Watch this! TED with Vigga Svensson

Oh hi! Here’s a little video we watched in class which I think you might like! I think it’s a really important contribution to the ethical fashion conversation, because it talks about making a difference by challenging the underlying model of consumption (rather than just by buying organic bamboo t-shirts or whatever).

I won’t spoil the video’s plot twist for you, but let me just say I’m really excited to see how Vigga’s sort-of-new way of consuming can be applied to other areas in the fashion industry and other industries altogether. There’s so much potential here to really shake things up and change the way we consume, and I for one am ready for it!

In pursuit of colour

I’ve always been a black-wearing slightly-grunge kind of girl, but lately I find myself drawn more and more to bright colours and abstract patterns. I can’t help craving colour blocking and painterly swooshes of peach, sky blue, mustard, olive and navy.

I made a moodboard to inspire my style choices for 2017. As I’m focusing on ethical fashion this year my choices are a little bit restricted, and I’m aiming not to buy too many new things anyway. But if I could buy anything I wanted (and actually pull off anything I wanted), here’s what my wardrobe would look like in 2017.

fashion moodboard - a collage of clothes, patterns and shapes

Clockwise from top left: pink pattern, Cassie Byrnes painted fabric, Gorman dress, Good Vibes Only, fabric swatches by Beci Orpin, colour block dress, Obus dress, Bianca Cash eye print, outfit with mustard pants, block socks, Gorman dress.

My year of ethical fashion

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Ever since I heard about the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, I’ve found myself becoming more and more uncomfortable with the fast fashion movement and the fashion industry in general. It’s an industry that depends on sweatshops, child labour, and all manner of questionable working conditions that range from unfair and exploitative to plain dangerous. Aside from the human element, there are also a bunch of environmentally damaging and unsustainable practices going on too.

Over the past few years I have been making slow and steady progress towards refashioning my wardrobe into something a bit more people- and earth-friendly. It is, unfortunately, something that’s easy to (wilfully) forget about. It’s easy to get carried away by a beautiful piece that you *must* have, or to buy something because it’s convenient, or to think that, well, you don’t buy that much in the whole scheme of things so one little cheap, mass-produced top here and there isn’t going to make any difference, really.

The thing is – it does, and it will. So this year I am throwing out the excuses and the intentional ignorance and committing myself to an ethical wardrobe. My rules are as follows:

  1. Buy less in general. Be more critical in separating wants from needs.
  2. Think about restyling, re-purposing and customising things I already own instead of buying something new. Consider making things from scratch (let’s be real, this probably won’t happen as my sewing skills are regrettably sub-par).
  3. When I do decide to buy something, it must be either ethical or secondhand, sourced from op shops or sellers on Depop or Facebook (and these sellers must be located within Australia).

So, what actually constitutes ‘ethical’ clothing? For the sake of my own decision-making, I’m classifying it as anything from a brand that ranks ‘good’ or higher on the ethical ratings app Good On You.

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Realistically, ethical clothing is expensive and I’ve often struggled to find pieces that are fun, youthful and interesting (not to mention fitted – is there some unwritten rule out there in the eco-fashion industry that anyone interested in ethical clothes must also love looking like a walking duvet?) so my prediction is that it’s going to be a year of op-shopping. Bring it on, I say.

Before I go, here are some resources that might be helpful if you’re looking at buying ethically (or just want to know more about the state of the industry):

Behind the Barcode

Ethical Clothing Australia

Choice report (a little out of date but still useful)

Good On You

Mini DIY: Eye-print top

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I bought this plain purple top from my local op shop a while back, for no particular reason except that they were doing a 5 for $2 type of deal and I needed a fifth thing. After a bit of experimentation I found that it looked quite cute tied up into a crop over some high-waisted shorts. But it was still just a little bit… dull.

So I dug out my screen, squeegee and some eye-shaped stencils from a previous project and gave it a mini makeover.

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I’m super happy with how it turned out. It really gives an already nice top just that little bit of extra individuality. What do you think?

I might keep going and do something with the collar as well – maybe a bit of trim will do the trick…