Even a fashionista like Parker worries about clothing's effect on the planet and the importance of paying a fair price for quality.
The next time your kid complains about his or her thrift-store wardrobe (a frequent refrain in my household), tell them they’re not alone. Even Sarah Jessica Parker’s kid wears used clothes! The actress and famous fashionista, best known for her role as shoe-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, told The Edit last November that she only buys second-hand clothes for her 14-year-old son James Wilkie. Interestingly, she said it was The True Cost documentary that influenced her most:
“The documentary really changed me. The one area I’ve had a hard time with is pants, but I buy used T-shirts and sweaters for him. Track pants are hard – boys rip them; I don’t know how to get around that.”
It seems the second-hand rule applies even to Parker, at times. For her new role in Divorce, Parker’s costume designer said she sourced every outfit from Etsy, eBay, vintage stores, and flea markets, “never setting foot in Bergdorf, Barney’s, or Saks.”
The Edit interview also revealed Parker’s concern over paying a fair price for a high-quality item. Parker owns a shoe line called SJP, where “satin heels and flats in jewel tones and metallics, detailed with chic embellishments, sparkly closures, and satin bows” (Toronto Sun) retail in the mid-$300s. While Parker told her interviewer that she wishes she could offer more affordable shoes, it’s not realistic:
“I would love to be able to offer a woman a $69 pair of shoes, but those are never going to last her. The heels are going to break, and they’re going to be made under conditions that I would feel really lousy about. How could I ask anybody for their hard-earned dollars, even $69, if they would have to replace the shoes in two months anyway?”
Parker’s shoes are made in collaboration with George Malkemus III, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, a brand that she frequently praised while acting as Carrie Bradshaw. Production standards seem to be high:
“We are going to make our shoes in Italy, the way shoes should be made. We are going to go to Tuscany, to fourth- and fifth-generation shoemakers, and we’re going to find a way to make a shoe for $395. Now, that isn’t accessible for a lot of people, that’s out of touch, but I couldn’t give them a $69 shoe that would break.”
Amen to that! This is a message that we’ve repeated frequently on TreeHugger – that the fast fashion mentality needs to die, for the sake of the planet’s virgin resources, waterways, and landfills, as well as our wallets. When we pay more for clothes and shoes, we get better quality, longer-lasting, and better-fitting pieces that we’ll be inclined to care for and wear for many years. Spending $395 may seem like a lot, but if a single pair can replace five pairs of cheap shoes bought at Aldo or Payless and thrown out within a year, then it’s a significant improvement.
More celebrities are speaking out about the importance of ethical fashion, including Emma Watson, famous for her advocacy in this field; Pharrell Williams and Will.i.am, both working to recycle ocean plastics into fabric; Neil Young, who removed all non-organic merchandise from his stock; Livia Firth, advocate for the Green Carpet challenge; and Michelle Obama, who wears vintage clothes and promotes traditional production methods.