'the fact you're thinking about it is the start of a positive change' - unknown wise proverbial Twitter user inflating my ego one tweet at a time

Earlier this week, as I sat watching The Undateables in my blissfully unaware Monday night state (dressing gown, Quality Street and a middle-of-the-month chin spot appearing), I spotted a tweet from Callie talking about Dispatches. It had just been shown on Channel 4 and was discussing ‘Britain’s Cheap Clothes’- something I hadn’t seen advertised but was keen to catch up on after beginning a chat with her and Hannah about the ethics of fast fashion, consumerism and feeling guilty being part of an industry that flourishes from it.

I mean, let’s make it clear- as part of my ~job spec~ I promote clothes. Perhaps as a fashion blogger I’m in no position to talk about this, but this isn’t a blog post about being someone who is ‘doing it right’ or telling another how to live (I know how it feels to be spoken to as if I’m ‘the bad guy’ and feeling on the defensive is never fun). I know I am part of an issue, and an industry that can promote excessive consumerism. It will always feel strange writing a post about the ethics of fashion that will inevitably be sandwiched between two outfit posts and a video about clothes (even if the sole purpose of the post is inspiration over shopping)- and I know I’m in no position to preach without feeling on the edge of hypocrisy. But saying that, if I can never speak out about things like this- when will I ever be able to start? As someone kindly tweeted me, ‘being self aware isn’t always about being hypocritical’ and making a tiny bit of difference is surely better than making none.

And I’ll firstly be honest here: I love clothes. I love beauty- and honestly, I like most things. I love shopping, My god I do. I have a deeply engrained shopping habit and love talking about clothes- a minimalist I am not. COME ON NOW. I do a video series about shopping, and it genuinely excites me talking to people about clothes- old, new, handmade and what have you (have I said shopping enough, or?) When discussing this on Twitter, someone tweeted ‘buying isn’t a crime, but buying en mass constantly is not sustainable’- which did make me feel marginally better and did make me think. Additionally, my friend Michelle, who also writes the blog Daisybutter wrote a post about ‘haul couture’ and the spending associated with writing a blog, and like her- I never want to fall into a mindset, or allow people to think that you have to spend money to create content. Because lets face it, that’s not why I started.



Before writing this, I was introduced to a podcast called ‘The Guilty Feminist’- a podcast in which different topical issues are discussed weekly, with one of the most recent episodes focusing on ethical fashion. The (bloody hilarious) hosts spoke about the mindset of ‘don’t tell me’ and feeling as if buying something for a low price can sometimes feel like a ‘guilty secret’- knowing someone had to suffer to make it. We hear about disasters such as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, undercover reveals of poor working conditions and unsafe environments and we cannot turn a blind eye. As Pandora Sykes said in her post about sustainability in fashion, ‘can caring become cool?’ Something that brands such as Reformation are trying to tackle by designing, manufacturing and creating better supply chains from their downtown L.A factories (all whilst using dead stock, vintage and sustainable fabrics).

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to be Miss World after writing one post about this topic. Trust me, I know. Yes, it's ~hard~ for me to write a post about something sensitive that I essentially contribute to, but not nearly as hard as it is for someone working tirelessly for £3 an hour for 12 hours days, 7 days a week. 85-90% of sweatshop workers are women, which, in light of the recent women's marches that happened this time last week- mean that these are some of the people we are marching for- and need to be considered into our daily narrative. And that means for everyone. Whether you're working in a factory, behind a till or on the internet.

So let’s start. Whether that’s asking questions to these retailers, buying less and buying better or really digging into these chains to find out that little bit more. I know it’s easier said than done, but I think we can make smaller steps and change and develop a healthier attitude towards buying. It's often hard to speak up about something you don't feel fully informed about (heck that’s why I worry about ever talking about the P (olitics) word) - but starting the discussion, and a conversation with other people with similar thoughts is definitely a step. At least I like to think so anyway.

Some further reading from some seriously inspiring women/places of interest:

Grazia on Ethical Fashion / Emma Watson's favourite ethical fashion brands (including some of my favourites)/Pandora Sykes on ethical fashion / Rosalind's posts here and here (although she has many, all of which are equally fascinating and eloquent)

x .


