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Alexandra Fullerton talks sustainable fashion and our new Drury Lane Collection

We caught up with Alex who had a word – or two – to say about our new range, Drury […]

It’s the watchword of the moment. Whether I’m in a forward-planning meeting at GLAMOUR or chatting to my mum friends over a cuppa, everyone wants to know, ‘How can we live more sustainably?’

I’m privileged to be able to talk to designers and fashion brands about the steps that they’re taking to help us slow climate change and that education is priceless. But on a day to day basis, what can we do? Reduce plastic consumption… yes! Recycle all you can… of course. Eat more plants… Obviously. And make your clothes last longer by buying more mindfully…

“Buy less, choose well” said Vivienne Westwood. She’s right. I’ve been guilty of impulse buys that never see the light of day and wear-it-once mistakes that hang in the wardrobe, guilting me every time I open the doors. When I head to the shops, my mantra of “Is it me?” and “Do I have three things I can already wear it with?” is forefront in my mind. I treble-check that I’m going to wear the new piece at least 30 times (joining in with the #30wearschallenge on Instagram) and not a shameful 14 times, which is the average amount that garments are worn in the UK before we get bored with them.

 

So what IS the solution? I think it’s two-fold.

1) Know what you’re buying. 2019 is Sainsbury’s 150th anniversary and to celebrate, the milestone launch is Drury Lane, an exclusive unisex range for adults and children full of the softest sweatshirts, essential tees and love-washed denim that you can interchange, swap and wear again and again – and that can be worn by more than one person. To ensure that they’re doing all they can to bring sustainability to the fashion industry (which is cited as one of the world’s top polluters) Sainsbury’s have joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) – a programme that supports the people that help cultivate and make our cotton garments and the environment around it, to ensure they are as environmentally, socially and economically sustainable as possible.

Drury Lane is one of the very first supermarket ranges created under the BCI’s stewardship. Every year 25million tonnes of cotton are produced to support our insatiable need. Unfortunately, to keep up with demands, the industry has been plagued with poor environmental stewardship and unethical working practices but the BCI’s sustainable cotton strategy underpins a wider commitment to sourcing with integrity, meaning you can trust the cotton in your clothes. As well as cotton, there are recycled waste products in the range too, including plastic bottles.

2) Now it’s time to get clever with your purchases and learn how to style up your existing wardrobe. If you fill your closet with versatile essentials – like Drury Lane’s key pieces – you can have fun styling them up or down to make your clothes last longer. If you buy classics – like a great pair of jeans or a simple crew neck sweatshirt – you will never get bored. Lairy prints and wild patterns are the elements that date the quickest and we tire of fastest.

 

Everything in Drury Lane ticks the perfectly cool and classic box. Named after the location of Sainsbury’s first store, the capsule range comes in a washed pastel palette that suits every skin tone. Perfectly soft jersey t-shirts, hoodies and sweats are discreetly logo’d while the kid’s collection features cute slogans and reminders of just how precious our planet is. The denim edit features flattering mid-blue boyfriend jeans in a unisex cut and versatile shorts. You just choose the size that fits you. If you want to take sustainability to the next level, pick pieces that both you and your partner can wear. Sharing and swapping your wardrobe is a brilliant step towards sustainability.

I also like to get more mileage from simple pieces by using every stylist’s favourite trick, “the high / low mix.” It’s a very simple equation where you take something really fancy (a brocade skirt or a ruffled lace blouse) and mix it with something super simple. So you’d wear the skirt with a plain marl t-shirt or team the top with jeans… You never look over-dressed (my worst nightmare) but always look like you’ve considered your outfit by coming up with an unexpected pairing. All of the Drury Lane collection would work brilliantly with any fancy pieces you have lying around to make sure you wear them more. If you’re anything like me (or the rest of the female population that have an average of 14 unworn pieces currently languishing in their wardrobe) there will be a lot of going-out and evening items BNWT. One of my weaknesses is buying things for posh occasions. And then thinking they’re too extra to be worn. But mixing them with pared-back classics means you get more wear out of them and stop saving your best for best!

A failsafe outfit – for any gender – is to throw a blazer over your jeans and t-shirt and add some smart shoes. I slipped into a pair of cute leopard print denim kitten heels and a bouclé blazer which makes an outfit smart enough for dress down Fridays in the office but cool enough for cocktails on date night. Swap your blazer for your partners’ jacket and add a patent belt around your waist for even more wears per item.

For casual weekends at the British seaside, a shirt or throw-on cardi is an essential extra. Who knows what the weather will do so layering up is the sensible option. Trainers or simple sandals keep the mood relaxed while tucking the front portion of your t-shirt into your jeans is a shortcut to style, even when you’re totally dressed-down. Also known as the French Tuck, it looks like you’re styled but not too uptight. The way you roll you sleeves or jean hems can make the simplest pieces feel considered too.

If you’re packing for a holiday, pick a colour palette that works for both of you to make sure you get more wears per item and find things that are interchangeable. Navy, cream, white and denim are my go-to shades because twinning is winning. And if your clothes help to make our world a more sustainable place? That’s win-win too!

Words: Alexandra Fullerton