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It’s Taken Me Over 3 Years to Become a Conscious Consumer | My Ethical Journey

By December 16, 2017 Ethical

In early 2016, I was still buying fast-fashion, even knowing that my purchase wouldn’t benefit anything other than my itch for wanting something new…

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?Circa April 2013, I was sat in my living room, rocking back and forth in my chair as I read the news of the Rana Plaza disaster. This was the very first time I considered that the industry I loved might have scary and dangerous consequences. I was thirteen but go ahead and call me uneducated or close-minded if you so wish.

The little I did know was extremely simple (and rather inaccurate) and barely scratched the surface on the real issues at hand – the clothes I bought were inexpensive because they were made cheaply and the more expensive they were, the higher quality they would be.

What literal schooling and the school-of-life hadn’t taught me was that cheaply really meant, unfairly. There’s always a reason why products are priced lowly or highly, after all. But for child and pre-teen me, it was exciting to shop, no matter how things were made.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

It was an experience, one which I mostly shared with my mum and my sister. We’d go out on the weekends and we’d browse the latest offerings, piling up clothes to take to the changing rooms where we’d laugh and giggle when things didn’t fit right and joyously celebrate when a dress was ‘perfect’ and ‘so you’ (and also didn’t break the bank).

My sister moved out before I ever reached my tenth birthday so those shopping trips lessened. However, they only became more cherished when she’d come back to see me and we’d do what we hadn’t been able to do for however long it had been.

I’d go on days out with my mum too because that was what we did to treat ourselves, with Southampton’s West Quay being the destination of our choice.

To avoid being stereotypical and saying that only the women in my life were shopping-til-they-dropped, I also used to plan days out with my dad where we’d spend one-on-one time dressing each other up and treating ourselves to a KFC afterwards (it was a treat, thank you very much; their baked beans are second-to-none.)

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

This was all ordinary behaviour and to this day in western culture, still is. We go into town with our friends and we make a full day of it. You can make memories in high-street changing rooms.

Thankfully for me, I was never brought up to avoid charity shops or vintage stores despite the stigma that surrounds them, so, without even knowing it I often balanced out my new purchases with more sustainable ones.

I’d say the closest I got to a proper formal education on the negative aspect to our clothes and the fashion industry, would have been a school trip to a local landfill where we saw the piles of rubbish which included perfectly usable textiles.

Other than that, it took the collapse of a garment factory home to the products of Primark, for me to finally embark upon my ethical fashion journey.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

It took me until summer 2016 to properly bid farewell to those sorts of purchases (excluding underwear – you can read why that is here), even though I was well aware that there were better alternatives and reasons to consume more consciously.

A lot of it had to do with my shopping habits rather than the actual clothes I was buying, though. It’s almost as if you experience withdrawal symptoms and every now and then you have to fall back into fast-fashions grasp and use the good ol’ excuse of ‘treating yourself’ but since when did treating yourself mean buying something which was made without people and the planet in mind?

Technically, your dopamine levels are the only part of the equation that is being treated, or, maybe the water used to make the fabric of your new dress, just with toxic chemicals, dyes and plastic micro-fibres.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

I am by no means perfect, currently. For instance, I shop second-hand but I pay no attention to the fabrics I’m buying and now that I’m more educated, I know more about the impacts of other aspects of my life, yet I haven’t made many changes in those other problem areas.

It takes time to become more conscious individually and the rest of the industry following will also take time. It’s one of the reasons we need to shout about it loudly and proudly because the quicker it happens, the better!

The more you educate yourself and allow yourself to question what you’re used to, the easier it will become to make the right choices for you. It will also make it a lot easier for other people who haven’t even considered other ways of shopping and experiencing fashion, to educate themselves too.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

My consumption habits and patterns in 2016 were tremendously better than those I had in 2013 and the ones I have now make me feel content and comfortable, however, there will always be room for improvement. If you feel hopeless or perhaps even a little guilty, take a breather and put things into perspective.

Take a trip down memory lane and take a look at the changes you’ve made so far. Is there anything more you can be doing now?

Do you have any ethical goals you’d like to achieve? Is there anything you want to learn more about? If my thirteen-year-old self had asked herself those questions, I’m sure I would have reached the stage I’m at now, far sooner.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?


