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May 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 31 May 2021

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It feels like I’ve spent most of May in the library. 



Favourite part?

 

Definitely being able to see friends again! It’s been great to see small groups in person again. I’ve spent time with some lovely people this month, several of whom I’d not met in person before and many whom I’d not seen in ages. From walks, going to bars or lunch (both of which feel like a wild concept after everything’s been closed for so long), market trips or barbecues in the rain, it’s all been amazing actually socialising.



 

My flatmate and I went charity shopping! The last time I went to a charity shop was on my birthday nearly 8 months ago, and it was great to have a proper browse without a goal to get anything. I found some gems in one shop that I can’t wait to wear and create new outfits with. I’ve not had new clothes since the last time I went to a charity shop so this was very exciting for me! 


 

I also finished Couch to 5k! This is something I’m actually really proud of as for most of lockdown I was really inactive and became very unfit. I’m hoping to keep running regularly even know things are opening up more. I’ve still got to force myself to make sure I’m moving my body and staying active. 

 

And, as of either tonight or tomorrow morning (if everything goes to plan) I’ve finished by degree! Completing half of my undergrad in a pandemic has not been ideal, but I feel like I’ve made the most of it where I can.

 

Best read?

 

After finishing reading for my degree, I realized that I desperately need to be reading some kind of fiction at all times. So I picked up The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. I’ve had a copy of it for a couple of years and thought I’d better hurry up and read it before the TV adaptation aired! Apart from the use of a racial slur coming relatively far through the book and which I was very glad they didn’t include in the series, I overall really enjoyed it and the characters.

 

Once I finished that, I started reading Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I read wrote about one of Braddon’s other works for a course I was doing and loved it so have been looking to find more of her books. So far this is an easy read but I haven’t got too far through it yet (let’s blame deadline season).

 

I’ve also been reading more of Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins and Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki, both of which I find fascinating. In preparation for an essay, I also re-read Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft. 


 

Favourite listen?


My dance party playlist has been back out in full force. 

 

I’ve also been getting back into the Kermode on Film podcast (particularly loved the recent episode with Jack Howard on time loop films and the interview with Billie Piper) and Doing It! With Hannah Witton. I’ve also been revisiting old episodes of the Yikes Podcast and can’t wait for their next series. 


Favourite watch?

 

This section is going to make it sound like all I do is watch TV but I swear I’ve actually done some uni work and socialising! 


I’ve continued watching Bones. It’s been my main watch this month and while it’s by no means particularly serious or award-worthy it’s an easy watch and I enjoy the characters. I’ve also watched a few films this month, including Rocketman, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty and my old favourites, Anastasia and When Harry Met Sally. 

 

I have been loving several BBC series this month too! Having read The Pursuit of Love  earlier on in the month I was intrigued to see what the adaptation did with it and I honestly couldn’t have imagined a better adaptation. It was fun, loud, and colourful as the book and I loved how they gave a bit more focus to Fanny and her conflicts. 


Image credit

I also binge-watched Starstruck and Feel Good in one night each and I cannot express how much I loved them both. They both had me gripped and I loved the characters so much! I cannot wait for the second series of each! If you haven’t watched these yet, make sure you do!

 

My flatmates and I have been loving Glow Up. This series has gone really quickly and I’m looking forward to the last couple of episodes!


Image credit

 

What did I learn?

 

Lack of motivation after a dissertation hand-in (and with various other projects/taught aspects of uni also finish) is REAL. I’ve had to change my routine a lot to make sure I actually get stuff done otherwise I’ll just sit at home all day scrolling through Instagram.

 

What’s happening next month?


I love being able to say this, but nothing much! I’m doing an internship part-time for most of the month but apart from that I don’t have any plans. Hopefully, I’ll be reading, writing blog posts, seeing friends and lying in the sun. That’s the goal. 

 

What’s been on my mind?


What I’m doing this summer, trying to find a job, finishing this damn degree…

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I’ve not been reading or watching anyone new, but maybe now that I’ve finished uni I’ll have chance to read more of other people’s blogs.


Favourite post?


As much as I alays love dressing up as Leia Organa, it has to be 50 Questions to Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brand. I’ve had such positive feedback on this post and its accompanying Instagram post and I’m so glad that it’s useful. It’s there to be a resource for anyone wanting to hold brands accountable and provide an easier way to be a part of change. Please check it out if you haven’t already!


 

Biggest inspiration?


It finally feeling like summer! Honestly for most of May it’s felt like February or March but it makes me so happy the last few days have actually been warm and sunny. It just brightens my mood so much and I have loved being able to practically live in my favourite bikini and not need extra layers.



