Friday, 12 April 2019

The Perfect Style

Today I really wanted to share one of my top tips for creating and sustaining an ethical and sustainable wardrobe and that is to create a style over following trends. The ridiculous speed and growth of fast fashion has meant that we now have new styles and trends coming out almost weekly. These encourage us as consumers to drop whatever we are wearing and loving and instead adopt a new trend for a few weeks. We seem to have lost our unique style in this country and instead I see groups full of girls all dressed the same way.

 I remember my first few weeks at university being horrified as I stepped out with my new flat mates to go on a night out. I was the only one not in disco pants, a crop top and heeled boots. It was like a line of clones twisting its way down the street waiting to enter the club. There I was in my vintage white skirt and red spotty crop top standing out like a sore thumb. The funny thing was though that I got a ton of compliments and none of my friends did. This encouraged me to not allow my style to change at uni because of what others were wearing and instead stay true to myself.

Of course in the last six years my style has evolved with age. I've gone from being super cute vintage to a bit more classic but I still have a huge vintage influence in my wardrobe and there are pieces I've had for years that I still wear. For me this is the number one way to keep your clothes going and create a sustainable wardrobe.

So how do you figure out what your unique style is and how do you keep it fresh and current? I would suggest you look at all your clothes and try to find the common theme. What always jumps out at you when you're shopping? What do you see on Pinterest or in magazines that you love? Whose street style do you always covet? For me it's always the classic, elegant, pretty styles that I love. I like anything with a vintage twist and my fashion icons are people like Amal Clooney, Kate Middleton, Julia Engel and Audrey Hepburn.

You want to create a unique style that is timeless so that your clothes will last. Create a Pinterest board full of all the styles that you like and that inspire you and then keep going back to it for inspiration. When shopping think about your style and what is already in your wardrobe. Have a little look at your Pinterest board. Try not to be too influenced by trends and instead go for pieces that will stand the test of time. For example this striped tee I recently picked up from the People Tree sale is such a classic piece. I knew it would go with lots of the trousers and jeans I already owned as well as bags and accessories. I also knew a striped tee never goes out of style and would fit in perfectly with my classic look but also added the feminine side I needed with the peplum bottom. I love it and have already worn it ten times making sure I definitely get my #30wears.

So there you have my top tip for creating a more sustainable wardrobe and to always make sure you get your #30 wears. I would love to hear your tips in the comments below.

What I Wore
Top - People Tree | Jeans - Old | Shoes - Old | Bag - Old
Read more

Monday, 8 April 2019

Knitters Do It Better

You may have noticed if you follow me over on instagram that my stories have been rather taken up by knitting over the last year. In January 2018 I decided I really wanted to get back into knitting having dabbled with it a lot over my childhood and teenage years. I was inspired to learn how to knit by a lovely family friend. I was amazed by the beautiful things she could create and found watching her knitting needles go back and forth so mesmerising. I was about 10 when I told my Auntie Sarah I really wanted to learn how to knit and so she taught me the basics one evening. A few weeks later I went to visit my Granny who encouraged me to learn more about knitting and found me lots of odds and ends of wool in her collection for me to play around with. And that was it! The knitting seed was planted. 

I knitted on and off through my teenage years but I never seriously devoted any time to learning how to do more than two types of stitches. I also never learnt to read a pattern and it was more of a random relaxing past time then anything else.  

As I got more into ethical and sustainable over the years I discovered how hard it was to find clothes that really suited my style. There are only a handful of brands in the UK and only some of them make clothes in a style that I feel suits me and my personality. And so I decided to learn to make some clothes myself. 

At first I thought about learning to sew having played around with sewing machines during my teen years but unfortunately my sewing machine was broken and I didn't have enough money to buy a new one and so my attention went to knitting. I started off easy with a small knitted jacket and matching hat for a baby. This helped me to learn how to read a pattern properly and I learnt so many new techniques and stitches with the help of youtube and my Knitty Gritty book. I then moved on to harder projects like a jumper for my nephew and then a cardigan for my husband.  

In the last few weeks I have finally knitted my first garment for myself and I absolutely love it. I found the pattern for this jumper in a knitting magazine and was lucky enough to find the exact wool it suggested in my local yarn shop. The idea of knitting my own clothes is to create beautiful unique garments that are both ethical and sustainable and so I am very careful to choose materials that adhere to this. For my nephews jumper I used a yarn made from 100% recycled textiles. For my own I used this beautiful wool from West Yorkshire Spinners which is guaranteed 100% British wool meaning it is not only ethical and sustainable but also helps feed a local industry that is at risk of dying.  

