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Why Having Fewer Clothes Doesn’t Mean Your Wardrobe Is Sustainable

By February 8, 2017 Ethical

I began writing this blog post because as some of you might know, towards the end of last year (on Halloween, precisely) life took a bit of a turn for the second time (read here for the first), meaning I had to part with some of my wardrobe for a while. After tweeting and Facebooking and asking how many clothes my readers and followers own, the topic of this blog post has ended up being slightly different.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

I originally intended to tell you that living with only 38 pieces of clothing over the past three months has been relatively easy. I, unfortunately, can’t pinpoint how many items of clothes I genuinely own seeing as I haven’t completed a full count before, but I know that the number in total would probably be double or perhaps even more than.

I can live with 38 items of clothing. Seeing as it’s winter, that number roughly includes about five pairs of trousers (2 pairs of jeans; 1 pair of black trousers; 1 pair of suit trousers; 1 pair of patterned), multiple tops (including 4 sweatshirts, 2 of which are the same with a different variation of design), one skirt (for wearing with tights which I didn’t include within the number – there are some essentials we can’t live without) and four choices of jackets for varying weather conditions and outfit choices.

Usually, if my clothes weren’t stuck in a building damaged by an earthquake, I would have the choice of a fair bit more. Although I do sort my clothes by summer and winter, in turn, technically creating two separate wardrobes of choice, I like to say I have gradually mastered the art of wearing summer dresses layered up for the colder months meaning I have missed the extra choice.

There is a pair of ASOS Africa trousers which I thoroughly enjoy wearing, sat in a drawer, waiting to be worn by me again soon. There’s my grey and floral slip dress you may have seen in one of my final summer outfit posts, which I would have loved to have worn with a turtleneck and some tights.

I love clothes, obviously. I want to have my own collections one day; there’s no denying that, which means there have been moments so far where I’ve been bored and a little uninspired of what I have to choose from. I worked out that technically if I’m wearing about 4 items of clothing (excluding shoes, socks and accessories), I could wear about 361 different outfits with what I currently have with me. I’m not going to do that however because my suit jacket doesn’t match with my bohemian maxi dress but the idea that, that is a possibility is what has got me thinking.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion


WHAT I WORE: Floral Shirt (Jumble Sale) // Botanical Print Trousers (Motivi) // Vintage Yellow Leather Jacket (Jumble Sale)


After running polls and asking how many clothes you own, I received a lot of feedback which has had me questioning – does having fewer clothes, actually make a wardrobe any more sustainable? My answer is in fact, no.

52% of you own between 30 and 60 items of clothing in your wardrobe, which I will presume is a fairly rough estimate as I’m not expecting everyone to have rifled through and counted each individual item. That number surprised me because I happened to believe it would have been more. Only 26% (which is still a fairly large amount) of people responded saying they couldn’t count, or at least that the number went over 100. But; none of these numbers included shopping habits.

In a 2015 Barnardo’s report which I often refer people to, it states that typically in the UK, the average woman will spend £64 per month on new clothes, with 33% of the surveyed women deeming an item ‘old’ after only wearing it three times. And I don’t know about you, but I often read or hear the phrase ‘spring cleaning’ when it comes to clothes, which means there must be a high number for how many times those ‘old’ clothes are being removed and sent elsewhere.

Only having 38 items of clothing doesn’t make my wardrobe sustainable – my shopping habits do. Your shopping habits do. If 52% of you are living with between 30 and 60 items of clothes, that means you have around the same amount of options as I currently do; 361 outfit combinations, or more. That’s just under a year’s worth of outfits, for one per day. That only becomes unsustainable when you increase, and yes, decrease that total number.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

A wonderful member of the #EthicalHour Facebook group brought up the fact of why decreasing the number of clothes you own is just as important as to how frequently you increase it. Starting a capsule wardrobe shouldn’t mean chucking away all of your clothes because that will then create waste, which creates a whole separate issue.

Some will say that you can donate to a charity shop and there won’t be anything to worry about, but as I will talk about in an upcoming blog post, that isn’t always the best option. Becoming vegan or changing an element of your lifestyle elsewhere, also shouldn’t mean suddenly and dramatically changing what you wear.

There are consequences to so many of these decisions. It’s about working out a way to get around all of them for you. Consciously shopping and working out whether you’ll actually end up wearing what you buy are super important elements to keeping your wardrobe at a sustainable level, and passing on clothes to other individuals or attempting to revamp an item will leave you feeling much more satisfied than taking your textiles to the dump.

In conclusion, whilst admittedly being bored at times, living with less has given me two challenges which hopefully, you can take something away from. Firstly, it has challenged me to wear outfits I’d never usually think about wearing. Just the other day I wore my vintage yellow leather jacket, the floral oversized shirt and completely contrasting navy floral trousers I’m wearing in this post. (Hands up if you saw it already on my Instagram Story!) In theory, none of that should have matched, but it did because it worked out looking fairly seventies inspired.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

I discovered a new outfit I would never have worn before because I had nothing else to choose from except the blouse and sweatshirt combination I’d been wearing for a couple of days straight – in a hygienic manner, guys. It challenged me to think about those 361 combinations, and if I, in fact, need to make that number any larger.

