The Reckless Abandon Boutique actively considers the environment in which we live to be of utmost importance. With an affinity for the ocean, creating and maintaining sustainable practices are in the forefront of my mind and affect every decision I make, regardless of profitability. For this reason I actively encourage you to be mindful of your purchases, and please only buy it if you just love it! That way it will always be worn, and/ or passed down to others.
There are many little things I do to be environmentally friendly and I'm open to learning more. First and foremost: fabric. Polyester, nylon, and vinyl (aka 'vegan leather') is plastic. They are non-biodegradable and therefore not sustainable.
While I'd like to sell 100% Australian made products - preferably locally made products to save on jet fuel - an argument for the environment over politics will have the environment come first. For example, I would choose a 100% cotton dress made in China, over a similar dress made in Australia from polyester. Of course, the environmental cost of shipping also has to be weighed in this equation, along with the quality of cotton produced, and whether or not the pesticides used on the farm and/ or the fabric dying practices aren't killing livestock, contaminating groundwater and/ or causing intergenerational illnesses within villages.
There's a plethora of free information on fashion sustainability and ethical practices, but if you'd like a crash course I recommend watching the film, The True Cost. You'll need a box of tissues closeby.
I'm not completely immune to the charms and uses polyester can have, after all, quality poly can be very functional, and there are industries (people's livelihoods) that depend on it. There is a lot to learn and I promise I will keep on learning.
Until recently, I believed that polyester fabric made from recycled PET bottles was a grand idea. Then an article revealed that once PET plastic has metamorphosized from it's original state into say, a t-shirt or jeans, it can no longer become another thing and thus ending its lifecycle. Or, more to the truth, it will live on forever and ever in a waste-dump somewhere with all the others. But a PET bottle can become another PET bottle can become another PET bottle...
I do my best not to sell fast fashion. But when I do, I choose natural fibres like cotton, linen, and wool. Wool is king. And sheep enjoy getting a good shearing. Garments that contain plastic based materials are chosen very carefully for their hand-me-down longevity along with their other qualities.
The Reckless Abandon keeps a rack of 'Once-Loved' garments that have been worn, washed, and detailed for resale. These garments are of high quality and range between sizes 6 and 22.
I'm grateful to all those in our industry who fight the good fight for sustainability in fashion and textiles, for those who fight for the ethical production of garments in first and third world countries, and who insist on the accountability of big (and small) businesses that over-produce for greed - those are the ones that greenwash without transparency.
There is a lot of plastic involved in the fashion industry that isn't necessarily in the garments but used to transport them. These bags are either reused by me (as bin liners) in the shop and at home, while larger garment bags are given to various companies and individuals who can use them, from gardeners, to painters, clay sculptors... (Other soft plastics will resume recycling when the plant reopens.) When you order online here, your garment will be wrapped in repurposed, or compostable plastic.
For garments that have hardware such as slips or straps that can be adjusted, I choose metal over plastic because it's stronger, lasts longer, and is biodegradable.
Cake soap is always used in the shop - never pump soap - as pump soap packaging is superfluous.
Plastic film is never used when printing promotional postcards, swing tags...
Customer bags are made from paper and stickers from biodegradable paper.
Compostable postage bags are used, and I'm curious about ways we can minimise air pollution, short of simply refusing to ship to various locations.
Drinks for customers are always served in glass - Italian table wine glasses from the 60s that belonged to my grandmother, who handed them down to my mother, who handed them down to me, just as she handed down her religious/ war-time mantra that 'it's a sin to waste'. Plastic cutlery, takeaway containers, and single-use coffee cups are rarely, almost never used. Again, every little bit counts.
Finally, my mission for the shop is to provide women with garments that they really love, will wear often, and get good use out of and perhaps even hand them down like the good old days. I am proud to say that after four years in business I have received less than 10 return requests - this includes online customers too! This is because I will not encourage a sale if the garment doesn't look, feel, or fit right. I want you to walk away happy and confident in your decision.
Some ridiculous magazine articles are encouraging women to make capsule wardrobes and embrace minimalism by throwing away most of their wardrobe. A women should never feel guilty about owning beautiful dresses, or any garment that makes her feel good, comfortable, confident, and that enhances her unique sense of identity. Identity is paramount, and we need that. Sometimes we make poor clothing choices and shouldn't be vilified for that either. But we should all consider the concept of quality over quantity. We are moving together as a society into our collective futures, and businesses must take responsibility to help you lead the way.