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My 2016 Ethical Fashion Education | Books, Documentaries & More

By December 18, 2016 Ethical

I wasn’t sure how to end off 2016 in terms of blog posts. I haven’t been able to get out anywhere at the moment due to a broken down car, so my shoot locations are limited (as well as my wardrobe, on another note), and most of the topics I want to focus on are ones that I would like to tie into my ethical directory re-launch in the New Year. If you know me, you know that time is something that I revolve around in terms of starting new things, so instead of publishing rather unfestive posts, I thought I would look back on the year in terms of what I’ve been learning. There will also be my annual round-up post coming up soon, but for now, let’s talk about the ethical sides of things in my ethical fashion education summary…


To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle 

I have to admit that I’m still working my way through the pages of this book but it deserved a mention nonetheless. Some of the topics covered are ones I haven’t necessarily thought about before, like one of the recent chapters about the auditing process in the fast fashion industry. It’s a lengthy book and covers some of the early 2000s and how the cycle and issues have changed over recent years. Reading this and the other books mentioned in this post is a sure-fire way to learn more factual information about your clothes and where they possibly come from.

BBC Panorama Undercover: The Refugees Who Make Our Clothes

This half-hour documentary by BBC Panorama is a short and simple insight into the issues going on in the industry, and why we should be opening our eyes to them when they affect us so clearly. Some of the quotes from mentioned brands like ASOS and Next genuinely upset me, because it shows how the brands themselves don’t even know what is going on to the full extent that they are. The filming takes place undercover in Turkey, focusing on factories and workshops using child labour and illegally employed Syrian refugees. If you shop with ASOS, Next, Marks and Spencers, Mango, ZARA and the like – please watch this.

Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E Hoskins (Review)

A different perspective on the fashion industry, focusing on the capitalist cycle of how it works, as well as topics like racism and size. I found that although this was still a factually informative book and every chapter was extremely insightful, the way it was written and the illustrations alongside it, made it more down to earth and inviting. You can read my full review on Tansy’s book above. It’s been a pleasure to connect with her and support a book which I hope many of you go on to read!

▷ UDITA (Arise): A documentary about female garment workers from Bangladesh

Out of all of the documentaries I’ve watched about the darker side of fast fashion (well, actually – is there even a lighter side?), this truly shows that even the garment workers themselves want us to change our ways, even just by thinking about the way we shop. Being a conscious shopper does so much more than being oblivious to your actions. Every penny you spend with a brand using an exploitive system, is a vote towards their work. It’s over an hour long, but perhaps you can switch out a Netflix episode for something like this, instead?

Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics by Safia Minney (Review)

Safia’s book was the first I bought purely to learn more about ethical fashion. Now that I’ve read several others, I would have to say I would recommend this once you have learned more about the issues themselves, whether that’s about exploitation or inequality or child labour or any of the topics mentioned in this post and beyond. This is mainly because the second half of this book is almost a directory for brands paving the way, and as much as that is important, I think it’s what you need to read about afterwards. It’s still an educational book though, and it was really eye opening to see what other ethical advocates had to say.

Remake: Join the Ethical Fashion Movement

A recent discovery for me is the movement, Remake. I love finding sites that are dedicated to inspiring people to becoming more ethical, especially when it focuses on younger people. There’s a great video by the founder, Ayesha Barenblat, on their core aim and how millennials can choose to change the world they live in. It also touches on the topic of strength and female equality, which is something I mentioned in my post focusing on why I don’t think you can be a feminist if you support fast fashion. If you want to follow along with their journey and start integrating their great work in to your day-to-day, make sure you follow them on social media.

Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking by Anne Elizabeth Moore (Review)

For those wanting a more visual way of learning about the fashion industry, you might like to take a look at the comic book I read this year called, Threadbare. Focusing on some of the more taboo areas of in the industry like sex and trafficking, it might not be for everyone, but it’s worth taking a look at nonetheless. It’s what inspired my post on feminism, and is what I hope inspires some of you to broaden your minds even further, about what isn’t always discussed.

What have you been learning about in 2016? Leave your ethical fashion education recommendations in the comments!


I hope you have a wonderful holiday this year. I’ll be back before the New Year, I promise!

