30 Wears: Florence Milner

30 Wears Interview: Fashion Revolution

My #30Wears garment is a Pull and Bear denim jacket that I bought 2 or 3 years ago. I love denim. I think throughout my life I've always had a great denim jacket, I wear them to death and only replace them when I have to. My first one was when I was 8, it was checked denim! I loved it. 

 

I won't buy into a trend if I know it won't work for me. The current trends for high necked or sleeveless tops are just not for me. And the oversized androgynous look doesn't really do anything for my shape. They just don't work for my body type, so I tend to avoid them. I know what works best for me so I'm unlikely to buy something just because it's cool. 

 

I am a bit of repeat buyer. I have quite a simple style, I'm usually in some form of jeans/pumps/t-shirt combo. But I don't buy lots of the same thing at once. I tend to wear things to absolute death and then replace them with something similar. My mum often asks me if I even own other clothes because she sees me in the same things so often. I would say 90% of my wardrobe I wear again and again. And of the last 10%, a lot of that will be really event specific things like a black tie dress, which I'm obviously not going to wear all the time. 

 

If I spend a lot of money on clothes it tends to be for work. I work in quite a corporate environment so it's a lot of pencil skirts and blouses. When I got a bonus last year I had a splurge in Reiss, but as a rule I'm quite frugal, I don't really like that I have to spend my hard earned money on what is basically a uniform. Although I have come round to the realisation that more expensive clothes last longer. 

 

It's very rare for me to buy something and never wear it because I'm not someone who's tempted by new shiny things. For me to spend money I need to love it. 

 

One of the things I struggle with is understanding the difference between a shop like Primark, which sells things for under £10 and Topshop which sells things for under £100. Are they really any better made? It's difficult as a consumer, I could be spending 4 times more for something that's made in the same factory. It would be great if there was some kind of fairtrade-style stamp of approval that was universally recognised. I know that organic beef or free-range eggs, for example, cost a bit more because someone has checked that farm and certain conditions have been met. I'd be far more likely to spend the extra if there was some kind of guarantee that there had been a fairer chain. And it might be that some people would still opt for the cheaper version but at least we would all know what we were getting and people couldn't bury their heads and pretend they weren't aware.

 

There is an instagram account I follow, @women_ww, which highlights women artisans and creatives and tells you about how things are made. What I love about it is that although it's main focus is encouraging fairer trading practices, the things it promotes are always really beautiful and not at all over priced. I think sometimes it feels a bit like the ethical fashion movement is a lifestyle which you have buy into wholly or not at all. I'm sure it's not true but in my head I assume you need hairy armpits and to be comfortable in burlap. This account proves me wrong, I covet so many things on here, and I'm not really a shopper.

 

When I was 12 I was part of a group called Sweatshop Stop. We did a protest at school and sold those rubber wristbands everyone had in the 00's. Maybe I should reinstate some of that activism! 

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