'the fact you're thinking about it is the start of a positive change' - unknown wise proverbial Twitter user inflating my ego one tweet at a time

Earlier this week, as I sat watching The Undateables in my blissfully unaware Monday night state (dressing gown, Quality Street and a middle-of-the-month chin spot appearing), I spotted a tweet from Callie talking about Dispatches. It had just been shown on Channel 4 and was discussing ‘Britain’s Cheap Clothes’- something I hadn’t seen advertised but was keen to catch up on after beginning a chat with her and Hannah about the ethics of fast fashion, consumerism and feeling guilty being part of an industry that flourishes from it.

I mean, let’s make it clear- as part of my ~job spec~ I promote clothes. Perhaps as a fashion blogger I’m in no position to talk about this, but this isn’t a blog post about being someone who is ‘doing it right’ or telling another how to live (I know how it feels to be spoken to as if I’m ‘the bad guy’ and feeling on the defensive is never fun). I know I am part of an issue, and an industry that can promote excessive consumerism. It will always feel strange writing a post about the ethics of fashion that will inevitably be sandwiched between two outfit posts and a video about clothes (even if the sole purpose of the post is inspiration over shopping)- and I know I’m in no position to preach without feeling on the edge of hypocrisy. But saying that, if I can never speak out about things like this- when will I ever be able to start? As someone kindly tweeted me, ‘being self aware isn’t always about being hypocritical’ and making a tiny bit of difference is surely better than making none.

And I’ll firstly be honest here: I love clothes. I love beauty- and honestly, I like most things. I love shopping, My god I do. I have a deeply engrained shopping habit and love talking about clothes- a minimalist I am not. COME ON NOW. I do a video series about shopping, and it genuinely excites me talking to people about clothes- old, new, handmade and what have you (have I said shopping enough, or?) When discussing this on Twitter, someone tweeted ‘buying isn’t a crime, but buying en mass constantly is not sustainable’- which did make me feel marginally better and did make me think. Additionally, my friend Michelle, who also writes the blog Daisybutter wrote a post about ‘haul couture’ and the spending associated with writing a blog, and like her- I never want to fall into a mindset, or allow people to think that you have to spend money to create content. Because lets face it, that’s not why I started.



Before writing this, I was introduced to a podcast called ‘The Guilty Feminist’- a podcast in which different topical issues are discussed weekly, with one of the most recent episodes focusing on ethical fashion. The (bloody hilarious) hosts spoke about the mindset of ‘don’t tell me’ and feeling as if buying something for a low price can sometimes feel like a ‘guilty secret’- knowing someone had to suffer to make it. We hear about disasters such as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, undercover reveals of poor working conditions and unsafe environments and we cannot turn a blind eye. As Pandora Sykes said in her post about sustainability in fashion, ‘can caring become cool?’ Something that brands such as Reformation are trying to tackle by designing, manufacturing and creating better supply chains from their downtown L.A factories (all whilst using dead stock, vintage and sustainable fabrics).

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to be Miss World after writing one post about this topic. Trust me, I know. Yes, it's ~hard~ for me to write a post about something sensitive that I essentially contribute to, but not nearly as hard as it is for someone working tirelessly for £3 an hour for 12 hours days, 7 days a week. 85-90% of sweatshop workers are women, which, in light of the recent women's marches that happened this time last week- mean that these are some of the people we are marching for- and need to be considered into our daily narrative. And that means for everyone. Whether you're working in a factory, behind a till or on the internet.

So let’s start. Whether that’s asking questions to these retailers, buying less and buying better or really digging into these chains to find out that little bit more. I know it’s easier said than done, but I think we can make smaller steps and change and develop a healthier attitude towards buying. It's often hard to speak up about something you don't feel fully informed about (heck that’s why I worry about ever talking about the P (olitics) word) - but starting the discussion, and a conversation with other people with similar thoughts is definitely a step. At least I like to think so anyway.

Some further reading from some seriously inspiring women/places of interest:

Grazia on Ethical Fashion / Emma Watson's favourite ethical fashion brands (including some of my favourites)/Pandora Sykes on ethical fashion / Rosalind's posts here and here (although she has many, all of which are equally fascinating and eloquent)

x .

