Hi there! I’m Poppy Ringrose and I run the Depop shop @RINGERS. My brand is motivated by sustainability and circular fashion at its core. I stock my Depop with an eclectic range of second-hand pieces from mostly the 90s and 2000s.
I became passionate about sustainable fashion after learning more about the fast fashion industry and how damaging its practices are. I think the average consumer struggles to make the connection between fast fashion garments in their wardrobe and the exploited workers who manufactured them. Money was often tight growing up so I was used to buying second-hand and had learnt how to hunt down second-hand bargains in all kinds of places. With my shop I aim to provide a sustainable yet affordable approach to fast fashion and show that looking cute doesn’t mean you have to support harmful industries.
I’d had a Depop account since I was 15 but I only started using the app for resale in the summer of 2019. I had just finished my first year of uni and felt incredibly lost. Although the stress of summer exams was over, I suddenly didn’t know what to do with myself, stuck alone in a pokey student house for the next few months. I had applied for various part time jobs but with no luck. My friends in the area all had summer jobs so I was really on my own for a lot of the time. With nothing to put my energy into, my mental health plummeted. As I hit rock bottom, I decided that something had to change. I couldn’t continue feeling so miserable. I needed a sense of purpose in order to get back on my feet.
Vintage fashion was something I was really passionate about. I always got a rush out of finding unique second-hand gems. I thought reselling some of my finds on Depop would prove a distracting and fun pastime to get me out of my funk and keep me occupied until term started again, as well as make a bit of pocket money. I had no idea how much it would really change my life.
It took a couple weeks for business to pick up but by September I was selling regularly on the app. I sought support from a therapist to make sure I didn’t fall back into a dark place. As uni started and the work ramped up, I thought I would become overwhelmed. What I actually found was that my life became more balanced. I made sure to get uni work done earlier in the day so I could focus on my shop in the evenings. I started to understand that I could be productive without spending every waking moment worrying about my degree!
Having a creative outlet made my work-life balance so much healthier and I fell in love with my degree again. In February 2020 I got an email from Depop telling me I now qualified as a Top Seller. That signified so much more to me than a little blue tick on my account (although that was cute too!). It represented my hard work and my dedication to sustainable fashion. It also served as a reminder of how I pulled myself out of a dark time in my life, one where I could never have imagined being able to work a job I was so passionate about.
The period of time just before I started my Depop, I was going through one of the toughest mental health patches I’ve ever experienced. I genuinely didn’t think I’d ever feel okay again. My experience has proved to me that there is always light at the end of the tunnel; as cringe as that sounds. By stepping out of my comfort zone and taking risks, I created my dream job which I am going full time with this summer after I graduate! Depop has given me freedom to work on my own terms and allowed me to take time for myself as and when I need it.
Obviously my life isn’t perfect, I’m only human and everyone has down days especially given the current pandemic. In a time when we are more isolated than ever, it is so important to look after yourself and make time to do things that bring you joy. Mental health is unique to every individual and it is a constant journey, not a puzzle you solve overnight. I want to encourage anyone reading this who feels hopeless that they have more power than they think.
Do what YOU want to do, not what feels right in the eyes of society or anyone else! Take time to relax, take time to create and don’t be afraid to seek support when you need it. Life always has a way of working things out and you’ll end up where you need to be, as long as it’s what you want.
Written by Poppy Ringrose