Any other favourites?

 

I always feel like this is the food section, so I cannot disappoint! This month I’ve had a slight obsession with the glazed donuts from Gregg’s, they have genuinely kept me fueled when writing essays. I also had the best bagel from Dots and know that they’re going to be my summer staple treat lunch!

 

In non-food related news, I am also now obsessed with the Superdrug own brand ‘Naturally Radiant’ hot cloth cleanser. I borrowed some of my flatmate’s in an emergency when I couldn’t open my cleanser and it made my skin feel great (and was also really cheap) so I decided to get my own for everyday use and to keep using my usual Body Shop one for makeup removal. 




If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: April 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

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50 Questions to Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands

Monday, 24 May 2021

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Navigating which brands are sustainable and ethical is a minefield. Especially with the amount of lies we’re told by brands regarding their practices and supply production. One of the ways you can find out more about brands’ actions, as well as hold them accountable, is to ask them questions directly. In the age of social media, we have direct access to contacting brands. Comment a question on one of their Instagram posts, Facebook posts or even LinkedIn if you’re wanting to get everywhere covered! You can also reply to tweets or just tweet them out of the blue – my favourite way to do this is to hijack marketing ploys like #PrettyPleasePLT! You can also email brands directly with more detailed questions that a tweet just won’t allowed you to do. You can find an email somewhere on their website or social media. They are less likely to reply via email as it’s not public, but it’s still worth a shot and gets the topic on their radar.


It is difficult to know what to ask sometimes. So, to help, here are some questions you can ask to brands to hold them to account and heavily imply that they should be doing better. You don’t have to use them all at once – that would be a ridiculously long exchange – but you can pick and choose and use them at different points, as well as asking questions that aren't included on this list. You could email a brand with one a day for 50 days if you really wanted to be a pain in their backsides! This is one way you can make a difference and fight for change without having to spend a single penny and which doesn't need to take too much time. 



People

 

1. Who made my clothes?

 

2. How much are your garment workers paid?

 

3. Where are your products made?

 

4. Please provide me with a list of the factories in your supply chain.

 

5. Are your garment workers able to form and join unions without threatening their job security? 

 

6. Are you in regular contact with your garment workers’ unions? 

 

7. What have you done to keep your workers’ safe in a pandemic?

 

8. How are you tackling sexual and gender-based violence in your supply chain?

 

9. If you posted a Black Square in summer 2020, what have you done since then to tackle white supremacy in your organisation and supply chain? 

 

10. What is your gender pay gap?

 

11. What are you doing to reduce and eradicate your gender pay gap?

 

12. How much profit have you made since the start of the pandemic?

 

13. Are you sharing your profits with your garment workers? 

 

14. Did you cancel orders at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic?

 

15. If you did cancel orders at the beginning of the pandemic, have you since paid up? If so, when, how much, and why didn’t you do so sooner?

 

16. How old are your workers?

 

17. What do you do to ensure health and safety standards in your supplying factories are maintained?

 

18. Do you treat pregnant workers (both in your supply chain and in your company headquarters) fairly? (i.e. paid maternity leave, no unfair dismissal, etc.).

 

19. Who makes your fabric?

 

20. Where is your fabric produced?

 

21. Are the farmers who harvest the materials in your clothes paid a living wage?

 

22. Are migrant workers making your products paid the same as citizen workers?

 

23. What is the gender-make-up of workers and managers in your supplying factories?

 

24. How much do you pay your retail staff?

 

25. Do you listen to garment workers and directly involve them in your policy-making?

 

26. What size range do you produce?

 

27. Why can’t you provide more options for plus-size people?

 

28. How much do you pay influencer collaborators (e.g. Molly-Mae Hague) in comparison to your garment workers? 

 

29. Has your CEO met with any of the garment workers making your company’s products?

 

30. Do you have suppliers still manufacturing in Myanmar despite the military coup?

 

31. If you are still manufacturing in Myanmar, will you support the garment workers there by boycotting the country as they have demanded? Will you also publically denounce the regime there?

 

32. Do your clothes contain cotton made in the Uighur region in China? 

 

33. If you do source from the Uighur region (as practically every fashion brand is implicated), what are you doing to oppose the ongoing genocide and support Uighurs in their resistance? 


Art by Kissi Ussuki for Fashion Revolution

 

Sustainability 

 

34. Do you used organic/recycled materials?

 

35. If you use recycled materials, where are these sourced from and what percentage of the garment is made using recycled materials?

 

36. What percentage of your overall produce/stock is sustainably sourced and produced? (e.g. what percentage of overall stock does H&M Conscious account for?)

