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lucy siegle

What Do Logos and Labels Say About You?

By August 20, 2017 Ethical

A seed of a thought was planted in my mind a while ago when I read To Die For by Lucy Siegle (click the link for my review). One part of wearing ethical and sustainable clothes, is sending out a message about what you stand for, and Lucy touches on this in her book. But mixing this idea with logos makes it all the more important to pay attention to. Why? Let’s discuss…

ethical fashion advice - should we wear fast-fashion logos?

I might seem a little drastic to jump to the idea of thinking of our subconscious but with the idea of sustainability slowly trickling down to the everyday shopper (even if it’s through the rather controversial and possibly green-washed campaigns by the likes of H&M), what messages people are fed, even when they’re not purposefully thinking about it, all play a role in what happens next.

The idea in Lucy’s book that really stood out to me, was the idea of wearing faux-fur. Any kind of vegan material is suspicious to me (can we really say plastic alternatives to leathers are sustainable? I think not) but there are obviously many reasons why people avoid buying real fur.

The question was – by wearing any kind of fur, fake or vintage, aren’t we still showing the world that we appreciate and see fur as something wearable? That got the ball rolling for me, and it’s brought me back around to logos and labels, as the title of this post suggests.

ethical fashion advice - should we wear fast-fashion logos?

If we’re wearing a visible logo, how does this affect how people view our ethical views? Again, admittedly that sounds drastic to think about but as somebody who owns a pair of Nike trainers, yet stands by going against sweatshops, what does that say about me, when someone looks at my feet?

You might be thinking – does anybody really pay that much attention? Probably not. In fact, people are more likely to pay more attention to what you’re wearing on Instagram to what you’re wearing in real life (the same question still applies though), so perhaps the idea is more of a moral one.

Is it right to wear a Prada logo even when the shirt was bought second-hand? That’s my most recent query, after picking one up from a charity shop. Luxury doesn’t automatically mean ethical, after all, and nobody in passing will necessarily know I re-used an item which would have otherwise had been wasted.

Taking the question about faux-fur and adapting it a little; by wearing a label attached to an unethical brand, new or vintage, aren’t we still showing the world that we in some way appreciate and see fast-fashion as something to be worn and supported?

Visibility to me, is what I think is important. Bold, glaring logos which are immediately recognisable will say something to people in passing (or on social media), no matter how subconscious the connection is.

This doesn’t mean to say I think we should all be throwing out anything we own which is branded (never throw out clothes just because what you own isn’t ethical – keep them for longer), but it is to say I think we should shop more consciously with what message we’re putting out there in mind, especially when the message is easy to recognise and judge. Yeah, I’m saying – avoid that Gucci style Topshop-logo splashed t-shirt that’s apparently currently on sale (or you know, Topshop in general.)

“What about non-visible logos?” I hear you cry – well, as I just said, do not fear if your wardrobe is packed with them already (and by that I mean, Primark or other fast-fashion labels, like I myself still own), as it’s better to prolong their life in your wardrobe than rid of them completely. Also, as I’ve been asked this in the past and also rather recently, yes, it’s okay to shop second-hand even if what you’re buying was originally made or sourced unethically. Your money isn’t going directly into the hands of the industry, so you’re safe to shop fast-fashion in the second-hand world.

Have you ever thought about what logos you’re wearing say about you? Let me know in the comments!

ethical fashion blog - lost shapes x tolly dolly posh


SPEAKING OF LOGOS…

…you’ll soon be able to wear mine on the back of your t-shirt! And yes, it will be ethical. I’ve finally announced my upcoming collection with Lost Shapes which will be available to buy on September 7th, 2017. YAY!


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

By March 2, 2017 Ethical

Seeing as I’ve mentioned it at least a dozen times in previous blog posts, it’s probably about time I spoke about my reading of To Die For by Lucy Siegle, isn’t it? This book review is going to be in a slightly different format, similar to my review of Vivienne Westwood’s book because I’m going to talk about three different topics I hadn’t thought about before…

If you’re wondering why these pictures were taken at the beach; I read most of this book on a tiny bench by the sea.to die for by lucy siegle book review - ethical fashion

#1 – Cotton has a cost…

It’s a lot easier for us all to relate to stories and issues which connect directly with the clothes we wear. It’s easier for us to open our ears and minds to stories about some of the final hands which held them and put the garments together, and it’s even easier for us to forget about the people long before that; the people who made us the fabrics. One of the most eye-opening chapters in To Die For, was the chapter dedicated to cotton and the sections which focused heavily on cotton picking.

