Six Items Challenge Update – Week One

I am now exactly one week into the Six Items Challenge which I am taking part in for the whole of July with Labour Behind the Label to try and raise awareness of the plight of real people working in the fashion industry and their struggle for better rights and working conditions. You can check out how the others participating in the challenge are getting on in the Six Items Challenge Blog.

This week hasn’t been too bad with the main challenges being the weather. Feeling cold in my choice of summery clothes and struggling to get clothes washed and dried ready to wear again, resulting in me resorting to drying a pair of leggings with the hair dryer, were probably the low points. On the plus side I managed to get ready pretty quickly each morning as I didn’t have much to choose from.

Her are my outfits for the week featuring the six items – a really old black shift dress and t shirt, a dress by Komodo, leggings from People Tree, Green Printed Dress from Monsoon and patterned trousers by ASOS Africa.

Six items challenge

The necklace and bracelets were presents and the shoes are from sustainable shoe brand Melissa.

six items challenge - day 2

The scarf is from a vintage fair, the handbag from a charity shop and the necklace a present from my mum.

Six Items challenge -day 4

This necklace was also a present from my mum.

six items challenge

The belt was from the high street and the necklace from ethical jewellery brand Made UK.

The scarf is vintage and the shoes and tights from the high street.

The scarf is from a vintage fair and the necklace also from ethical jewelery brand Made UK.

Now I have worn all of the basic outfit combinations once comes the challenge. I am going to need to get creative and imaginative with accessories this week in order to make some different outfits.

I hope that you have had a good weekend!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

The Cost of Fashion

cost of fashion

We all know that you never really get anything for free, everything always has a cost even if it isn’t immediately apparent. For fashion as well as its monetary cost there is also a cost in terms of its impact on the environment. It is very easy when buying yet another piece of fast fashion that you don’t really need not only are you wasting money but also damaging the environment. Here are just a few of the impacts that fashion has on the environment.

Growth

Many of the clothes that we wear are made of cotton. In order to grow conventional cotton farmers use a huge amount of pesticide which is damaging to the environment. The water used to irrigate cotton has also been blamed for the Aral Sea crisis on Uzbekistan.

Processing

The processing of fibres into fabrics uses both energy and chemicals both of which have their own impact on the environment. Manufacturing synthetic chemicals also uses non renewable resources including petro chemicals.

Manufacturing

Again the manufacturing of clothes has so many different impacts from the dyes and finishes to sandblasting of jeans and even the glue used to make shoes and accessories.

Transport

Transportation usually uses non renewable energy and causes  the release of carbon dioxide which contributes to the Greenhouse effect and global warming. Packaging for transportation also creates waste.

Retail

With fashions and trends changing so quickly retailers need to get their predictions and planning spot on in order to sell as many products as possibly. There is almost always some waste that the retailers are unable to sell though. Waste can be reduced to a by WSSI from a firm like Quantiv (weekly sales and stock intake)

Waste

Much of the clothing that is discarded each year will go into landfill. Synthetic fibres will take a long time to break down and even natural fibres will release methane (a greenhouse gas) as they break down.

The easy answer would be for everyone to just buy less but in reality it is not quite that simple. Responsibility lies with everyone from the consumer to the manufacturers, retailers and even media and marketers to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment.

 

Labour Behind the Label – 6 Items Challenge

Labour Behind the Label 5 Items Challenge

Today I have embarked on the Labour Behind the Label 6 Items Challenge. You can read more details about the rules of the challenge here. Basically I have to pick 6 items from my wardrobe to wear for the whole of July. The six items doesn’t include things like sportswear, underwear, nightwear and accessories. I will be posting a weekly update on my progress and outfits on here and on the 6 Items Challenge Blog.

Labour Behind the Label don’t advocate boycotting brands as this often has a negative impact on workers, but it is so important to create an awareness of the current situation – consumption needs to slow down, the pressure on workers and the constant precariousness of jobs and wage levels needs to be addressed.  By exploring this issue through the 6 Items Challenge I hope to raise awareness of the plight of real people in their struggle for better rights and working conditions.

