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Why Wish Lists Aren’t Just for Christmas

By November 20, 2017 Ethical, Wishlist

A while ago, I made the conscious decision to rid my blog of any content using product images, in the hopes to make my site more organic and a place where I only featured items I owned and loved. Most of that content came in the form of wish lists. After reading a piece at around the same time by my Twitter buddy and fellow teen blogger, Eleanor Claudie, I’ve been mulling over why maybe we should all start to rethink wish lists and why they’re fit for purpose for more than just your Christmas or birthday lists as a child…

How Wish Lists Can Make You a More Conscious Consumer

Although it’s a lot easier to see something of a higher price as an investment, I personally like to see everything we obtain and buy as an investment in itself especially when it comes to our clothes.

It’s easy to walk into a high-street store and take the low prices for granted; if you don’t like something after a few weeks or months of buying it, it doesn’t have to break the bank to pass it on or throw it away without much thought.

I know I’ve come across plenty of still-new and still-labelled items in charity shops which shows the short amount of time it can take for something to come in and out of our wardrobes (it even makes me think people have forgotten returning items for a refund is a viable option).

This throw-away culture has become easier for me to avoid and understand over the past couple of years not only due to my knowledge of consumerism but also due to the fact that as I near adulthood (6 months!), I know that what I buy is mine and will be with me when I leave home and create my own haven for collecting and storing what I own.

How Wish Lists Can Make You a More Conscious Consumer

This even crosses over into other parts of my life, like home décor – I’ve curated a style I like and I have posters and prints that I one day want to have framed and hung on the wall. They may not be of use to me now but I know they’ll be of use to me in the future.

What we buy now should last us for years. There’s really no excuse for buying something now and not liking it after 30 days (the usual time allowed for returns and refunds for most stores); it’s a mindless way of buying, whichever way you look at it.

I take this to the extent of properly considering what I buy second-hand, too. Due to the fact that second-hand shopping doesn’t have many consequences or cons to it, it’s easy to want to buy everything you set your eyes on but the same principle still stands. Do you really need what you’re buying?

I’ve previously discussed ways to know whether you’ll actually end up wearing what you buy and one of the tips I suggested was ‘sleeping on it’. Here’s a quote directly from that post which a fair few of you found helpful…

“If you walk away from something you catch your eye on, you’ll know for definite if it’s really worth buying if you sleep on it and wake up still thinking about it.”

How Wish Lists Can Make You a More Conscious Consumer

Perhaps as a child, we never took this too seriously. We might not have written down what Bratz doll we wanted after sleeping on it for weeks and weeks – yes, I played with Bratz, Barbies and the odd Action Man – but we wrote it down and waited and if we were lucky and fortunate enough, it would show up under our tree on Christmas morning or wrapped up on our birthday, and we would go on to treasure the gift because it hadn’t been bought for us on impulse.

Not only do wish lists make us think through our purchases more considerately, they also give us time to think about our budgets which can be helpful especially with items which are priced a little higher. You’ll be more certain about how worthwhile the purchase is and you’ll be more certain you can afford it, too.

So, what’s on your wish list currently? What do you really love but are willing to wait for? Here’s a list of items that I’d quite like to add to my wardrobe…


~ MY WISHLIST ~

Tulsa Hexagon Ring (Tribe of Lambs)
Rashmi Ring (Tribe of Lambs)
Ida Black Lace Bra (Luva Huva)
Ninette Ruby Bra (Luva Huva)
Corduroy Trousers (People Tree)

V-10 Extra White Nautico Pekin Trainers (VEJA)
Eliza Dress (Reformation)
Iris Sunglasses (Peep Eyewear)
Hotel Sweatshirt (Paloma Wool)


Of course, everything is better in moderation and I would recommend you limit the number of wishlists you compile because otherwise, it defeats the whole purpose of more considerate choices. If you want some easy ways to create a wishlist without putting pen to paper, you can use a notepad on your laptop or create a bookmark folder on your browser.

Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you want to see more of what I’m loving, from time-to-time.

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Goodness and Gold | Little by Little Jewellery*

By November 13, 2017 Ethical, My Style

With age, my style has evolved over the years, drawing me closer to items and elements that I never used to appreciate when I was younger. Part of this evolution involved discovering the joy of high-quality jewellery and saying goodbye to costume necklaces and rings which turn my fingers green. They’re sustainable investments and certain pieces have now simply become part of me…

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger


WHAT I WORE: Floaty Cover-Up (Jumble Sale) // Geometric Slip Dress £47.00 (Mayamiko)* // Recycled Denim Choker (Yours Again)* // Watch (Timex)* // Silver Rings (Old & Gemporia*) // Gold Wedge Fan Ring £45.00 (Little by Little)*


My love of rings started when my mum sorted through her jewellery collection a couple of years ago, discovering a silver ring which no longer fit her but was in perfect condition. Fortunately, I was handed it down and you can now see it gracing my finger in almost every picture I post. It’s simple and the stone isn’t anything too spectacular but it’s definitely been and will continue to be sustained by an emotional attachment to it.

It took a few weeks of taking it on and off before I realised I could simply wear it all around the clock because it wasn’t going to wear away or turn a different colour like all of the other jewels I owned previously.

Peculiarly, I get a sense of satisfaction from the idea that just anybody I pass in the street will never know how long it’s been there with me and that yes, I carry it with me all day and every day; it isn’t just a decoration to match what I’m wearing.

