Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Ethics Behind The Industry: Scratching The Surface

As a student studying fashion, I know how hard it is to also be on a student's budget. Looking "cool", having the latest trends and buying branded clothing seem to be a given in terms of how people view me and my fellow classmates. But in order to keep on top of trends, it often means having a large budget. And let's be honest, university is not cheap, so people tend to resort to buying into fast fashion. But what people are only just now starting to become more conscious of, is the ethics behind it all. How are their clothes made? Who makes their clothing? Are they being made with safe practises? The world used to turn a blind eye to this side of the industry, but in recent years I've noticed a shift in society. People are starting to care.

I sat down and had a large discussion with some friends over lunch about the issue of buying ethically made clothing. No, this does not mean I have to spends hundreds of dollars on a t-shirt made of 100% organically grown cotton (which if I had the funds for I probably would). But it means making myself aware of the background of the companies I choose to purchase goods from, buying second hand and educating myself on fashion ethics and what that means for the consumer. Now I'm not saying I'm an expert in this matter, far from it. I have barely scratched the surface. But in saying that, hopefully I can encourage those around me to do the same in educating themselves. I cannot save the planet on my own, but by practising it myself, and helping to inform others, hopefully we as a whole can make a difference. 

The world started to really think about it after the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed several years ago, killing over 1000 garment workers. It opened people's eyes to the terrible working conditions in some of the factories where clothes we wear are made. It made me personally stop and think, "am I feeding into something that people die over?". It shocked me to the core that I can tell you. 

After this tragedy, organisations and movements have been formed with people now avidly taking part in things such as Fashion Revolution and asking brands "Who made my clothes?", to encourage transparency within the fashion industry. This has gained a lot of popularity over the few years it has been running, with even celebrities posting photos of them getting involved in the campaign on various social media sites. In my part of the world (Down Under) Baptist World Aid Australia has come out with a report on ethical fashion and is rating companies on their ethical practises so the consumers within New Zealand and Australia can become more aware of the brands they are choosing to purchase goods from. This guide has not only enlightened the people that buy their products, but also the companies themselves as it encourages them to look into who their suppliers are and that the practises being used are safe for the workers.

I'm going to continue researching into this issue, and encourage all of you to do the same. I'm not saying I'm going to immediately switch to 100% ethical products, but I'm going to do my best to make a real difference in how I buy clothing and what I can do to support this movement.

Elise xo

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Style Spot

I love shoes.

To be more specific: loafers, oxfords, and brogues to be exact. Flat, platform, metallic, tassels, I think they're all so cool. I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect pair. They basically go with anything. Jeans and a t-shirt, a full skirt and blouse, a big cozy seater and some wide leg pants. I have basically come to terms with the fact that I love pieces that are versatile. Something I can wear with everything, is comfortable and effortlessly cool. These shoes are something I don't think will ever really go out of style.

Here are some of my top picks in this shoe department:

These cool black loafers with a tassel from Kurt Geiger (here)

Pull&Bear platformed brogues (here)

River Island pointed patent loafers (here)

Sometimes I start planning my outfit from the ground up. Literally. The right shoes can make or break your entire look. I'm excited to find the right pair to add to my winter wardrobe!

Elise xo

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My Love Affair

I have a love affair with fashion. 

This statement I feel is probably quite common, but I'm telling you, it's true. The feeling is something I can hardly describe. The joy it brings to my every day, in it's simplicity or extravagancy, there is just something about it I cannot get enough of.

Whether it be wandering through chain stores in a mall just taking in the colours and styles of the range, running my fingertips along each rack of clothing. Or when I am at my workplace in a recycled boutique, just taking in the vast space filled with all sorts of different colours and textures, from high street fashion, to vintage pieces. At my job in a designers head office, in her online department, overseeing each garment before gently wrapping in tissue and packing it to be sent across the country to be worn and loved.

