Grace spoke to TenEighty about her six episode documentary series, Fashion Conscious.
Earlier this year Grace Mandeville teamed up with the BBC and Studio71 for a mini documentary series exploring the fashion industry and how sustainable it may be in the future.
— Grace Mandeville (@GraceMandeville) September 13, 2019
“It’s no secret that I like fashion or that I’m against the idea of constantly purchasing new clothes. The great thing about this project was that I had so much to learn along the process. It was less about me telling everyone what to do when it comes to being ‘fashion conscious’ and more about that I learnt from the experts with the audience watching along,” Grace explains.
The series offered a number of tips on how to personally be more sustainable in your fashion choices. When asked about the importance of sticking to your own style, Grace said, “unfortunately, in this day and age, we are constantly being told what we need: ‘You need to have this dress’, ‘Here are some 2019 must-have outfits’. It’s not our fault that we’ve fallen into this fast fashion trap,” she explains, “but we need to start loving our items and wearing them until they fall apart.”
If we love our clothes enough, we will be more likely to get them fixed instead of throwing them out. “I believe the key to this is to stick your own style and ignore what you’re told you need from the fashion industry. This is easier said than done I know, and I’m not at all perfect,” she adds. “I love a designer as much as the next person, but if we all try to do this we’ll end up wearing the clothes for years rather than just once or twice because these become clothing that you genuinely like rather than what you’re told you should like.”
The aim of the documentary was change the way we view fashion. “I think I’ve bought three items of clothing since we started filming in January 2019 and one the items was my wedding dress!” Grace shares. “It’s safe to say this documentary has made me think twice about purchases.” But it’s not only excessive purchasing we need to consider, “[The documentary] made me think about the process of washing my clothes and I will now always look at exactly what’s in the clothing I’m purchasing or wearing. I honestly never even thought about what I was doing to the environment every time I washed my clothes- now I understand so much more about the issue of microplastics.”
With the knowledge gained from Fashion Conscious, there a many small changes we can all make. “I’ve even uploaded some of my old clothes to Depop for other people to enjoy and encourage others to look for second-hand clothes.”
Grace’s sister and YouTube partner Amelia Mandeville featured in one episode of the documentary where they discussed buying and washing jeans. These are conversations Grace has continued with friends and family after the series, “I’d lie if I said that I’ve made everyone think differently, but the conversations I’ve had have been really positive.”
In discussing these issues , there are always many points to make, both positive and negative. “I found more flaws and problems even in attempting to be more sustainable. For instance, how many plus-size clothes do you see in clothes swaps/charity shops? The answer is very few and they’re usually made out of a lot of plastic.” She adds that while shopping sustainably may not be accessible to everyone, the key is to have a sustainable way of thinking.
“I have so many questions to explore now because I found out so much from [Fashion Conscious] that I didn’t expect. I’d love to explore other topics as well as fashion in the future but for now I’ll continue to spread the knowledge I’ve learnt to strangers at parties and constantly quiz my husband on how many times he washes his jeans– I know, I don’t at all sound annoying!”
Watch the full series of BBC’s Fashion Conscious on BBC iPlayer or on BBC’s IGTV stories.
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