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