For someone in their teens who most definitely isn’t nearing marriage anytime soon, it gives me a similar sense of pride as to wearing a wedding ring (okay, maybe not quite in terms of the meaning behind it but I now get a sense of what it can feel like). It’s the one thing which makes me feel complete even if I’m having a bit of drab day, sartorially.

I added my next ring to my right hand not too long after and although it may seem even simpler, the sparkle to it is what’s missing from my first original addition. And now here I am, donning my third; a gold number – because I’m not against mixing metals – which can fit almost all my fingers (I have tiny ones so it was nice not to have to get a ring measurer out) and has a rather special inspiration behind it…

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little was set up in 2015 by Annabel, a jewellery designer, and Georgina, a cookery author. Combining their two passions, not only do the duo create beautifully designed jewellery to last a lifetime but they also put their energy into supporting the charity Action Against Hunger; the global organisation combating world hunger and providing healthy livelihoods for those in need.

It’s the reason as to why my ring might remind you of a fresh slice of lemon, which is rather fitting for me as not only do I love lemons but where I’m staying in Italy, is dotted with lemon trees around the garden.


Our main aim in establishing Little by Little in 2015, was to make a difference in a sustainable manner. That is why we partnered with Action Against Hunger.

Action Against Hunger’s teams work in nearly 50 countries worldwide to carry out innovative, lifesaving programmes in nutrition, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene. The money that we have raised has generated enough funds to build a latrine and feed 100 malnourished children for a day.


I have to be honest and say that there are plenty of brands out there that label themselves as ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ simply for the work they’re doing with what they generate from their revenue. I’m of course in no way against companies which do this but it can make you feel sceptical of what their end goal is all around.

A lot of the time when people ask me how to know if a brand is truly ethical, I tell them to trust their gut instinct and work out whether the brand is truly passionate about spreading awareness for the issues that affect the industry.

Speaking to Annabel about her core values made me understand and appreciate that it isn’t all about donating money once the item is purchased – it’s about being transparent and responsible from stage one. Although I’m able to let myself and others off for purchasing unethical jewellery and watches due to how long they last, it feels refreshing and satisfactory when you know your jewellery has been made with care.


The intricate jewellery is lovingly created by a well-established jewellery producer in Lima, Peru. The factory has been running for 25 years. It now employs 350 people.

From its inception, its aim was always to bring opportunity and employment. It does this by giving jobs to people with no prior technical experience, training them in the art of jewellery. Having visited I can verify that it is a well equipped, safe and spacious place to work.

Whereabouts are Little by Little items manufactured?

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger

Little by Little Ethical Jewellery for Action Against Hunger
whomademyclothes~ WHO MADE MY RING? ~
There are a number of different individuals that put together the different elements of Little by Little jewellery. Everything is made from scratch. The team are well-skilled jewellers who make and manufacture the jewellery. This is led by Sandra Romero and Piero Reinoso.

Fashion with a cause is often easier to get behind morally within the realm of ethical fashion because we know for certain that our money will be reinvested into something we support and believe in. Although this is the case the whole year round and I don’t need to sell anybody on it, I think as we near gifting season, it’s something to pay attention to. Little by Little combine charity and ethics; a double whammy!

Not only can you gift somebody with a piece to treasure for years and years to come, you can also gift them with a story and a positive message that they’ll be reminded of whenever they wear their new jewels or when, like me, they look down at their new ring every day.


Do you see jewellery as a sustainable investment? How would you style up my ring? Let me know in the comments!

(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Little by Little. Read my full disclaimer here.)

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Is Ethical Fashion Expensive? | A Discussion

By November 8, 2017 Ethical

For the past week or so I’ve been trying my hardest to put this piece together and have it make actual, logical sense. I wanted to start straight off the bat by saying that ethical fashion isn’t expensive and explain from that point onwards. However, upon writing and re-writing (three times!) and discussing it with others, I’ve come to the conclusion that this topic just isn’t that simple, even if I can see it that way myself.

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

At first, I believed that my own experience of consuming ethical and sustainable fashion was a prime example of debunking the myth of a fair wardrobe being completely inaccessible but even I have to admit that I have certain privileges which make it a whole easier to fathom. I’m all about honesty around here; there’s no such thing as being overly transparent.

If I were to say that I don’t add new items to my wardrobe regularly, that wouldn’t be the whole truth. From time to time, I do fill up the gaps in my wardrobe but often I don’t have to pay the expense because I write this blog and am trusted to receive samples and gifted items in order to promote brands which are doing good work.

This isn’t often, which makes the ‘regularly’ part of the statement correct but it still happens; I can’t deny that and nor would I want to – I love fashion. I would expect you do too if you’re reading this.

If I were to also say that the prices of the brands I promote are realistic for people my age or even just the average person who might come across my blog, that wouldn’t be the whole truth either because without the privileges I receive from writing and working my socks off around here, I can hands down say I wouldn’t be wearing a People Tree jumpsuit or a recycled denim choker that costs almost £30 (although, that People Tree jumpsuit has definitely made me realise how worthy their clothes are of an investment).

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

It goes back to the good work they’re doing – I want to show that it’s being done instead of clinging on to the brand names I no longer appreciate. (Bear in mind, I recently turned down an ethical directory feature request because I deemed the brand to be too expensive for my readers. I’m happy with the balance I’ve found.)

If I were to say that second-hand shopping is the best way around any price-based or moral dilemma, that once again wouldn’t be the whole truth because I’m a slim 17-year-old and I’m fortunate most charity shops are filled with viable options for me.

