How Cruel is my Wardrobe? (OOTD #2)

Hello my lovelies,

Back for another round of dissecting my wardrobe in terms of its ethical/not-so-ethical origins. For context: June 18th 2017 was a gloriously sunny day in England, and I spent it with loved ones, cooking, sipping Bucks Fizz, and reading. The reason I look sweaty, is because I was sweaty. But the good kind of sweat, more acceptable because it’s warm AF.

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T-shirt: TK Maxx. I had some gift vouchers for TK Maxx for Christmas and decided to buy myself some “gym gear”. I got some trainers, a sports bra (which I’m wearing here and later had to strip down to), and this t-shirt which I love. It’s so breathable and doesn’t show sweat patches with glaring obviousness. None of these items have seen a lot of gym action let’s be honest, but wearing sports materials in the Summer is PERFECT because they are designed to let you sweat comfortably! With regards to TK Maxx’s ethical standards, there are a few well-publicised points that work in its favour: 1) They are well-known to associate with the work of Comic Relief, and raise a fortune selling merchandise each year for Red Nose Day. 2) They offer a scheme called “Give Up Clothes For Good” for Cancer Research UK (Kids & Teens) in which they ask you to bring in a bag of unwanted clothes to sell in charity shops or to be recycled. Supporting a specific cause may encourage people to be more generous than their usual straight-to-charity-shop donations, and it does put a decent spin on recycling. 3) Since 2008 they’ve held up community projects in war-torn regions of Uganda, teaming up with Save the Children to build schools and provide educational resources, and working to promote fairly traded products such as coffee and crafts. Numerous other charity partnerships are also on the go, and TK Maxx also have a decent environmental policy – actively working to reduce their carbon footprint. With regards to fair trade specifically, they state: “Our buyers are always looking to source more organic and Fairtrade cotton clothing for our stores”. So there are evidently many baby steps towards a more ethical future for this store. Details below.

TK Maxx – Our Responsibilities

Skirt: Clements Ribeiro  (via eBay). This was around £3 on auction, and I really love it. High-waisted skirts will always be winners in my books, and the material is so light and delicate. From my hasty Googling as I’ve never heard of this company before, they seem to be a London-based fashion house specialising in bold prints. The skirt itself states “Made in China”. They appear to have an upcycling campaign, which is good news, and focuses on the idea of a vintage “capsule” wardrobe – which in itself, encourages minimising your purchases of low-quality ‘impulse buys’. However, there is little information on the website regarding their garment workforce.

Sandals: New Look. Are they Greek-inspired? Roman? Saxon? Regardless they are extremely comfortable, and seem to go with everything I wear (I own two pairs of sandals at the present moment.) Surprisingly for a giant high street retailer, New Look genuinely seem to have put a lot of effort into caring for their workers at each point in the supply chain. “We put workers’ needs at the centre of our ethical sourcing strategy. Despite doing our best to protect workers in our value chain, we know that many people employed in the garment industry face poor working conditions that affect their safety, health and quality of living.” Their website also gives links to their ethical trade reports, and the ins-and-outs of how they are able to maintain these relationships with suppliers. What I really like about them is their focus on transparency – trust with a retailer is established through their openness and availability of information on their trade, which is so important. At heart this is still a movement of fast fashion which we should not be encouraging, however it is still possible to act as a buyer of key pieces which you intend to last a long time – this is what I am trying to do at the moment.

New Look – Transparency

Sunglasses: Boots. I bought these for £5 a couple of summers ago, and I adore them. Boots themselves have a lot of information available on their website which I respect – traceability is again given a solid priority here – with a focus on environmental sustainability. As a consumer I also feel that it is easy to source products from Boots that do not test on animals, and offer organic ingredient bases. I am still a tad wary of shopping here based on reviews of workplace experience that I have personally heard – but that may be all hear’say. I try to source as many affordable beauty products as I can from Lush, who are incredibly open about the workers behind the products.

Boots – Corporate Responsibility

ALTERNATIVE SOURCE FOR SUNGLASSES:

Crossed UK – Ethical, Handmade, Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #1)

 

Hello my lovelies!

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve decided to start a little series called:

How Cruel is My Wardrobe?

It is nothing groundbreaking, just a little twist on the classic Outfit of the Day saga. What I aim to do is to assess the sources of my clothes, and how I can aim to improve and streamline my patterns of fashion-buying. I should say off the cuff (ha) that I am by no means a person who is immensely dedicated to style. I generally wear dresses, because they are very easy to just throw on, with my usual backpack (I own two and that’s about it in the bag department), and some kind of leggings and plimsolls combination. What I aim for is comfort, and I certainly don’t feel compelled to keep up with trends. I do however, enjoy buying clothes every now and then, as it feels like some serious me-time, and I enjoy finding pretty patterns. A six year old could probably put ensembles together with more class and regard for the weather conditions, nevertheless it does make me happy. So let’s start with today’s offering. All I can offer is a wiggly mirror and dubious light, but you get the idea.