Here are some Q&As to break-down my ethical journey…


When did I first become aware of the issues of fast-fashion?

Around 2013 – early 2014. The main chunk of my education came from the documentary, The True Cost, which was released around the same time. You can watch it on Netflix.

What was my first ethical purchase?

Other than the dozens and dozens of second-hand items I’ve consumed in my life, I believe it was an ASOS Africa blouse. Although ASOS may not be the most ethical or sustainable brand and I don’t know too much about how it was manufactured, I think it was a good starting place and allowed me to slowly transition from shopping there frequently to making more considered choices.

When was my last fast-fashion purchase?

I can’t remember the exact time or date or which purchase was officially the last but the four items I do remember buying last year (in the early months and possibly towards the end of 2015) were a pair of Motivi floral trousers, a Pull & Bear jumper and a pair of jeans, and an embroidered white shirt from Stradivarius (the latter two brands of which are owned by Inditex).

Although these purchases weren’t ethical, they are all still in my wardrobe. I’ve worn the floral trousers so much that the zip is now broken (and will soon be fixed, I promise!) and I probably won’t be buying any other jeans for a fair few years.

I don’t condone boycotting on a mass scale but if you can shop with alternative brands – which I believe most of you reading this will be able to do, even if it means not shopping at all for a while -, then avoiding fast-fashion is what I highly advise.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Conscious Consumer?

What has been one of the biggest struggles so far?

Not being able to buy anything overly elaborate or ‘out there’. By that I mean, not browsing through ASOS’s new-in and buying a ruffled midi-dress which is half-floral and half-sequin (that’s the first item that caught my eye on a very brief look at their latest offerings).

I’ve perfectly adapted to this change and I believe it’s made me make much more versatile style choices meaning my wardrobe is far more wearable than it ever was before, but I can understand why it’s easy to succumb to pieces that are totally out there and not easily accessible elsewhere (unless you’re making it yourself).

What is my next goal as a conscious consumer?

In terms of fashion purchases, I want to consider the fabrics I’m buying, whether that’s new or second-hand. I want to avoid bringing more polyester and man-made materials into my life to avoid the unwanted breakdown of fibres when washing, as well as wanting to consider the affects fabrics have on my body – who knows what chemicals are in what we wear?


Are you a conscious consumer? How far along are you on your ethical journey? What are your ethical goals? Share them in the comments!

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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10 Simple Ways to Keep on Asking

By September 14, 2017 Ethical, Shop

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

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts


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


1. Use your voice on social media…

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

2. …and your voice in real life…

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

3. Ask yourself questions…

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

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts

4. Join in with #WhoMadeMyClothes…

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

5. Take longer to decide before buying…

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

6. Write a letter to brands you love…

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

How to Keep on Asking - Ethical Fashion T-Shirts

7. Look for warning signs…

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

8. Question price…

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

9. See if you can find an alternative…

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

10. Don’t take anything at face value…

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


  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Relax, I Am Not the Ethical Police

By August 5, 2017 Ethical

The title of this post may sound familiar if you follow my Facebook page (you can do so by clicking here) as a while ago I brought up the matter in response to several messages I’d had from friends, family and people I knew online. Most of the messages had a similar theme – they were apologies for shopping fast-fashion.

Ethical Fashion Advice - Relax, I'm Not The Ethical Police

However, I’m putting it out there – I’m not the ethical police. Nor is anyone else who is an advocate for ethics and sustainability and moving the industry (and world) in a more positive direction. I’ve never come across anyone who has pointed out somebody’s wrong doings within this realm (unless it’s been pointed in the direction of a major brand or company as a whole) and I wouldn’t even necessarily jump to saying they’re ‘wrong doings’.

Of course, whatever I put out there into the world with promoting this new way of thinking – technically it’s not that new but awareness is still growing – in terms of conscious consumerism and how we wear our clothes, I do it all with the intent of trying to inspire others to do the same. It’s my goal.

I want you to listen to what I have to say and hopefully, in some respect, take it to heart. I believe we should be changing our ways. This isn’t something we can just sit back and ignore anymore. We have a duty, especially within my generation of younger people (it’s our future, folks), to make changes.

