We remain with the Sustainable Fashion theme and today we have a guest post by Tonya Lehtinen, who runs a pre-loved / vintage business with the brand of ‘Vogue Xchange’. The cute shop in Gozo sells not only clothes, but also accessories such as sunglasses, bags, shoes, belts etc. Tonya just took on a sustainable initiative, and is today sending a challenge to local influencers to support sustainable fashion. 

Welcome back to our Eco Friendly Malta Blog!

The past couple of months of time-out, for many of us, have been challenging but very healthy for our well-being. There has been no shortage of time to exercise, rest, connect with our families and even be playful on Tik Tok – essentially havign a change to re-evaluate how we approach the world.
I have been really impressed and excited to see so many new home industries, creative initiatives and pro-action towards more sustainable lifestyles. With nowhere to go and nothing to buy I quikcly realised, as many of my friends did, how little we really need.
After the initial panic of ‘how am I going to survive’, my attention moved to how can I support others and I took my que from Food Bank Gozo to temporarily use Vogue Xchange as a clothes bank to utlize the clothes I had in stock. This is where it got interesting.
I did not anticipate the overwhelming response to an open call for children’s clothes donation for the Vogue Xchange Clothes Bank. Clothes came flooding in, far outweighin the need and quickly I was faced, point blank, with fast fashion’s massive wasteland. I dived into a depression for a couple of weeks trying to figure out how I would, being the custodian of these donations, find an ethical, sustainable and creative solution for the excessive amounts of clothes I now had.
My goal became finding ways to repurpose these clothes and keep them out of landfill. I connected with a number of young people wanting to make things out of the fabrics and came across a fashion student who is now creating her collection by upcycling and by learning how to create new products out of the clothes. I became more and more determined to create a circular economy within the second hand market. I am currently working on some exciting plans for the future to make this happen.
The fast fashion industry is toxic and many steps in the production of garments need to change but more importantly, much more importantly, what needs to change is the way we consume fast fashion, what we buy and how we care for it and obviously how we discard it. Second hand clothing is the fastest growing fashion trend globally although it is still not vogue in Malta – this is where Malta’s young trending influencers can and should play a role. It is important for influencers to stand with Malta’s sustainability deveopment vision because it is definitely going to become a topic of importance.
So with this said, I am challenging all local fashion influencers to show their sustainability colours by helping second hand initiatives. They can promote the second-hand movement in their feed, they can help local sustainable fashion designers and up-cyclers to get more exposure, they can donate their pre-loved clothes and visit Vogue Xchange in Gozo, where I will be happy to explain the details of this non-profit initiative.
Furthermore, Vogue Xchange raises funds for FAA (Flimkien ghall-Ambjent Ahjar) and other local environmental causes. Finally, I wish to send a gratitude message to those sent their donated clothes to Vogue Xchange. Thank you for showing kindness to the planet. 
Tonya can be contacted on the Vogue Xchange Facebook Page

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