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Fashion industry people share how often they buy new clothes

IMAGE VIA @izzy_manuel/INSTAGRAM

WORDS By Ruby Staley

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In her interview with Emma Chamberlain on the steps of this year’s Met Gala, Billie Eilish mentioned that she hadn’t been in a store to buy new clothes in years. Although I’m a little sceptical of this claim – let’s be real, she probably gets gifted most of her clothes these days – I was impressed nonetheless.

As an admitted clothes hoarder and former fast fashion consumer, nowadays I try to keep my purchases to a minimum, splurging instead on high-quality pieces I’m sure I will wear a tonne of times. In terms of frequency, I probably buy a new or vintage piece once a fortnight. Of course, sometimes I’m in the mood to splurge on a huge thrifting trip where I can buy up to 20 pieces in one shop. 


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From the outside, my habits may not seem too problematic until you see the state of my already overflowing wardrobe. I’m aware my buying habits are nowhere near perfect in terms of sustainable consumption either, so where I can, I try to consider smaller brands or preloved pieces when sourcing a new item.

Because everyone’s approach to fashion (and closet size) is vastly different, I asked some of my favourite Australian fashion people about their recent clothing purchases and buying ethos to gain a bit of perspective. 

Izzy Manuel, sustainable fashion creator

I tend to buy one or less ‘new’ pieces of clothing each month. Most of the items I buy are secondhand as I feel that it is so important to use what we already own! If I do buy brand new, I buy from small, sustainable and ethical brands to support them as sustainable and ethical fashion is the way forward! 

I only ever buy items that I will wear at least 30 times [and] truly love and need, although I do sometimes get caught out and end up getting something that I don’t wear as much as I’d hope, but we all make mistakes! My last purchase was an upcycled bag from Aisling Duffy which is all made from vintage fabrics!

@izzy_manuel

Connor McWhinnie, online fashion creator

Buying clothing is a bit of a process for me. I take a lot of factors into consideration. A few of them are sustainability, wearability, longevity, and how often I’m going to wear the clothing piece. The way I measure if I really want to purchase a clothing item is if I keep thinking about that item. If I am thinking about it, then I will purchase it and make sure to wear it often. With this, I don’t buy clothes too often, but if I do, it’s normally secondhand.

My last purchase was actually a baseball cap from Vaucluse Studios. I adore hats and love the brown colour – I had to cop! I wear it almost every day as well. My ethos for buying clothing is to identify the difference between a need and a want. Stop, reflect, consider the factors (sustainability, wearability, longevity) and see if you can see it fitting into your personal style and wardrobe. This really helps me!

@connorxel

Simonette Boekel, head of marketing at Lé Buns

 

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My last purchase was a pair of vintage ankle boots from my local Salvos – square toe, the perfect everyday heel height, in a classic black leather. Something that’s been on my list for a while and something I know I’m going to reach for time and time again as we come into the Melbourne winter.

When it comes to buying new clothes, I have really mastered the art of only bringing pieces I really love into my wardrobe, which has been a super long process. This goes for both secondhand and new items. I purchase one to two items from the op shop each week and will order myself something online once every so often after having it on a list in my notes app for at least a couple of months.

I’ve been that person with an overwhelming amount of clothing before (I blame my op shop addiction), so nowadays its super important to me that every piece that gets introduced into my closet is something I’m super excited about and/or something I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of for years to come.

@s.imonette

Elyse Aparo, social and PR at Neuw Denim

 

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I would say I buy new clothes around three times a month, give or take. I try to buy pieces I feel will have longevity in both style and quality. My method has been to visualise what they can be styled with from my current wardrobe, which has been a great way to avoid impulse buying.

I’ve definitely become much more thoughtful in the way that I buy clothes. I try to shop secondhand, as it’s not only nicer to the environment, but I love finding special pieces from op shops and markets. The last thing I bought was a Country Road trench coat from Goodbyes. I’m living in it this winter.

@elyse__aparo

Madison Woodfall, PR and comms at YSL Beauty and Armani Beauty

 

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I try to buy new clothes only when I need to, maybe landing on a new piece I love every few months. My last purchase was a pair of beautiful beige Alias Mae slides and I’ve been living in them. Even though it’s getting colder now, the neutral tones mean they’ll remain a staple in my wardrobe over many warmer seasons to come. 

When buying new clothes, I give myself a few days to consider whether I really need them and if something similar already lives in my wardrobe. I always try to think about how well it will fit in with everything else I own too. When I do buy something, I prefer to invest in quality, versatile and mostly neutral pieces that I can keep for a long time. I also love the concept of renting and rent most of my outfits for events. This means I get to wear colourful and fun pieces too in a more sustainable and affordable way.

@madisonwoodfall

Jasmine Amma, model and creator

 

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I used to spend a lot of money on clothes and felt like I needed a new outfit for events. I realised this wasn’t great for my bank account or my wardrobe! I’m now more focused on defining my personal style with key pieces that I can get plenty of wear out of. 

I try to keep my purchases to around an item a month and have also started selling clothes to make some extra cash and reduce what I have. My last purchase was a pair of gorgeous secondhand Prada riding boots, which I had been on the hunt for. Very excited for them to arrive and become a staple in my winter wardrobe!

@jasmine.amma

Erik Yvon, fashion designer

 

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For me, I don’t buy clothes very often, to be honest. Even when I used to, I would be shopping at op shops. I’ve always tried to recycle as much as possible and not buy new things that aren’t necessary. I would be buying clothes maybe once a year, and that would be for my birthday. So once a year, I would treat myself to designer pieces that I love and had my eye on for quite a while.

My ethos around buying is I try to support as many local designers as I can, so I would support my friends and buy something if they have something coming out – other designers that align with the same ethos as mine. Small businesses, I would say I try to support as much as possible.

As a designer, because I make a lot of clothes, I would say I wouldn’t buy as much as others would. Even with the clothes that I did invest in a while back, I still wear them. I wear my clothes over and over and over and over again until they start to fall apart. I still have shorts that have big holes in them, and I refuse to let go of them. I just wear everything for as long as I can.

@erik_yvon

Amy Campbell, fashion writer

 

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I definitely go through phases when it comes to shopping. One week I’ll spend way too much time combing through my favourite online stores, and then the next week I won’t think about new clothes at all. Still haven’t quite psychoanalysed that pattern. I do buy a lot of stuff from op shops – there are a couple of great ones near where I live, and I’ll usually drop by and find a treasure or two every few weekends. I probably make a bigger purchase twice or three times a year, but I spend a lot of time thinking about it before I do. 

One of the last things I bought was a vintage Carla Zampatti two-piece at a Gold Coast Lifeline. It was a score. When it comes to my shopping ethos, I’m trying to stick to a one in, one out approach to my wardrobe. If I buy something new, I sell or donate something. It keeps my wardrobe feeling fresh (and not too full!) while keeping things from going into landfill.

@amycammpbell

Carlos Mangubat, stylist

I buy once a week at least; I mostly buy op shop clothing or from a high-end store. My last purchase was a pair of Bally monk strap shoes, a Helmut Lang long sleeve and a Paul Smith pyjama set from the Vinnies in Paddington, Sydney. Why I buy new is normally event-based. I only really buy new things with a resell value which means if I don’t want it anymore, I can sell it.

@carlosmangubat

Looking for advice on how to be a more sustainable shopper? Try this.

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