 

37. What happens to clothes when I return them?

 

38. How many garments do you produce every year?

 

39. What exactly are you doing to reduce your contribution to the climate crisis?

 

40. What are you doing to prevent and monitor pollution as a result of your production?

 

41. What are you doing to reduce the amount of plastic both in your products and in your packaging? 

 

42. What are you doing to help create a circular economy?

 

43. Will one of your garments last me for life? 

 

44. Can I bring a garment back in to you to be repaired? Patagonia and other companies have a repair system, why don’t you?

 

45. What do you do with your factory waste and offcuts?

 

46. What happens to the clothes in your recycling schemes? (e.g. the ‘recycle’ boxes present in shops like H&M)

 

47. Is this product stolen from another, smaller, company? If yes, why didn’t you pay or at least give credit to that small business? 

 

48. Are you planning on reducing the number of products you release soon? 

 

49. Do you know the amount of resources (such as water, earth, electricity, etc.) your products use? 

 

50. Are you looking into less resource-intensive materials and methods of production? 



If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: How to Check a Fashion Brand's Ethics and Sustainability

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5 Easy Ways You Can Support Garment Workers

Friday, 14 May 2021

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Garment workers all over the world are facing multiple threats. These include the garment workers who are at the heart of the resistance against the coup in Myanmar, Uyghurs who are resisting the genocide and slave labour farming cotton, and the millions more garment workers who have been affected by the pandemic and brands refusing to pay for orders placed over a year ago. As citizens and wearers of the clothes these people make, it is key that we demonstrate our solidarity with them and put pressure on the brands and governments who mistreat them. This can often feel overwhelming and inaccessible, especially with the rhetoric that ‘we vote with our wallets’ and must therefore exclusively buy from brands that are a lot more expensive (and unaffordable to many). But as Remake founder Ayesha Barenblat has previously said, you can’t buy your way into sustainable fashion. There are so many other ways to show solidarity that don’t involve buying things.




1. Sign the Pay Up Fashion Petition


Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to show your support, signing the #PayUp petition has a huge amount of impact beyond what you see. Every time someone signs this petition, an email is sent to over 200 brand executives with the seven demands of the petition alog with any extra information about new events unfurling. This email is updated regularly so that the latest issues are consistently being brought to brands’ attention. 

 

The Pay Up movement has already had huge successes, including recovering over $22 billion of garment worker’s wages withheld at the beginning of the pandemic. However, there is still almost the same amount that has yet been paid, as well as a lot more to do in terms of improving working conditions, overall, pay, etc. Paying up is only the minimum a brand should be doing, and it should not be something they should be bragging about. 

 

Other key areas of the petition include for brands to keep their workers safe, to share their profits, give workers centre stage and help make wider change through helping pass relevant legislation across the globe. Signing this petition is one way to directly tell brands what you think of them and how they can do better. 


2. Call out brands on social media


Ooh we do love trolling unethical companies on social media. Or at least I do. There’s something so satisfying about articulately having a go at a brand on your Instagram story, and then see that they have viewed it. It’s a genuine high that they know you think they’re complete shit. 

 

You don’t have to do this all the time or dedicate your whole online presence to coming after fashion brands, that might be a bit much (although if that’s what you want to do, go for it!). There are also loads of different ways of doing this. You can comment on a brand’s Instagram post or reply to their tweet about their ‘sustainability’ collections asking them what exactly is sustainable about this or how much their workers are paid. These include H&M’s Conscious Collection, Primark Cares, Pretty Little Thing ‘Recycled’, or just any time an unethical brand discusses being socially conscious or environmentally friendly.

 

You could also write full posts about brands or issues yourself, and tag them brands in the captions or photo. This could be in relation to a specific thing they have done (or not done) or part of wider movements such as the #PayUp, #PayHer, and #ShareYourProfits campaigns. 

 

Another easy way to call out brands on social media is to share either a post they have shared themselves, with your response and tagging them, or to share a post by someone else about the brand and tagging them with your response. It could be something as simple as ‘do better @boohoo’, ‘@hm this is not okay’, ‘@urbanoutfitters pay your workers’, or simply just tagging the brand. If you want to follow people who regularly call out brands, I recommend following Remake, Aja Barber, Lucy of Nothing to Hide, Venetia La Manna and Oh So Ethical (and me if you don’t follow me already!). 


3. Donate to the Garment Worker Relief Fund


Not accessible for everyone, but a place you can directly support garment workers. There are many different funds supporting different groups of workers. The Garment Worker Relief Fund, for instance, was set up by Remake to provide aid during the pandemic. The money quickly goes to workers, and is currently being used to ensure workers in Bangladesh are able to buy food in the run up to Ramadan. 