I can’t confirm nor deny whether people of different sizes do genuinely struggle when on the hunt in these scenarios (I often find many more larger sizes, especially in UK stores) but I’m happy to admit I’ve probably been lucky on more than one occasion.

I’m excluding looking for workwear, children’s wear or necessary purchases within this and the rest of my discussion – I’m not about to start saying we should be buying bras and underwear from our local Oxfam (although, good on you if you do) or that a young family of four should all of a sudden stop buying new clothes for their fast-growing kids (my nephews wear mostly second-hand clothes but there’s no way they could go without new shoes or re-purchases here and there).

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

So, what can I say that for the most part, strips away privilege, anything to do about the way we look at ethical options as an ‘investment’ and the idea of conscious consumerism and changing our shopping habits?

Well, it goes back to what a lot of my past blog posts used to revolve around – the facts and figures that show what we’re paying, isn’t what we should be paying if we want to acknowledge that the industry of fashion and the clothes we wear need to change.

The concept of fast-fashion (aka. the opposite of ethical, sustainable or slow fashion) originated in the 90s when the industry in the west discovered the opportunity to manufacturer clothing at a cheaper price and at a faster rate, allowing customers the chance to update and add to their wardrobe with fresh and new styles whilst saving money at the same time, and in-turn, producing more profit (it makes business sense, right?).

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

The majority of fashion manufacturing moved overseas, allowing brands to find cheap labour in developing countries. Quite simply, the demand grew, being supported by catwalks, the advertising industry and the new consumer expectation that we could have it all, whenever we wanted and for an amount, our purses would be happy with. This lead to more and more pressure being put upon the factories by the brands we grew to know and love. It’s why we saw the Rana Plaza disaster and the Tazreen factory fire.

Factories in developing countries aren’t built for the consumption of fast-fashion and nor is the supply chain. The cost of production means underpaid workers, poor working conditions, human rights violations and even child or forced labour that nobody would allow elsewhere.

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

All of these are consequences of the cheap, low prices that can be found on high-streets or online, and that’s not even including the affects this type of production puts on the planet and earth itself. It’s unsustainable and it’s unethical and there’s a reason why it’s cheap and why I don’t use the term very fondly around here.

Even if we’re not used to it and even if it will take years to change – we should be paying more which means ethical fashion, quite frankly, isn’t expensive in theory. It’s expensive in terms of price tag comparison (an ethical t-shirt could cost you £20-30 versus a fast-fashion alternative at £10) but the reason behind it is just and fair. It ensures that workers are paid fairly and that they work in safe environments, as well as often ensuring the use of sustainable and organic materials.

“But in the meantime, Tolly, how can I afford to buy new clothes at the same time as caring about where they come from? It seems impossible.”

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

This is where my favourite friend, Mindset, comes into play. Over-consumption goes hand-in-hand with the actual manufacturing of clothes and it isn’t helped by how we now see it being portrayed in front of our very own eyes. I know one YouTuber who has done eight different ‘haul’ videos in the past month.

I’m by no means accusing any of you of over-consuming but I think a lot of us can almost experience a sense of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) by not owning a beret or a pair of heeled boots right now. I know I have!

We live in a society that thrives off of a culture of consuming the latest new “thing” (due to how #capitalism and the world of advertising works, as already mentioned) which is especially the case with fashion, with trends dipping in and out that not only affect our clothes but go on to change everything else around us.

Why Is Ethical Fashion Expensive

The more we understand that this behaviour and way of consuming isn’t necessary, the less money we’ll end up spending in shorter periods of time, allowing more room for those so-say more pricey purchases which will end up being more of an investment anyway. Cost-effectiveness is sustainable and beneficial especially if you’re on a tighter budget (again – parents or anyone with strict workwear policies, I’m not pointing at you).

For example, if you know a pair of unethically produced shoes which are currently in the fashionable charts, won’t last you as long as a more investable and ethically produced pair would; think about which is more worthwhile, not only for your wallet that may have to repurchase once the cheaper option has worn down but also for the planet and the people who are making them. For me, I don’t even question it anymore.

And if you can and you’re willing to try? Look in Oxfam or Goodwill or on Depop or eBay. Even if it takes you three times as long as looking on ASOS or scrolling through what Topshop has to offer – I promise you it will feel so much more satisfying when you’ve prolonged a perfectly wearable item’s lifespan. I recently welcomed in an old pair of cherry red Dr Martens and a suede coat most definitely not in my size but there’s nothing a new pair of innersoles and wearing something oversized can’t do!


As this title suggests, I want this to be a discussion so go forth and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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If You Don’t Watch The True Cost, Read This – A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison

By October 24, 2017 Ethical

I’ve covered quite a few books on my blog over the past year or two, all of them being related to ethical fashion on varying levels, however, I’ve never read or reviewed a fictional book until I discovered A Harvest of Thorns and realised that fiction could be another way to help people understand and come to terms with fast-fashion. (Please be aware that this book and my review covers topics such as rape and may give away mild spoilers.)

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Book Review


A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison


Although I had the idea that the book covered the tale of a single garment worker, A Harvest of Thorns actually covers the tale of not only garment workers, but a journalist and the general counsel of the fictional retailer, ‘Presto‘ (you could compare it to the likes of Amazon).

Based on what the author Corban Addison discovered and experienced himself after the Tazreen Fashions factory fire in 2012, the story covers a similar tale and how it affects a major corporation, consumers and the future of the fashion industry.

