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fast fashion

How We Can Make Everyone Understand Fast-Fashion

By June 29, 2017 Ethical

I’ve had this thought in my mind for a while now but I’ve never really known how to make the little seed in my mind into something helpful and useful for the rest of you but after a recent conversation with the wonderful and talented Lauren McCrostie, I finally realised my thought’s potential and it all starts with four very simple words – we all wear clothes.

Ethical Fashion Advice - How to Understand Fast-Fashion


FEATURED: Floral Trousers (ASOS Africa) // All others (Second-hand/Vintage) 


The reason for highlighting this simple phrase and statement is because I believe it is one idea that we can all understand and learn from especially when it comes to ethical education and conscious consumerism. There are a lot of terminologies thrown around when it comes to the issue of fast-fashion and ethics, so much so that the ethical platform, Project JUST, has a full page dedicated to slang terms you might not know the definition of.

In fact, it starts just there, with the phrase ‘fast-fashion’. It’s the most commonly used term when it comes to trying to explain why the shops we find on the high-street aren’t all as pretty as they seem and why the earth is being damaged by an industry which is supposed to be full of glamour and beauty. Although the term is relatively easy to understand – it’s the system in which provides fast and cheap fashion, producing large amounts of stock and creating large amounts of profit – if you were to use the phrase in everyday conversation, understandably, not everyone will understand you straight off the bat.

As someone who is expanding their knowledge of ethics and sustainability daily, I can admit that life was a lot easier to take for granted before it all started to click for me. Although I was aware of certain issues like waste and global warming, I now take it into consideration in my daily life, even if it’s in a context which isn’t remotely related to fashion or my clothes. It’s just within me now, to try and do better.

Ethical Fashion Advice - How to Understand Fast-Fashion

But with these phrases and words and all of the nitty gritty information, can we get just about anybody to understand the negative impacts of what we wear, by only focusing on ‘fast-fashion’ and ‘the industry’? And no, I’m not going back on what I said in my piece about second-hand shopping – the industry is important to understand but perhaps it’s not vital when trying to get people to start questioning their choices.

A great way to explain this more simply is looking at our food. Just like the statement ‘we all wear clothes’, the majority of us fortunate to be even having this discussion, are all able to say ‘we all eat food’. The food industry is often used as a way to explain what we mean by ‘transparency’, as, in recent years, it has become a lot more open to sharing where produce comes from, leading consumers to become more aware of what they’re actually consuming. It’s all essential to our lives and we all care in some respect or another because every day we aim to eat three healthy meals.

So, why don’t we all care about where our clothes come from if we’re putting them on our bodies just as frequently? Even beauty and make-up can inspire us – we care about what we put on our skin with what chemicals are being used or whether an animal has been used to test a product prior to being sold.

Ethical Fashion Advice - How to Understand Fast-Fashion

This is a reason why Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign should be so easy to get people behind. The term ‘clothes’ strips things down to the basics of what we all wear. Asking where our clothes come from is a lot easier to do than asking why H&M is producing 52 micro-collections a year; that’s fashion (fast-fashion, specfically). If we start to separate the two terms, clothes and fashion into two separate entities, then we’re more likely to get just about anybody on board in some shape or form.

Returning to food, there are a lot of questions we can adapt to our clothes. Questions like – What are you eating? How do you store your food? What do you do with old food? – can all be changed to revolve around clothing and get people thinking in that same way about something which is essentially, affecting us all in the same way. As a whole, we try to eat healthy food and we store it in the fridge or in a cool dry place. We recycle food and put scraps on the compost. If the fashion industry is supposedly the 2nd most polluting industry on the planet, why are we not all taking on this same mindset? It’s seems simple, really.

Ethical Fashion Advice - How to Understand Fast-Fashion

For those of you who are already starting to become more conscious consumers or are wondering how to go about spreading the message, here are some questions which can get people thinking in very simple terms:


~ QUESTIONS ~

What are you wearing?
What do you wear on a day-to-day basis?
Where did you buy them?
What do the labels say? Do you know what they mean?

Where were your clothes made?
➯ Would you like to know where?
Do you know who made them?
How do you look after your clothes?
What do you do with old clothes?