Fashion is something I have enjoyed and appreciated my whole life. Every aspect of it I see value and importance. From the thought process to create the design, to the production of the pattern, the toile, the first sample. Right up until it gets seen by a buyer in a showroom, on the runway or in a magazine. It is sometimes so hard to imagine that basic t-shirt you are wearing going through that process, but it does. I am about to start a three year journey exploring this incredible industry doing a Bachelor of Design, Fashion major. Studying fashion has been something I don't think I've ever not wanted to do. My future role within the industry is debatable, but the one thing I know is that it is where I want to be.

I could spend hours watching styling videos on YouTube, reading biographies about famous designers and have genuinely almost cried watching fashion documentaries like Dior and I (trailer), and Handmade With Love In France (trailer). To see the heart and soul that goes into this industry, which people think is so heartless and intense, just makes me want to be there more. In a sense I already am there. On a slightly lower scale that is. These days the industry is so broad. Fashion bloggers, instagrammers, fashion psychologists, journalists, even hair and makeup artists are considered valued members of the fashion world. With advances in social media, fashion has changed the way its viewed, but in a sense, has almost made it "un-extraordinary" to your average person. It is no longer just for the "elite" but for everyone. Trends are expressed and the high street is picking up on the couture and high fashion designers styles and incorporating those things into clothing you can purchase from the local mall. 

Choosing what to wear each day can set the mood and portray how you feel. It is a way of being able to express yourself, tell the world a little bit about you, before anyone has even spoken a word. I find getting dressed for work each day such a therapeutic process, from picking my outfit to how I'll style my hair or do my makeup. It's putting in an extra 5 minutes to create "a look" and not just "an outfit". The way fashion makes me feel is in every way positive. I could be in my comfiest pair of sweats or my most embellished top, but if I love what I wear I feel the most confident and pretty. Fashion is a thing often overlooked, in a broad sense. Of course we put on clothes everyday, but is it a chore, or is it something you can look forward to? Surrounding myself with anything and everything I can get my hands on in this area makes my life that little bit more enjoyable, so why wouldn't I engulf myself in it?

Elise xo

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Few Faves

It's been a while, but as always, I've been busy with school finishing, life happened and I forgot.Oops.So here we are again. It's almost the end of 2015, and I'm vowing to try and start this again. And keep at it. But no promises.So, as usual, after a long time away, I'm coming back with a few of my favourite things. Speaking of, the other day, I watched the Sound of Music. Brings me back to my childhood. I used to watch that movie every day after school for about six months. No joke. I loved it. Julie Andrews is incredible.Okay, back to my monthly faves.

Wide Swing Dresses.

I recently bought this dress from The Fifth Label for my high school graduation dinner, and I'm obsessed with it. I bought the white version with black polka dots because I though it looked nice and summery. I wore it to my grad dinner with a belt and nude strappy heels like the ones in the picture, But it could also look great with some low top converse, and a denim jacket for a more casual look, or black booties and a leather jacket to toughen it up. It's super versatile, great for dressy occasions or even beach barbecues.

Purchase here.

Peppermint Truffles

As Christmas comes upon us, holidays parties, family dinners, and friends popping over become the norm. Also, a lot more baking tends to happen, cookies, fruit cake, pavlova (meringue dessert). These truffles are really simple to make, and make a great homemade gift. They'd be great in the evenings with a hot cup of tea, as a decadent treat at Christmas parties, and a really festive sweet to have on hand when friends come over. They're definitely on my baking list this year (although, they are technically no-bake truffles, even better!).

Get the recipe here.

Simple Christmas Wrapping

I love the idea of having such simple gift wrap. It make gifts look polished, but a little rustic at the same time. I mean, who doesn't love "brown paper packages tied up with string"? (here I go with The Sound of Music again!). I love the added sprig of pine, not only does it look really fresh, but the scent is a nice added element. A sprig of rosemary or holly could also look really nice. Just add a simple tag, some string or twine, and you've got a beautifully wrapped gift!

You do you. Do whatever makes you happy. Because that's all that matters. You have the power to choose how you want your life to go, and it may not always be smooth sailing, but you decide whether or not to make the best of any situation, or who you have in your life. Be happy

Until next time,

Elise xo

The Life of a Fashion Intern - Pt.3

I found this old post in my draft box that never made it out. It's a little old, but I figured I should just post it anyway. Enjoy!