So here I am on day one. I have picked my 6 items carefully in hope that they will be versatile enough to cover my varied outfit needs in July including just everything from school sports days to business meetings, a 40th birthday party, a 4 day festival plus another 4 days of camping.

I have tried to pick as many ethical/ sustainable items as possible, here is what I have chosen.

  • A really old black t shirt
  • trousers by ASOS Africa
  • Black Dress by Komodo
  • Really old black mini shift dress from the high street
  • Dress by Monsoon
  • Black leggings by People Tree (not pictured above)

My biggest concern is how I will manage at the festival and camping as it may be a little more difficult to wash and dry clothes. I am also worries I will get completely bored with my pick of clothes.

On the plus side, I am really looking forward to the look on Mr Style Eyes face when he sees my tiny pile of clothes to take for festival and camping, as opposed to just about everything in my wardrobe that I usually take. I will of course be making good use of the space in the camper van not taken by clothes with extra beer!

I am also really looking forward to not having to think too much about what I wear in the morning giving me much more time to think about accessories. Where possible I will be accessorising my outfits  with vintage, second hand, ethical, sustainable and handmade accessories.

Enjoy what is left of the weekend!

With wramest wishes

Ceri x

Seeing Red!

Top – really old (rescued from loft)
Skirt – swapped
necklace – Etsy

Red is definitely one of my favourite colours. Actually I love most bright colours. So on the weekend I decided to wear a really really old top from the Rene Dehry collection at La Redoute with a skirt which I swapped ages ago on www.posh-swaps.com (my clothes swap website). The top was one of my favourite tops which I wore so much I ended getting bored with but loved it so much I couldn’t bear to put it in the charity bag. I am so glad I didn’t as now I am loving wearing it again. I has a kind of chiffon scarf which ties around the middle.

There are definitely plus sides to my shopping ban (apart from having more money), it is actually forcing me to be more creative with what I have and wear clothes I haven’t worn in ages.

I hope you have had a lovely weekend. Mind seems to have been a whirl wind of children’s birthday parties followed by mountains of ironing. Don’t forget my ethical outfit competition ends on Saturday 30th June so you have less than a week left if you would like to enter. There are some fantastic prizes to be won!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge – Part 2

You can see the first part of my Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge from yesterday. Basically my camera was refusing to work properly and I didn’t manage to make as many outfits as I would have liked. Today is a fresh day and the camera has decided to start working again (perhaps it was just me!).

Anyway I wanted to try a few more outfits paritcularly using the Komodo dress that was one of the three pieces that I choose for the challenge. A black dress really is one of the most versatile wardrobe pieces for me. I particularly like the fact that this one has a beautiful lace hem and can be worn for either day time or evening. The loose fit is really comfortable, easy and flattering to wear and it could even work as a tunic/ top with leggings or trousers. I have lots of different jackets in my wardrobe and this dress gave me the perfect opportunity to wear some of them.

Komodo dress

Jacket – high street
Dress – Komodo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Shoes – Melissa
Belt – high street

I used to wear this jacket all of the time, it goes with everything but for some reason I got bored with it and stopped  wearing it.

Komodo dress

Komodo dress

Vintage Jacket – Oxfam
Dress – Komodo c/o vouchercodes.co.uk
Shoes – high street
Handbag – charity shop
Belt – clothes swap

I got this handmade vintage jacket from Oxfam a while back but for some reason have not worn it.

If you would like to join in with the challenge and try wearing clothes in your wardrobe that you have not worn before, please tweet your links to #vcukwearyourwardrobe.

Please also check out my ethical outfit competition which has some fantastic prizes!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

 

 

 

 

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Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge

I was recently asked to participate in the Wear Your Wardrobe Challenge of The Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine of Vouchercodes.co.uk. They have carried out some research and found that the average person in the UK has over three unworn items of clothing in their wardrobe – totaling a whopping £80 (enough for a whole new outfit)! As part of their Summer of Smarter Spending they are challenging bloggers to think about their fashion purchases, get to grips with what the high street has to offer and try to wear more of their wardrobes. I had to choose three items from my wardrobe that I had not worn for ages and then choose three items (totalling no more than £80) to seamlessly update my wardrobe. The aim is to work the three new items into as many outfit looks as possible – showing how versatile they are on their own and combined with your unworn wardrobe items.

