were many unanswered questions and things I wanted to know. At the time, I researched countless articles, journals and reports on the effect of the fashion industry but nothing really solidified my understanding quite like The True Cost documentary. It was from here that my sustainable fashion crusade began and I was unrelenting in wanting to know exactly how bad things were, and what part I could play in a better tomorrow.
Fashion is fun, but the fun factor is soured when you know that someone somewhere is exploited; animals are mistreated; waterways, soil and air are polluted and trees are cut down, all in the name of fashion.
I created BMUSE, a vintage, sustainable brand as an alternative to the fast fashion that has blighted our environment, with the hope that one day, sustainable fashion will be considered as mainstream and respected as a conscious consumer choice.
My heart is in reclaiming fashion that already exists so new style stories can begin and self expression is liberated, not burdened by the dark truths of fast fashion.
Instead of overwhelming you with products, BMUSE curates smaller collections of fabulous unique pieces waiting to be reloved and rehomed by you.
Every carefully handpicked piece is a reflection from a former fashion timeline and has a seamless, deserved place in your modern wardrobe.
I envision the day when the image of fast fashion is not held in its current esteem, and the channels for circular, sustainable options are made more accessible. Essentially, I look forward to the transformation of mindsets.
BMUSE is fashion reimagined.
Let’s style the future of fashion sustainably, together!
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Welcome to BMUSE!
Love, Brenda x