While most teenagers in the Noughties were wearing dodgy trends and clothes from Tammy Girl, Daisy Lowe had a slightly different upbringing.
Lowe admits she “did love Tammy Girl”, but she also had access to her fashion designer mother Pearl’s wardrobe. Pearl is known as the queen of vintage clothes, and when Lowe was about 13 years old, she says: “I remember coming home, I had to go to a party and I just really didn’t want to wear any of my teenage grubby clothes. She [Pearl] dressed me up in this white lace, Victorian smock dress. I was already a firm believer in never taking off big black combat boots, my Doc Martens.
“She was like, ‘This is what I used to dress you like when you were two or three: white Victorian dresses and Doc Martens, and now you’re doing it again!’ Now I’m 32 and I’m still doing it – I’m not very good at trends, because I just stick to all I know.”
Her mum inspired a lifelong love of vintage – something that came in handy when she had an epiphany around the age of 18 or 19, soon after starting full-time modelling.
“Because I was living on a plane all the time, I started thinking about sustainability and fashion,” Lowe explains. “I was thinking about my carbon footprint – it must be really high, and what about the fashion industry? What about clothing?” This revelation made Lowe really start considering her impact on the world – particularly working in a high-polluting industry like fashion.
“Clothes are a necessity: we can’t not wear them, especially not in England” she says. “But also it’s about expression, it’s about being able to feel passion for the way we decorate ourselves – and I wouldn’t want that to go away, because it’s not about limitations.”
“The issue with trying to be more sustainable, is then you’re so aware of how unsustainable the world we live in is, and how guilty everyone is,” she adds thoughtfully. “But none of us are to blame, because we’ve inherited this way of living.”
Lowe admits she’s “no angel” and she trips up “all the time” – but it’s about “trying my best as one person in seven and a half million”.
Buying vintage instead of brand new is a big way Lowe keeps waste in check. Second hand has been her “main source of clothes” for years, and she always tries, where possible, to buy things that are real investment pieces, she says: “So, saving up for that perfect T-shirt you can have for decades and not worry about it, or real staple pieces in my wardrobe.” When Lowe was a teenager, she “blew loads of money on vintage Westwood… But I still wear all of it. Some of it is a bit tighter than it used to be, post-pandemic, but it all still really stands the test of time.”
Lowe’s also a big fan of passing on clothes she doesn’t want, to friends and family. “Clothes swapping is a really good way of keeping sustainable, keeping clothes out of landfill,” she explains. She’s also been thinking about how often she puts a wash on – particularly after learning how textile washing makes up for as much as 35% of microplastics in the oceans, and around a third of clothing’s carbon footprint comes from how we wash it.
Now, Lowe is cutting back on how often she does laundry – and uses new cleaning gadget w’air to keep her clothes fresh between washes.
When she does buy clothes, Lowe has got comfortable asking the uncomfortable questions. “I need your actual sustainability statistics, can you be transparent with me? Can you share?” are things she regularly asks. “With the rise of social media and being so front facing to brands, it’s actually the most empowered a customer has ever been – and that’s really exciting.”
Daisy Lowe's 4 golden rules for vintage shopping:
1. Don’t follow the crowd
“I’ve never been a great follower of trends, because I have a very particular shape: I have a bust and I have a bottom, and I’m very proud of it! So when I’m shopping for vintage, I try and look for things that actually suit my shape, rather than what everyone’s telling me I should wear at the moment.”
2. Try to buy quality
“Check the fabrics, check it’s not falling to pieces. I tend to check the fabrics: are they highly flammable? To be honest, I have bought a lot of highly flammable things and I do still wear them – you just have to know…”
3. See if you can save something
“If you love that piece so much, can you fix it yourself? Or do you know someone who could help you fix it or sort it out?”
4. Make sure you love it
“It always goes without saying for me, with whatever I buy – vintage or not – to feel comfortable in what you’re about to purchase. Does that piece bring you joy? Does it make you really happy? Are you excited to wear that? You always know you’ve bought something brilliant if you wear it immediately.”
Read the full article here
Journalist: Prudence Wade
Photo: (c) Provided by The Independent