Vintage Pads

There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a fabulous jacket at the op shop.

I came across this find a while ago from a local op shop. It’s a pink and grey tweed coat with black buttons and glorious shoulder pads. Thanks to a recent 80’s revival on the runways, shoulder pads have made a huge comeback and their presence has been strong in the most recent 2020 shows. I used to cringe at shoulder pads and declare them as a regretful trend, but I’m pleased to say that my opinion has changed. I have now embraced shoulder pads in all their broad-shouldered glory.

The coat is a little oversized for me, but I’ve worked it with some straight-leg jeans and mules to give me some length. Underneath I’m wearing a simple cropped long-sleeve top from ASOS that I purchased yonks ago. The coat is perfect for warmer winter days and trans seasonal dressing, even if no one else besides my household members can see it for the meantime.

Jeans: Witchery

Top: ASOS

Shoes: Zara

The pièce de résistance of my second look is my mum’s jacket from the late 80’s. Once again, shoulder pads are everything. I love the pastel colours on the quilted fabric. Honestly, where could you find something like this now? The look reminds me of Isabel Marant’s Resort 2021 collection. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was looking through the photos of that runway show that made me remember this old jacket and the fact that I recently rescued it from my dress-up box. Yes, I still have one of those.

Jeans: Witchery

Top: ASOS

Shoes: Midas

I love this jacket so much that I’ll probably wear it everyday around the house. Maybe by the time lockdown restrictions lift, the weather will be nice enough to float around in civilisation again in these vintage finds.

On the topic of nice weather, I couldn’t help but take a photo of my partner in his warmer weather ensemble on the weekend when the day felt unusually spring-like. After having my instagram feed flooded with influencers enjoying summer in various parts of Italy and the Greek Islands, a sunny day above 16 degrees felt like a glimmer of hope for a hopefully warm and lockdown-free summer.

White linen shirts always remind me of summer. Didn’t he model it well!

Thanks for stopping by! x

 

We Must Shop Better

Modern slavery in the fast fashion industry has once again come to light following the investigation into Boohoo’s treatment of workers in the factory in Leicester. But this is certainly not a new issue. This has been happening in supply chains all over the world, and the situation has only been exacerbated by Covid-19. It is estimated that half a million garment workers in Bangladesh are at risk of losing their jobs as a result of order cancellations, which is in addition to the one million workers who have already lost their jobs during the economic downturn.[1] Even prior to the pandemic, 4 million garment workers in Bangladesh were suffering from low wages and unsafe working conditions that contravened their human rights.[2] Millions of these workers are currently being pushed into poverty and are at risk of starvation. It is recognised that this is also happening in India, Cambodia, Myanmar and now the UK.

Devastatingly, It does not look as though the situation will improve anytime soon. Fast fashion companies will continue to implement exploitative practices for the purpose of reducing costs in the supply chain as long as demand persists. Boohoo, H&M, Zara, Fashion Nova and Gap are just some of the fast fashion giants that have been accused of wage and labour violations, with few companies conforming to safer labour practices. But insufficient progress has been made, as it is simply not profitable for fast-fashion companies to pay living wages and adhere to fundamental labour rights while achieving staggering profits.

This is a purely systemic problem that arises as a result of the fast fashion model. It is not possible to sell cheap items without unsustainable and exploitative practices occurring within the supply chain. We have extremely affordable and on-trend clothing available to us 24/7, but at what cost?

I recall first discovering fast-fashion during my early teens when I was cultivating my love for fashion. I remember finding a pair of trendy jeans for $30 and thinking about how wonderful it was to be able to afford stylish clothing with my pocket money. It felt like the doors to fashion heaven had opened for me, as there was just so much clothing out there at affordable prices. I never bought a bunch of clothes and then sent them to landfill a season later, but I flocked to those stores and relished the bargain hunting. The environmental and human costs associated with my newfound joy were unknown to me. I did not realise the true consequences of such affordable and low-quality fashion until some years later. But despite these injustices being widely acknowledged for a number of years, Boohoo has allegedly managed to get away with paying their factory workers as low as £3.50 per hour until now – £5.22 less than the country’s minimum wage for over 25s.[3]

Consumers have the power to make sustainable and socially-ethical purchasing decisions. I acknowledge that shopping with fast fashion brands is tempting when faced with comparatively cheap shoes and clothing. And as I touched on earlier, the affordability of fast fashion meant that I could covet trends and celebrity styles as soon as they popped up on social media. But we also have a responsibility to know where we are putting our money, and no designer knock-off is worth human exploitation. As consumers, we have the ability to pressure these companies to pay their garment workers a living wage, to provide them with proper working conditions that adhere to their rights, and to treat them the dignity that they deserve. We also have a choice as to what to buy, and I would certainly urge everyone to reduce or eradicate their consumption of fast fashion. For some it won’t be easy to boycott these massive brands, but the act of at least minimising our support for fast fashion brands will be an important step for social justice and environmental purposes.

I recommend learning more by following @remakeourworld, @whomade.yourclothes and the hashtags #payup and #whomademyclothes on Instagram.

[1] Taslima Akhter. (2020, June 22). Bangladesh’s Garment Workers Are Being Treated as Disposable. Retrieved from https://www.thenation.com/article/world/bangladesh-garment-workers-covid-19/

[2] Ibid

[3] Kansara, V. A. (2020, July 10). Why Fashion ‘Slavery’ Is Making Headlines. Retrieved from https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/professional/boohoo-leicester-factory-scandal-fast-fashion-slavery?source=bibblio

Isolation Outfitting Part 2

And life in lockdown resumes in Melbourne. I think we’re all pretty devastated to be in this situation, but we need to do what we need to do in order to keep each other safe. It’s daunting to consider being cooped up again for an extended period of time, particularly as things felt like they were returning back to normal. I think that we will certainly need to rely on our friends and family to help us through this time around, and that’s okay. Hello to nightly FaceTime dates!

I was hoping to air out some of my winter wardrobe during post-uni celebrations, but this will have to wait for another 6 weeks. But as I discovered during the last lockdown, this won’t stop me from dressing up despite having no place to go. With that, my Day 1 of re-lockdown outfit was sorted.

After the first lockdown concluded, it was pretty hectic juggling work and the final weeks of uni studies. But I did have the chance to buy a couple new pieces for work. Our customers have dubbed them as ‘mum jeans’ and I am obsessed with the cut of them. The skinny-leg style that has reigned for over 10 years has been pushed aside to make way for high-waisted, wide-legged jeans that are reminiscent of the 80’s. Today I wore them with a simple white turtleneck, decorated white sneakers, my classic trench and a vintage leopard-print bag. My outing to my backyard was short but sweet.

I am in love with these sneakers! The last pair of white sneakers that I bought back in 2018 were also from Mimco, because I adore the detail on their classic sneakers and the fact that they update the style yearly. They are certainly a little bit extra, which is just the way I like my shoes. They are also incredibly comfortable and of excellent quality.

Trench, Jeans, Top: Witchery

Shoes: Mimco

Bag: Vintage 

Stay safe and look out for one another. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to contact your local mental wellbeing services (in Australia you can contact Beyond Blue or Lifeline) or reach out to your friends and family. We will get through this together.

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.