The Wonderful Effect of Fashion

I haven’t managed to do even half of the things I was planning during isolation. I wanted to finally watch season 2 of You, learn to cook heaps of vegetarian dishes, watch all of The Godfather movies, get back into guitar-playing, read some of the most recent best-sellers, and build an award-winning island on Animal Crossing. But I’ve been so occupied with uni and trying to organise a life post-uni for myself that I haven’t had time to tick those items off my list. And obviously lamenting about unfulfilled experiences of leisure is an extremely privileged position to be in. But I think it demonstrates a common expectation that we are supposed to be packing our time with everything we can while we have the opportunity to do so. This is often unrealistic given how confusing this time is for our emotions.

In a time when our movements are restricted and we’re being bombarded with the  grim consequences of coronavirus, it can feel like everything’s out of our control. So in order to exercise some control during this time, I have diligently been getting up at a reasonable hour, showering, and putting on an outfit that I feel great wearing. I believe that there is significant power in what you wear and the energy you can obtain from an outfit. For some it has been an opportunity to completely detach from external pressures on our appearance, and to simply wear what we want and put in as little effort as possible. I truly appreciate the liberating effect that has had on people. But for me, making an effort to dress has been a motivating force that helps to make me as productive as I can on a daily basis.

This is similar to when I was restricted and bored during my hip operations. When I felt frustrated from my lack of mobility and inability to go places, I found that I could experience some respite and joy through dressing up. Fashion gave me focus and energy, as styling myself offered a creative outlet that in turn made me feel stronger.

I’ve continued to dress up on a Saturday night to mimic my routine when going out and it’s been a blast! My partner was so kind to take some silly flicks of last Saturday’s outfit. You would think from my outfit that I would be heading out to the clubs, but really I had to head to the kitchen to remove the cauliflower mac and cheese from the oven.

Dress: Kookai

Boots: Witchery 

Earrings: Things We Lost 

We put the music up loud, have a cocktail or two and have a little dance around the living room. It psychologically feels like a Saturday night when I put a dress on and slap on some make up. A part from giving us something to look forward to every weekend, it’s plenty of fun (although I am  looking forward to going out for real on a Saturday night in the foreseeable future). It’s amazing how fashion has the power to transform how you feel and even how you behave in any circumstance, and it is certainly true for me.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Luxurious Lounging

After a month of deep consideration, I decided to take the plunge and invest in some locally-made loungewear. I wondered for a while whether it’s irresponsible to spend money on clothes during this time, but I surmised that there’s nothing to lose when excessive amounts of lounging are being carried out. Also, I figured that if I’m going to spend my money then it might as well support local designers.

It’s a matching set by Dominique Healy and is ethically made in Melbourne. The material is soft and perfectly comfortable to engage in some lazy lounging – not to mention gorgeous. It arrived the other day and was left in the middle of the driveway. Luckily I wasn’t going anywhere so there wasn’t a chance of running it over with my car. And once I took it out, I wore it three days in a row because it is truly THAT comfortable.

I was reading about Dominique Healy on Well Made Clothes which described how she is tackling the issue of waste in the fashion industry by producing small amounts of stock and minimising textile waste. We know that the issue of overproduction is prevalent with fast fashion brands. Their tactics include trying to to offload excess stock by drastically cutting prices – or worse- destroying billions of dollars worth of unworn clothing which often ends up in landfill. These practices are suffocating our planet, so it’s important to find designers that are making a difference by counteracting overproduction and textile waste. Plus, I’m pleased that my purchase contributed to the local fashion economy. I get to enjoy the benefit of an ethically-made outfit that will last me for eternity.

I would love to purchase her other coordinated loungewear set in cream, however as my partner rightfully pointed out, I’d get it dirty from all the crumbs as a result of my frequent snacking.

Thanks for stopping by! x

We Need to Take Action this Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, which coincides perfectly with Fashion Revolution Week.