Of course I opted for ethical/ sustainable pieces and thought that this challenge was not only a great way to encourage people to make the most of the clothes that they already have in their wardrobe but also to show that it is possible to shop ethically/ sustainably on a budget. In order to find the perfect ethical/ sustainable piece to update my wardrobe, I looked on the sales pages of all of my favourite ethical retailers. As most ethical fashion tends to be quite timeless and individual, it doesn’t really matter if you buy from last season, you will still find some amazing clothes. I also made use of a 10% off voucher code to get what I wanted withing budget.

Luckily I had a great big clear out of my wardrobe just a week or two ago and so I new exactly which clothes I hadn’t worn for ages. Most of the clothes that I don’t wear are fairly plain, a denim pencil skirt, a pair of Marks and Spencers Autograph Jeans, a pair of black leggings and a black mesh skirt. I also have a vintage Paul Costelloe jacket with gold embroidered dots which I had never been able to find the right thing to wear with.

Here are the three items that I bought…

Gingham tie top - Tara Starlet

Gingham Tie Top by Tara Starlet

Komodo Fair trade Dress

Komodo Kera Fair Trade Tunic Dress from Fashion-conscience.com

Gringo Fair Trade Floral Shirt from Fashion Conscience

Little did I know quite how much of a challenge this was going to be. My camera started playing up resulting, lots of editing and in some slightly strange photos!

and here are my outfits..

Gingham top

Top by Tara Starlet c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Skirt and hair flower – high street
Shoes – Irregular Choice
Bag – Oxfam

black dress

Kera Fairtrade dress by Komodo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Mesh Skirt – high street
Shoes – Melissa
Necklace – Made UK

As above plus.
Vintage Paul Costelloe Jacket

Leather Jacket – Gestuz
Blouse – Gringo c/o Vouchercodes.co.uk
Leggings – high street
Shoes – Dream in Green
Necklace – Made UK

Blouse – as above
Jeans – M&S
Shoes – Pikolinos

Had I not had so many issues with my camera today, I know I could have fitted these items into so many other outfits. Hopefully I will be able to share more of these outfits in the very near future.

You can check out the posts from the other bloggers partipating in this challenge using the tag #vcukwearyourwardrobe on Twitter. Or why not challenge yourself to ‘wear your wardrobe’? If you do please post the links to your posts below in the comments section and tweet using the tag #vcukwearyourwardrobe.

Have a lovely week.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

The Wardrobe Clear Out

You might have seen the video I posted in the post Can Ethical Fashion Be Stylish? about a week ago by Ms Wandas featuring Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe, London’s first Slow Style Consultancy. I really loved Veronica’s advice, particularly where she says

I tell my clients, If they can make their wardrobe look like a boutique and where everything actually fits them, they wouldn’t feel like going out and buying more

As my wardrobe is well overdue a clear out (as you can see from the image below) and I am on a shopping ban, I thought I would give it a go.

Before

Life has got really busy lately and everything has just got in a big old mess.

After

So when my mother in law offered to look after the children on Saturday, I jumped at the chance to get my wardrobe organised. I got rid of anything that didn’t fit or there was no chance of me wearing, which only amounted to a few things. Then moved all of the out of season clothes and shoes into the wardrobe in my office. I put my more occasional handbags into cotton shopping bags to protect from dust and stored all my handbags in a plastic crate, neatly stacked the shoe boxes full of my less worn shoes at the back and lined up everyday shoes on the shoe rack so that I could actually find both of them when I want to wear them rather than just the one! I also made a to do list of clothes that need repairs or alternations and those that I don’t wear but could upcycle in some way.