And secondly, it has challenged me to think harder about how or if I do increase the choice I have. Recently, the only additions to my wardrobe have been from ethical brands, like Lost Shapes, who are part of my ethical directory. Truly measuring the size and scope of what I own, makes me value what else is eventually included. So, for you reading this, perhaps this will inspire you to count what you have, and count up the value of what you might have in the future.

Sustainability doesn’t happen by removing what isn’t ‘100% organic’ or produced using ‘100% recycled materials’. Sustainability starts when we limit the number of resources we’re using up.


How many clothes are in your wardrobe? How sustainable are your clothes? Let me know in the comments!


Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Feminist T-Shirts That Were Actually Made by Feminists

By February 2, 2017 Ethical

Recent news brings activism and marches for issues which should have been put behind us years ago. It’s a shame we still have to fight for basic equality and against discrimination but it’s also a shame that what we buy to make our voices clearer don’t always support the causes fully. Today, I wanted to focus on some march-worthy feminist t-shirts that were actually made by feminists… not the high street slogan tee kind.

ethical feminist t-shirts - people tree - my sister - it's me and you


PEOPLE TREE ~ EQUALITY T-SHIRT ~ £32.00

Image via People Tree, edited by me.


You probably already know but I’m a huge fan of People Tree. Their website is as clear as day when it comes to transparency and ethics. Every item is clearly marked with certifications in terms of organic cotton and Fair Trade processes. This specific ‘Equality’ t-shirt is guaranteed to have been made with equality in mind, seeing as it was produced by Assisi Garments, a social enterprise in India.

Set up by Franciscan nuns, it provides training and employment for deaf, mute and economically disadvantaged women, and thanks to the partnership and support from People Tree themselves, their team has grown from 8 to over 100 employees. Assisi Garments also invests in the community by supporting various social projects, including a cancer hospital and an AIDS rehabilitation centre in South India.

I wrote a blog post a while back on my thoughts on feminism and fast-fashion, so it’s really refreshing to see a garment being produced in such a positive and empowering environment. In my opinion, if you’re going to be buying a t-shirt with the word ‘equality’ on the front of it, it should have been made by people who truly believe in that statement too.

ethical feminist t-shirts - people tree - my sister - it's me and you


IT’S ME AND YOU ~ FEMINIST T-SHIRT ~ $48.00

Image via It’s Me and You, edited by me.


A new discovery for me, but a good one nonetheless, is It’s Me and You. It’s especially important because as of November 2016, after the US election, 100% of this t-shirts profits have been going to donated to the workshop, An Afternoon For You. The workshop is run to support and empower children that will be most vulnerable and at risk during the next four years of the Presidency. After the election, community based and localized education will be especially important going forward, especially safe spaces for children.

Created by Mayan Toledano and Julia Baylis, It’s Me and You is a hub for body positivity, an issue which is especially for women in current times. This t-shirt in particular is 100 percent cotton, hand printed and made in the USA. Although that isn’t quite as transparent as the likes of People Tree, I feel comfortable enough in sharing their products because sometimes it is more about the story and what the brand embraces.

We have to support our ideals and what we believe in. Every penny we spend is a vote towards that, and It’s Me and You is a prime example of where we should put our money especially when everything seems so unfair.

ethical feminist t-shirts - people tree - my sister - it's me and you


MY SISTER ~ FEMINIST T-SHIRT ~ $22.00

Image via My Sister, edited by me.


Last but definitely not least, is this feminist t-shirt produced by My Sister. Their mission is to prevent sex trafficking whilst empowering the population and providing after-care for survivors, all by promoting messages through their ethically produced, sweat-shop free products. It makes sense that this is their mission seeing as both of their tag lines are either “Fighting sex trafficking one shirt at a time” or “Apparel against sex trafficking”.

The main inspiration for this blog post and my aforementioned post about feminism and fast-fashion come from my reading of Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking, My Sister is a rather important brand to shop from. Not only are they promoting equality and feminist messages through what they sell, but they’re also supporting the communities which are affected by these serious issues.

Plus, the fact that they’re using male models and targeting a unisex audience is super important. Feminism isn’t just about cis-women, it’s about gender equality no matter what gender, sexual orientation, race or religion.


Do you know of any ethically conscious brands selling feminist and activist t-shirts? Let me know in the comments!


Slightly different post style to what I’ve been publishing recently, but I couldn’t let this idea slip and it was wonderful discovering a few positive brands. I’ll be back soon…

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Where to Buy Ethical Clothes | UPDATED Ethical Directory 2017

By January 27, 2017 Ethical

This blog post has been a while in the making for several reasons and due to several road blocks but  I am finally happy to publicly and properly release my updated ethical directory into the world! I want to try and make a real effort it with it this time, hence the updated layout and much easier to use format. Read on for more information and to find out where to shop for ethical clothes…

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes


FEATURED ITEMS: Wander Wonder Sweatshirt £33.00 (Lost Shapes)* // Zhandra Rhodes T-Shirt (People Tree) // Patterned Culottes (ASOS Africa)


Seeing as I go on about them so much, I get asked about where to buy ethical clothes a whole lot. At first, when you’re only just starting to change your shopping habits, it can seem impossible to find anything which isn’t unfairly made or seriously damaging to the environment, but it’s not impossible. It takes searching to find hidden gems that honour and value the idea of well-made, sustainable products.

