Early in March I headed across London as I heard Love Not Landfill were hosting a holiday swap shop with Contiki. Any event complete with cocktails, vegan hotdogs from Pig Out and a little swapping of clothes is an event after my own second-hand heart.
A panel of sustainability advocates were also sharing their tips on how to pack a sustainable suitcase which was perfect for me since I had recently left my job to spend a few months travelling around South America and California.
In previous years I have been far from the most economical packer. This has always been the way. I’m guilty of a stuffed suitcase but when getting the holiday snaps back, I’ll realise I wore the same dress throughout.
In early 2000 on a camping trip to France I wore a cream crop top with combats for days on end because felt as though I truly should be the 8th member of S Club 7. Six years later and a purple body-con dress was (unfortunately) all I needed for Ibiza. On a beach holiday last year I lived in a bikini and oversized, yellow beach cover-up from Oxfam. Turns out I’ll never need those huge wedges with the leg ties but I’m always the gal who packs them so I was eager to get some tips on the ultimate sustainable suitcase.
The panel was made up of sustainable advocates including creator of the podcast Talking Tastebuds Venetia Falconer, Agatha from @Antibad (curated shop for earth and human friendly fashion), Carry Somers (Founder of Fashion Revolution), Anna Hart (International culture & adventure travel for a number of publications including Conde Nast Traveller) and Chloe Street (Fashion and Beauty at the Evening Standard). With all this sustainable knowledge on one panel I got myself a good seat near the front ready to drink up not only the delicious cocktails, but also every ounce of advice on how I could to obtain the ultimate sustainable suitcase. The advice I took away included:
Check the weather. If it’s not going to be hot then chances are you won’t need 5 pairs of shorts and all your summer dresses.
Pack reusables. Pack water bottles, reusable coffee cups, metal straws and tote bags. I find that this is something I’m conscious of at home but then neglect to consider on holiday so I will be making sure I do this.
Look after what you have. A sustainable suitcase isn’t just about buying consciously but also looking after what you have. Wash your favourite summer dress correctly so you can wear it year after year. Mend it when it breaks and alter it when you fancy a change. This way you will get years and years and years from one loved item.
Buy consciously. If you need to make a purchase then do your research. Antibad is a great place to look as all the items are not only beautiful but also sustainable and made to last so you will be able to pack your new item in your sustainable suitcase year after year.
Since 132 million items of holiday clothes go unworn ever year, I guess I’m not alone when neglecting all items bar one in a suitcase. I suspect that many of those items would be worn had they been in someone else’s suitcase and in turn, this person wouldn’t have had to purchase new clothes so this swap was the perfect place to update my suitcase with some new (but second-hand) holiday clothes.