We know that the fashion industry breeds significant environmental impacts and is majorly responsible for marine pollution by textile dying and microplastics. Our love for synthetic clothing (which I’m guilty of as a purchaser of activewear) is causing our waterways to become filled with plastic fibres with every wash. This harms our wonderful marine biodiversity, but you may not be aware of the fact that it also affects human health as a result of microplastics ending up in our food. That’s why it is crucial to consider the materials your clothes are made from and what the potential environmental impacts are.

I was basically ignoring these impacts while on an activewear purchasing-spree during the beginning of the year. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I failed to consider what they were made from and who made them. Although I made sure that I needed the items and knew that I absolutely loved them prior to purchasing, I should have done better. It’s difficult to think consciously all the time, especially with the number of brands out there, the lure of greenwashing and hefty discounts. It used to be that we saw something, liked it and bought it. But we can’t be so ignorant anymore. I love the guide for choosing well from Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet.¹ She recommends asking yourself the following before buying clothes:

  • Is it made well?
  • What’s it made form?
  • Who made it?
  • Do I love it?

Actively considering these four questions may be a longer process than usual, but it’s not going to hurt us. On the contrary, we really should be taking this time to make sure that our spending habits aren’t hurting people or the environment. This Earth Day, I’m going to find out from my favourite brands #whatsinmyclothes to learn about what materials are being used and whether their processes are environmentally friendly and kind to their garment workers. As consumers, we need to urge our favourite brands to be transparent and hold them to account if they are failing to implement environmentally friendly and safe manufacturing standards. Things need to change, and there’s no better time to use our voices than during Fashion Revolution Week.

To find out more about what you can do this Fashion Revolution Week, head to: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/

If you’re interested in Australian activewear brands that use recycled materials – and even plastic waste! – to produce their garments, head to: https://www.brittslist.com.au/article/sustainable-activewear-brands-australia/

Thanks for stopping by! x

¹ Natalie Isaacs, Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet (2018, HarperCollins) page 245.

Isolation Outfitting

I have decided to stay at my boyfriend’s house during this isolation period, meaning my entire wardrobe is back at home. This is a predicament considering that I derive most of my inspiration and joy from clothes. Often, I will take out favourite dresses or shoes to admire if I need to give myself a little pick-me-up. Or, I just parade around the house in my faux snakeskin boots. But this isolation period won’t be spent in vain, because I have brought with me some key pieces that I will be needing. This mainly comprises of comfortable pj’s, activewear, some outfits for ‘dress-up’, and then for the most important: loungewear.

No longer is activewear the beacon of comfort and aestheticism – it is all about LOUNGEWEAR. The popularity of matching pyjama-like ensembles has soared, and for good reason. You can feel great about changing from your pyjamas into slightly more formal pyjamas, which is just perfect for relocating your Netflix-watching activities from the bed to the couch.

Thank goodness for my investment in linen parts at the start of the year. My attempt at a matching loungewear ensemble is exemplified below, with a cream cable knit and earrings that conveniently match the cover of my favourite instruction manual (Every Woman’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Natalie Isaacs). I like to make some attempt to look decent, because interestingly enough I believe that it makes me more productive.

Inconvenient that it’s not a guide to saving the planet from coronavirus

I think that investing in some loungewear would be worthwhile given our current situation and the ongoing versatility of the style. But as emphasised in my guide to saving the planet, it’s important to take the sustainable route when looking to buy. I haven’t had much success in finding secondhand loungewear online, so instead I’ve been searching for loungewear by local brands with ethical values. The hefty price tag on sustainable wear is always an issue for a now unemployed student like myself, but YOLO right? Nah just joking, I can’t afford to live the YOLO life.

On another note, dressing up and down during isolation helps in maintaining some sense of normalcy. To limit the extent of disruption to my normal schedule, I have decided to dress up every Saturday night as though I am heading out for a night on the town. My boyfriend has also been forced to participate. I am hoping that this will maintain my passion for dressing up, even though the only place I have to go is downstairs.