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Dress: (From a charity shop) – Branded as “Anmol”. I can’t say I’ve heard of this brand before, or find much information on it, but I am happy with sourcing it from a charity shop, especially for such a good price.

Sandals: (Azalea – from eBay) – Ebay is a tricky one. Gigantically profiteering corporation…but if you navigate your way through the multitude of shops, you can find yourself a second-hand bargain whilst supporting someone who needs a bit of extra cash. Azalea appear to be a US company with no information regarding ethical standards whatsoever on their website. I’m not condemning them, this is just what I’ve found.

Belt: (Peacocks – from another dress) – Owned by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, Peacocks is rather famed for its low prices and constant changing of fashion seasons. However the website actually offers quite a bit of information on its ethical standards and code of conduct. Peacocks’ Ethical Trading

“We work with suppliers all over the world. Some of these countries do not have the legal and cultural framework which mean there are ethical issues which we cannot stop overnight. That won’t stop us trying though. We go beyond a simple customer/supplier relationship investing in training and partnerships with local suppliers. We also take a hands-on approach to making sure that our provision of work and livelihoods make a positive contribution to the social and financial development of the communities with which we trade.”

Having previously been named and shamed for sweatshop-usage, it’s encouraging that there is at least easily accessible information on the matter on their website. Far from innocent, there is at least some progress in the provision of workers’ rights here.

ALTERNATIVE FOR SANDALS: Laidback London – Sandals

“Made the old fashioned way, by hand using traditional techniques while working with natural imperfections to create unique and individual products.

Creating timeless pieces that are made to last and wear better with age.

Each piece is made by hand in Africa and provides sustainable incomes for the workers while preserving their skills and artistry.”

I hope this wasn’t too dull, it’s just a little project that I want to use to encourage research into what we wear. Until the next blog!

Rosie

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Charity Shop Haul!

Hello my lovelies,

I recently watched a documentary called The True Cost – it’s on Netflix, please go watch it – and ever since I have felt that post-harrowing-documentary-compulsion to get up off my privileged butt and try to help the situation, instead of contributing to it. Like most of us I was already aware of the problem, but never really took the time to assess how I can change it. Right now, I am trying.

The situation is this. Fast fashion has become a poisonous force in this world. From the horrific treatment and low pay for garment workers in developing countries, to the pollution of their rivers and soil; the increased price of genetically modified cotton leading to suicides amongst Indian farmers who cannot afford the new costs; the severe health problems that result from increased use of pesticides. To pin this injustice into one singular, tragic event, the documentary focused on the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in April 2013. Garment workers were ordered to show up to work after cracks were discovered in the foundations of the eight-story building. That morning, the entire building collapsed on itself, and 1,129 people were killed, with another 2500 injured escaping. I’m sure you’ve all heard of these events, and the truths that emerged thereafter. That the Plaza was built on a filled-in pond which compromised its structural integrity, especially with the vibrations from heavy machinery and generators within. An additional three floors were built for commercial use beyond the original permit. Poor construction materials were used. All of which surround the lives of underpaid garment workers. Where is the social responsibility here? My work uniform may well have been manufactured by one of these people, who deserve a liveable minimum wage and decent working conditions as much as any of us do.

I won’t delve too far into this on this particular post, as I could go on and on with little progress. This post is a celebration of one of the (tiny) steps we can all take to support our world, and its inhabitants: Charity shops. Now, no fashion producer can be considered entirely ethical, but here is an option readily available to us all, in which we can offer the triple support of contributing to the funding of that particular charity, recycling items of clothing that may have ended up in landfill, AND you are actively saying to the fast fashion industry that you are a strong independent person who don’t need no poisonous garment regime in her life. Well, to a certain extent.