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Slow Fashion by Safia Minney

By July 2, 2016 Ethical

I’m going to say something for the 1000th time when it comes to ethical and sustainable fashion; it’s really important to educate yourself.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review


SLOW FASHION by Safia Minney


You might be aware of some of the issues surrounding the fashion industry these days, but how much do you really know about what’s being done to make changes? How many real life stories have you listened to? How do you know what to do as a consumer?

These are all questions you should be able to answer easily, but for a lot of people, it’s hard to answer them without saying, “I don’t know” or perhaps, “I don’t know enough to give you an answer”. So yes, I may have said it several times by now, but it really is important. We all need to learn more, so that we’re open and aware about what needs to change… a big emphasis on need, because it really does need to.

So, as a way to educate yourself, I’m going to introduce you to a book that I’ve just finished reading – “Slow Fashion” by founder and CEO of People Tree, Safia Minney. “Slow Fashion” is a book which explores the work which is being done to make the fashion industry more ethical and sustainable, as well inspiring entrepreneurs, creatives and consumers, to think differently and start to make change, no matter how big or small.

Safia has been running People Tree, a leading ethical and sustainable fashion brand for the past 25 years, working alongside designers like Zandra Rhodes to create exciting and ethical collections which not only help the people making them, but the environment and the earth.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review

One of the main themes throughout the book is something that I wanted to share with you, and is something that emphasises my point about educating yourself; small steps lead to bigger things. One of the best ways to explain this is through a quote (from the book) by actress and model, Lily Cole…

“Whenever I am given a choice, I try to make the right one.”

When you learn about some of the issues in the industry, you can be taken aback. For me personally, it was like something clicked and suddenly I had this whole new mind-set (thanks to the wonderful movie which is, The True Cost)… but there are cons to that happening. I ended up putting pressure on myself and started to rush things and try and reevaluate everything I knew before. Although now I see this as a pro, I basically stopped shopping altogether. I felt guilty whenever I wore clothes I knew were unethical, and I tried to change too much of what I could all at one time.

The reason I’m explaining this, is because Lily’s quote uses one specific word; try.

When we learn about all of these issues, for most of us, it’s hard to suddenly change everything. It’s hard to step out of what we can afford or what we are able to do immediately. But it is possible to do in the long run (though of course, the faster the better, as I said; things need to change) and that’s something we mustn’t forget.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review

It’s reassuring to read that even people who are making changes, aren’t always perfect. Sometimes it’s impossible. Not everyone has the freedom and privilege to purchase specifically ethical clothing due to the fact that it’s usually higher in price than normal run of the mill, high-street fashion (don’t forget though, second-hand and vintage clothing is an option). But being aware that there is a choice, is very valuable.

Walking into a shop and asking yourself whether you need an item, or whether you could find a better, more high quality option that will be more sustainable, is so important. And to loop it all back; being aware, means educating yourself, which is why I’m recommending this book.

At the same time as learning more about the issues and effects of fast-fashion and mass consumption, you can discover new brands and labels to shop from, some of which include: Goodsociety, Miss Green, Braintree, Armed Angels, MADE, LeJu, Joanna Cave and Quazi Design.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Book Review


Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E. Hoskins


You can also discover other books including the one photographed in this post, “Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion”. I’m only into Chapter 2 and it’s already highly insightful. It not only looks into fast-fashion (both on the high-street and on the catwalk), but it also covers topics like racism and body image. It’s a one of a kind book to add to your reading list! (I’ll be sure to review it when I’m finished).

Also through this book, I’ve discovered the film, “Udita” by Rainbow Collective. It’s an extraordinary and raw insight into the lives of the female factory workers in Bangladesh, most of whom were affected by the Rana Plaza disaster of 2013. One of the most touching moments in the film for me, is when one of the workers is explaining their desires and wishes for the future…

I wish people would buy clothes with a conscience. My desire is that what’s happening now will never be repeated. That people who are buying clothes abroad stop and think about how much they buy for it and how much is the true cost for us here.”

If the workers themselves are saying they wish we could shop with a conscience, then surely that’s enough for us all to implement change, no matter how big or small? The majority of us have a choice. We all have the ability to learn about our choices. Learning is all part of the process, and really, at the most, it can take an hour out of your day to do so.

When you next sit down to binge watch your favourite Netflix show, why not click onto The True Cost (which is on Netflix anyway) or go onto Amazon and order yourself a book, instead? Small steps lead to bigger things, and we can all make them if we try.


What are you going to do to learn more? Have you read Slow Fashion already? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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