Words by Sally Sarieddine, Designer, LaLaQueen
We all want to look great as we age, but indeed, so should our clothing and accessories. A woman who ages gracefully can be considered “timeless”, regardless of the decade she is currently in. This woman radiates confidence, wisdom, and carries herself elegantly. And her clothing, or in fact any piece she sports, should equally reflect the soul and experience she exudes.
The DNA of aging gracefully is defined by the intersection of quality and style. It is governed by the same principles that apply to how to approach the physical aging process – what we invest into our body and mind correlates directly to our looks and lifespan, and how we subsequently carry ourselves. Aging gracefully relates to well being, quality of life, and a lifestyle that brings happiness and joy to people. these things need to be reflected and expressed in the quality of all things that we consume, from diet to fashion, and can significantly contribute toward a richer life, and making us happier in general. I have always tried to approach my own lifestyle with an “investment” mindset. I eat and exercise for wellness and longevity, and I curate my fashion with a similar conscience. When it comes to style, I rock pieces today that I purchased in my early twenties, and expect to treasure and style up for many years to come.
It is no secret that globally, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the negative environmental and social impacts of “fast fashion”, yet statistics suggest the younger generation are still at the dawn of realisation that “lifetime” pieces remain in their wardrobe for a lifetime, while their cheaper counterparts are often on and off again within a season due to inferior quality. The accessibility to low-cost, low-quality garments means we are buying and disposing of more clothing than ever.
I have seen a statistic that the average woman wears only 40 percent of what’s in her wardrobe, which means that 60 per cent is there ready to go to thrift stores or landfill. And fashion pieces made from materials such as polyester, which is essentially a plastic, takes up to 200 years to breakdown. That is after rivers and waterways around the world are being poisoned by the textile industry for unsafe and toxic dying practices. Keep in mind, this is only the beginning of the frightening reality that is the fast fashion industry.
And when it comes to fast fashion, most of us can relate to the threat of the great unravelling. That fresh new t-shirt looks like years older within one wash. A thread is hanging sadly from your summer dress after just a few wears. In truth, if you wish for your fashion purchases to age as gracefully as your looks, it is advisable to approach your next statement purchases as “investments”.
I apply the same ethos to my LaLaQueen designs. When I conceptualise my handbag collections, sustainability is always front of mind. That not only relates to applying an environmental conscience throughout the production process, but also to the lifespan of the handbags and the decades through which they will “swing” by their owners. The naturally hand-dyed leather ages and stresses with vintage appeal, the stitching remains exquisitely in tact and the copper details remain free from discolouration or tarnish. This longevity is not only much kinder to the environment, but it tells a story of grace, style and lifetime of experience.