This is where my (now updated) ethical directory comes in – I want to try and make it a little easier for you. I want to try and update the list as often as I can and really celebrate the idea of ethical fashion and all of it’s greatness. I’ll talk you through a couple of the brands listed in this blog post, but I’m inviting you to click over to my new ethical directory for yourself, and find a brand that takes your fancy! It might only be small now, but I’m hoping it will grow and grow in the future…

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes


ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes

~ ETHICAL DIRECTORY ~
A selection of the brands featured…


new-lost-shapesEst. since: 2012
Mission: Lost Shapes products are all made from 100% organic cotton or other sustainable fabrics such as Tencel, and produced using renewable energy. They provide screen printed, organic fair trade products for all the family.
Price range: £12 - £30

Shop Lost Shapes

Est. since: 2005
Mission: Thought (formerly Braintree) is based upon the idea of sustainability and "thoughtful clothing". They use some of the most organic and long lasting fabrics around and ensure that the production process is just as sustainable and ethical. Slow fashion is what they thrive on!
Price range: £5+

Shop Thought

new-braintree
new-people-treeEst. since: 2001
Mission: People Tree aims to be 100% Fair Trade through the whole supply chain. They do this by using natural resources and sustainable materials, and supporting their producers by challenging power structures to gain them their rights to a livelihood.
Price range: £15 - £200+

Shop People Tree


Est. since: 2016
Mission: Sheer Apparel focuses on providing the best ethical and sustainable options for all aspects of your wardrobe, at prices comparable to brands you've loved for years.
Price range: £16+

Shop Sheer Apparel

new-waisteEst. since: 2013
Mission: WAISTE is an online vintage shop full of beautiful recycled treasures, adding to the number of clothes that are recycled each year.
Price range: £15+

Shop WAISTE


All of the brands selected and included in the directory, were chosen by myself after scouring the internet. Some of them focus on more ethical issues, and some of them focus on more sustainable issues, like the Lost Shapes sweatshirt I’m wearing in the photos…

ethical directory - where to buy ethical clothes

I actually think Lost Shapes are a really nice starting point, especially if you’re looking for basics. Their pieces aren’t necessarily ‘fashion’ pieces or trend led, but I think that’s something you have to take on board when it comes to slow fashion. The goal of course, is to have an industry which is ethical, sustainable and somewhat trend led, but trends lead to consumerism and we all know what happens then…

The sweatshirt I’m wearing is made from 100% recycled fabrics; 60% recycled pre-consumer cotton, and 40% recycled post-consumer polyester – that’s directly from the label on the inside of the seam. It’s so refreshing to wear something that comes from a transparent and open company, and the screen printing adds a wonderful finishing touch, as it’s printed in house in England.

Ethical fashion isn’t just about hemp and natural fibre dresses, and I want to try and prove that, but I also want your help too!

Ethical Directory - Where to Buy Ethical Clothes

Make sure you share your favourite brands in the comments or send me a tweet so I can add them to the directory!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Top 10 Conscious Chatter Podcast Episode Recommendations

By January 22, 2017 Ethical

The rise of the podcast is definitely not slowing down anytime soon, and I have to admit, I can see why. It fills your time whilst doing chores or whilst travelling, or whilst doing some work that doesn’t require too much thought with something other than music or the latest TV show you’ve been binging. You can listen to all sorts of creative people and intelligent minds, whilst still be somewhat productive, and it seems I may have Googled and discovered an ethical gem…

kestrel jenkins conscious chatter ethical fashion podcast

I was actually able to get in touch with the founder of this wonderful platform, Kestrel Jenkins, who created AWEAR World and the podcast, Conscious Chatter, in 2016, and have asked her a few questions which will enable you to learn more about what you’ll be listening to and why I, and so many others, want to recommend you taking a look (or listen) for yourself…


Conscious Chatter is an inclusive audio space where I welcome guests on to talk fashion, style and sustainability. It opens the door to conversations about our clothing and how we can all do our part to support a better future for the garment industry.

The podcast hasn’t even been in action for a year yet, but it has definitely transformed. It is now being used as a resource in select university classrooms and sustainable fashion courses, and it’s become a thrilling space to showcase the positive shifts and hopeful transformations in the industry.

What is Conscious Chatter and how has it transformed over the past year or so?


RECOMMENDED CONSCIOUS CHATTER EPISODES
Available on iTunes + Stitcher


Episode 3 – Water

The first episode I would highly recommend, would be the third episode which focuses on water and its effects on the fashion industry. I was already aware that water is a huge part of our clothes and what we wear, but hearing it from Mark Angelo & Roger Williams, two people truly focused on water and its journey, was really insightful. They discuss their new and upcoming documentary, River Blue, which will hopefully be released soon. If it is, I can’t wait to watch it and I hope this episode inspires you to do the same.

Episode 6 – Designer Dilemma

This episode was the first to really inspire me because I found it so relatable. Kestrel talks to Gretchen Jones who was the winner of Project Runway (Season 8), and although at first I was rather curious about how she fits in with ethical and conscious world, what she spoke about really spoke to me, especially about how she was always interested in being a fashion designer from a young age, but the issues surrounding the industry are what changed her mind set on what she really wanted to do… and I can slowly but surely see that happening to me. I think the design direction I want to go in has hugely shifted, but I’m extremely proud of that and this episode made me feel proud to embrace that change.

