Fast fashion is a growing problem, with tonnes of clothing and accessories being dumped into landfill each year. But, with more of us becoming aware of our environmental impact, it’s time to change the way we shop. Here, Jack Jahan from Ramsdens Jewellery shares his advice for building a capsule jewellery collection that will beat fast fashion.

Sustainability is seeping into all aspects of our lives, with documentaries like Blue Planet showing us the effect our carelessness is having on the environment. It’s not just a reduction in household and commercial waste that’s driving this change, but also the way in which we shop and dispose of old clothes and accessories. In fact, Pinterest’s latest trend report revealed that sustainability is set to dominate almost all aspects of consumerism, reporting that they’ve seen a 34% increase in the amount of searches for sustainable fashion already.

With the above in mind, it’s clear that it’s time to turn our backs on fast fashion and instead embrace versatile capsule collections. Here, I will be sharing my top tips for building your own capsule jewellery collection to ensure you still look great while doing your bit for the environment.

What is fast fashion and what effects does it have?
Fast fashion refers to clothing and accessories that are designed and turned around at a quick rate, usually in order to imitate pieces seen in high fashion and to help companies compete. These items are typically so affordable that they are bought solely on the basis that they’re cheap and can be treated as single-use purchases. While it might seem like a good idea at the point of purchase, fast fashion has a detrimental impact on the environment which in turn can impact our health, too.

For example, using cheap synthetic materials like polyester emits more carbon dioxide than other fibres, as they’re made from fossil fuels. Plus, it can significantly boost the number of years it takes for these fabrics to degrade(Down To Earth). In addition, statistics from WRAP revealed that an estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill each year which can remain there for centuries. In turn, the toxic chemicals like pesticides that are used to manufacture certain materials are released into waterways and the environment, affecting both human and animal health.

This is why brands like Tommy and Lottie are so important. They’re dedicated to sustainability and ethical unisex fashion so they’re perfect for creating a capsule wardrobe of clothes that are versatile, long-lasting, and eco-friendly.

Although jewellery has traditionally been viewed as a more durable purchase than textiles, the emergence of fast fashion e-commerce brands has resulted in cheap, disposable accessories that have become part of the problem. This means it’s important for us all to streamline our jewellery collections as well, to ensure they are versatile and re-wearable. Below are my tips for doing so.

Consider the type of collection you’ll have
Before you begin choosing pieces, you’ll need to think about the type of collection you’re going to be building up. This will all depend on your personal style and the kind of aesthetic you tend to create with your clothes, as your accessories will need to complement these. Do you prefer vintage-style or more contemporary pieces? Knowing the answer to this can help you to narrow down the staple items you’ll need to invest in.

Similarly, it’ll be important to think whether you want an assortment of jewellery styles or if your collection will have a theme running throughout. For example, do you prefer to wear one base metal colour, or will you invest in a mixture of metal colours to add variety? Whatever you choose, it’ll be a good idea to stick to precious metals like gold and silver as these will last you longer. There is no wrong and right when it comes to choosing the metal colour, but rather you need to look at investing in pieces you truly love and will enjoy wearing.

Although you’ll want to keep your collection simple, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose an accent colour to incorporate into your jewellery. Typically, I would suggest you stick with one shade that stands out to you rather than incorporating many different ones as this can end up in you having an extensive collection.

Think about the jewellery types to include
There are so many pieces of jewellery out there to choose from, with delicate necklaces, sentimental rings and decorative brooches all available in abundance. But your personal collection doesn’t necessarily have to include each of these pieces, and instead can be tailored according to what jewellery you tend to wear frequently.

In general, it’s a good idea to at least include:

  • Rings
  • Long and short necklaces
  • Bracelets
  • Earrings

While you will want to keep your capsule collection to a minimum, that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to having just one of each of these pieces. You’re bound to need some sophisticated styles that you can wear for formal occasions or at work, but you’ll also want more expressive ones you can wear to social events. For example, having a pair of simple studs will keep you accessorised during the week while having some drop earrings will ensure you can still feel your best on the weekend.

Find timeless pieces to add
The key to a capsule jewellery collection is to find pieces that will stand the test of time, both in terms of aesthetics and quality. Timeless is typically synonymous with minimalistic and understated pieces that can effortlessly slot in with the outfits you’ll wear over the years. For example, if you’re into rings, consider opting for gold or silver bands with little detailing on them rather than statement styles with coloured gemstones. Similarly, a simple rope or belcher chain necklace will be more suitable than fancy ones.

If arm and wrist accessories are a must for you, consider adding some bangles into your collection. As they are typically associated with the rich Indian, Roman and Egyptians of previous centuries, you can guarantee they will add a touch of luxury to any of your outfits.

When you’re building up your collection, it’s important that you don’t hold back from adding some unique pieces if that’s your style. Shopping vintage and pre-owned jewellery can help you to discover some beautiful, one-off pieces that’ll be sure to make a statement and are good for the planet, too.

Having a capsule jewellery collection doesn’t have to mean your accessories are boring. Take my tips on board to build a selection of pieces that will fit in perfectly with any of your outfits. 

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