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Me at 22

Friday, 15 October 2021

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I don’t know about but I’m feeling 22! 



Okay, I’m sorry (I’m not at all), but that had to be done. It’s a rite of passage no for anyone who turns 22 post-Taylor Swift’s Red-era. So yes, on Sunday I turned 22 and it means that it’s time for my annual reflection on my life, how I’ve changed, and where I’m going. Does anyone else do this? Is it a bit of an odd tradition? I find it kind of comforting to have a documentation of who I am at each year of my life. Before writing this, I read back over my Me at 21 post and it made me laugh several times. In that post I wrote that ‘21 is going to be the year of self-care and learning boundaries’ – and to be honest, I think that it was. 

 

I won’t lie lockdowns were difficult, and I think I only realised how difficult once we came out of them and I began to see friends again. It really hit home to me how, although they have been a lifeline, Zoom calls are nowhere near a replacement for seeing friends and family in person. Even with many lockdowns, I’ve learned to love my body and to feel sexy again after my herpes diagnosis (something I’ve referred to quite cryptically in blog posts beforehand). It took a lot of time, disclosing my status to my first partner post-diagnosis, putting back on the weight I’d lost when I was first really ill with it, talking about my experiences extensively with friends, and finally writing about it publicly in my first ever paid writing job. It’s something I’m now proud to be talking about openly and won’t ever try to hide again. It’s still scary to think of having to disclose to future partners but I know now that it will be okay. I’ve grown massively in accepting that in the past year and you can guarantee you’ll be seeing me talk a lot more about it in the future.

 

I’ve also set myself more boundaries with work and making sure I don’t take on too much than I can handle. I’ve not applied for jobs I would have loved because I knew it would burn me out, I’ve turned down more serious volunteer roles in organisations I love because I don’t have the capacity to do anymore work for free. And I’m so proud of myself for actually saying no, because time was I would have applied for and said yes to every opportunity that came my way. I now know my limits a better and can feel when I’m reaching them. Did somebody say self-care??

 

As has been the case in most of my recent birthdays, I’m now in a new house! Still in my beloved Newcastle, this place has so much more space, an incredible bookshelf that is built into my wall, and it’s been so amazing to be able to share my space with friends of mine and my flatmates. It’s the first time I’ve lived in a house with two storeys for probably about 6 or 7 years, and for some reason it makes me feel a bit more grown-up? Not sure the logic there, it may be because I have a laundry room and a spare room now. I know right, wild! I have many more plants now and feel more confident caring for them – I managed to bring the plant I called Billy last year back from the dead. I now have several of these plants in two lines on my window sill behind my desk, meaning when I’m working I have lots of sunlight on me, plants in front of me, and candles and books to the side of me. Living my best life. 



In the last few months of 21 in particular, I have felt my work as a writer really take off. I have had 2 paid articles out so far, including one from Shado Mag whom I absolutely adore, and have recently accepted a new role (drum roll please) as a contributing writer for Remake, meaning I have my first steady paid writing job. I cannot believe that I get to be paid for what I love doing and am now what I wanted to be as a kid. My younger self would be in awe of me and honestly I cannot think of anything better. Remake has really given me confidence in what I’m doing, both in my activism and my writing this past year. In my last birthday post I wrote about pinching myself being in Zoom calls with those people. Now, over a year after first becoming an ambassador, I have been a guest on one of their community calls, an Ambassador of the Month, a contributing writer, had conversations with incredible people at its core, and made some amazing friends. I could not love Remake and its community more. It fills me with so much joy, hope, and motivation that I’ve been able to carry through into other areas of my life. 

 

Not only has my writing grown, but I have also been getting more involved with other climate activist groups, mostly Green New Deal Rising, doing smaller in-person protests. I’m going to write a whole blog post on why I love GNDR but doing in-person actions which have gained some traction (including Caroline Lucas mentioning an action against Rishi Sunak which I co-ordinated in Parliament) has given me so much motivation. It’s given me more confidence and I really feel like I’m now part of the movements making impactful change. I also organised my first protest the other week outside the opening of a new H&M store in Newcastle. It was so fun, and may have been a smaller action but I’m proud that I actually organised something like that! 



This time last year I had no idea what my life would look like now, but now I roughly know what my life will look like at 23. I started my Masters in the past few weeks – I know, it took me a while to mention – and I’m enjoying it so far even if I’m still figuring out my schedule with it. Last year I was determined I wasn’t going to do a Masters because I thought it would be a panic one, but instead I just found an area I wanted to study more during one of the last modules of my undergrad and have rolled with that. It’s part-time, meaning I have some more time for other projects, including my writing, new part-time job, and voluntary work, and I have my life semi-planned for the next 2 years (it may also mean I will finally get an actual proper graduation!). So far, I’m reading interesting books, writing whenever I can, and trying to make sure I find the joy wherever I can. 