Episode 12 – New Business Model

This was a really interesting talk, especially for aspiring designers or brand owners who want to head down the slow fashion route. It’s really refreshing to hear positive opinions about achieving the goal of creating an ethical brand, and some of the pieces of advice were great to take away with you.

Episode 13 – Tiny Wardrobe

Something which is big within the ethical/slow fashion movement, is downsizing and living with a smaller and more minimalistic wardrobe, as well as downsizing on other parts of your life. Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333, spoke to Kestrel about leading a life of minimalism and how the project can help you. It had some really interesting points about how overconsumption can not only affect the world, but can also affect us personally with our health and our minds, and not just within fashion. If you’re interested in things like capsule wardrobes – this is the episode for you!

kestrel jenkins conscious chatter ethical fashion podcast


I have done my best to work on creating an open, welcoming space with Conscious Chatter. I understand that this conversation can be intimidating, it can be overwhelming, and it’s a lot to take in – especially when you start diving in. For me, I see the podcast as a great way to start learning – at your own pace – about the realities of the global garment supply chain and the amazing changemakers pushing for a better industry.

What's one reason you think someone should start listening, who has only just started on their ethical/sustainable journey?

Episode 15 – Renewal

Reusing and keeping clothes alive is something that I think all of us should be more mindful of. Not only is there waste being created by what we choose to throw away, there is also being waste created by the brands we purchase from, and Nicole Bassett, co-founder of The Renewal Workshop, is part of changing how the system works. A ‘circular economy’ is an idea I’d love to look into in the future – it’s based on the idea of keeping everything in an endless loop and cycle, so that nothing is wasted and nothing is untraceable. It’s a topic that is discussed more than once on the Conscious Chatter podcast!

Episode 17 – Transparency

I was really excited to listen to this episode with the founders of Project Just. I discovered Project Just in 2016 when I was researching ethical directories; it’s a website that focuses on showing shoppers and consumers (as well as bloggers, journalists and even the brands themselves) which brands are the most transparent, and which we should be buying from. It’s a really powerful resource for everyone and anyone, and learning about how it all came together is a rather interesting story. I hope to focus more on Project Just on the future because transparency is hugely important when tackling the all-important issues in the industry.

Episode 18 – Mara Hoffman + Mindfulness

When thinking about all of the changes and shifts that are happening to hopefully change the way fashion works, we often forget about how difficult the transition from fast-fashion to slow-fashion can be, and listening to Mara Hoffman talk about the ins and outs of that process was really eye opening and honest. I hadn’t heard of Mara’s work before the podcast, so it was awesome to be opened up to a new and innovative brand whilst listening.

kestrel jenkins conscious chatter ethical fashion podcast


For me lately, it’s been thinking about how many times I imagine I will wear something before I dive into making a purchase. Thinking about a garment as having a “price per wear” is a really good way for me to validate a purchase, or to rethink buying something.

Like you ask all of your guests - what's one thing we can all do to start making a change?

Episode 19 – Cradle to Cradle + Fashion Positive

Another discovery through the podcast, was the Cradle to Cradle Products Institute. As an aspiring designer, and now an aspiring ethical and sustainable designer, knowing that the team at Cradle to Cradle are working to share such amazing research and resources, really helps me believe that creating something powerful from the beginning will and can be possible. It’s another discussion focusing on the circular economy idea, and how designers and brands can work towards it.

Episode 21 – Conscious Blogging

As you can probably tell by the title, this episode of Conscious Chatter was rather relevant to me. Kestrel talks to three bloggers who focus on ethical lifestyle and fashion, about making money when focusing on such a niche topic and how we can all go about spreading awareness as influencers. I’ve already touched on this idea in one of my recent blog posts about why ethical fashion shouldn’t make you feel bad, and it has only made me think about how to share my thoughts with you in an even better and more inspiring way. I hope that this starts to shine through in 2017!

Episode 23 – Diversity In Fashion

Last but not least, for now anyway, we have a discussion on diversity in the fashion industry. Diversity is something I’m always interested in learning more about, simply because it doesn’t make sense to me as to why the industry isn’t always very accepting of it. That’s what this episode aims to focus on though; why the fashion industry and the people within it are scared of change, and how we can try and solve that.


The largest – as well as most simple – takeaway I’ve had from the podcast thus far is that people really do care. This conversation has been exponentially gaining momentum in recent years, and the number of inspiring projects and people working for change is truly motivating. Having the opportunity to connect and hear from individuals across the world, working for a better industry, reminds me that we’ve come a long way and we must continue to tell this story, and continue to welcome more people in.

What has been the biggest take away from the podcast? What have you learned the most about since starting?

I think my biggest take away from listening so far, has been the idea of sharing positivity to do with ethical fashion rather than negativity. I think it’s super important we focuses on some of the tougher and larger issues but it’s also super important to promote the good parts of the industry as a way to change people’s mindsets. I spoke about this recently and I hope you’ll bear with me as I adapt to this thought process.

What are your favourite podcasts? Let me know in the comments!

(Sadly the weather has been terrible (we actually had a tornado yesterday!) which is the reason for the lack of photos. I should be back soon though!)