Don’t stop there though, if you’re interested in learning even more or want to start asking some more in-depth questions, then make sure to take a look at my educational resources from the past year. They should be helpful for you, your friends and family and anyone else you want to pass on knowledge too. Oh and don’t forget, ethical fashion shouldn’t make you feel bad, either.

How do you think we can get people on board with ethical fashion? Let me know in the comments!

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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You Can’t Call Yourself a Feminist If You’re Supporting Fast Fashion

By October 21, 2016 Ethical

It seems a little bit over the top to point this out right at the start of this post but I honestly believe it’s true; you can’t call yourself a feminist if you believe in fast fashion.

threadbare by anne elizabeth moore review - feminist fast fashion

This belief hit me whilst reading “Threadbare: Clothes, Sex & Trafficking” by Anne Elizabeth Moore. It’s an illustrated non-fiction comic all about the fashion industry and how it links in with sex work and trafficking. It sounds like a pretty heavy topic, but it was possibly one of the easiest ethical/anti-fast fashion reads I’ve finished so far, and for those of you who prefer something a little more attractive to the eyes, then I’d definitely recommend it (however I will point out – it does have fairly small text to read).

The statistic that struck me with this realisation was this – 1 in 7 women worldwide, work in the fashion industry. The tricky thing about feminism is how it is deemed to be only related to women and feminine issues, when as we should all know by now, it’s about equality, and the only way we can reach gender equality and an equal balance between men and women, is by working on the imbalance of which is mainly weighing down on, well, women.

So seeing as a seventh of the female population in the world are somewhat responsible for the fashion industry, it would seem a bit absurd to not think about how it affects those people, wouldn’t it?

threadbare by anne elizabeth moore review - feminist fast fashion

One of the main issues surrounding fast fashion and the industry as a whole is the problem surrounding working conditions. 80% of garment workers are women. According to the book “To Die For” by Lucy Siegle, if we break down the price of a £4 (ASDA) t-shirt, £1.18.5p goes to the supplier; £2.80 goes straight to ASDA as profit and the garment worker (most probably a woman) receives just 1.5p.

That’s 1.5p per what could possibly be 200 garments per day (roughly £4 a day), in a factory with poor safety regulations. In fact, 60% of factories in Bangladesh are structurally unsound according to a 2013 study, which makes the Rana Plaza disaster even more tragic, because it would be so easy for it to happen again.

Upon reading more about feminism and fast-fashion, I read fellow blogger Jen’s post about her thoughts, and her point about clothes plastered with feministic slogans and messages of empowerment really raised a great question; how can we be buying these clothes that promote female empowerment that cost as much as a coffee at Starbucks, when the people making them can barely afford to live and make these clothes for us?

How can we say we’re feminists when we’re supporting companies that don’t have any interest in the women (some of which are in their teens) that they employ and the situations that they are in?

threadbare by anne elizabeth moore review - feminist fast fashion

The answer is, we simply can’t. If feminism is about bringing equality to women, then we can’t call ourselves feminists if we’re still supporting a cycle and an industry that still promotes inequality. It doesn’t matter what a brand is doing on the surface. It doesn’t matter what natural beauty campaigns they’re running, or what slogans are on those t-shirts.

At the end of the day, if they didn’t have the garment workers in the first place, then they wouldn’t have their company – we wouldn’t have our clothes and our wardrobes full of outfits. We as women, as men, and as humans who need to prolong the earth we stand on – cannot call ourselves feminists if we live with the mindset that this is okay.

In line with that, one of my favourite parts of “Threadbare” and actually the page that featured that slap-in-the-face statistic, was this –

‘So if you want to support job opportunities for women in developing nations, don’t shop at the mall.’

threadbare by anne elizabeth moore review - feminist fast fashion

If you want to call yourself a feminist and support one of the biggest industries in the world, and a seventh of the female  population (cisgender/transgender – unfortunately there isn’t a clear statistic for that number, which would bring me onto a whole other topic of discrimination), then don’t support what is causing the most damage. Or like I’ve said many times before; be conscious. Hold retailers responsible.

So yes, I am a feminist, because I’m doing my part to avoid supporting companies who don’t value their workers and aren’t doing their part to create a fairer industry. Are you?

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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