One of the biggest cotton producing countries in the world (7th biggest, according to WorldKnowing.com in 2015) is Uzbekistan.  I’d never thought about cotton picking in much detail so when I read that “in 2009 between one and two million children were forced out into Uzbekistan’s fields”, it’s safe to say I was taken aback. It’s also safe to say that cotton picking isn’t pleasant labour.

to die for by lucy siegle book review - ethical fashion

Each year the government-installed system forces millions of Uzbekistani’s to take part in cotton production where they are exposed to unknown chemicals, unsafe and unsanitary housing, and lack of safe drinking water (you can read more about it on CottonCampaign.org); many of these people are children or teenagers.

Lucy interviewed a former cotton-picking student who was supposed to reach a quota of 60kg (132 pounds) per day, for the duration of 54 days. As a sixteen-year-old at the time, she only managed to reach this quota once due to how lightweight cotton is. There is so much more to Gulnara’s story, yet I’d never even thought of it before. When practically all of us wear cotton, why is it that we don’t know enough about it?

to die for by lucy siegle book review - ethical fashion

#2 – We need to learn more about sustainability…

I’ve always thought more about ethics over sustainability. I suppose not only did I know more about the human side of the industry but it also always struck a chord more easily than say, issues to do with the environment. Knowing that I am responsible for another human being’s treatment to a certain extent was one of the main reason I started approaching fashion more consciously. But I really need to thank this book for making me think about the earth too.

From the date this book was published, the textile industry was one of “the biggest water consumers in the world, using 3.2% of all the 1,400km³ of water available to the human race each year”. This isn’t the only staggering number though, we have to remember that fashion’s footprint is much larger when you consider coal usage, land and water pollution, the effects of herding animals for fibres and skins and all of the added and extra effects which come with the production of things like zips and metal eyelets.

There is so much to consider, it’s no wonder we don’t know enough. There are ways to do it, though. Lucy recommends using a tool called EcoMetrics which enables you to calculate the rough footprint of your wardrobe by looking at what fabrics your clothes are made up of. I’ve yet to try it myself but it’s just one of the small ways you can start to understand sustainability a little clearer.

One of the tools I have used though, is Nike’s Making App which allows you to compare different fabrics and their footprint in different areas. I used it quite a while back in a blog post about my wardrobe at the time but it’s still relevant today too.

to die for by lucy siegle book review - ethical fashion

#3 – Should we wear fur – faux or real?

Fur is actually a rather hot topic right now. There were PETA protests and campaigns happening at fashion week this season and there are debates and conversations starting up online so perhaps what Lucy spoke about in To Die For will get you looking at it all from a new perspective.

Lucy opens up to the idea that faux fur might also be a contributor to why real, natural fur is an issue within itself. In more recent times, fur has become more of a statement of wealth rather than warmth and practicality that it originated from many moons ago. There’s this illusion that fur is something beautiful and something to hold and treasure because of its cost and value and this idea seems to be coming back into fashion as a very similar statement.

There are pros and cons to each side of the story of faux and real fur but the book made me start to think whether both are equally as bad. Neither option is ethical; chemicals cause faux fur to be polluting and unsustainable and the slaughtering of animals and the treatment of the skins are unsustainable and unethical when it comes to real.

If a faux fur jacket doesn’t degrade for at least six hundred years (according to a quote by Teresa Platt on page 189), how can we really choose either option? It’s come to my conclusion from reading the chapters on both sides of the story, that we really can’t. Wearing faux-fur is still making fur of any kind seem aspirational and iconic. I really want to delve into more surrounding this subject, especially vegan leathers and furs.

to die for by lucy siegle book review - ethical fashion

Overall, To Die For is definitely one of the heavier books I’ve read on these topics but it’s worth it if you want to focus on areas you have perhaps, a weaker knowledge for. There are also lovely illustrations dotted throughout and unique personal stories which you, of course, won’t find anywhere else.

If you’re looking for a book which is more about ethical brands which are already up and running, I’d recommend taking a look at my review of Slow Fashion by Safia Minney, who is mentioned in this book a couple of times towards the end. For more of a feminist take on things, Threadbare is a great one, and for something just as thought-provoking but a little lighter in terms of writing and size, Stitched Up is another amazing alternative.

I’m currently reading Clothing Poverty, so I’m sure you’ll see a review of that soon.


What do you think of the topics mentioned? Should we wear fur? What books are you reading? Let me know in the comments!


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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The True Cost Movie | My Thoughts, 40% Off & FREE Download

By June 6, 2015 Fashion

 If you haven’t seen me nattering away on Twitter, then you won’t have seen my tweets about a new documentary film called, The True Cost. I first discovered it on the Business of Fashion YouTube channel (which I would highly recommend subscribing to) and had been waiting for the launch day ever since. I thought I would discuss the movie and what I’ve taken from it, to hopefully inspire you and get you all to watch it. Sorry if this is a long one… if you read all the way you might find a 40% off surprise at the end!

The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

The film itself probably isn’t suitable for all age groups. There are a couple of graphic scenes, so please watch at your own risk, or at least ask your parents first if you’re under 13.

