Dress like you’re from the year 2000 but keep it sustainable: A rundown of Bristol fashion

Here’s how to dress like a Bristol student, sustainably

It’s no secret that fast fashion is terrible for the environment. The fashion industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions.

Just as you have hopped on one trend, another comes hurtling round the corner. This constant production of new clothes by underpaid workers leads to mass waste and high levels of pollution. It’s been reported that since 2000, clothing sales have doubled from 100 to 200 billion units per year and the average number of times an item is worn has decreased by 36 per cent.

The ever-edgy fashionistas of Bristol Uni, however, know that its not cool to hop on micro-trends. They have to go vintage if they want to recreate the Bristol uniform. Imagine the love children of Lindsey Lohan and Ozzy Osbourne, who have arrived in a Tardis from the year 2000 – that’s the look. Top it off with an Afghan coat and you’ll blend right in. Walking into senate feels like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia these days.

This cultivated love of statement, vintage pieces (on top of the impending doom of total climate catastrophe) has meant that big-brand shopping and fast fashion just don’t make the cut anymore. So, being the forward-thinking scholars that they are, Bristol students have realised that the best way to cosplay as the working class, is to plunder the charity shops; as if their dad didn’t go to school with David Cameron.

This shabby style comes with a very important silver lining: it is usually sustainable. The best way to achieve the Bristol look is through second hand pieces, rather than through fast fashion websites like ASOS, PLT or the dreaded Shein. So, here is a guide of the best places to cop those vintage gems in a way that is sustainable.

Fashion swaps

The premise of a fashion swap is that instead of throwing away your old clothes and buying new ones, you swap them. Who would’ve thought. The Bristol Fashion Forward Society has held events like these previously where you can take your unwanted clothes and swap them with pieces brought in by other people. You are given credit for the clothes you brought to swap, which can then be used as currency to get new clothes.

I was thrilled after bringing in some ugly frock from Miss Selfridge, to then walk away from the fashion swap with a new jacket and a dress. I’m yet to see anyone on campus rocking my clothes, but I know they are out there somewhere.

Whilst we can be sure to expect more in-person fashion swaps coming up in Bristol, a great place to start until then is the Don’t Shop Swap website. You can apply to be sent a reusable bag, which you then fill with clothes and post it back for free, earning yourself credit to be used to buy the clothes available on the website. This keeps clothes in circulation for longer and means you don’t have to break the bank.

Kilo sales

Kilo sales are crucial for every budding indie kid. You pay for the weight of the clothes rather than each piece individually. Regardless of the brand, the price stays the same.

Kilo sales are generally massive. So, naturally, there are some questionable items and A LOT of ugly tops. But do not give up hope. Those Levi’s jeans of your dreams are in there somewhere in the racks.

Or, you might find something you didn’t know you needed, like an all-in-one ski suit. Rah.

Get there early if you want to give yourself a fighting chance. The devil works hard but Depop sellers work harder, and kilo sales are prime business opportunities. If you stand in the way of some y2k memorabilia they can sell for 25 times the price, then you may be elbowed in the face, or “authentic lock of human hair: £35” may be added to their Depop shop.

The hustle and bustle along with the weird clothes makes for a hectic but fun sober weekend activity, and you might even walk away looking more Bristol-ified than you did before.

Some upcoming kilo sale dates: Bristol Vintage Kilo Sale: January 22nd 2023 

Charity shops

A staple. Charity shopping is such a standard part of uni life that “chazza shops” has become a far too frequently used term. The charity shops on white ladies road and Cotham hill are always teeming with gillet wearing, nike tn clad students on their latest mission.

This means that the the Cotham charity shops have become gentrified that the prices are sometimes not dissimilar from Topshop. RIP.

Get yourself down to the “chazzas” on Bedminster or Gloucester Road for better clothes and better prices.

Or, if you want to find the best things, go to the Bristol charity shops in the summer holidays when the students aren’t here. Bliss.

Depop, Vinted, eBay

If you have ever set foot in Bristol, you know that ordering clothes from Depop is one of the ten commandments.

Arriving in Badock from a small Northern town where the most out-there piece of clothing was a North Face puffer that wasn’t black, I knew that the clothes I had worn for years just were not going to cut it. After two nights in Halls, I could bear it no longer. I bought myself some low waisted jeans and an oversized (and overpriced) GAP hoodie from Depop, and breathed a sigh of relief. I could now join the queue for the Stoke Bishop walk-in COVID test whilst looking the part. (2020 freshers was bleak.)

You must be smart when navigating these apps. Don’t pay £100 for a Nike hoodie. There really is no point. Vinted is a safer bet than Depop. There are more unsuspecting older people selling clothes on there, who are yet to realise the true value of what they have right under their noses.

Imagine not knowing you could sell some old M&S white linen trousers for over £50. They don’t even know they are sitting on a gold mine!

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