Then I did something I thought I would never do, something I had previously considered was only for those suffering from OCD. I sorted my clothes in to colour order, starting from whites and creams, then progressing into beiges, browns, khaki, yellows and blues  then moving into the pinks, reds, bold and bright prints, dark colours and black. I also made sure that everything was hung up with just one item per hanger.

My verdict – it really does work!

Seeing my clothes and shoes laid out like this, makes it really easy to find something to wear each day. Having a clear out and arranging nicely also reminded me of what I have and gave me some inspiration for new outfits. I now really like looking in my wardrobe each morning and picking out something to wear, it does feel a bit like going shopping for something new. I particularly can’t stop looking at the clothes in the bold and bright patterns section.

So far I have managed to keep it super organised all week and have stuck to the colour order. All I need to do is get Mr Style Eyes to put a hook on the side wall of the wardrobe for me to hang my scarf hanger. This will give my clothes a little more space and make picking out  a scarf much easier.

I would definitely recommend giving this a try, especially if you struggle with finding clothes to wear in the morning or are a shopaholic. What do you think, is your wardrobe overdue a clearout?

Have a lovely bank holiday and Jubilee weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Can Ethical Fashion Be Stylish?

I love this film made by Esther Freeman of Ms Wandas Wardrobe featuring Saffia Minney of Ethical Fashion Brand, People Tree and Veronica Crespi of Rewardrobe.

Can Ethical Fashion be Stylish? of course it can and it is definitely time to to put to bed the notion that ethical fashion cannot be stylish! What do you think?

If you are still havings any doubts, you could also check out the latest outfit challenge on Ethical Fashion Bloggers. Some fantastically stylish ladies who know how to mix a print.

Hope you are having a lovely week and enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Swapping, Selling and Giving at Friendly Fashion

clothes swapping denim jacket

Denim jacket – swapped
Necklace – Made
Dress – Oxfam
Shoes – Dkode

We are all kind of guilty to a certain extent of buying clothes that we need or just getting bored with what we already have and fancying a change. Swapping, selling and buying preloved clothes is a fantastic way to refresh your wardrobe and it is better for your purse and the environment than buying new. I also think it is really fun and a great way of trying something new that you might not usually buy in the shops. I am so passionate about swapping that I set up my own clothes swapping website Posh Swaps a few years back to encourage people to get swapping. Since then there has been an explosion of Swishing (swapping) parties and clothes swapping websites which gives everyone plenty of opportunity for everyone to recycle their old stuff and get something amazing in return. The denim jacket in the image is the result of a swap I did and I wear it all of the time.

I recently recieved an email Friendly Fashion, a great new swapping site. They have some fantastic stuff listed on the site and I would definitely recommend checking it out if your wardrobe needs a little refresh. The site is free to use, allows you to swap, buy, sell and give away itmes and has a fantastic widget which can be customised and adding to your blog to help promote any items that you list.

Spring is the perfect time to have a good clear out. You can make yourself some extra cash or get something lovely and new in return for the clothes that you don’t wear. Here are some of my favourite items listed on the site.

NWT Summer dress

flowery dress

aztec top

summer jumpsuit

I definitely have plenty of pieces of clothing I would love to swap. How about you? Have you every tried swapping?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

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My Shopping Strategy For An Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe

Leather jacket, top, bag and shoes – all a number of years old, bought from conventional fashion retailers (not ethical or sustainable) and hoarded in my wardrobe!
Vintage lace skirt – Swap party at The Good Fashion Show
Necklace and ring – Made

Over the last few years, I have been gradually changing and developing the way that I shop for clothes with the aim of making it more sustainable and ethical. I have spent a considerable amount of time not buying anything new at all and about a year ago I made the commitment to switch to buying only ethical or sustainable clothing.

It’s not easy being green!

I can completely understand the difficulties that people face in making this switch. Not only may they have concerns over cost and lack of choice but also the whole question of exactly what is ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ clothing and which ‘type’ or ‘brand’ of clothing is it best to buy, a topic which I could write about all day.