Hey everyone,

As I've been doing this internship, I have learnt a lot about myself, and about being in a "work" environment. Being in my last year of high school, I know that next year, as I start university, and working more regularly, getting the opportunity to spend one full day a week, pulling a 9-5 has made me realise what the real world is like.
No more sleep ins, or just skipping the odd class or two. When you work, you have to show up, stand up and pull your weight. Some mornings I would lay in bed thinking to myself, "Should I just call in sick?". But as an adult, you can't that easily pull a sickie every day.

I realised that starting from the bottom is hard, but necessary. Doing the heavy lifting and those odd jobs that you think are silly are really not that bad. Because every little bit counts.  And those who have gotten somewhere also had to start somewhere. And this is where I'm starting.

To not even be out of high school yet, but to already have a job working in retail and have done an internship with a high level fashion designer, already puts me above where I thought I would be at.

I know that I for sure want to be in this industry, and through this internship experience I've figured out what area I want to be in. I know what I like, and what I don't, what it takes, and what I've got to give. I may need a bit more time to be 100% confident in my choice to pursue a career in this industry, but it's where I want to be.

Elise xo

Friday, 4 September 2015

The Life of a Fashion Intern Pt.2

Hi everyone!

Back again with another post about my fashion internship. As I'm only going in one day a week, I try to cram in as much work as I can, and considering I work at my regular job from 3-5:30, on the same day, its tricky to balance my time. But we're managing for now.

I thought I'd just share a couple highlights from my day and a few things I did. Here we go!

1. I spent at least two hours staring at clothes and lookbooks from the last few seasons putting them in order and range which seemed like it took forever but it didn't.

2. I got to pack clothes and shoes going down south for a show. Had to match photos with garments, in the order they'll go down the runway, with the specific model and shoe options (because their profiles "never have the correct sizes"). I literally sat on the floor staring at a rack of clothes and writing descriptions. It was better than it sounds.

3. They hosted us for a celebratory end of busy fashion week/welcome new person/you've all worked really hard lunch. We had Indian food, people were drinking wine (it was 12:30pm), I ate some really good butter chicken, cucumber raita and naan, and there was a cute thank you speech. But my boss ate turkish food because she "doesn't like spice".

4. I got personally thanked by the designer herself today as she was leaving for the afternoon. I think I said something lame like "you're welcome". I try to act cool calm and collected, but I guess speaking is still not a strong point when it comes to conversing with important people in the fashion industry. I'll work on it.

So that was a little insight into my day. Lets see if I can come up with something better for next week!

Elise xo

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Life of a Fashion Intern

Hi everyone,

So just last week I got a part-time internship with a top NZ designer.
I thought I would start sharing a few things I pick up on during my time.

1. You've got to be prepared to start from the bottom.
You've got to start somewhere right? Whether it means sweeping or vacuuming, coffee runs, making up boxes for packaging and generally doing a lot of more manual labour type tasks, they love someone who is competent and willing.

2. Always be polite.
No matter who you're talking to. Whether it be the designer her or himself, your supervisor, the receptionist or even other interns. Good manners will take you far.

3. Do your research.
Before you start your internship, or before an interview for the position, make sure you know the brand. What their style is, the type of demographic it serves, the collections they have etc. Knowledge is power and they're sure to be impressed if you are a fan of the brand and what they stand for.

The best part about working in this industry are the clothes you see, the people you meet and the opportunities you get. It can be a lot of fun, and sometimes its just what you expect to be involved in when you think or being a "fashion intern". For instance, in the designer's building I work in (just downstairs from the designer's studio) the office and workroom girls do yoga every Monday during the lunch break! And there are endless green smoothies and salads being eaten in the staffroom. Also, as a word to the wise, wear comfortable footwear! Or at least bring flats with you, because you will no doubt be on your feet a lot. And unless you practise wearing heels 6+ hours a day, flat shoes are the way to go. Fashion is such a fun industry, and I'm hoping this opens a lot of doors for me in the future.

Elise xo