It’s film-like, in the way the book is written; it’s descriptive and immersive and allows you to understand all of the different perspectives that you’re reading, whether that be from the perspective of a garment worker who is forced to work without pay; Joshua Griswold – the journalist battling with his struggling relationship, his cancer-ridden daughter and his career – or Cameron Alexander; the general counsel (chief lawyer) who recently lost his wife in a tragic car accident and is facing the possibility of his mother’s death.

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Book Review

As you can probably tell, this isn’t an uplifting story but it isn’t supposed to be. Although all of the stories and characters are fictional, it all comes from reality – these stories and characters exist, whether we want them to or not.

The reason I suggest this book as an alternative to The True Cost in the title, is because I believe it’s just as hard-hitting, even if it’s not factual and can’t show you the honest and costly reality of the industry through video footage.

It also explores more than just the Rana Plaza – the only true story included within the main plot – and the realities of factory conditions. The fictional aspect allows you to understand and interpret each story in a way which you can empathise with yourself.

Although I judged Cameron at first for his corporate position, I came to understand that he emphasised easily with what was going on in front of him. There’s no excuse for not being able to take a step back and really understand what is going on from an emotional level but the parallels between his personal life and what he was finding out about the industry, reminded me of my post after my experiences with the Italian earthquakes in 2016 (you can’t prevent an earthquake but you can prevent people from getting hurt).

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Book Review

Cameron was struggling with guilt over the death of his wife Olivia, which he believed could have been prevented by him taking a break from driving when he was tired.

The factory fire described in the book could have been prevented if Presto relieved some of its pressure off of suppliers (even when as the book explains, Presto’s customers wouldn’t notice the difference if they did) – therefore, he was able to really grasp the issue at hand as he was dealing with a similar personal issue.

You may notice that the two main characters are both men, but to me, this actually supports the book as a whole and adds something really important to certain stories. For example, the character Alya experiences sexual assault and rape from a factory supervisor and ends up pregnant, alone and unable to go back home when she’s made to leave her factory.

Sexual assault has been highlighted in the news recently and thankfully, a lot of good is coming from the bad, with more women and victims coming forward to show that this really is a pressing issue. However, Alya’s story in the book is one which is hardly ever spoken about due to the fact that women like her, aren’t able to speak out. It could jeopardise their whole life and risk worsening their position.

Cameron and Joshua are two men who are in positions of power and privilege (which they could easily abuse) and are able to help Alya out of her situation and begin the process of making sure it doesn’t happen again.

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Book Review

If I’m to point out one major takeaway from the book, it’s that facing up to ignorance is a huge challenge in the fight for change within the fashion industry (and many other industries, too). Whether that’s from a government perspective, a company, an investor or more specifically, consumers.

In the book, it takes a video of one of the garment workers speaking out their story for somebody high up in Presto to really open their eyes, even when they’ve been faced by the press, activists and their own employees with stacks upon stacks of evidence as to why change needs to happen.

A lot of the time, we don’t want to hear it. We don’t want to watch films and documentaries like The True Cost because then we have to finally admit that we could be doing so much better. That’s why, once again, this book is a great alternative – you can read it as you wish, knowing it’s fictional, and take it into your own hands to apply your thoughts and feelings to how it affects you and your own shopping habits.

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Book Review

My rough sketches of Cameron, Madison, Josh and Alya based upon my imagination.

What books have you read recently? Share your recommendations in the comments!

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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The Answers to Your Many Questions | Survey Response

By October 19, 2017 Ethical, Shop

Not too long ago, I popped up a quick survey for you guys to answer and submit your burning questions and queries about ethical fashion. The survey is still open and I would love if you would continue to fill it in, as it’s always good to know what you’re interested in learning more about. In the meantime, I have some answers for those of you have already asked away, inspired by my ‘Many Questions’ t-shirt from the Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh collection…

Common Ethical Fashion Questions | Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh


WHAT I WORE: Many Questions T-Shirt £20.00 (Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh) // Ripped Jeans (New Look – old)* // Vagabond Dioon Platforms (Mastershoe-MyShu – old) // Red Leather Jacket £6.00 (Charity Shop)


Is there such a thing as cheap or high-street ethical fashion?

It’s understandable that this question became a reoccurring theme in my survey responses, especially as most of you reading this are of a student age where funds are limited whilst you still want to enjoy fashion and updating your wardrobe.

I really want to say yes to this question. I don’t want to let people down and leave you all feeling hopeless that shopping ethically just isn’t a viable option, but especially when it comes to the high-street, it’s a real tricky one (and I will be writing about it in more depth in the near future).

I’m quite open with how I stand on high-street and ‘cheap’ brands launching sustainable and more ethically-conscious lines and collections; I’m a bit of a sceptic, honestly. For me, the negatives of how these brands and businesses are run will always out-way the smaller, positive steps they’re taking, until major shifts start to take place. I can’t happily tell you to go and shop with H&M and their Conscious collection when I’m being told they burn unwanted items.

The thing is, there’s always going to be a better option, even when you’re buying from a brand which is Fair Trade certified or is using recycled fibres – there’s always going to be a brand or designer out there who is doing the next best thing (which is great, don’t get me wrong). The better option to buying on the high-street is buying second-hand; the better option to buying second-hand is not buying at all. You see the dilemma?

So – really, no, there’s no such thing as ethical high-street fashion, yet. That’s just because that’s how the industry works and that’s what we’re all on the path to changing. Is there such thing as cheap ethical fashion? Yes. Second-hand and thrift shops are full of it. Your mum’s wardrobe is. XYZ Insert Ethical Brand name’s seasonal sale is. The £30 t-shirt which will last five times longer than an £8 option is also doing the trick.