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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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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My Style: Sardegna, Italy*

By November 27, 2016 My Style

Like every outfit post it seems, it’s been a while since my last. Quite honestly, my appearance hasn’t been on top form over the past few months because I’ve been living in a tent, out of a dust covered house and now a very limited amount of clothes as we start exploring in Sardegna (Sardinia). But I thought I’d take a moment to share with you something I’ve been wearing a lot recently. You may notice I’ve worn the top half of this outfit in photos already but an outfit isn’t much of an outfit without something on the bottom!

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy


WHAT I WORE: Yellow Leather Jacket €35 (Jumble Sale) // Pink Turtleneck £5 (Charity Shop) // Navy Satin Trousers €5 (Jumble Sale) // Dr Martens Pascal Mirror Shift Suede Boots (Mastershoe-MyShu)*


Looks familiar, huh? It probably looks familiar to my whole family seeing as I’ve worn this outfit about 500 times since I bought all of the pieces. It’s a colour blocking outfit and it was even more block-y when I was wearing it with my white platform heels, but I’ve refined it now which means it blends out in the right places. The majority of it as you will see above, is second-hand. Everything other than the Dr Martens and one of my rings are previously owned which means I’m happy to promote the whole look.

And luckily, even though I was wearing it with a winter coat over the top at home in England, the weather here in Sardinia means I can wear it with everything on show. That’s one thing about winter I dislike – sometimes you’ll be wearing an outfit you love, but you have to cover it up with a coat or jacket that isn’t quite as exciting.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy
ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

Speaking of jackets, I’ve worn my yellow leather number so much more than I expected myself to. One of my biggest concerns before purchasing it was ‘What will I wear it with?’, but it seems I can wear it with quite a lot. I haven’t had the chance to wear it with a dress yet, but I know with the right shoes and accessories, it could work well with something floatier than what I’m wearing here.

The trousers are probably one of my favourite purchases of late. The satin texture is surprisingly wearable, and as I mentioned above about the block outfit blending in certain parts, the sheen and shine to them ties in my Dr Martens. There’s something really satisfying about the contrasting colour of the rest of the outfit, tied in with the shoes and trousers. I’ve yet to wear the matching suit jacket as I was about to adjust the shoulders before another earthquake hit… but you just know I’ll be shooting an outfit as soon as it’s ready to wear.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy


Sunglasses €2 (Jumble Sale) // Middle Finger Ring (Unknown) // Index Finger Ring (Arezzo D’oro Diamond Cut Stacker Ring – Gemporia)* // Ear Cuff (Claire’s)


If you read my second hand shopping post, not only would you have seen the top half of this outfit before, you would have seen my jewellery and sunglasses. I’m a very simple jewellery person. In fact, I’m so simple that I now hardly ever take my rings off. The only real things I change up are whether I’m wearing a watch or whether I have an ear cuff on (which I really wish was a real piercing. I was planning on getting my helix done, but I haven’t had the time yet). This recent discovery in semi-permanent jewellery has made me question why people worry about mixing silver and gold. My watch is gold but everything else I wear is silver. Mix it up! Forget the norm! Wear what you wanna’ wear. We haven’t got time for rules.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

I’ve come to the conclusion that my Dr Martens are a fairly sustainable purchase. They’re not the most ethical from what I know, and there are definitely better options (even from Dr Martens themselves with their vegan and Made in England collections), but if they’re going to be lasting me years and I’m only buying a pair every once in a while, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’m always talking about how we have to take small personal steps to becoming more ethical and sustainable in our lives, so I’m going to admit that this is a small step I have yet to take.

What have you been wearing recently? How would you style a yellow jacket? What’s your small step you’ve yet to take? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Why I Want to Fight Harder for What I Believe In

By November 17, 2016 DIY & Lifestyle

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s the fact that life can throw things at you that are totally out of your control, and that with that, there’s a big difference between knowing/believing in something and actually experiencing it. Just like there’s a big difference between believing in something and actually fighting for it.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

I haven’t really had the chance to update anyone other than on Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media platforms that only allow a few words or paragraphs, but unfortunately, the account of my earthquake experience I wrote in August, wasn’t my last experience of one. At the end of October, Italy was hit with another three earthquakes within the space of 5 days. It was exactly three months and two days after the first one that I was hiding under a desk again, and another few days after that, I was sleeping in a tent and seeing our Italian home once again turn to ruin.

I know this isn’t something for a fashion blog, and has probably bored you to death if you have seen my updates elsewhere, but it genuinely has been a huge and traumatic part of my life recently. Falling into a routine of having to deal with aftershocks and your belongings breaking around you is not something normal to deal with.

But I’m a part believer in taking something out of everything, which means I’ve decided to take a lesson from all of this. If there are tragic things in life we can’t control, then the things we can control should be the things we fight and push on for.

It seems like a bizarre thing to compare it to, and I, of course, know I came out of the situation in a far safer and luckier place, but I now have empathy for those who have been through similar situations, specifically relating to issues which I believe in, like those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster for example. Although I can’t really compare the two, there are many accounts which state it felt like an earthquake coming on – all the machines rattling and the building starting to cave in on itself.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

But the harsh reality and the unfortunate truth of that disaster was that it was avoidable. It was somebody’s fault that thousands died and were injured. It’s nobody’s fault that an earthquake happens; it’s just the earth being the earth.

