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ethical fashion education

Why Ethical Fashion Shouldn’t Make You Feel Bad & How to Spread Awareness

By January 4, 2017 Ethical

Hello, hello, welcome to 2017! I hope you all had a good New Year and enjoy the holidays. I’m back and have ideas flowing out of my fingertips so I hope you’re ready for the next twelve months ahead. I thought I would start off with something that’s fresh in my mind and that will hopefully put all of those confused and concerned about ethical fashion, at ease.

learning about ethical fashion - raising awareness - clothing poverty by andrew brooks


FEATURED IN THIS POST: People Tree x Zandra Rhodes Top // Lost Shapes Sweatshirt* // Clothing Poverty by Andrew Brooks


I can quite clearly remember multiple conversations with family members over the past couple of years that have all come around to one or several people feeling a little guilty or downtrodden by what I’ve attempted to teach them. Perhaps you’ve felt this way; maybe you’ve come away feeling as if everything you’ve ever purchased has been doing damage and you immediately want to burn it all and start fresh?

Perhaps you’ve watched a video about the horrendous working conditions at the factories of some of your favourite brands and you’ve wanted to boycott them immediately? Perhaps you’ve even read one of my blog posts and wanted to never come back to my site because you just know you’ll feel that sense of dread again?

All of those feelings are totally valid, and I want to apologise if I’ve ever made you feel that way, because that obviously wasn’t my intent. After reading and listening and learning, I’ve opened my eyes to the fact that throwing all of this information out into the world doesn’t always have the desired effect. I’m glad that so far I’ve opened up my eyes to so many of you and that I’ve received such wonderful feedback in doing so, but I know there is a better way of doing it, and I know there are reasons why even if you do read all of these facts and terrifying stories about the fashion industry, it shouldn’t make you feel bad.

Ethical fashion isn’t about trying to single out the people who shop a certain way, because trust me, I know it isn’t easy. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told that ethical or sustainable options aren’t always accessible to everyone; I know they aren’t.

learning about ethical fashion - raising awareness - people tree organic textiles

I know that buying clothes for work example, isn’t exactly easy to do when buying second-hand or from more “expensive” (I put that in quotes due to the fact that cheap prices come with far bigger costs, as we already know) ethically focused brands, when you need to be putting your money somewhere else in your monthly budget. I know that shopping for a certain body size isn’t always easy either, when the industry is so focused on a specific, smaller one… so, you shouldn’t feel bad about it.

If you can only shop a certain way at the moment, then that’s okay. The fact that you’re even thinking about the way you shop, is a good start. The reason you shouldn’t feel bad about it, though, is because ethical fashion is all about the opposite – it’s about feeling good in what you wear and what you purchase. It’s about feeling good about what you’re doing for the world.

When we start shopping consciously and we start to just think about what we’re doing with our clothes, we should start feeling better about ourselves, not the opposite. We should start feeling better about the fact we’re not just helping our bodies and what we put on it – we’re also helping the people who made the clothes we wear, and the earth that helped produce even the fabric that it’s made up of. It’s actually a really positive thing, even if the hard facts and truths can bog us down.

learning about ethical fashion - raising awareness - lost shapes sweatshirt

Shopping ethically doesn’t make you a better person, in the end. I’m not perfect, and I’ll admit it. I eat meat, I’m not so much of a conscious shopper when it comes to lifestyle and beauty products… but every small contribution I do make (and let me make a point of this again – even just thinking about what you’re doing, means something) makes the world better, which seems a bit sappy and a bit hippy, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

So, next time you shop with a brand that isn’t necessarily ethical or sustainable, think about what good you’re doing in making different choices all of the other times. Feel proud of yourself, not sad and guilty for when you do buy or support the brands that could be doing better. Feel proud of yourself when you recycle or give away your clothes to a friend. It’s not about singling out the bad stuff – it’s about looking to the future and envisioning the good stuff.

That leads me on to the second part of this post, for those of you trying to spread awareness. How do we do it? How do we make people feel good? How do we make people who haven’t yet learnt, know what’s really going on?

learning about ethical fashion - raising awareness - clothing poverty by andrew brooks

Remind people that small steps add up to big things…

As I have mentioned continuously throughout this post, I believe that even thinking and shopping consciously, can do a whole lot more good than nothing. Even if right now, someone can’t shop with your brand or can’t follow in your exact footsteps, they need to know that even supporting the idea of equality and human rights and all of the issues we’re trying to change is doing something. Make them feel good about the little things, and even better about the big things.

Be relatable…

Sharing your journey and sharing what struggles you’ve been through can really put things into perspective. If you’re still learning yourself, admit that. Bring people along with you so that they feel inspired to start making changes. Talk about how you’re not perfect and that it’s okay to take your time. Making someone feel as if they are on the right path and that they’re not alone, can mean a whole lot.

Seeing is believing…

One of the main reasons I first became interested in ethical fashion, was because I watched the documentary, The True Cost. It was one of the first times I really saw the effects of the fast-fashion industry, visually. It changed my whole mindset because I could truly see how things worked. Reading is all well and good, but how are people supposed to know what is actually going on if they don’t have some sort of photographic or visual evidence?

If you’re a blogger, sharing documentaries and videos can always help because it gives people something to interact with, rather than to just click off and have information stored away in their minds.

Integrate your influence…

Influencing people can often feel overwhelming when it’s a long, static blog post, so keeping the conversation flowing into social media and into platforms that people use regularly keeps it in their minds. Also using social media to connect with other like-minded people in order to work out even better ways of getting the message across, can be helpful too. I highly recommend joining in with the #EthicalHour Twitter chat, every Monday, and joining the group on Facebook.


Do the affects of fast-fashion make you feel bad? How do you spread awareness of them? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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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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