Common Ethical Fashion Questions | Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh

How do I get my friends on board?

Luckily for you, I’ve touched on this question several times in the past. Click here, here and here for some of my old blog posts to browse through. I know from my own personal experience that it isn’t easy to suddenly transform your friends and family into conscious consumers.

It won’t click for everyone immediately, especially those who are only receiving information and education through you and you only. Honestly, if you really want to do it – try and get them to sit down and watch the True Cost, which you can easily stream via Netflix. Maybe even do a screening at home! Tell them that it’s important to you and you think it could be interesting and valuable for them to watch.

Where do I find trend-specific pieces?

Once again, you’re in luck. I recently wrote about my experience with trends and ethical fashion and how my priorities have now changed. That’s the blog post to answer your question.

Common Ethical Fashion Questions | Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh

What books and resources should I use to learn more?

Third times the charm, isn’t it? I’ve got you covered with my 2016 list of books and resources. I’ll be sure to do one for 2017 too, as I’ve definitely learned and discovered since then, including the book A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison which looks at the fast-fashion industry from a fictional perspective.

Are there any sustainable technologies helping advance the industry?

This is a really interesting question which I wished I had a blog post to direct you to for my answer but alas, technology is part of the industry I have limited knowledge in (alongside the intricacies of Fair Trade, the ethical beauty world and vegan materials) but will bear in mind to research so that I can share my findings with you.

Any examples that do come to mind, are mainly fabric oriented, like Pinatex, which takes pineapple leaf fibres and creates a leather alternative which you’ll see being used by the likes of Po-Zu (the ethical and sustainable footwear brand now headed up by Safia Minney).

Have any other burning questions? Leave them in the comments or click here to submit to my survey!


Do you feel inspired? If so, perhaps you might be interested in nominating Tolly Dolly Posh for an Observer Ethical Award. If you believe my commitment to ethical fashion is award-winning, click this link and leave my name, link and a few words in the Young Green Leaders category. Nominations now close on October 22nd 2017. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Can You Stay on Top of Trends as a Conscious Consumer?

By September 18, 2017 Ethical

Let’s take a breather on the Lost Shapes x TDP content, shall we? For this post, you could say the alternative title would be – How I’ve Lost Touch with Trends and What Goes on at Fashion Week…

ethical and sustainable fashion advice - shopping for trends


WHAT I WORE: Navy Livia Jumpsuit (People Tree)* // Printed Jacket €5.00 (Charity Shop) // Clarabella Handbag £33.00 (What Daisy Did)* // Recycled Denim Choker (Yours Again)* // Sunglasses (Topshop – old) // Pink Flatform Sandals (New Look – old)*


A couple of years ago, perhaps even only last year, you would have seen me live streaming London Fashion Week and scribbling notes down as each dress came down the catwalk; I used to print out the show schedule even though I wasn’t attending and I’d get in touch with PRs just in case I was nearby when September and February rolled around. I was drawn in by the drama and excitement of it all and I couldn’t wait to spot fellow bloggers sat on the ‘FROW’ of Topshop Unique.

Fast-forward to now, if you asked me what the latest trends were, I’d panic and stare at you with wide eyes and hesitantly give a good guess… “The eighties?”, I might say, perhaps I’d even follow it up with a mumbled, “Ruffles?”, but I’d never be quite sure because the last time I really paid attention to the going-on’s of the catwalks and the seasonal trends that trickle down from that, was the last time I shopped with a fast-fashion brand.

I suppose at first I wanted to realise why is this; what made me lose interest? As a designer (2 co-branded collections under my belt, thank you very much), when you research for collections, you often look at what other designers are working on – you look at trends and how past eras and styles are being channelled through into more up-to-date times.

ethical and sustainable fashion advice - shopping for trends

It’s all part of the research and it’s why it wouldn’t have been an absurd guess for me to have said “The eighties” when we went through a whole period of reigniting the decade before that, for a good few years. As someone who can admit that non-ethical or sustainably focused clothes can still be appealing to me (aesthetically, that is), I find it hard to say the reasoning behind my sudden disinterest in these trends is completely and solely a moral one, if I’m still being drawn in by the news that ASHISH are collaborating with River Island.

However, it is true that I’ve unfollowed a handful of my former high-street loves on social media and I’ve probably drowned out a number of luxury designers that I’m influenced by, by connecting with more positive and sustainably focused ones. But, why would that mean I’m now completely out of the loop?

If you’re already a conscious consumer and you’ve researched these sort of things, the answer might be fairly unsurprising – maybe supporting ethical fashion just doesn’t allow for acknowledging trends and the major fashion months every season? It’s commonly said that trends and conscious consumerism don’t play well hand-in-hand; in fact, avoiding them is one of my tips in my list of 10 simple ways to ‘keep on asking’.

ethical and sustainable fashion advice - shopping for trends

If we want to steer the fashion industry into a more positive direction, slowing down trends and how we shop would make a huge difference because the rate at which we produce, consume and throw-away new styles and ideas is simply unsustainable. So, it’s no wonder that trend focused ethical brands aren’t really a ‘thing’ and it’s no wonder my grasp on it all, has slipped. Ethical brands that I admire don’t even tend to talk about trends on social media and collections don’t always get released at seasonal times for the likes of “S/S” and “A/W”.

I opened up this conversation in the #EthicalHour Facebook group and had some brilliant responses, a lot of them reiterating the fact that shopping for fashion consciously is more about long-lasting purchases and shapes and fabrics you know will last years on end.

