Insights into Tortoise & Lady Grey writer Summer Edwards’ guide to a sustainable wardrobe
When I began my sustainable fashion journey, I spent a lot of time reading other, more established sustainable fashion blogs. One of them was Tortoise & Lady Grey, which was founded by Summer Edwards.
Edwards has written an e-book called 6 Steps To A Sustainable Wardrobe, which is available here. The e-book costs US$18 and I purchased it because I knew I needed help to revamp my wardrobe and purchasing habits. I wanted my wardrobe and lifestyle to be more sustainable, hence I jumped in and invested in Edwards’ e-book and accompanying workbook.
I found that I liked the e-book from the very start. On page four, Edwards writes: “Sustainable fashion is a journey. A series of small changes to your lifestyle that will add up over time. All you need to do is take the first step.” These words resonated deeply within me and I knew at that moment that I would like the rest of the e-book.
Edwards encourages readers to understand their relationship to fashion and shopping early on in her book. At one point, she encourages them to ask themselves a series of questions to gain more self-awareness in this area. I found this section, along with the workbook, particularly useful as I realised many things about my consumption behaviour that I hadn’t been really conscious of before. Kudos to the writer for taking the time to help readers self-evaluate. In fact, self-evaluation is a logical and necessary one before proceeding to read the rest of the book.
I also liked that Edwards writes at length about consumerism culture in the book shortly after. This should be a wake-up call to most readers if they haven’t already realised their past mistakes where shopping and fashion choices are concerned. Edwards doesn’t pull any punches when she writes about consumerism (which she calls the “elephant in the room”) and its effects on our consumption behaviour.
At this point in the book, I was already hooked and wanted to read more. The writer goes on to explain how to declutter your wardrobe and donate or re-purpose unwanted items. I found this piece of advice particularly useful: “In fact, it is useful to approach your wardrobe every day with a decluttering mind-set. Each time you get dressed, notice what you do wear, and notice what you never wear.”
If you’re already this far into the book, you will already have noticed that Edwards’ writing is factual, non-confrontational and non-accusatory in nature. She doesn’t preach, neither does she impose her views on the reader. She just states the facts and gives advice, showing that she comes from a place of knowledge and experience, which readers are likely to identify with and appreciate.
In fact, her advice is highly practical. For instance, on page 32, she says: “A well planned wardrobe is essential to maintaining a sustainable wardrobe. Finding the right sustainable garment- which matches your needs, taste and budget- requires time to research your options. But if you don’t plan ahead, you will find yourself rushing to the stores that are easily available to you, and in most cases these will be fast fashion options. Plan ahead and you will have the time to find the right options for you, upholding your ethics at the same time.”
I found this reminder useful as I have a history of impulse buying and although I want to have a sustainable wardrobe, I needed this to remind me that purchasing sustainable pieces should be done only after planning and decluttering, as well as forethought.
Another thing I liked is that Edwards gives detailed advice on how to purchase sustainable items, including a reminder that not all clothing labels are completely forthcoming. “Most labels that are genuinely committed to sustainability are also committed to ethical manufacturing, but this is something that is still worth investigating before you purchase,” Edwards advises.
Note that Edwards doesn’t promote specific brands or labels in her e-book. Instead she sticks to the facts and gives sound advice on how to choose the right label. She even provides a brief guide on how to choose the most sustainable fabrics, stating the pros and cons of each type of fabric.
In conclusion, 6 Steps To A Sustainable Wardrobe is worth every penny spent for anyone interested in building a sustainable wardrobe. Read it if you are, or even if you are just curious about sustainable fashion. You won’t regret it.