Mum of 2, content creator and fashion blogger Chet, tells EcoSki how Stacey Dooley’s TV documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ triggered a train of thought that changed the way she looked at fashion. Now, 5 months into an MBA in Sustainable Fashion Management, Chet tells us about her journey and shares top tips to becoming more sustainable when you have a passion for fashion. 

My name is Chet, I am mum to two girls (10 and 13) and a content creator and blogger over @chilliesandclothes 

Being able to share my daily style across various social media platforms over the last 3-4 years has been an incredible journey.  It has allowed me to meet some amazing people and work with brands I had never previously heard of.  More importantly I get to juggle my role as a mum whilst still doing something just for meWhat started out as a hobby and a way of documenting daily outfits and inspiring others along the way evolved over time, as my account grew so did the brand partnerships and collaborations.   

I’ve always loved Fashion and enjoy using my creativity to put clothes, styles and looks together.  I love sharing ideas, thoughts and new finds What I did notice however was that there seemed to be a direct correlation between the time I spent on social media with an increase in impulse purchases.  Having always been bit of a shopaholic and lover of trends I was often easily influenced. 

I was beginning to feel like it was getting a little out of control and then I watched Stacey Dooleys TV documentary ‘Fashions Dirty Secrets’ in Oct 2018, this and the conversations that came after really made me think about my own purchasing habits and the part I was playing. 

I started to question more and more what I was doing and more importantly why I was doing what I was doing.  Whilst I loved inspiring others and sharing style ideas I didn’t like the idea of people buying clothes they didn’t really need because of me. 

After months of questioning myself on the part I was playing, in December 2019 I decided to take a few weeks off social media to try and work out what it was I really wanted from it all.  I knew I loved clothes, the fashion industry and how clothes could make people feel, but I didn’t want people to feel they had to always buy new.  I knew I wanted to be involved but had to work out how I could still be a part of it all whilst playing a more positive role.  It was at that point I decided I was going to go back to studying and do an MBA in Sustainable Fashion Management.  

I am currently 5 months into my 18 month course and I am trying to bring some of what I am learning to my Instagram account.  I am also making myself more accountable by openly sharing a scoring system.  Anything new (including brand gifts) doesn’t get a point, anything old, borrowed or pre-loved gets a point.  I have drastically cut back on the number of purchases I make and try to wear what I already have.  If I do buy something new I really question the value that piece will add to my wardrobe.  I love clothes so currently I am using OnLoan a fashion rental service that allows you to rent pieces on a monthly basis.  This means I get to wear lovely clothes but not own them. 

Chet’s top tips to a more sustainable wardrobe

  1. Really question if you need an item.  Are you buying it because you really love it and need it, or just because someone else has it, it’s cheap, you’re happy, sad, upset. 
  2. Will your purchase fill a gap in your wardrobe?  Will it work with other pieces you already own?  How many ways will you be able to style or wear the new piece?  Will it work season after season? Can you buy it pre-loved?
  3. Do you already own something similar?  More often than not we do.
  4. Take your time.  In the past I would rip tags off as soon as I purchased something new, now I sit on it.  I have found that by leaving tags and packaging intact I often decide after a couple of weeks that I don’t really need it and it goes back. 
  5. Try and work out which pieces in your wardrobe you love and which ones work the hardest for you and your lifestyle. The pieces that work the hardest in my wardrobe usually tend to be classics, block and neutral colours. 
  6. Know which colours and shapes suit you, it will stop you making expensive mistakes and being easily influenced. 
  7. If you do buy new think about the material and opt for sustainable options.  Remember that synthetic fabrics such as polyester are made from oil, so we are basically wearing fossil fuels and whilst Cotton may seem like a better alternative and has a lower carbon footprint, it requires more land, water usage and pesticides. 
  8. If you have clothes that you need to ‘get rid of’ make sure that you do it responsibly.  You can sell them, the pre-loved market is set to grow in the future as more and more people look to shop second hand and sustainably.  You can take them to a charity shop.  Pass them on to friend or family. If they are so old or damaged that they can’t be re-worn take them to be recycled.  
  9. Finally the most sustainable practise when it comes to fashion and clothes is to wear what you already own. 

Find out more about ChilliesandClothes or check out the Instagram page.