When I (and others) talk about conscious consumerism, we’re not talking about the idea of not shopping at all (I really don’t expect anyone to wear the same clothes for their whole entire life, even if these Sardinian women have other ideas), we’re simply talking about slowing down – slow fashion, is perhaps a more useful term to use in this scenario, and releasing major collections for every season, doesn’t really add up.

ethical and sustainable fashion advice - shopping for trends

But there are ways around this – if you want to shop a trend ethically, you might find that brands designs overlap with current styles even if it isn’t purposefully. And you can scour your local charity and second-hand shops to find pieces which will match up perfectly, anyway. Trends come in cycles; everything is re-used, just not necessarily in the way we want it to be.

So, it is possible to stay on trend, it might just become less of a priority to you once you start to change your shopping habits and you might find, like me, you’ll lose touch with how fashions and trends change altogether. That might sound a bit alarming but in one way, it makes style a lot more fun to play with – who needs trends when you can dress to look different to everyone else whilst being ethical? Not me!

Do you think it’s possible to shop with trends and ethics in mind? Let’s discuss it in the comments…

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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10 Simple Ways to Keep on Asking

By September 14, 2017 Ethical, Shop

In celebration of the launch of Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh last week, I thought I would explore the meanings behind each design and turn them in to helpful articles for you to use and put into practice. First up is my Keep on Asking design. You may have heard me suggest these ideas in many blog posts before but that’s just how important I think they are. Here are 10 simple ways to keep on asking…

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts


~ SHOP LOST SHAPES X TOLLY DOLLY POSH ~
Featured: Keep on Asking


1. Use your voice on social media…

Although I understand that “clicktivism” isn’t always the most powerful tool, especially when it’s thrown in amongst content that is quite the opposite, if you have a platform, I definitely advise using it. Even if you’re not necessarily a blogger or don’t specifically use social media to reach a specific audience, just one click might inspire one person to follow in your ethical and conscious footsteps.

2. …and your voice in real life…

As I said, empowering and inspiring on social media isn’t always the answer, so get out there and talk to people you know about these issues in real life. Even if just means casually dropping in a question or thought about ethical fashion whilst you’re shopping with a friend, it’s the same principle – it may just cause a chain reaction. Ask your friend or family member if they’ve ever thought about where their clothes come from or how something can be priced so cheaply.

3. Ask yourself questions…

It’s all well and good subtly dropping these questions and concerns into a conversation but if we’re not repeatedly asking ourselves these questions, then how can we become more conscious? Ask yourself if the action you’re taking is the best one – could I recycle this shirt differently? Do I really know where my dress came from? Is the label telling me enough?

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts

4. Join in with #WhoMadeMyClothes…

I’ve encouraged this enough and it was one of the main inspirations behind the slogan t-shirt in my collaboration. Every year, Fashion Revolution asks consumers and customers to ask brands who made their clothes to push for transparency and challenge what we know of the fashion industry.

5. Take longer to decide before buying…

Use my helpful guide on how to know if you’ll actually wear what you’re buying if you want to work out easier ways to decide on your purchases beforehand. This can really help us all become more sustainable.

6. Write a letter to brands you love…

Using Fashion Revolution’s helpful guides, write a letter or a post card to a brand that you love. Admittedly I have yet to do this, so perhaps I’ll report back in the near future when I give it a shot myself. Writing a letter could bury a seed into the mind of someone has more power than somebody reading a brand’s social media feeds and really shows you’re willing to put in the effort for something you feel strongly about.

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts

7. Look for warning signs…

Are you being greenwashed? Do you even know what greenwashing means? Learning how to identify signs of a product or brand not being quite as eco-friendly or ethical as it seems can help us avoid buying into the idea of sustainability and ethics being a trend. I spoke about greenwashing here and I hope it helps you keep your eyes peeled.

8. Question price…

…because your t-shirt shouldn’t cost less than your trip to Starbucks. Price doesn’t mean everything; just because an item is more expensive doesn’t mean it is immediately more ethical. In my opinion, you shouldn’t trust any brand that is selling at absurdly low prices (I’m talking about the likes of Primark and H&M) because it’s obvious they are cutting corners. At the same time, research brands that charge more so you know what you’re really paying for and investing in.

9. See if you can find an alternative…

If you know what you’re buying isn’t necessarily ethical, perhaps hold up on purchasing and see if you can find an ethical alternative or even a second-hand one. This ties in with taking longer to decide before buying but is especially important if you’re either investing in a product or re-purchasing an essential wardrobe item that you might benefit investing in, anyway. Quality lasts, folks!

10. Don’t take anything at face value…

This final step is really the whole idea of asking questions and pushing for transparency. We need to know as much as possible in order to make conscious and considered decisions that will not only help us but other people and the planet. Ask questions, even if they seem simple and easy to answer – they should be if they’re not already.


  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh Ethical T-Shirt Collection

By September 7, 2017 Ethical, Shop


~ LOST SHAPES X TOLLY DOLLY POSH ~
Shop the ethical t-shirts collection


I’m so excited to announce that I have officially launched my own ethical and sustainable t-shirts with Lost Shapes! For a large portion of this year, I’ve been working closely with Lost Shapes to bring you something that we’re both incredibly proud to be sharing with you all. A lot of projects like this often don’t seem like much on the surface but I can tell you now that a lot of love and hard work went into making these t-shirts possible, so I hope you appreciate them as much as we do!

In case you aren’t aware, Lost Shapes are an independent clothing brand from back home in the UK. The wonderful owner, Anna, has built her brand upon ethical and sustainable values to go along side her traditionally hand-printed designs. You might recognise Lost Shapes from my ethical directory.

