Although things are reopening in Dubai and the region at large, the cautious among us are confining our social lives to park visits and online video chats. In the past few months, there hasn’t been much call for new outfits during lockdown, however, many of us are beginning to return to work. Venturing out into the world after a marked period of absence means (literally) dusting off our wardrobe and seeing what works (and what still fits).
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reassess our priorities. Many of us are united in the desire to take a step back and consider the effect humans have on the planet, and that means changing the way we shop. “There is so much we can do to combat the return to our destructive ways,” says Abbey Booth, founder of personal styling service Stories with Clothes. “If we make small steps, which lead to more impactful behavior, we can all do our part to help our planet recover and enjoy fashion responsibly.”
If you are in desperate need of a wardrobe refresh, but also want to reduce your own carbon footprint, this list of simple ways to shop more sustainably is the best place to start.
Shop Sustainable Brands
When Savoir Flair published an op-ed on the environmental damage created by fast fashion, and about contributors to it like Zara, we saw an enormous outpouring of support surge across our social media channels. Clearly, this has been a topic of interest for a long time. For those that are already looking for affordable alternatives to their favorite high-street brands, we compiled a wonderful resource guide here.
Additionally, one of the best go-to resources for stylish sustainable pieces is Net-a-Porter‘s ‘Net Sustain’ platform, which is filled with a beautifully curated selection of ethically made clothing, shoes, and accessories.
You can double your sustainable efforts by shopping both ethically and locally. Some of our favorite sustainable Arab designers include Darin Hachem, Okhtein, Rawan Maki, Aurate, LalaQueen, and Abadia. While this curated list is guaranteed to provide looks you love, you can also visit Dubai’s first-ever sustainable fashion e-marketplace platform Goshopia – a one-stop location stocked with the best sustainable brands.
Shop Designer Rentals
When it comes to high-end pieces for occasions like weddings and other black-tie events, a single gown can cost you upwards of AED 3,000 and may only be worn a few times. One of the first to offer a solution was Rent the Runway, which went on to become a major industry disruptor and a model for other businesses by offering luxury, designer pieces for low rental prices.
Although the rest of the fashion world has long had a love affair with vintage clothing, the Middle East region was slower to catch on. However, there is a new interest in vintage clothes, evidenced by the emergence of boutiques like 1954 by Rae Joseph, Bagatelle Boutique at Mercato Shopping Mall, Depot Vente Beirut, and Fashion Rerun.
Fans of icon vintage shops in fashion hubs like New York City and Paris can rejoice, as many of them deliver to the Middle East. Our favorites are Love and Object, What Goes Around NYC, Na Nin Vintage, Vintage Frames, Le Monde du Voyage, and Vintage by Misty.
Shop Pre-Loved Luxury
Pre-loved luxury has become a booming market, and is one of the few not only surviving the economic downturn but thriving instead. Sites like TheRealReal and Vestiaire Collective are the top two platforms for buying pre-loved luxury, but if you’re searching locally you’ll love The Luxury Closet, which not only has an amazing selection of top luxury brands but a thorough authentication process as well.
If you’re worried about the impact your shopping habits have on the world, a “slow fashion” approach is the answer. That means buying high-end pieces that are built to last for decades. A smart “slow fashion” wardrobe is built on key foundational pieces that never go out of style, like trench coats, tailored trousers, and classic leather handbags.
When you invest in these key pieces, break your investment down into cost-per-use, and you’ll soon see how much more economical it is to buy quality over quantity. The math is basic, but logical. If you buy one outfit for AED 100 and wear it twice (investment total is AED 50 per use), it’s more costly to have purchased it in the long run than buying a high-quality item for AED 2,000 and wearing it 100 times (investment total is AED 20 per use).
Shop Your Wardrobe
When budgets are tight, there’s one resource that’s always available to you: your own closet. We tend to take for granted the items we already own because they are so familiar to us, but when worn in new combinations you’ve never tried before, their inherent appeal can be reignited. Look to style influencers and street style round-ups for cool ideas, and then mix-and-match your wardrobe to get a new look.