This was me last Saturday:

Apologies for the background

I wore a Bec & Bridge dress, earrings by Swarovski and a Witchery necklace. Don’t ask about the shoes, because I didn’t bring any nice ones with me. But it gave me an excuse to put on my favourite dress, wear my sparkly earrings and do my face up. Personally, I found the experience somewhat rejuvenating and a welcome distraction from the bleak circumstances. I definitely recommend it, even if it’s just getting dressed up to have a glass of wine on the couch.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Thoughts on the 2020 Australian Fashion Summit

Prior to the announcement of Coronavirus cancelling everything, I attended the 2020 Australian Fashion Summit on 13 March here in Melbourne. As the second fashion summit to take place in Australia, it was an action-packed day filled with people from all over the globe and representing different aspects of the fashion industry. Being in a room filled with local and international fashion heavyweights was surreal. From fashion editors, indigenous designers, sustainability activists and CEO’s of fashion brands, we had exclusive access to their views on the future of the fashion industry on a global scale.

The word on everyone’s lips was sustainability. Fashion is great, fashion is fun. But it’s also contributing to the extreme decline of the environment, not to mention the exacerbation of a myriad of social justice issues. It can’t be ignored, and all industry stakeholders have a responsibility to change their habits and practices. This summit was a call-to-action, and it emphasised how drastic our actions need to be in order to achieve some progress. Consumers need to aggressively demand change and brands need to revolutionise their business operations.

The speaker who really struck a chord with me was Eva Kruse. Eva Kruse is the founder and CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), the world’s foremost leadership forum for industry collaboration on sustainability in fashion. With her dedication to promoting awareness and action on sustainability, Eva has worked with the United Nations, the European Commission and recently spoke at the World Economic Forum. She is a badass to the finest degree and works tirelessly with a vast range of stakeholders to spread her message on sustainability.

With an initial presentation on the hard-hitting facts, Eva immediately dispelled the myth that the fashion industry is the second largest contributor to pollution by clarifying that it may be true in some areas in the world, but not overall. That being said, she stated that the industry is one of the most resource-intensive in the world. It is also highly exploitative of garment workers (which has been affected by the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth)), fostering a demand for human-trafficking and slavery. As stated by Glynis Traill-Nash, the Fashion Editor of The Australian, “name an issue and the fashion industry will have it!”.

Eva Kruse proposed some ideas to reduce the damaging effect of the fashion industry. One concept that she suggested was the abolishment of discount sales. The consumer has become accustomed to only purchasing items ‘on sale’, creating a disillusionment as to the true cost of manufacturing clothes. The psychology of only buying on sale also feeds the concept of fashion being disposable. There is evidence of the fast fashion industry slowly declining, as shown by the collapse of Forever 21, however plenty of consumers are not prepared to pay the fair price for a good-quality garment. Buying cheap clothing undermines the work of textile workers, and indicates that workers are not being appropriately financially compensated. But it appears that discount sales tactics are so ingrained in the retail culture that it would be almost impossible to eliminate them. Brands rely on seasonal sales in order to make money. This could not be more apparent with what’s occurring right at this moment, as essentially every brand is discounting in an attempt to induce some spending.

Eva also suggested limiting fashion week to once a year. Fashion weeks are resource intensive, wasteful and reinforce the need to comply with the latest trends. This aligns with Eva’s suggestion that we need to eliminate the concept of ‘trends’, which was also supported by InStyle USA Editor in Chief Laura Brown. Laura Brown spoke about how InStyle USA stopped including reports on the latest trends, because the concept of designers’ collections being reduced to a single transient trend is ridiculous. And in a world where the demand for vintage and second-hand clothing is on the rise, trends are limiting and should become redundant. Trends feed the need to continue buying, which is further enhanced by the sheer number of collections brought out by designers and brands every year. From my experience as a retail sales assistant, customers continue to demand the release of more collections so that they are constantly exposed to newness. This attitude may change post-Coronavirus, but we shall see.