32 comments:

  1. Great to see bloggers addressing real issues-love this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was looking so forward to reading this after I spotted your tweet on the subject! I've been trying to "consume" less and make more thought-out buying decisions all throughout autumn and winter and to be honest, I love the "investment" pieces I've got and don't really miss the 5-euro tops and 25-euro jackets I've left in shops. (It might also be a step towards a more personalised and curated wardrobe, it seems to me that these two really go hand in hand. Once you know what you like and what suites you, you're willing to spend more on individual items, but buy less quantity.)

    x
    www.bowtiediary.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this! I feel like just being conscious of where our clothes actually come from is the first step to making change. I understand the guilt feeling - I have it all the time, and it's awful when you trust a company only to find out they have been using sweatshops/testing on animals/using palm oil. Really glad you've addressed this! x
    http://www.claudialovescats.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I never shop in Primark because to be honest I worry a lot about the working conditions for the people they get to make the clothes. I would hate to think I was contributing to that x

    www.luxestyle.co.uk

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  5. I think it's great that you started this topic. It is important that people start understanding that consuming masses of things is not sustainable and for them to start thinking where the clothes come from and how they are made. And especially, if like you say, you are contributing to this industry, you open up about at least thinking about the ethical fashion it is a start for influencing all your readers :)

    Lii
    https://byliil.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Definitely also got the middle of the month chin spot!
    www.flareaforte.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. such a great post! glad you brought this topic up!

    rainofimagination.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for talking about this. I think it's really important for people in your position to start raising these questions and encouraging themselves and their readers to be conscious of haul culture and overbuying


    - Natalie
    www.workovereasy.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is such an interesting read because I too am guilty of shopping too much and never really considering it source. Of course, we shouldn't feel guilty about shopping but the ethical side, even if just thought about, is a step forward. Along the same lines as this, I recently decided to divert away from makeup brands that test on animals. Of course this isn't in the same light as what you've said, but its a kind of ethical step forward for me if you like! I think this is great post you've written, because not enough people talk about other side to fashion (if that makes sense) - great peice!

    http://www.lisablog18.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  10. fantastic post would love to hear other bloggers opinions!

    Writtenbyalice.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loved the honesty of the post! Recognising that we all have an impact as consumers is the first step! I'm starting to try buy more ethically, but I can't do it all at once, no one can, im sure I'm going to have a fair few guilty purchases but I'm making and start and that's what counts!

    Emily | www.emilyrhodes.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loved this post! Really made me think

    Ellie xx
    www.petiteelliee.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much for sharing this Liv! Have you seen the documentary The True Cost? It was so impactful for me, but as someone who loves clothes and shopping, making the change to more ethically produced brands has been tough. As a blogger, though, it's given me so much to explore, and I've been able to find so many amazing brands. For me, this is a journey-- something I'm improving on. My wardrobe contains everything from Forever 21 items to vintage items, and I'm loving and taking care of those pieces in honor of those who made them! I could write on this topic for hours, but I'll just leave it there for now. Thank you for using your voice to promote this discussion. <3
    -Lauren
    http://www.chic-ethique.com/

    ReplyDelete
  14. https://champagneinateacup.wordpress.com/ Great to read an honest and genuine appraisal xo

    ReplyDelete
  15. I study fashion communication at uni at our current project is based around consumerism and our opinions of it and I've been hoping this post would pop up before my deadline so thank you, this will definitely benefit my research! I also suggest watching the 20min documentary called "the century of self" it talks about consumerism in a psychological way and how our mind works and thinks when it comes to spending:)

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  16. Love it!

    www.evdaily.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this post. I recently relaunched my blog to be less consumerist and more sustainable.. and now every time I buy something I feel guilty. But it's definitely more about buying less and wasting less than buying nothing at all. Its not realistic. And even if we don't know loooads about this topic, it's still good to share and discuss. It can only help :) xx

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  18. So well said Liv! Consumerism is one of those things that will always lurk around and it's difficult to pinpoint where to start tackling the issue. You should watch The True Cost (think it's on Netflix) as well, a really well-made documentary! Their website is super informative. And thanks for my cheeky ol' mention, you wonderful thing you!! x

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  19. Hi...Really loved this post. Just to put my two cents in...I really wish that fashion youtubers do hauls/unboxings etc and then try to justify things they obviously DONT need. Don't get me wrong its absolutely fine to do those videos...I actually love them but it really bothers me when something like this happens..."I really just needed this (probably v.expensive) scarf because I have it in a light pink but it just doesnt go with some of my bags so i just thought I need it in a darker pink". I see this all the time but it's just so unnecessary and massively encourages ravenous consumerism. Can't be recognise that we like don't "need" anything else??

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  20. This is very well said! I think that blogging can really encourage excessive consumerism - I love a haul as much as the next gal, but when bloggers purposefully do huge ASOS hauls just for a video it just seems a bit wasteful. I'm trying to spend less this year and only buy items that I really really want/need. I've only bought 1 jumper this month and that's it - which is good going for me!

