Outfit: Ethics

northwest is best ethical fashion

Can fashion ever be ethical? It’s a big question for a small blog post, and once you start asking questions about ethics you have to ask questions of the questions, with each interrogation spinning into a new interrogation. After all, people make entire academic careers out of that.

When Ceri of Style Eyes Ethical Fashion Blog invited me to submit an ethical outfit to her online competition I started asking myself a lot of questions. Some of the accessories I’m wearing above are handmade: the patchwork tote bag I sewed together with fabric scraps (there’s a clearer image here), plus the handknitted scarf and socks (also seen here). And handmade is ethical, right? But what if the wool came from neglected sheep? And what if the dyes used had a negative environmental impact by getting into the reservoir and poisoning all the children in the village? It’s just a theory, but it could happen.

The coat, and dress beneath it, came from charity shops. And secondhand clothes are ethical, right? But what if the coat – a 1995 Marks & Spencer dusky pink trench – was manufactured by people earning less than a living wage? Today, Marks & Spencer’s ethical policy demonstrates their commitment to workers’ rights, but what about 16 years ago? And is the trade in secondhand clothing really something to be proud of, or a wasteful element of our consumer society? And what if the previous owner was a murderer? Does that make me an accessory?

Returning to my opening question – can fashion be ethical? Probably, depending on your definition of ethics and the resources available to you. Despite my questions, this outfit is as ethical as I can afford to be. Buying secondhand clothing prevents unwanted textiles going to landfill, and gives money to charities. Making clothing and accessories gives me an understanding of the processes involved in garment manufacturing, and therefore a respect for well-made clothes. So, forgive me for the potential smugness, but I think this outfit could be applauded as, yes, ethical.

scarf – knitted by my mother // shades – st ann’s hospice charity shop // pink trench – hope house charity shop // patchwork tote bag – handmade by me // socks – knitted by me // boots – oxfam originals manchester

Outfit: teal

northwest is best teal coat falke tights snow leopard scarf
Just a standard day off outfit. A leisurely cycle into town kind of outfit. A maybe stop off somewhere for a cup of Earl Grey kind of outfit. A going to the Cornerhouse to see the Rashid Rana exhibition kind of outfit (the exhibition is worth a visit for the photomontages and mirrored cubes. Some of the pieces are stomach-churningly graphic but there are clear warnings so you don’t have to look too closely). A standing outside the old fish market (now a car park), squinting into the sun and having my photograph taken kind of outfit.

teal overcoat – sue ryder charity shop // fake wayfarers – st ann’s hospice charity shop // scarf – so old i’ve forgotten // black dress – rspca charity shop // teal tights – falke // flat lace-ups – office
northwest is best rashid rana cornerhouse manchester

northwest is best rashid rana cornerhouse manchester

Company magazine

Company magazine Oxfam
Although we live in an increasingly digital age I still love the printed page. The indepth articles! The glam editorial photoshoots! (Tulisa needs to sit up straight though, or she’s going to fall off that stool.) So I was excited to see my cheeky chops in monthly fash, slap and sauce glossy Company magazine, as part of a feature on young women who volunteer. Over the past six years I’ve volunteered on and off in four different Oxfam shops (not that I like to mention it, but I currently spend about four hours each week in Oxfam Originals), so it’s nice to recieve a little bit of recognition for all the time and skills I’ve donated to the charity. Of course, I do so because willingly and don’t the Queen to invite me round for tea and Victoria Sponge at Buckingham Palace, but it still feels like a warm and fuzzy little thank you. Continue reading “Company magazine”

Cabled cushion cover

Knitted cabled cushion cover
Knitted cabled cushion cover

Another knitting project complete. This time it’s a cushion cover, made using this pattern. Because I used chunky yarn and fat needles it was quick to make, plus it makes my sofa look much brighter. As you might have noticed from my previous knitting project – a hot water bottle cosy – I’m rather fond of cables. If I continue at this rate of production my house will end up looking like this. Continue reading “Cabled cushion cover”