We have the power to make change and to use our voice so that avoidable tragedies are just that – avoidable. Factories shouldn’t collapse because the managers are being forced to risk it. Factories shouldn’t catch on fire because of poor working conditions. Workers shouldn’t die because there are no fire exits. Workers shouldn’t die because their only source of income is working in a factory that is ready to collapse.

I have the ability to inspire others to try and fight for change, and that’s exactly what it should be – a fight. The end goal of every fight is to win, and now I want to fight harder because I know what it’s like to feel helpless.

There’s nothing you can do when an earthquake strikes other than to drop, cover and hold. But there is so much to be done when it comes to human rights, the environment and equality, especially across an industry which exploits all three (and more). When a factory catches fire, there should be fire exits and extinguishers and there should be people fighting to put out the flames and never let them light up again.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion


The photos in this blog post were taken in Italy. The confetti photos were taken during the carnival in Ascoli Piceno – one of the local towns which I came to know and love, and which I know is still dealing with the after-effects of the 2016 earthquakes. 


There are ways to stop and change the outcome of certain scenarios, even if it takes time and effort. It’s worth it. That’s one similarity between a natural disaster and something man-made. We can put precautions in place. We can make buildings stronger and we can stop people from going inside of them if the risk is too high, because we know profit isn’t worth people’s lives.

‘We’  is anyone who contributes to the way things are already – the consumers who buy from these exploitive brands and send out the signal that they’re doing a good job; the buyers in charge of sourcing factories; the designers and teams that decide on the high numbers of collections per year; the managers of the factories being exploited by the teams providing those high numbers.

But mainly, it’s us, the consumers and believers which need to start building the momentum.

We need to start moving and show those in charge that we will cause a huge wave of power if they don’t start getting prepared. We can start building up the pressure (just like in an earthquake) so that they have no choice but to let things release and start making the change to deal with all the changes. There is so much they (the brands, the manufacturers, the governments in charge of laws and legislations) could be doing, so we need to show them that there is actually a rhyme and a reason to making it happen.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

This is also a good time for me to touch on politics and the current situation with the President-Elect in the US. It might not have been the decision that a lot of us/you, in America, wanted, but it’s what we have. That doesn’t mean to say it has to stay that way, though, or that we have to settle for it. We should take the same attitude for issues we believe in, across the board. Stand up, voice your opinions and your concerns – fight (without violence and causing damage that is.)

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

I can’t say exactly how I’m going to up the ante in my personal fighting because as I have mentioned several times throughout this post, the past few months have been quite stressful and I haven’t quite got my blogging/activist/ethical advocate head straight, but I know that for sure I won’t let something natural and uncontrollable get in my way. It’s a bit like what I said about influencers using their voicesif you have the ability to make a change, try your very best to actually make it happen.

Don’t just sit and stay still unless you physically can’t. Don’t leave it to ‘everyone else’ because there are helpless people out there who need you to be their help.


For those of you somewhat interested, I can update you all by saying that I am now on my way to (or by the time you read this, already am in) Sardinia. It’s a less earthquake-prone Italian island, where I’ll be spending a few months to get back on my feet and experience yet another culture. The past few weeks have been ones of uncertainty, but hopefully, this time will resolve that. 2016 hasn’t been perfect for the most of us, but we still have a bit of time to try again. Who’s with me?

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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5 Lessons I Learned from Reading Vivienne Westwood’s Memoir

By September 10, 2016 Fashion

I promised a while ago that I would do a write-up of Vivienne Westwood’s latest memoir, written by herself and Ian Kelly, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do today! The book has been available for a fair amount of time now (…I received it at Christmas…), but that doesn’t take away from some of the powerful messages within it. I’m going to be sharing with you, five of the lessons I learned from the 400 or so pages…

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

#1 – You have to just go for it…


Apart from the ambition to prove something to myself, there was also, for me, a kind of duty. A duty that I owed to fashion or to myself. That something I could do, I somehow ought to do. Because if I don’t do it, nobody else would. Just like my politics really. Just like me as a little girl, ‘It was me’. I don’t know, so that’s why I did it, and although it was at times a chore, I don’t regret it. Just the opposite. I proved what I wanted to prove and I have found real satisfaction in it, as well as a voice. But if somebody had come along to me in 1979 and said, “Look, Vivienne, you’re really good but I’m as good as you are and I can do that job for you. You go off to university.”, I probably would have said, “Oh, all right, ok I will.

Page 240

I’m a big believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ and the whole ‘we’re on a journey’ way of looking at life, so this really resonated with me. I’ve always known in my mind what I’m here for, so knowing that she had a vision in her mind and didn’t let other people stop her, is really empowering. You can’t let people who are doing similar things get you down because there is only one version of you. You are the only person who can create something unique and unique, even if it’s similar or someone is capable of doing the same thing.

My goal in fashion combines numerous different factors, a couple of which weren’t yet in my mind a few years ago, but that’s okay; it’s all adding up to what will be my end goal. Nobody else can achieve that but me.

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

#2 – Comfortable is just an idea…


The convention that comfortable clothes should be loose-fitting is a convention of our time. I feel comfortable when I think I look great, and I couldn’t bear to put on shapeless, stamped-out mass-manufactured clothes. I design clothes in the hope of breaking convention. Comfort is to do also with completing a mental image of what you want to look like. What you are and who you are.

