Get the local look

There are more than just ethical issues with importing our clothes. Fashion is the world’s second largest industrial polluter after oil. For example, a flight from Dhaka, the site of the Rana Plaza garment factory, to London creates 1.14 tonnes of carbon dioxide – enough energy to power an entire household for 31 days – as each garment travels 4,965 miles.

Locally bought fashion, meanwhile, travels nearly 1000 times less than this distance. Indeed, east London’s textile industry has recently undergone somewhat of a renaissance as consumers become more conscious of the ramifications of how their clothes are made.

When it comes to the decision between purchasing locally-made and outsourced fashion, many people tend to lean towards outsourced fashion as in most cases, this is the cheaper option and because it is more easily accessible through the internet. However, when you take into account the environmental impact of this choice, choosing to buy outsourced fashion can be far more damaging than buying locally-made clothing.

We went shopping in Tower Hamlets and Hackney to see if we could recreate some of our favourite outfits with clothing right on our doorstep.

Jennifer Adetoro. Pic: Saman Javed

Up first, is Jen. The original outfit, which was bought on the high street, is a blue jumper from Topshop and navy trousers from Bershka. The total number air miles of this outfit is 11,740.

In the pictures on the left and right, she is wearing a cropped baby blue jumper and navy paper-bag trousers from The Lazy Ones, an independent boutique in Brick Lane.  All of The Lazy Ones’ clothes are designed and manufactured right here in London, meaning that there are zero air miles involved in the process from designing, to manufacturing, to Jen wearing them.

Chloë James Pic. Sophie Soar

Chloe’s original outfit was also bought from the highstreet. She’s wearing a black denim skirt, with a mint green blouse. Both are from Topshop. There are a total of 3,074 air miles in this look. As seen in the left and right pictures, she wears a vintage skirt from Urban Outfitter’s Urban Renewal range and a bardot top from Rokit Recycle. Total air miles? Zero.


Sophie Soar. Pic: Saman Javed

Soph’s light wash Levi’s jeans and sequinned crop top from Asos Marketplace were both made abroad. Soph’s outfit accumulates a total of 15,058 air miles.

In the left and right pictures, she is seen wearing almost-identical Rokit Recycled jeans and a glittery, flared crop top from The Lazy Ones. Similarly, this outfit has traveledzero air miles, and has not contributed to the environmental impact of outsourced fashion.

Sam Javed. Pic. Sophie Soar

Lastly, is Sam’s black bodycon dress from H&M. This dress was made in Turkey and has traveled 1893 air miles before landing on the high street. The purple dress which is seen in the pictures on the left and right side, however, was bought from Blue Rinse Vintage. This outfit has zero air miles.

To learn more about local fashion in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, follow our Behind the Seams series.

Leave a Reply