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@SECONDRAILS: The Power of Small Decisions

6 Easy Ways to Make more Fashion-Conscious Decisions Today.

Hi, I’m Georgia and I recently started an upcycling page called @secondrails with the goal to try and make the confusing world of sustainable fashion a little less confusing.

2020 was probably the worst year ever for a lot of people, but also a fresh start for a lot of others, it stopped us in our tracks and sent a lot of us on a journey of discovery, starting things we’d of only otherwise dreamt about. I’ve seen more people starting small businesses and popping up on my social feeds than ever before, which is such a positive thing to come out of such a hard year.

The start of my journey of discovery was finally taking my sewing machine out of the wardrobe and teaching myself how to use it. I always had it in my mind that I would do it one day, but life always seemed to get in the way… until it didn’t.

I didn’t know what I wanted to make but what I did know was that I had vacuum pack bags full of clothes under my bed that I’ll probably never wear again but kept because I can’t throw things away… you never know when you may need a pair of ‘two sizes too small’ shorts with England written across the bum. This is where my upcycling journey began and when I really started to take an interest in the issues caused by the fast fashion industry.

Before 2020 I would say I was somewhat in denial about the reality of the fast fashion industry, it’s not that I didn’t know that it was having a negative impact environmentally and ethically, it’s to what scale that I was oblivious to, and by shopping at certain brands I was by default, contributing to the harm being caused.

After a lot of googling and trying to make sense of the confusing world of sustainability I soon realised the powerful impact we can have at an individual consumer level by making small practical decisions more often - it’s not about changing the world, but changing our behaviours just slightly.

Below I’ve picked out 6 key ways you could start making small changes today.

You could:

  1. Buy Fewer Things - buy less and wear what you have more often, investing in timeless pieces that will give you a higher amount of times per wear per item. An easy and inexpensive way (in the long run) of making small changes.

  1. Repair Existing Clothing – We’ve all had that one pair of trousers that we love but get a hole in the most awkward place that could be repaired if we only knew how. Learning simple repair techniques such as patching and hand stitching by following YouTube channels is such an easy way to learn. It may take a little bit of time at the start, but once you get the basics you really start to realise the benefits.

  1. Restyle tired pieces – Fashion in cyclical, garments come in and out of fashion all the time and If you’re like me and hoard every piece of clothing you’ve ever bought, I’m sure some of the things you’ve hoarded will be back in fashion, restyling these allows you to be creative and reuse what you already own, an easy way to make a small change.

  1. Swapping with friends – it’s a new concept to me which I hadn’t really considered, but why not swap things you’re only going to wear once? And let someone else feel as good as you did wearing the outfit.

  1. Upcycle or repurpose – Upcycling can be as easy as ripping the sleeves off a t-shirt and cutting the bottom to make a cropped tank top, to completely repurposing fabric to make a completely new garment. Following youtubers such as Kim Dave, Fashion Wizardry and The Essentials Club will give you a good base for easy tutorials and upcycling inspo.

  1. Buy from Sustainable Fashion Brands – understanding what makes a brand sustainable can be difficult, but by shopping these brands you’re more than likely supporting a small business and may be positively impacting the environment.

I think it’s important to help people who may be thinking about trying to make more conscious fashion decisions but have no idea where to start. You don’t have to change every habit you’ve ever known to make a difference. Small and often is a practical and impactful way of starting. Just starting is better than doing nothing. This is the reason I started Second Rails to share my learning through

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