First of all, the film in summary: The True Cost is a documentary film about the true costs of fashion. It talks about (what I like to call) ‘diseases’ of the fashion industry. Whether that be in production or in the end, consumption. I do have to admit, it makes your stomach flip inside out. You feel a sense of guilt as you watch what is before your eyes, but I think that it is the only way anyone can get the message across. You may be thinking, why the guilt? What have you done wrong? Well, it depends who you are.

As I just mentioned, the film talks about everything from production to consumption, and I believe it is important to define what we mean by that. What exactly is a ‘consumer’? In my opinion a consumer of (mainly, fast) fashion is somebody who literally, consumes. Its somebody who takes what they can, because they can.

The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

I don’t think I am a consumer. I don’t buy things just for the fun of it… I don’t live in a world where I run into a shop on Black Friday screaming because the deals are just SO inviting. I live in a world where I buy what I want when I need it.

Okay I admit, I don’t necessarily need any more clothes, but I never buy things just because. I’m not trying to excuse myself at all… but I do understand the problems in buying dirt cheap. Now that the problems have been put in front of me, I think more about the item and what its been through. I absolutely adore second-hand shopping and actually find it slightly more satisfying when I find something that is my style. Its like a treasure trove… but you’re not just buying, you’re recycling too.

But, I am part of the problem, and you probably are too.

We should all know about the Rana Plaza disaster by now; 1,133 people died (and 2,500 were injured) in 2013 when the factory in Bangladesh collapsed. It was the factory home to many well known western brands including the ‘almighty’ Primarni… I mean, uh, Primark. It was also the workplace of many women (and men) of which provided them with around $50 a month (or much less) and extremely poor living conditions.


CLICK TO TWEET: Share a quote from this post and get even more people involved. Educate as many people about the true cost of fashion…


The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

The factory collapsed on April 29th 2013 after several employees noticed cracks appearing on the walls. You may recognise this date as Fashion Revolution Day which started exactly 1 year after the disaster.

If you watch The True Cost, you will soon understand that this is not the only ‘disease’. It isn’t just the fact that Rana Plaza collapsed and killed many, that makes it so important. It’s also the fact that even the fabrics, leathers and materials that go into these cheap clothes, are harmful. Chemicals used on the farms are dangerous, and there are already many cases which show that we could should be doing better.

It has really made me start to think that the industry, including the consumers, just keep putting a one word excuse in front of them… money.

The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

If the industry, and all the major companies and corporations really cared about the people, the environment, the future and their credibility, they would stop putting it all down to money. Did you know that a t-shirt in the US would cost 3 cents more if the factory workers in places just like Bangladesh were paid enough to live under standard living conditions?

Yes, there are middle men in between, but if it is over us and the consumers spending a few more pennies, the H&Ms and the ZARAs of the world having to spend a few more too, and mothers in the garment factories having to send their children away because working in a factory is the only answer, meaning their children aren’t being educated or looked after, then that is sickening.


CLICK TO TWEET: Sharing this blog post will already start putting the message across. Spread awareness for the true cost of fashion…


The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

That is where my guilt comes in. I’m giving my money to companies that don’t actually care that much about anything other than what goes into their pocket. I don’t shop with them that often, but it really does make me wish I could do more.

Right now, what I can do is influence you, my readers. I can change your view on things, make you watch The True Cost and other documentaries to educate yourself on topics that effect you, the world and many individual families. I can also avoid consuming products from these shops as much as I can (I know that for some of us on tighter budgets, it is harder. It often feels like the only option). I can buy second-hand items which also recycles items that are perfectly usable. I can support and promote brands that are doing all the right things, like People Tree for example.

I know that isn’t much. If I could, I would be doing so much more. You could be too. Think about what you could be doing. Don’t think that what you could be doing as worthless because if we all thought that then we would get nowhere. If we didn’t vote for our favourite contestants on Britain’s Got Talent, then nobody would win. Use your voice and spread the word because you can. Speak for the families and workers who get beaten and killed for wanting something that is totally human and fair.


CLICK TO TWEET: Think about what you could be doing and ask your followers to start joining in too. Change the industry one step at a time…



The True Cost Movie - Fashion Documentary - 40% Off Discount Code

SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER FOR 40% OFF THE TRUE COST & A FREE “Change The Industry” CHECKLIST

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To really get the ball rolling, the creators of The True Cost have given you guys a discount code for 40% off when you buy the movie directly from their site via VHX. To get your discount code, simply subscribe to my newsletter (click the link or use the form above) and in the “Subscription Confirmed” email, there will be a code and also a FREE checklist for you to start changing the industry.

Try and achieve all of the simple tasks on the list! Complete them knowing that even if what you do is small, it’s still making a difference. Tiny grains of sand make up the most luscious beaches, so start small and make this problem become a BIG issue.

It’s not just the companies and brands responsibility, it’s our job too.

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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