My work as a writer with a focus on ethical fashion has given me a greater understanding of the issues surrounding ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry and the variety that is available. Whilst I can’t say I have all of the answers, I certainly feel that I can make a reasonably informed decision most of the time and have totally bought into the fact that there is a fantastic selection of high quality ethical clothing out there that offers much better value than fast fashion and could definitely satisfy me in terms of finding what I want to buy.

How much is too much?

The difficulty for me in dressing ethically and sustainably comes into play when I try and work out how much is too much in terms of volumes of clothes. Obviously buying cheap poorly made clothes to wear once and then throw away is not ethical or sustainable. But I have never really done this, even the ‘fast fashion’ clothes that I have bought in the past have usually lasted for years and many that have managed to stand the test of time still remain in my wardrobe now. I treasure my clothes, shoes and accessories and I don’t buy anything that I don’t think I am likely to want to wear 3, 4 or 5 seasons from now. I get some inspiration from current fashions but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a slave to it and would never discard a piece of clothing because it wasn’t fashionable anymore.

My wardrobe is stacked full of clothes, I am definitely a hoarder/ collector.

Do I really need to buy any more?

I love clothes and I live clothes in both my work and leisure time. For me there is nothing shallow about fashion. What I wear is so important to me on many levels – my self confidence,  identity, comfort, success in work, the way others interact with me and treat me and also my own creativity and self expression (another topic, I could write all day about). I don’t need to but I like to wear lots of different outfits and I am constantly looking for and experimenting with new looks. Partly this can be satisfied by remixing, upcycling and recycling.

But

I also do have a desire to buy new stuff that if I am honest, I don’t really need. Through my blogging I discover so many amazing ethical brands. Not only to I love their clothes and want them but I also want to support these brands to try and help ethical become more mainstream. Supporting ethical brands is great but it isn’t sustainable to keep buying stuff that you don’t need. In order to change the fashion industry and the way it works, I think we all need to move away from the culture of constantly buying new stuff for the sake of it.

My Ethical and Sustainable Shopping Strategy

So here is the strategy that I have come up with, partly in a conscious kind  of way but partly it just felt right. Since making changes to my shopping habits I have been really happy with my clothes and the high quality wardrobe that I am building. I never really struggle to find something lovely to wear and I always feel great in what I wear.

1. I consider second hand or vintage is the most sustainable way to shop so I try and satisfy my whimsical desire to shop and constantly refresh my wardrobe in this way most of the time (it is also kindest to my purse!). Even with second hand and vintage shopping and I tend to end up buying too much so try and have in mind the sorts of clothes I am likely to wear and the colours and styles that will suit me and avoid just buying more of what I already have. I also upcycle, swap and readily accept donations of old clothes from friends. If and when I get bored of these clothes I just donate them back to charity.

2. Occasionally for a special treat I like to buy myself a piece of clothing from an ethical/ sustainable brand. This is often when I have some birthday or Christmas money. I always look at these purchases as an investment. I try and buy something that will be a high quality, stylish and flattering staple of my wardrobe for many years to come (if not forever) and will really add to and build on what I already have.

3. I only ever buy a piece of clothing that I really really love and tend to look for unusual and unique pieces. Where possible I try to buy from companies and brands that have made a company wide commitment to ethical fashion and sustainability and practice these principles throughout everything they do as I want to support then and help to push these practices into the mainstream.

4. Before I shop, I try and think carefully about what I need, what I am likely to wear and what colours and styles suit me. In the past I have made lots of mistakes. As I don’t buy as many new clothes as I used to and spend a little more on sustainable/ ethical clothing, I want to be sure that I get it right every single time . I have an ongoing wishlist where each item that I see and want is added, considered for some time and sometimes removed. I only buy something when I am absolutely sure that it will work for me in every way from making me feel good, to going with the other clothes I  have to being practical and eco friendly to wash and care for.

5. I do most of my shopping online as it gives me greater access to a huge variety of ethical and sustainable brands and makes it easier to compare, consider, research and read up on ethics if needed. It also cuts down on impulse buys.

So there you have it, that is how I shop. Do you have a shopping strategy? how do you decide what is too much?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x