Our Interview with Harriet Body, owner of Sandals Clothesline.
Around Australia thousands of packages are delivered to homes every week, containing cheaply made fast-fashion to be worn on the weekend and then relegated to the back of the closet for a time, before being thrown out or donated to a charity shop.
Fast Fashion is the term used to describe clothing that takes inspiration from the catwalk or celebrity culture and is mass produced quickly and cheaply, usually by low-paid workers in developing countries such as Bangladesh.
The fashion industry is one of the worlds biggest polluters. Cotton farming uses huge amounts of water and pesticides, while synthetic fabrics such as polyester require petroleum to produce. When these garments are produced, they may only be worn a few times and then discarded. When you consider that a polyester shirt can take between 20 and 200 years to decompose, depending on the conditions, we have a massive environmental problem that we all need to take responsibility for.
One thing you can do is to reject fast fashion and get into thrifting and vintage shopping. This will see you save money, support the work of charities and give a new lease of life to clothing that would otherwise be in landfill.
Not a fan of rifling through piles of clothes at the op shop? That’s fine! You can easily shop for the best vintage pieces online and Instagram is a great place to start! Harriet Body of Sandals Clothesline does the hard work for you by sourcing quality second hand garments and showcasing her curated collections through her Instagram feed @sandals_clothesline.
Tell us about Sandals Clothesline. What prompted you to start the business?
I have always loved clothes for how you can express your creativity and identity through putting an outfit together. Also, I am completely opshop obsessed! I think the treasure hunt of opshopping is quite addictive – there must be a rush of dopamine that hits my brain when I find a fabulous something in the opshop, because I’m hooked!
I’ve been following other instagram preloved stores for a while now, particularly when I had my baby who is now 14 months. Cruising through those Instagram accounts was a great way to get my opshopping hit without having to leave the house. At some point I thought ‘hey, I’ve got a few things I don’t wear anymore, starting one of these things isn’t so hard is it?’ so I created a profile and uploaded a few pieces and away I went! Sandals Clothesline was born.
If I’m being completely honest – I started Sandals Clothesline to support my op-shopping addiction and all (very small mind you) profits go directly back into supporting my habit.
Why should people choose vintage?
Because there is too much crap in the world! It’s a serious, serious problem. In Australia, 6 tonnes of clothing goes into landfill EVERY TEN MINUTES! It is common practice for people to buy and discard a new item of clothing every week! This is a massive problem in terms of environmental impact – which is drastic and terrifying – but also the impact it has on our collective cultural well-being and happiness. I believe this obsession with trend and consumerism leads to greed and isolation and really distances us from our communities.
What are your tips for people when shopping for vintage items?
My number one tip is to always look up!! There are so many treasures that are put up on high shelves and on top of cabinets. Lots of people say to buy natural fabrics, and that’s probably a good tip, but if there’s some beautiful 70s polyester bike shorts that have you swooning – go for it! Saves it from ending up in landfill. And always, always remember that tailors exist! Use them!
What have some of your best vintage finds been?
I found an incredible king-sized 100% Merino wool blanket in the most beautiful multi-coloured check pattern for $15 from the Salvos. And recently a full Mikasa sunflower themed tableware set for $20.
What are some vintage trends we should be looking out for this summer season?
Gingham patterns seem to be big on instagram at the moment. As do muted and earthy-toned colours. But really, vintage and preloved shopping is all about following your own style guide and being true to your own creative identity!
When is your next drop coming and where can we find it?
I’ve got stuff available now at @sandals_clothesline, including the beautiful yellow vintage sundress I’m wearing in the photo, and new things will be coming after Christmas!