Bay Garnett on Sustainable Fashion
Stylist Bay Garnett is well ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainable fashion. A thrifting pioneer, she was one of the first to use vintage pieces in luxury fashion shoots. Over the years Bay has styled and photographed for some of the world’s top magazines, alongside working as Oxfam’s senior independent fashion advisor. She also hosts a podcast, This Old Thing – another outlet for championing the pre-loved sector, which sees her chatting to guests like Sienna Miller and Charlotte Tilbury about their most memorable outfits from childhood. Here Bay shares some of her eco-fashion tips with C&TH.
Q&A with Bay Garnett
When did you first become interested in the sustainability world?
I fell in love with thrift stores and charity shopping when I was in my late teens. I was never much into school and charity shops offered me such a creative outlet. I was lucky – I fell in love with it. And I always loved that by buying second hand I was somehow going off grid from all the endless marketing and advertising that we are all bombarded with. I loved that the item had had a past life.
Does truly sustainable fashion exist?
I don’t think that anything that is produced is ever sustainable. I think there are ‘more’ sustainable ways of buying clothes and second hand is a really good option.
What could the fashion world be doing better?
The fashion world should be producing less clothes. There is just so much – too much. And we are so used to be overloaded with so much choice. I think less of everything. We don’t need that much choice; we don’t need that much stuff. There should be less of everything but produced in a way that delivers fair pay to workers and not exploiting natural resources in the way that it does.
What can shoppers do better?
Shoppers can generally buy less, and when they do buy, buy the thing that might be more expensive but that you will have for twenty years.
Any top tips for second hand shopping?
Always go with something in mind that you are looking for. This is good as then you are switched on to the task of rummaging and looking and you are engaged. You might not end up with that item, but you will end up with something that you are happy with.
Favourite places for vintage shopping?
There’s debate around whether renting clothes is actually better for the planet. What are your thoughts?
I think renting is a really smart option. Apart from it being more sustainable I think it’s lovely that people who cannot afford to wear really expensive things can. It might not be completely sustainable but surely it is better than buying new.
Tell us about season three of your podcast…
I loved interviewing everyone from Jemima Kirke to Sienna Miller to Danny, the CEO of Oxfam. Not to mention Erin O’Connor, Miquita Oliver – all of them talking about their memories around clothes they have loved and worn, and the clothes they love in movies and music.
Favourite vintage item in your wardrobe?
My banana top that I used in my charity shop shoot on Kate Moss. It was my first shoot for Vogue.
Any apps/online vintage offerings you love?
Who are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by so many people. Sometimes it can just be a photograph that I love. I saw a picture of Sharon Stone from the 90s in thick cashmere and tons of gold chains and I love that at the moment. But I’m always inspired by Anita Pallenberg and Debbie Harry – my two style icons.
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