kim_columnpic.jpgKimberley Foster writes...

In these fast-fashion times that we live in, we are being urged to stop buying and to start mending. Yesterday, the House of Lords published a report, attacking our spending habits, as well as the British fashion industry for spawning what it calls a 'throwaway society'. Instead, peers on the Science and Technology Committee, have asked us to return to the days of post-war thriftiness, in a bid to reduce consumer waste.

While I am all for recycling clothes before they are even slightly considered bin-worthy, I am suddenly confused. What exactly is the year again? 1938 or 2008?

With the credit crunch hitting many hard, the resist to splurge on high-end items, has now been replaced with the need to buy cheap. High Street retailers have been rapped across the knuckles for encouraging us to buy inexpensive, therefore poorly made clothing, which makes it more difficult to recycle.

The report said that cheap fashions "encourage consumers to dispose of clothes which have only been worn a few times in favour of new, cheap garments which themselves will also go out of fashion and be discarded within a matter of months". There is even some talk of a shake-up of our VAT, suggesting that tax rates could be cut on products which use sustainable materials.

So what's the solution? Buy expensive and recycle or only buy secondhand in the first place? Sign up for sewing classes or just wear clothes until they fall apart? As always, there is never an easy answer. But the message here is to certainly be mindful. Going berserk in Primark, only to wear things once before moving onto next week's bargain, is not only a terrible waste, but adds negatively to the chain of events.

At CQ, we constantly rabbit on about swap parties, and how putting a value on something whether it be worth £2 or £200, is so not the point. Swap parties are fantastic, not only on a social level, but also to effectively help clear wardrobe space, and of course, help clothe your friends. If there was ever a time to change your attitude and host a swap party, now would be it.

  • For more ideas on how to recycle your clothes and shop environmentally-friendly visit our sister blog, Hippyshopper.