 

The organisation Remember Who Made Them also works directly with garment workers to support them in reaction to the pandemic. Remember Who Made Them crowdfund using Patreon, so you can donate small amount every month, and it all goes towards labour rights organisations and garment worker unions. 

 

Even more recently, garment workers have been at the heart of the resistance against the coup in Myanmar, including organising strikes and calling for brands to take action to condemn the regime. One way to support this specific group of garment workers is to contribute to their Strike Fund

 

4. Educate yourself on the issues they’re affecting by


In order to effectively tackle a problem, you need to understand it. Look into the systems that oppress and exploit garment workers, whether wider systems such as capitalism, colonialism or patriarchy, or individual brands, parent companies, brand CEOs or suppliers. The fashion industry, and really ethical and sustainable production in general, is incredibly complicated. There are so many issues to consider, each affecting each other and making it incredibly difficult for anyone who wants the things they buy to have a good impact. By researching these issues, you will know how to get involved in wider movements against them and who to hold to account. Never underestimate the power of knowledge! 

 

There are so many resources out there for free, you won’t need to far. I recommend my Fast Fashion 101 Resource Doc, which I’m continually adding to so that it contains up to date information, as well as the Remake website, Fashion Revolution, podcasts like Pre-Loved and Remember Who Made Them, and advocates such as Aja Barber and Venetia La Manna. There are also lots of informative books out there, such as Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro and Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins


5. Honour the clothes they made

 

To show respect to garment workers is to show respect to their work. By respecting the clothes these workers make, by repairing them, caring for them properly, increasing their lifespan and reusing where possible, we’re not only honouring the craftsmanship and expertise of the garment workers, but also to disrupt the system which is the source of their exploitation. By caring for your clothes with intention and for a long time you are breaking the cycle of disposability which makes fast fashion, well… fast. Slowing on our consumption of clothes may not overhaul the entire capitalist system, but it’s a subtle was of rejecting consumerism and an attitude of temporariness. Honour the clothes, honour the worker. 



If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa



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Sustainable OOTD // May the Fourth Be With You

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

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Happy May the Fourth! Well, that’s slightly late, it was in fact Star Wars Day yesterday, but nevertheless we celebrate! Star Wars Day is the perfect opportunity to have fun with clothes and try to embrace the look of some of our favourite characters from a galaxy far far away. Dressing up as characters is something I find really fun (as you may have seen from previous outfit posts!), especially when the outfits are everyday outfits as well. To me, dressig up as Leia has become a bit of a tradition, first with doing my hair and outfits when going to see the newer films, and now Endor Leia is my favourite look to replicate on this day of celebration. 

 

Leia means a lot to me as a character. Watching the Star Wars films growing up, she was badass, in control and directing the forces (pun intended) of resistance. In the scene where she died I blubbed in my cinema seat, and while I may cry a lot at films a full on blub is a bit rarer. I reacted a similar way to hearing about Carrie Fisher’s death, which is very rare because celebrity deaths don’t, on the whole, affect me that much. She meant a lot to me then and still does now. Both Carrie and Leia will always have a place in my heart and May the Fourth is the perfect time to celebrate both the real person and the character she portrayed and remember what they both stood for. 




Top – vintage found on Depop nearly 3 years ago

 

Skirt – old fast fashion, owned for at least 5 years maybe longer

 

Earrings – new from Soleil Store, bought on their Depop shop over a year ago

 

Necklace – Women in Hebron, bought over a year ago

 

Boots – vegan Doctor Marten’s, bought new 1.5 years ago







If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable OOTD // Old Fast Fashion

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April 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 3 May 2021

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April has been a bit weird. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. 



Favourite part?

 

As it was the Spring holiday, I went to see my family for nearly two weeks. It great to see them, not work for a while, and to have lots of cuddles with my cat! While I was back I also saw some friends who I haven’t seen for 16 months. It was so great to see them, and weird being in the middle of Southampton again after probably the same amount of time. I now can’t wait to see them again in the summer! 

 

It was Fashion Revolution Week 19th-25th April! I wasn’t intending to do a lot during this week as I was going to rest a bit more, and I did, but I also seemed to accidentally have a lot on too. I recorded a podcast episode for my uni’s Feminist Society all about Fashion Revolution Week and some key issues activists are focusing on at the moment. Please go and give it a listen! I also gave a talk to members of Leena Norms’ Gumption Club on why Fashion is a Feminist Issue – it was so lovely and I enjoyed chatting with everyone a lot! I also had an article in The Tab published on different things to do with your clothes that doesn’t involve throwing them away or donating to charity shops (as much as I do love charity shops). 