But what does this all mean for fashion brands? As more brands are going into voluntary administration every week, it is no secret that retail is on the decline. Coronavirus has accelerated the process and the economic repercussions are going to be devastating. Many brands will be incapable of implementing sustainable business practices while remaining profitable, as it would be completely at odds with their current business models. But continuing on this path of environmental destruction is going to have unprecedented economic effects regardless, so the priority needs to be safeguarding our planet.

If the sustainable and socially responsible manufacturing of fashion is going to take place, businesses will close. Consumers will be able to afford much less due to the comparatively high cost of sustainable fashion, leading to decreasing consumption of new products and increasing expenditure on vintage and second-hand clothing. But some brands have been able to successfully navigate the sustainable fashion business, with Outland denim, ELK and Bassike representing just a few of examples of local brands that are making a difference. The founders of these brands spoke about their commitment to supplying customers with the highest standard of products and the need to be transparent. Maintaining a trusting relationship with customers is imperative to survival, and this attitude is central to the success of their businesses. It was encouraging to hear their stories, as they are proof that a viable future for the fashion industry is possible.

Towards the end of the day, there was an announcement that the remaining two days of Melbourne Fashion Week would be cancelled due to the ban on large gatherings. Although the world’s attention is currently on Coronavirus, this may be an indicator of how dire circumstances will become if we do not take drastic action on climate change. We are navigating highly uncertain times and the sense of fear is palpable. However, this summit highlighted the need to be adaptable and resilient. This is true for the battle we are fighting currently and will also be the key to success when making the switch to a sustainable fashion industry.

Secondhand Staples

I am so blessed to have fashion-forward family members. It’s a good excuse to rummage through their wardrobes to find some vintage pieces that probably haven’t been worn since the 80’s. I barely need to head to the op shops. This top is no exception, as it previously belonged to my aunty and even has a matching long skirt. It’s a gorgeous colour, but what is more striking is the sequinned detail at the back. You could even wear the top as a cardigan, but I’ve chosen to wear it as a top with a few buttons undone because it was such a warm evening. I wore it with a secondhand white denim skirt from Solus Shop (@solus.shop), which I would wear with everything if I could because it’s such a versatile summer staple. I love to add a pop of colour so I matched the outfit with an aquamarine bag from Mimco and mules from Midas. I haven’t worn this bag in a while so it was nice to air it out.

I am still determined to wear every piece of my summer wardrobe before the summer ends to carry on with my challenge from 2019. Despite last year’s shopping ban, I still have so many clothes, and I need to continually remind myself that I don’t need to add anything else to the wardrobe. And if there’s anything that doesn’t spark joy by the end of the summer, then it will probably be sent to the op shop!

(No pieces worn are current stock)

Shoes: Midas

Bag: Mimco 

Earrings: Witchery 

Thanks for stopping by! x

A Little Freshen Up

A new dress can do remarkable things for your wardrobe’s energy. One month prior to the conclusion of my shopping ban I looked around searching for *the* dress I was going to treat myself to once 2019 was over. I searched in numerous Australian designer stores, fully prepared to spend a bit of cash if I found a dress that I loved as much as my snakeskin boots. I knew that I needed a fresh item in my closet to enthusiastically propel me into the new year. But alas, I couldn’t find anything so I abandoned my search. But on this fateful trip to the battleground of Boxing Day, I found a shirt dress from Sheike – my first non-Witchery dress in a while. It was an unexpected and spontaneous purchase that goes against my newfound minimalist approach, but NO REGRETS.  I love the pattern, the colours, the length and the shirred waist. It is pretty much my ideal dress.

I matched it with my white ankle boots (both a summer and winter staple), my burgundy Prada bag and white earrings. I need to wear these white boots more often this summer, they go with everything.

Dress: Sheike

Shoes: Midas

Bag: Prada

I’m not certain how I will go with minimising my buying in 2020 now that I’m released from my ban. The temptation to add to my wardrobe is fairly compelling. So op-shopping is definitely on the cards to curb any potentially unethical purchases, but I think that if you really love something (and not for a temporary timeframe), you might as well go ahead!

Thanks for stopping by! x