So yes, I will celebrate people who start to implement these ideas and changes because I understand that at first, it can seem daunting, as if you need to change everything you know in life in order to be conscious (I’m not over exaggerating here – I have seen people expressing how impossible it seems).

Ethical Fashion Advice - Relax, I'm Not The Ethical Police

But, will I ever call you out for going against all of this? No. Should you feel guilty about it? No. Why? Well… because four years ago I was cheering on the fact that Primark was stocked on ASOS and I wasn’t batting an eyelid to what brands sent me in the post to feature on my blog.

It takes time to adjust and it takes time to learn. I don’t want anyone to come to me feeling guilty or down because I’m no perfect example of anything, I’m just attempting to shine a light on the darkness of this industry. In fact, I may even give you a proud pat on the head if you ever confess to fast-fashion purchases because it shows how aware you are (although please refrain from doing so, as this post suggests). Having your eyes open and being honest with yourself is key in becoming more conscious and thoughtful in the way you live and shop, whether that be in fashion or elsewhere.

This post is simply to say – you can take a step back and relax if all of this ethical and sustainable jargon and information is getting you down in the dumps, or if you slipped up and indulged on something which doesn’t have a clear label on it. I want my blog to be a space where we’re not focusing on doing wrong; we’re focusing on doing better.

If you want some tips on how to do just that rather than worrying yourself into ethically-induced anxiety, then click some of the links below. They might be handy for if you’re new around here, too!

~ HANDY ETHICAL ADVICE ~


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

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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How To Support Fashion Revolution Day… 18th – 24th April

By April 17, 2016 Ethical

So as you will know from the past couple of years, I’m a big supporter of Fashion Revolution, so this is just a quick reminder for those of you who are new around here (or just new to Fashion Revolution Day in general)… it’s also a great way to refresh your mind on how to support the campaign even if you’ve joined in before…

How to Support Fashion Revolution Day - April 18th - 24th 2016

How to Support Fashion Revolution Day - April 18th - 24th 2016

On the 24th April 2013, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born. The campaign and it’s supporters believe that 1,134 is too many people to lose from the planet in one factory on one terrible day to not stand up and demand change.

On 24 April every year, Fashion Revolution Day brings people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes. Fashion needs to become a force for good. The aim is to transform the fashion industry into a transparent one and that all starts with the question… who made my clothes?

How to Support Fashion Revolution Day - April 18th - 24th 2016

One of the main ways to get involved is through social media, asking the all important #whomademyclothes hashtag. Send a picture or selfie of your clothes, inside out, with the label showing and tweet the brand, to ask who made it. Keep trying if you don’t receive an answer – it should be an easy question to answer for all brands, no matter how big or small. Here’s an example tweet (click to use it!)…


I’m [name] and I want to thank the people who made my [clothes] Hi @ [brand] #whomademyclothes? @Fash_Rev


If you’re a blogger, then make use of the resources on the Fashion Revolution site to make up your own images for your blog and social media. Spread the word to as many of your followers as possible!

How to Support Fashion Revolution Day - April 18th - 24th 2016

If you’re out and about shopping over the next week (and well… anytime), make sure to hit up your local charity, vintage and second hand shops! Don’t be scared… just go in, take a look and save some money! Change your mindset… think about where your clothes are coming from and how they effect the world we’re living in, and the people in it. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – think about the alternatives. DIY and revamping is also included! It all counts.


TDP Archive: The Importance of Second Hand Shopping // Starting An Ethical Wardrobe // Ethical Directory


How to Support Fashion Revolution Day - April 18th - 24th 2016

One of the biggest and most important things to do is… educate yourself! Learn more about why these sorts of issues are effecting the fashion industry. If you wear clothes, then you should know about wear they come from and what happens after we let them go, right? Right. One of the best documentaries that I can personally recommend, is The True Cost. I’ve written about it before, but I don’t mind bringing it up again. Please watch it and let me know what you learnt!



Reading Material: The Label Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story // Rana Plaza // The Plastic Age


Let me know if you get any responses from your favourite brands in the comments! Let’s do this together!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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