I've done some other things with friends, including a gardening social with FemSoc where I separated a cactus plant, and walks with my flatmates.


 

I also handed in my dissertation! It was a weird moment as I’ve been editing it for the practically the past month, but it’s now handed in and completed. I just have to wait a couple of months to find out what mark it received. On day it was due, my flatmates and I went out for a meal at Chucho’s, a Mexican restaurant in Byker. The food was great and I look forward to going back again! 



Best read?

 

I finished reading Charlotte by Helen Moffett at the beginning of April. I then read Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro just before Fashion Revolution Week. It was so informative and easy to read. As well as discussing fashion’s impact on workers’ rights, I learned a lot about different fabrics and how sustainable they are. I would highly recommend to anyone! 

 

As I may have mentioned before, I run the Book Club for my uni’s Feminist Society. This month we held our last event of the year, which was focused around Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. This book is incredible and I would encourage everyone to read it. It’s a book I know I’m going to return to again and again, and will learn something new every time. 


 

I finished the last book of my course with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It was a pretty good one to end on, but I won’t lie it’s weird not having set books to read every week. It’s like I’ve forgotten what it’s like to only read for fun! 

 

During Fashion Revolution Week I started reading Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins. I’m really enjoying it so far, and it contains a lot of useful and important information about the fashion industry, as well as using various pieces of political theory. See more on this and other books on the fashion industry in a later blog post! 

 

Since I finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, I have realized that I need to be reading some kind of fiction at all times. I was only reading non-fiction and having something fun to read that’s not heavy information about the climate crisis or worker exploitation is needed. So I’m now working my way through some of the fiction books I’ve been designating for ‘after uni’. First one is The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, which I’m about half way through and am really enjoying so far! 



Favourite listen?


I started out the month listening to a lot of Dolly Parton on my runs, but I then switched to podcasts. I know a lot of people don’t like listening to podcasts when running but I find they distract me more from the fact that I’m running and therefore make it a little bit easier. 

 

I’ve been loving Close-Up by Aurelia Magazine, Common Threads, and The Yikes Podcast. I particularly loved The Yikes Podcast’s recent episode on internalised capitalism and productivity and oof did it hit home. I related way too much to the discussions in that episode, but hey at least it helps explain some of my recent crises! 

 

Favourite watch?


As usual in pandemic life, a lot of television has been watched! The Doghouse has been a firm favourite. I was first introduced to it by my flatmate and in turn introduced it to my family, who, unsurprisingly, loved it too. It’s such a wholesome show, and frankly, we could all do with seeing more cute dogs right now. 

 

Since finishing all the Grey’s Anatomy available on Disney+, I have been rewatching The Office. I need some comfort TV!

 

New series of some of my favourites have returned though, including Made in Chelsea and Glow Up! 

 

What did I learn?


I need to learn how to function when I don’t have 101 things to do. Like seriously, why do I go into panic when a project is done? But that’s not an answer with a simple question! 

 

What’s happening next month?


I have my last deadlines of my degree, so I’ll mostly be finalizing essay plans and secondary reading, and then actually writing those essays. And then I’ll be done with uni! *tries not to panic*.

 

It will also be my blog’s 6th birthday! I will probably celebrate with a tweet as long as I don’t forget. 


Favourite blogger/vlogger?


Not a very exciting answer but I’ve been keeping up with Hannah Witton’s latest series of the Hormone Diaries and Leena Norms new videos. I been feeling like I need some video essays on film and TV back in my life soon! 

 

Favourite post?


I loved writing 8 Years After Rana Plaza and Fashion Brands Still Aren’t Keeping Their Workers Safe. To me, it’s so important to keep the memory of Rana Plaza alive and active in our work to improve the fashion industry. The people lost and injured by the collapse can’t be forgotten, but we also can’t see the problem as fixed, because it most certainly is fair from it. 



Biggest inspiration?


I may not have felt great more generally this month, but Fashion Revolution Week was genuinely great. I loved seeing the amount of action people were taking, and all the different ways I participated. We just have to keep that momentum up all year-round! 


Any other favourites?

 

I’ve been trying a few new recipes this month! Mostly recipes by Max La Manna. I’ve tried his tofu butter ‘chicken’, which I’m now obsessed with, as well as making crumpets from scratch. I also made Madeleine Olivia’s crepes and more recently have been loving rhubarb crumble now that it’s back in season! 



If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: March 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up 

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