I couldn’t release my first sustainable pieces without making them all about what I believe in. In this post, not only can you scroll through and get a taste of the lookbook, you can also find out the inspirations behind each piece and why they ended up looking like they do.

However, if you’re ready to shop already, click the link above. I can’t wait to see you all wearing your Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh pieces!

Make sure to tweet @TollyDollyPosh and @LostShapes with the hashtag #LSxTDP so we can see how you style them.


~ MANY QUESTIONS T-SHIRT ~
100% Organic Cotton with 90% Reduced Carbon Footprint


This design is inspired quite simply by the idea of questioning the supply chains across the fashion industry. It’s a bold inspiration which might not come across to just anyone but it started to be put across from the very first pages of my sketchbook. The question marks are linked like a chain and if you look very closely, the colours cross over each other with slight transparency – that of course was very intentional.

As the name suggests, there are so many questions that need answering when it comes to our clothes, so this is like wearing all of them on a t-shirt which supports answering them. The racer style makes it all the more striking and looks rather good against the backdrop of the lookbook (it’s a Keith Haring mural, open and on display in Pisa, Italy).

I styled both t-shirts with a denim skirt (second-hand, of course), as there are definite yet subtle 80s vibes in each design. Although the bright pink and orange may seem rather summery, there’s no reason these t-shirts can’t be worn throughout the colder seasons. I’m ready and set to pair this design with a biker jacket.

 


~ KEEP ON ASKING T-SHIRT ~
Fair Trade 100% Organic Cotton with workers premium


The other t-shirt in my little collection took a while longer to perfect (well, both of them did – a lot of time goes into making colours perfect when they’re being hand-printed), simply because slogans of course have a lot to shout about.

We want these t-shirts to be open for everyone to wear (man or woman, they’re unisex!), hence why the ‘Many Questions’ design is a symbolic pattern and hence why the phrase ‘Keep on Asking’ hopefully, applies to a lot of other things.

Of course, the ‘Keep on Asking’ I’m referring to within my designs, is the idea of asking those who are in charge and capable of real change, to answer questions. This stems back to great initiatives like Fashion Revolution and #WhoMadeMyClothes, as well as just conscious consumerism in general. In order to become more transparent, we need questions to be answered. Once again, the transparent layering is intentional and I’m really happy with the outcome, especially with the 80s style, bubble font.

I’ve already worn this t-shirt a dozen ways with different skirts and bottoms (it may or may not be my favourite design of the two, with the Fair Trade cotton being the cherry on top) and I think the versatility definitely comes down to the shirt being grey.


whomademyclothes

~ WHO MADE MY T-SHIRTS? ~
Every Lost Shapes item is sourced sustainably before being hand-printed by Anna Brindle, the creator of Lost Shapes, with each design in the collaboration designed lovingly by Tolly Dolly Posh.


I’m really proud to have worked with Anna on this little collection. It took a lot of back and forth work but I believe the overall outcome was most definitely worth it. I really hope to see some of you wearing them in the near future, or at least to hear you have them on your wishlist! All the important links can be found belowhappy Lost Shapes x Tolly Dolly Posh shopping!


FOLLOW LOST SHAPES:
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

DOWNLOAD:
Press Release // Lookbook


Special thanks to Kayleigh Adams Photography for capturing the t-shirts in all of their glory. Follow Kayleigh on Instagram for more photography and visit her website if you’re interested in using her for your own project. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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How Teens Can Grow out of Clothes Sustainably

By August 30, 2017 Ethical

I like to say that I do a fairly reasonable job at keeping my content appropriate for all ages but seeing as I am still within the teenage age bracket, from time to time, I think it’s helpful to reach out to my fellow young audience. Today I’m talking about growing out of clothes sustainably because there comes a point where that jumper just isn’t going to fit anymore.

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

I’d like to say that I’m a great example of growing out of clothes sustainably but I understand that has a lot to do with the fact that I’m on the slim size and I can easily squeeze into clothes which I’ve had since I was about 10 years old. For example, within the past year, I’ve only just gotten around to buying new camisoles and vests because elastic stretches and there was just no need to waste any money when they were still fitting me perfectly.

However, this, of course, isn’t the case for everyone especially when you’re going through growth spurts and changes faster than I can spit out the phrase ‘ethical and sustainable fashion’. I’ve had a good think though (thank me later) and I’ve tried to narrow down some ideas on how you can avoid putting all of your old clothes into a bin bag and throwing them away without much thought. Perhaps these ideas might even work for all ages, after all…

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Shop with your future-self in mind…

If you’re thinking about replacing or buying new (which doesn’t necessarily have to be new, remember; second-hand shopping is your friend!), think about your future self and whether what you’re buying will last in your wardrobe for a considerable amount of time. This post from my archives might be useful.

Of course, we will all grow out of styles and clothes at certain points during our lives. I can’t say what I wear now will be anything like what I’ll wear in say, five or ten years’ time, but it’s important to think about what could last rather than not thinking about it at all. This works for both style and size.

It can be done by avoiding trends or novelty clothing (slogan tees which perhaps won’t be relevant a few years down the line) and buying colours and prints which you know will continue to match and create a base for your wardrobe (stripes are a great example). Of course, your style might not change much at all if you’ve hit the nail on the head and are comfortable with what you wear, but it’s always good to leave room for changing and evolving. This is especially important if you’re in your later teens and what you wear now, is more than certainly going to travel around with you when you leave home!

