Building A Wardrobe: Purchasing pieces
I already wrote a blog about one of my most asked questions: how did I get sponsored/gifted so many pieces that are in my wardrobe right now? Today I want to talk about another great way to build a wardrobe - which seems pretty obvious at first but has some really interesting points I want to touch - : Purchasing pieces.
While this seems pretty obvious to me; I do feel there is still a lot of ... misconception about it. Building a wardrobe isn't cheap and while you can do it cheap; I want to point out that cheap isn't always the long-term solution. Both for you (and your (future) business) but also for the world as a whole. I'm going pretty deep into this down below this blogpost. First some storytime:
1. Purchasing pieces: How & where do you start (or did I start)?
I've been collecting (hoarding) costumes since I was a kid and once I went to Antwerp in 2008 it kinda escalated from there. I started crafting my own costumes from cheap options I found in Zeeman or Wibra or I thrifted second hand online (facebook, second hand shops) and in real life. I also picked up some OC (original character) cosplaying vibes and tribal bellydance. So obviously: I needed more costumes. Everywhere I went, I was on the lookout for pieces. I also bought a lot from Ebay as it was a cheap option (with my student budget). I also got the occassional piece as a gift and I bought more from friends and online sales.
Right now I also purchase a lot of pieces from actual stores (Think Twice in Belgium most of all for example), but also a lot of handmade from designers all over the world. Be it directly from their stores or through online sales. I also have some (online) addresses I check regularly for new designs they're selling (again, second hand stores). Sometimes designers also contact me and offer me prototypes or pieces before they sell it online (easier for them, fun for me!). I'm also still hunting down everywhere I go for original looking pieces and if you take some patience with it and keep an open mind: it can go pretty fast. Now there is this more delicate topic I want to delve into:
2. Why do I avoid as much as possible to buy from chain stores and/or websites like ebay or wish?
I'm a person that feels pretty dedicated to ensuring an life as ethical as possible as a non-vegan/vegetarian, non-activist, regular 27 year old (I cannot be more mediocre in my lifestyle. I do eat like 85/90% veggie though). I try to make my impact on the world in an as less-negative way as possible without either being hypocrite or blind for one thing and promoting the other (which is easier said then done; but I try to get my intentions as good as possible while learning as much as I can. I think educating yourself is the best way to learn & I'm not here to preach about it outside this blog either). This affected my business in such a way I'm moving more and more away (almost entirely, unless necessary) from the fast fashion industry . Its great to buy pieces for a few bucks but I don't feel creating a wardrobe that is made by underpaid workers, often underage, working in harsh working conditions with crazy hours. With an industry that is polluting the world as we know it and contributing to this decay that is so widespread. I did (and sometimes still do purchase) pieces from chain stores like H&M . But I avoid shops where clothing is suspiciously low (like Primark). This is a very personal decision I made and one that is also greatly affecting my wallet but I feel this is one I do want to address. While I won't shoot you if you do - I did it in the past too, out of simply not knowing yet & because I had a shoestring budget - I want to simply share my opinions and I hope it might inspire you to do the same from now on or once you have this opportunity (even if it's just an occassional piece). I think intentions and actions speak louder when made from a personal zone instead of being pushed by an activist that is demanding either one or the other. This is incredibly personal to write for me but I do feel this is incredibly important to mention. Beside something I'm honestly really dedicated too: buy handmade from independent designers.
Why would you do this? Let me tell you: I purchase handmade because I cannot demand or justifice my prices if I'm not willing to fully value and understand the prices my fellow independent business ask for their work (and pay for it without asking for a discount or deal). You cannot make an excuse for this: if you want to get paid for your craft, you must be willing to pay for the craft of others as well. It's that simple. Don't be a hypocrite. And also: buying handmade is great for the economic (because you're literally paying someone their salary. Salaries are cool! We all like a salary at the end of the month). And believe me: we all love that *ping* when a sale has made so you get good karma above it too! Making people happy is really awesome to do.
Another reason is that I want to raise my prices by september 2018 and I want the value of my service to reflect what I offer: a high quality, unique, almost entirely ethically sourced and impressive one-of-a-kind wardrobe. You can't get that with ebay and h&m.
Now beside all that: building a wardrobe & the purchasing part is a really time-consuming project. Unless you're blessed by a great wallet full of coin to spend. A lot of us start from scratch and it can be frustrating at times. Please don't be disappointed: keep your eyes open, save up, take the time to go out & check shops once every two weeks for pieces. Become part of selling groups online on facebook, scout depop, go to markets, ask around if people want to get rid of things ... there are so many ways to purchase a wardrobe without breaking the bank too much and without supporting the fash fashion industry. Its also incredibly worth it to save up for special pieces (birthday money anyone?).
It's also important for me to mention: if you want to make this your business or you're in business. It's a necessary, evil investment. As much as your camera and your lights. Don't skimp on it. Value what you do as much as you value your photoshop. Because it will allow you to understand your own services even better and how (potential) clients will aproach it.
Good luck & most of all: have fun with it! Over & Out!