In posting this I am certainly not saying that I am innocent of supporting the fast fashion trade – the other day for instance, I bought a couple of bras from Primark, neither of which offered sufficient support in the end but that’s another story. What I am trying to say is that I am becoming more conscious of how I consume things (consume is such an odd word, there are definite om-nom-nom connotations). Instead of selecting the cheapest item possible, I am starting to think about the work that has gone into this particular item, and what I would be supporting if I purchased it. On a scale of flagrant nonchalance towards fairly traded products and boycotting sales altogether, I want to work towards the more ethical side. I’ve made a list of Fair Trade companies which I keep in my bullet journal, and although I consider a lot of their items quite expensive (well, I would compared to Primark’s prices), they do often have clearances, and their basics are very good investments to supplement the clothes you already own. I’m thinking about starting a series called “How Cruel is My Wardrobe” (inspired by a video by Justkissmyfrog) –  in which I pick my outfit for the day as normal, and then look at the background of the companies behind it, and possible alternative sources. I don’t know, I’m still toying with this idea. But for now, before I head out, here is a fashion haul from a mixture of charity shops that I have gathered over recent months.

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LET’S JUST ADDRESS MY BLATANT LACK OF IRONING WITH A SWIFT “OOPS!”

  1. Turquoise Sun Dress (£5.50) – Forgive me, I cannot remember the name of the charity shop, but it was in Knaresborough – I think it was Cancer Research? The dress itself is lovely, 1950s-style with lovely cut-out detail at the neck. It is a little roomy around the waist but I’ve just added a belt and hey presto, it fits.
  2. Gold Holographic Doc Martens (£25.00) – My sister bought these for me after she spotted them in a charity shop in Leeds. Brand spanking new, and absolutely gorgeous. They go with nothing I have, and yet in an odd way they seem to go with everything!
  3. Navy Polkadot Dress (£3.00) – I found this in Shelter (a homelessness charity). It is a size 16 which is two sizes above my usual, but again, once I’ve belted it up it fits a treat. It’s also some insurance in case I gain some weight!
  4. Yellow Floral Camisole (£1.50) – Again, this was from Shelter. Originally from New Look, it’s such a glorious summery top and I love it.
  5. Red Checked Camisole (50p) – This was from a delightful rack full of 50p tops in Marie Curie. I’ve been wearing it with a black maxi skirt and sandals and feeling very floaty indeed.

So there we have it! My first charity shop haul. It did involve a little snooping around, but it’s worth it to support such a good cause. I realise how preachy this sounds, but if I can encourage you even on the smallest level to reconsider some of your clothing purchases and opt for a more ethical source, then I consider this a solid effort. It does require patience but you can find gorgeous clothing in charity shops, and the prices are always undeniably awesome. And when you wear it, you can think that this item has had a previous life, but so what? Not everything I wear has to be made just for me. The second you take it home and wash it, and it bears the scent of your fabric conditioner, it’s yours. The option is there for you to try.

The Guardian – Ethical Living

Rosie

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My Christmas Party Dress (Blogmas Day Thirteen)

Merry Blogmas Day Thirteen!

Just a quick one today, I wanted to narcissistically show you my Christmas party dress from last night, as I adore it. First and foremost, it was extremely comfortable – CHRISTMAS WIN! It was also very supportive, as I managed to get away with not wearing a bra for the evening and things felt free, but firm. Majestically it was also very forgiving below the waist, with a fabulous textured full skirt. How gorgeous is the sheer panelling below the bust? It was £22 from Boohoo, irritatingly it’s now down to £15 but it was still definitely worth the money. It also comes in grey and black, but for maximum festive points I went for a colour named “Berry”.

Niamh Striped Panelled Skater Dress

I wore it with a studded belt around the waist to nip everything in a little more, nude stockings from Ann Summers and my little white kitten heels from New Look (I wear them for pretty much every night-out occasion, they’re just so comfy.) I don’t have any full-length photos, but here are a few of me and a very handsome man I found.

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(Yeah you can very much tell in the last one that I’ve consumed a bit too much Beefeater gin & tonic, and this is when we decided to make our own “takeaway” when we got home, with pork pies, oven chips & grated cheese. It was a DELIGHT.)

Until the next day of Blogmas!

Rosie

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Festive Dr Martens! (Blogmas Day Nine)

Merry Blogmas Day Nine!

Just a brief one today guys, as I’ve got a weekend of lovely family visits coming up. I thought I would keep up tradition and treat myself to The Docs of the Month – Festive edition! Every so often I like to re-lace my Docs with ribbons just to give them a new lease of bootie life – as let’s face it, they’ve seen better days. This nice festive touch is the equivalent of pouring glitter on a  grubby rock, but I care not, because I love them.

So here they are in all their normal glory – the red laces are from a previous pair (In Loving Memory of the Red Wine Docs), and yeah they’re generally a bit battered and woe-begone. But wait, for I think I hear the faint tinkle of silver Poke-bells in the near distance…

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THEY’RE EVOLVING! LO AND BEHOLD! THE FESTIVE DOCS!

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Until the next day of Blogmas!

Rosie

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