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Switch up how you wear your clothes…

This sounds odd but I’ve kept so many of my clothes for three times as long as they should have been kept by simply wearing or layering them differently. A piece I once wore as a dress has now become a top with three-quarter length sleeves and my denim jacket has become a cropped sleeveless vest with a snip of some scissors.

Think about how else you could style what’s in your wardrobe before deciding to put it to rest. You may even be able to save a piece which used to be your favourite. As I mentioned with my denim jacket, this can, of course, involve upcycling and revamping.

Sell or swap, rather than donate…

If you have clothes which unfortunately cannot be worn or upcycled any longer, why not think about selling them? Not only can you earn yourself some pocket money, you can also engage in second-hand selling. You can also swap clothes with you friends too! Take a browse through each other’s wardrobes or find a local clothes swap to take part in. If you’re interested in learning why donating clothes to charity might not be the best option if you’re wanting to let old clothes go, read my post all about it here

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Go a size up…

Finally, if you have to replace or go shopping, go a size up if you’re really growing out of things. It ties into switching up how you wear different pieces because you can just start out by wearing clothes oversized or with belts and accessories to make you feel more fitted. This might be extra useful to remember when you next go shoe shopping, especially.

Sadly, I grew out of my first pair of second-hand Dr Martens after a year. I have, however, kept them in storage to one day pass down. That’s another idea, even if it sounds a little over board.

Have any other tips and tricks to grow out of clothes sustainably? Leave suggestions in the comments!


Do you feel inspired? If so, perhaps you might be interested in nominating Tolly Dolly Posh for an Observer Ethical Award. If you believe my commitment to ethical fashion is award-winning, click this link and leave my name, link and a few words in the Young Green Leaders category. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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What Do Logos and Labels Say About You?

By August 20, 2017 Ethical

A seed of a thought was planted in my mind a while ago when I read To Die For by Lucy Siegle (click the link for my review). One part of wearing ethical and sustainable clothes, is sending out a message about what you stand for, and Lucy touches on this in her book. But mixing this idea with logos makes it all the more important to pay attention to. Why? Let’s discuss…

ethical fashion advice - should we wear fast-fashion logos?

I might seem a little drastic to jump to the idea of thinking of our subconscious but with the idea of sustainability slowly trickling down to the everyday shopper (even if it’s through the rather controversial and possibly green-washed campaigns by the likes of H&M), what messages people are fed, even when they’re not purposefully thinking about it, all play a role in what happens next.

The idea in Lucy’s book that really stood out to me, was the idea of wearing faux-fur. Any kind of vegan material is suspicious to me (can we really say plastic alternatives to leathers are sustainable? I think not) but there are obviously many reasons why people avoid buying real fur.

The question was – by wearing any kind of fur, fake or vintage, aren’t we still showing the world that we appreciate and see fur as something wearable? That got the ball rolling for me, and it’s brought me back around to logos and labels, as the title of this post suggests.

ethical fashion advice - should we wear fast-fashion logos?

If we’re wearing a visible logo, how does this affect how people view our ethical views? Again, admittedly that sounds drastic to think about but as somebody who owns a pair of Nike trainers, yet stands by going against sweatshops, what does that say about me, when someone looks at my feet?

You might be thinking – does anybody really pay that much attention? Probably not. In fact, people are more likely to pay more attention to what you’re wearing on Instagram to what you’re wearing in real life (the same question still applies though), so perhaps the idea is more of a moral one.

Is it right to wear a Prada logo even when the shirt was bought second-hand? That’s my most recent query, after picking one up from a charity shop. Luxury doesn’t automatically mean ethical, after all, and nobody in passing will necessarily know I re-used an item which would have otherwise had been wasted.

Taking the question about faux-fur and adapting it a little; by wearing a label attached to an unethical brand, new or vintage, aren’t we still showing the world that we in some way appreciate and see fast-fashion as something to be worn and supported?

Visibility to me, is what I think is important. Bold, glaring logos which are immediately recognisable will say something to people in passing (or on social media), no matter how subconscious the connection is.

This doesn’t mean to say I think we should all be throwing out anything we own which is branded (never throw out clothes just because what you own isn’t ethical – keep them for longer), but it is to say I think we should shop more consciously with what message we’re putting out there in mind, especially when the message is easy to recognise and judge. Yeah, I’m saying – avoid that Gucci style Topshop-logo splashed t-shirt that’s apparently currently on sale (or you know, Topshop in general.)

“What about non-visible logos?” I hear you cry – well, as I just said, do not fear if your wardrobe is packed with them already (and by that I mean, Primark or other fast-fashion labels, like I myself still own), as it’s better to prolong their life in your wardrobe than rid of them completely. Also, as I’ve been asked this in the past and also rather recently, yes, it’s okay to shop second-hand even if what you’re buying was originally made or sourced unethically. Your money isn’t going directly into the hands of the industry, so you’re safe to shop fast-fashion in the second-hand world.

Have you ever thought about what logos you’re wearing say about you? Let me know in the comments!

ethical fashion blog - lost shapes x tolly dolly posh


SPEAKING OF LOGOS…

…you’ll soon be able to wear mine on the back of your t-shirt! And yes, it will be ethical. I’ve finally announced my upcoming collection with Lost Shapes which will be available to buy on September 7th, 2017. YAY!


Do you feel inspired? If so, perhaps you might be interested in nominating Tolly Dolly Posh for an Observer Ethical Award. If you believe my commitment to ethical fashion is award-winning, click this link and leave my name, link and a few words in the Young Green Leaders category. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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