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Haulternative: Love Stories for a Sustainable Wardrobe

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Swapped, borrowed, rented, bought second-hand, vintage… so many ways to build a sustainable wardrobe that mirrors my personality and values!

I decided to do a small autumn-winter haulternative of six sustainable pieces I took to Dublin with me.

Disclaimer: maybe I’m not the right person to write this kind of post as I’ve never been interested in fashion and my style is quite basic, but I guarantee the possibilities are endless.

Before we start, a few words on…

What is a haulternative?

Many of you may be familiar with the term “haul” and its use online: it is a post or video where content creators show their followers what they have bought, often from fast fashion chains or similar unsustainable brands.

Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and it is also responsible for various human rights violations. After the collapse of the Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013, the public opinion has started to challenge the fast fashion business model. The Rana Plaza was a garment factory in Bangladesh which produced clothes for several fast fashion chains and with its collapse more than 1,100 workers died and around 2,500 people were injured. This is how Fashion Revolution was born, a sustainable fashion movement that represents an alternative to fast fashion.

While waiting for a post completely dedicated to fast fashion, I recommend watching the documentary “The True Cost” to find out more.

A haulternative is a post or video where, instead of showing recent purchases, people tell the story of the clothes they already own to promote sustainable fashion.

But what are the alternatives to fast fashion?

  • Shop your wardrobe! Use as much as possible what you already own.

  • Repair broken clothes.

  • Sew old fabric or modify old clothes to create new ones.

  • Swap clothes with friends and family or take part in a swap party!

  • Rent or borrow formal clothing if you know you would use it only once.

  • Buy second-hand, vintage, and from sustainable brands.

All the clothes I’m going to show you have a story: while writing this post, I realised that all of them remind me of special moments of my life, a place, or an experience… This is the beauty of sustainable fashion: they are not impulsive purchases in random shops, but they have a story to tell.

1) Second-hand (charity shop)

Second-hand sweater and vintage jeans
Second-hand sweater and vintage jeans

Even though I’ve always had some pre-loved clothes in my wardrobe, either owned by my older cousins or stolen from my mum’s wardrobe, I discovered the amazing world of second-hand shopping only during my Erasmus in England, long before starting my sustainability journey.

It was the first time I entered a charity shop, and I didn’t know what to expect… Among piles of clothes, I spotted this cosy beige sweater: I immediately fell in love. It’s still in my wardrobe, and every time I put it on, I remember that rainy day of my Erasmus.

2) Second-hand (charity shop)

This shirt also reminds me of a beautiful moment: it was my first day of volunteering in Cancer Research UK charity shop in Lancaster and, while I was sorting out the new donations, this amazing coral red shirt grasped my attention. A bit awkwardly, I asked my colleague if I could try it on and… that’s it, it won me over! (To learn more about my experience as a volunteer, click here!)

3) Swapped

To be honest, if I had seen this dress in a shop, I don’t think I would have bought it. It ended up in my wardrobe by chance: a housemate of mine didn’t want it anymore and asked me if I wanted to try it on. Surprisingly, I feel like a businesswoman when I wear it! To return the favour, I gave her a t-shirt that was too small for me, but it suited her perfectly.

I can’t wait for the end of lockdown to participate in a swap party!

4) Vintage

I’m a huge fan of jeans; I would wear them all year round. This pair of Levi’s are the only vintage item I own, but to me they are special because I bought them in a specialised shop in Genoa called Retrovita. It was Margherita, for whom you may have already met in the first episode of Erasmus Stories in Ireland, who took me there. Every time I wear this pair of jeans I remember that cheerful afternoon in Genoa, together with my friend and her laugh.

5) Sustainable brand

What to gift an eco-warrior like me? To prove he knows me well, my boyfriend gifted me this sea t-shirt by, an Irish sustainable brand. In organic cotton, hand-printed in Ireland, for every t-shirt sold, plants an indigenous Irish tree in Ireland.

To be precise, I have two trees in Ireland, one planted with the purchase of the t-shirt plus one my boyfriend donated. On this postcard, the team wrote down the coordinates of where my tree is planted.

6) Shop your wardrobe!

Who says we have to buy a new dress for every occasion? Before diving into sustainable fashion, I bought this beautiful red dress for my bachelor’s degree ceremony. When the moment came to think about what to wear for my master’s degree ceremony, I had no doubts: I would wear the same dress again! Since then, I tried to make the most of it for all important events: friends and relatives’ degree ceremonies, Christmas parties, and so on.

Here you have it! These were my six love stories for sustainable clothes. Lockdown has not allowed me to take better pictures, but I hope my message was appreciated! 😊

Are you interested in taking part in the Fashion Revolution? Here is a challenge for you: look at your wardrobe and try to find a piece of clothing that you love and that falls into one of the listed categories above (ex. vintage). Then, share its story on IG and tag me on it! I can’t wait to see all your beautiful clothes <3

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