I have absolutely loved learning to knit over the last year and am now officially bitten by the bug. I can't seem to put my needles down and I have even started to design my own patterns. I love being able create beautiful garments that really suit my style but also know exactly how they were made and what with. It has also given me a much bigger appreciation for clothes as I am now aware just how long it takes to create a garment and how much skill has to go into it. It's a slow process to create my own piece of clothing taking weeks but that just makes it even more special and precious.  It's such an exciting part of my sustainable and ethical wardrobe and I can't wait to learn even more. 

Learning to knit has also encouraged me to learn more skills so that I can create even more sustainable and ethical bespoke garments. Over the next few years I am hoping to learn how to embroider, sew clothes and up-cycle old ones. I love the idea of having a sustainable and ethical wardrobe full of hand made clothes, up-cycled clothes, vintage, second hand and new pieces from amazing brands. For me it is all about creating a unique and beautiful wardrobe that helps our planet and it's people. 

I hope I've inspired you to maybe have a go at knitting yourself or learn another skill like sewing or embroidery. There are so many ways we can be more ethical and sustainable when it comes to our clothing and it certainly doesn't have to be just a plain Fairtrade organic cotton tee. Let me know in the comments if you are a maker and what you like to make. Or if you're feeling inspired I'd love to know what you might like to learn to do. Wishing you all a wonderful week!  

What I wore...
Jumper - Hand Knitted | Jeans - Old | Shoes - Old | Bag - Cambridge Satchel Company

Read more

Friday, 5 April 2019

Power In The Pound: How Choosing to Spend Differently Can Change The World

I am often asked by friends and family or at the talks I do on ethical and sustainable fashion, how we as individuals can best affect change. People often want to help with so many issues in the world such as slavery, sex trafficking, exploitation of workers rights, poverty, starvation, lack of education, women's rights and so many more, but they just don't know how to get involved. People feel the only way they can change the world is by working for a top human rights charity or devoting their time abroad to amazing projects but this simply isn't true.  

We as individuals have such a great power to affect change simply by choosing to spend our money in a way that will help change the world. And I'm not just talking about giving to charity, although that is a great way to help. There is so much power in our pounds but we often don't realise it. We shop for food, clothes, jewellery e.t.c in the way we always have done but what if we chose instead to do it differently? What if we choose to buy only clothes that have come from a brand that refuses to have slavery or exploitation in its supply chain? What if we choose to only buy food from local farmers markets where we can be assured that the farmer and his workers are being paid correctly? What if we choose to only buy things that make a difference in our world? 

This beautiful bracelet from Eden Ministry is a wonderful example. I was actually lucky enough to be given this as a gift and I have loved learning all about what a difference it makes. Eden Ministry was started by two women who wanted to find a way to break into the sex industry and change the lives of those working in their local red light district. So many of these women have been trafficked, coerced or forced into the sex industry and as Christians, Eden Ministry knew they needed to find a way out for these women. 

They do amazing work offering safe houses, creative therapy, counselling, training in many different areas such as beauty and barista, and language skills. They have funded their work by creating beautiful jewellery with the survivors of trafficking that they work with. Jewellery that not only helps funds their projects but also encourages it's wearer to "Speak Up" and make a difference in the world. 

Eden Ministry is just one of many brands that we are seeing emerge recently who are trying to change their world. It was so exciting to see a few at the Ethical Christmas Shopping Event I spoke at in November and if you would like to learn about a few more brands doing amazing things please pop over to that post and take a look. 

It has now become so easy to find brands doing amazing things and this is where we have our power. If every time we want a new dress, a piece of jewellery or a gift for some one we choose to buy it not just from a brand who reaps the profits but from a brand that is trying to make a difference, then we in turn will make a huge difference ourselves. For Christmas 2018 I did my best to buy every member of the family gifts that would help change the world. We spend over £350 at Christmas by choosing brands that make a difference that £350 could help change so many lives. 

Today I really want to encourage you as an activist for change you can make such a difference simply by spending your money better. Whether it's for you or for someone else, if we continually strive to choose beautiful things that mean so much more than what we find on the high street, together we can change lives. Never forget just how much power is in your pound. 

What I Wore...
Top - M&S | Jeans - Old | Bracelet - Eden Ministry 

Read more
Blogger Template Created by pipdig