    Lynnsay x
    www.sartorialscot.com

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  21. Liv, to reiterate my tweet, I am so glad you wrote this (and pleased to be referenced too - goodness me, where did the last five years of blogging go?!) I think you've hit the nail on the head here with the acknowledgment of the fact that talking and writing about sustainability quickly feels like a way of miring oneself in contradiction. Which is right. It does. And that's entirely ok. The more I think about it, the more I reflect on how that's kind of the first and most significant principle - not having to be purist in any way in one's approach to shopping (and I've certainly altered my viewpoints over the last few years), but rather knowing that, yes, you can write about and celebrate shopping AND also draw attention to, say, human rights abuses or the ethics of production. In some ways, it means you're perfectly placed to do so. You care about clothes. Your audience care about clothes. Ideally, we all want to begin thinking more about where they come from and who makes them and where, in our own, small ways, maybe we can help to change that for the better. "smaller steps" all the way. xxx

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  22. I love love love love love x 1000 this post! Since visiting the an exhibition of modern slavery at Liverpool's slavery museum a couple of years ago, I've been very conscious of where I buy my clothes from and try and make sure that they're from charity shops or ethical brands where possible (although jeans are a nightmare and will never be found in those places). It's always in the back of my mind when making a purchasing decision and I'm so glad that you're talking about this. Yes, sometimes we can't live up to our morals all the time (it's really hard in this consumerist culture) but making a small difference and a small change is always worth it xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Have you looked at Fashion Revolution (http://fashionrevolution.org/) at all? It is a great place to go to gain practical advice on how to understand the impact of the clothing industry - for example there are apps that give information on clothing brands that allow you to make an informed decision about what you are buying. Hope that helps!

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  24. This is such an interesting topic and I think it's fabulous to see you adding to the conversation (plus sharing those links, will add to my growing reading list) I have tried to buy less but better, yet I think even buying directly from makers can help. We can feel overwhelmed to buy and buy, but even supporting the right to better working conditions is a small step to make ~shopping~ better

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

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  25. I've been really troubled by this recently too, especially when looing at beauty products. I'm a big fan of cheap clothing, and hoarding lots of beauty bits. But I don't need to. But I feel the pressure to have more because of my blog. in 2017 I'm going to work on producing less waste, and I think I'll start by ensuring that all of my old clothes that no longer fit go somewhere sustainable.

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's nice to see you caring.
    We grow up with these consumist habits, It ain't easy to change.
    Anyway, we kinda have to, somehow.
    Mim Xx


    http://www.mimiquices.com/

    ReplyDelete
  27. So what are you actually going to DO about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I mentioned, starting a discussion is a first step. As well as cutting down on unnecessary spending (and when so, researching into supply chains where possible) and trying to make conscious steps into buying better. I said I know I wasn't trying to be Miss World by writing this, but just starting a conversation.

      Delete
  28. Very good post! Starting a conversation and making small steps is awesome! If everyone does it we have many many steps!! :)

    https://andreaandcoco.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for this. I was wondering if bloggers are oblivious to this fact. Textile industry is the second most polluting factor and fast fashion is exploiting women. Most people I meet in my life seem to be aware of it but youtubers blissfully do hauls of cheap ass clothing. I wondered if they lived in a bubble of some sort.

    Thank you for opening a discussion. I hope you do follow up on it after a few months. Fashion revolution day is in April. Lot of bloggers try to create awareness of the problem. Hope you join in.

    Its been a journey for me for the past two years. I was no minimalist and was drowning in stuff. And its been a very enriching journey.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for this. I was wondering if bloggers are oblivious to this fact. Textile industry is the second most polluting factor and fast fashion is exploiting women. Most people I meet in my life seem to be aware of it but youtubers blissfully do hauls of cheap ass clothing. I wondered if they lived in a bubble of some sort.

    Thank you for opening a discussion. I hope you do follow up on it after a few months. Fashion revolution day is in April. Lot of bloggers try to create awareness of the problem. Hope you join in.

    Its been a journey for me for the past two years. I was no minimalist and was drowning in stuff. And its been a very enriching journey.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I can't buy in fast fashion shops anymore! I am carefully looking for ethically produced clothing.
    Bisous, Margot
    http://thepastelproject.com/

    ReplyDelete

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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