Page 306

I’m also a big believer in being yourself and the concept of being comfortable meaning being comfortable within yourself before anything else. I actually wrote a piece on a similar topic, but this little segment really solidifies the idea. It also gives me motivation for my own fashion design career, because I too, want to design clothes that break convention and redefine it.

Comfort is whatever feels normal for you. It’s an idea that was created to keep us feeling safe… but in my opinion, you can only really feel safe and content when you are doing exactly what you need to be doing, and exactly what you believe in.

As you will read in that blog post of mine, for me, comfort is wearing what I want even if it’s not the norm. It’s wearing leather jackets instead of floral dresses and having memories to look back on where I’m wearing Dr Martens instead of sandals. Plus – I definitely don’t want to be wearing mass-manufactured clothes anymore, which brings me on to my next lesson learned…

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

#3 – Becoming more ethical and sustainable really does take time…


“Guilty”, Vivienne tends to say, sometimes even literally holding up her hands. “One answer is that you have to start from where you are. Another is that I reach people – people who read fashion magazines for instance – who would never have heard about some of this otherwise.”

Page 381

Reading yet another ethical fashion icon talk about how they’re not even perfect themselves truly does make you feel like you can breathe. I’ve discussed this before, but you really do have to look at it all from the situation you are in. If you can help spread the message at the same time, then that’s just as important to take into account. You’re doing twice as much if you’re being conscious as well as spreading the same ideals. Yet another lesson that nicely ties in with a recent blog post of mine, where I spoke about why influencers need to use their influence.

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

#4 – …and educating yourself on the topics matter.


Johnny Rotten’s songs really were very clever, weren’t they? ‘No future. Your future dream is a shopping scheme.’ We need to stop educating people to be consumers and educate them so they are capable of thinking with their own minds.

Page 213

I don’t care how many times I’ve reiterated this fact, or how many times I’ve stated I don’t care how many times I’ve reiterated this fact, but it really is important to educate yourself on topics if you want to fully understand them. Reading news articles is all well and good, but as soon as you dig a little deeper, you’ll start to realise how significant these matters really are. And Vivienne is right – Johnny Rotten’s lyrics are clever and they work just as well as they did within the heart of the punk era, as they do now.

Another mini lesson I suppose is that we really do owe everything to Vivienne when it comes to punk, whether that’s in terms of music or fashion.

vivienne westwood ian kelly memoir book review

#5 – Perhaps there’s a reason that designers are only wearing simple clothes on the catwalk…


I nearly missed the [Pirate] show, and Malcolm made me go on stage, saying ‘They want to see you as you are, they want to see that you’ve been working.

Page 239

The fifth and final lesson is a bit of an odd one, and more of a realisation to be honest as I’ve always been curious as to why designers don’t seem to express themselves when it comes to taking their bow and applaud on the catwalk. Most designers tend to be wearing all black, or monochromatic outfits and it’s always seemed bizarre to me when the clothes they’re showcasing are so creative and individual.

This line makes a lot of sense to me now (even if that wasn’t its intent), and is something I’ll take into account the next time I’m watching the shows. After all, designing isn’t an easy job, so if they feel comfortable in what they work in, then that’s all that should matter, and that’s all that we should expect to see – it’s a form of realism.


There’s so much more to her book than all of that, though. It’s really opened my eyes up to how a career can drastically change and how creating long lasting relationships are so vital to achieving that. It’s also opened my eyes up to how much influence Vivienne has really made and how she too, travelled and experienced part of her journey in Italy.

I’m definitely going to learn more about topics mentioned in the book, specifically Climate Revolution and how I can make my mark in the world of sustainability. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy!

I’m now off to read some more of To Die For by Lucy Siegle, and check the post box to see if my copy of Threadbare has arrived; it’s a book all about the fashion industry and sex trafficking, in comic book form! What’s next on your reading list? Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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

By August 3, 2016 Ethical

I’m not meaning to fill up my blog with book reviews, but I’m back again today with just that! I’ve been dropping notes here and there that I’d be reviewing “Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion” by Tansy E. Hoskins, so that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing. It’s another book based around ethical and sustainable fashion, as well as the effects of fast fashion, as that’s what I’ve been researching and wanting to learn more about recently…

Stitched Up The Anti Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins book review

Stitched Up is a book opening up about the world of fashion and what’s behind the clothes we wear. It flicks between brands and labels like Primark to Karl Lagerfeld as it explores consumerism, class and advertising, to reveal the interests which benefit from exploitation. Tansy delves into the relationship with the planet and with our bodies to uncover what makes the industry so damaging.

Along with advertising, it takes a look at racism and beauty standards and why they exist, as well as what could happen if the industry starts to adapt and change to better itself. It’s filled with accurate information and true insights and truly opens your eyes to why we shouldn’t just be blaming the high street for the effects and disasters happening – we should really be blaming capitalism.

I wasn’t quite sure how to start this review, so I’m going to note down some of the topics that came up and how I responded to them and how I am still reacting to them.

Stitched Up The Anti Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins book review

I’ll begin with one of the most interesting and eye opening chapters for me – ‘Stitching it’. In this chapter, Tansy talks about garment production and the arguments as to ‘why sweatshops have benefits’. There’s one argument in particular which is based upon the idea that manufacturers would flee from developing countries where the sweatshops are based, if there was a wage increase to help and support the workers. Yet the logic fails when you take a look at the statistics and facts, which are all clearly marked out on Page 87…

“The wages of garment workers could be doubled without there being a noticeable impact on the price of clothing. The wages of garment workers account for 1-3 per cent of the cost of clothing – 1.8 per cent in a 2002 study by the economist Robert Pollin. According to experts: ‘for a typical sportswear garment, doubling labour costs (by doubling wages) would result in retail price increases of roughly 1-3 per cent; tripling wages would result in price increases of 2-6 per cent.'”


There’s then an example of a dress Kate Middleton wore by Reiss. Female workers in the Romanian sweatshop producing the dress, were paid only £168 a month (or, 99p an hour). The dress originally retailed at £175, so if their wages had been doubled, the dress would have cost just £178.15. That’s £3.15 more. That’s the price of a coffee in a Starbucks or a Costa. It’s a price that anyone shopping at Reiss would be able to afford, and a small difference that the brand could easily work with. If we’re paying the same amount as one worker’s monthly income for a dress, then surely, something’s not right?

Stitched Up The Anti Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins book review

On the same vein of sweatshops is the quality of garment factories and workshops. After the Rana Plaza disaster, it’s obvious that things need to change, but what’s quite shocking is how easy it would be to do it; Tansy explains on Page 77…

“According to the Workers Rights Consortium, the cost of implementing decent standards in Bangladesh’s 4500 factories would be $3 billion spent over five years. Consider that the five siblings of the Walton family, which controls Walmart, each have personal fortunes of £18 billion. Just 3.5 per cent of their wealth would ensure that the people who slave for them do not die horribly in the process.


Like a lot of these statements that are featured in the book, there are many reasons why these changes aren’t happening, even if the opportunities to do so are there. The main reason is capitalism (hence the name of the book) and how corporations work together to keep profits high and to keep things ticking along in a cycle (more on that in a moment); but that doesn’t make it seem any less simple.

My initial thought was – ‘Imagine that? Imagine if a brand really did that. Imagine if they used what they have, and what they don’t necessarily need, to help what they know is a problem? It would not only be a benefit to the people receiving the help, but it would also be a benefit to their brand and how they’re perceived – no?’ – until another chapter popped up and got me thinking about using change for promotional benefits.

Stitched Up The Anti Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins book review

So many brands these days start up campaigns just for the name of their brand. For example, Marks & Spencer’s have their ‘Shwopping‘ campaign which promotes the idea of donating old and unwanted clothes, yet it becomes totally hypocritical when they start giving out vouchers and membership points for doing so. They’re promoting the idea of out with the old, in with more new. On the surface, it gives their brand a good name for being green and sustainable, yet the actual idea is the total opposite of that. ASOS are also a brand promoting the ‘swapping clothes’ idea; they may not be giving away vouchers in exchange, but the selling point is having more space in your wardrobe – out with the old, in with the ASOS!

We need more brands to be genuinely interested in change and learning more. We need more powerful voices to genuinely take charge, rather than have their PR and Marketing departments decide it would be great to support ‘Green Week’ so that they have a good voice, temporarily. It’s all an illusion, when really, they’re the ones creating the damage in the first place.

I’m going to jump back to the ticking along of the cycle I mentioned earlier with this Marx quote from Page 55 which I’ve already mentioned in my blog post about emotional sustainability to make things a little clearer…

“Fashion is more than just clothes; it is a commodity cycle of newness that makes clothes go out-of-date and keeps retailers in business. This makes consumption the final stage in the production of fashion: ‘A product becomes a real product only by being consumed,’ wrote Marx. ‘A garment becomes a real garment only in the act of being worn.'”


The industry is a cycle which starts with a trend that is produced on mass at low costs. Profits are made and the cycle starts again once that trend has fizzled out, or once the brands and companies have decided it needs to fizzle out so they can start making money from the next big thing. It’s unsustainable. I believe the number is roughly 52 collections per year for a high street brand. That’s 52 different cycles of clothes that are based around temporary ideas.

Just going into a store the other day and immersing myself within the summer to autumn transitional sales made me realise how true this is. It’s only just August and there are already autumnal pieces being sold, with summer pieces starting from €3.99 on discount.

Stitched Up The Anti Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins book review

Not included in the book, but something I recently discovered through The JUST Project (possibly the best ethical directory there is), is that H&M-owned brand COS is running things slightly differently with two collections per year, each designed 18 months before they go on sale. Unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee perfect working conditions, but at least the sustainable base is being built upon.

Overall, Tansy has really given me some food for thought and has already made me purchase Lucy Siegle’s “To Die For” book for my next bit of research. I’m also taking a deeper look into Karl Marx and his views on capitalism, which I know might seem quite controversial, but when you read and listen to the beginnings of his ideas and ideologies, you can see where he was heading and how his opinions can be taken upon in current times.

I haven’t even touched on the beauty standards and racism side of things, so if you’d like me to talk a little about what I took from that, then please do let me know… or of course, buy a copy of the book yourself so you can have a read! It’s definitely worth it.

Look out for a review of Lucy Siegle’s book once it’s arrived and been read, as well as a review of Vivienne Westwood’s book in the not so distant future.

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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