 

At the same time as doing more serious things and working more, I’m trying to make sure I have regular and purposeful joy in my life. I’m actively going to the beach and swimming in the sea more, wearing fun underwear for myself, making an effort to see friends in person more now that we are finally able to, and there is always more room in life for another dance party. I’m also dying my hair a new colour next week, so I will have bundles of joy in that! 


 

The past few years have been a bit tumultuous for me personally (whose early 20s aren’t to be honest?) but I feel like I’m settling in to what I want to do, who I am, and what I value. Even if I may be a bit rocky sometimes (and let’s be real I don’t ever see a world where I’m not an anxious little shit) I feel like I know my own worth than I did a year ago, definitely more than I did two years ago. And yes, imagine I was doing finger guns at the end of that sentence. Still as cool as ever. 


Oh yeah - and I did that fringe. Nearly forgot about it. I mentioned in my 'Me at 21' post that I was sure I would have one before the end of the year, and I was right. I cut myself a fringe on a random afternoon in lockdown November when I was bored of writing my dissertation proposal. It takes a lot of work to maintain but I love it, even if it does mean I have to wash my hair a bit more often. Feels like I've had it forever - it's a keeper!

 

But anyways - this is me, at 22!



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: Me at 22

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My Experience with #NoNewClothes and Slow Fashion Season

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

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The beginning of October marks the end of a long season of slow fashion after the combination of #NoNewClothes, Slow Fashion Season, Secondhand September, so it's time to discuss my experiences with them this year.


 

Seeing as I don’t buy loads of clothes anyway, I set myself the target of not buying secondhand clothes either. A complete ban. There were some caveats: I could swap clothes, I could be given them by friends/family, and basically as long as I didn’t buy them it was fine. And for the most part that worked out pretty well.

 

For the majority of the ban I didn’t acquire any new clothes at all. For the whole of June and July, I got nothing new. I hardly thought about new clothes, apart from when the odd ethical sample sale would come up on Instagram and I had to remind myself there was no point clicking on it ‘just for a browse’ because I couldn’t buy anything anyway. Then, at the beginning of August, a friend of mine who is starting at uni . In the end I took 3 tops (one of which was a vest top to go underneath another one which was mesh) and used the rest as part of a donation drive a refugee support organisation I work with was running at the time. They are now loved in new homes. 



Near the end of the month I then acquired 2 t-shirts new and for free, each through my involvement with an activist/voluntary organisation. This technically breaks my ban as they were both brand new, but I received both within a few days of each other at the very end of #NoNewClothes and. I’ve already worn my Green New Deal Rising t-shirt several times both as part of actions (challenging Kate Osborne MP and Chancellor Rishi Sunak) and in my day to day life – it’s a great top! These t-shirts do make campaigns, actions, and spreading the word about these organisations so much more effective and will definitely make the most out of them. 



Going into the last month of Slow Fashion Season and Secondhand September, and I was pretty set on not getting anymore. But then I got invited to an event by ethical and sustainable brand Birdsong (many people have sung their praises, including Aja Barber, whose opinions we know I trust probably more than anyone in slow fashion circles), to celebrate the launch of their new website. The event was so lovely, not just for the very cool people I met there but also the lush clothes I got to try on. I fell in love with 2 garments in particular: a t-shirt and some gingham trousers. The event attendees received a code to get a free t-shirt from Birdsong so of course I was going to get the one I tried on. After about a week I ordered it, expecting it to take about 3 weeks to arrive (as stated on the website), so I would be technically out of Slow Fashion Season by then (I know, stretching the rules to the max) but it ended up arriving at my house a few days later instead. I have worn it several times already and absolutely adore it. In fact, I’m wearing it as I write this. It’s so soft, comfy, and goes well with lots of garments I already own. It’s definitely one for the long haul.



Later on in the month I took home 2 items that were overflow from a refugee support project I volunteer with. We had way too many clothes than needed and were diving up the leftovers to donate to other charities who may need some. I loved 2 items: a top and a jacket and asked if I could take them home with me as they weren't being used. It's safe to say I have worn the jacket most days since I got it and have worn the top several times too. 


 

So altogether that’s 8 garments I acquired over the course of four months: 3 given to me secondhand by a friend and 2 new given to me by organisations I work/volunteer for during #NoNewClothes, and then another (ethically made) top I bought during after being slightly obsessed with it at a PR event and 2 secondhand items I also got for free during the Slow Fashion Season/Secondhand September. 

 

I may have technically failed these challenges, but to me they are still certainly a success. I reconsidered every time I had the thought of buying something new, thought over my relationships with my clothed again, and rewore some of my absolute favourite outfits. I also found new ways of wearing garments I love and want to make more use out of - like a black mesh drress I adore but want to wear in more casual ways. Turns out it looks great under a pair of green trousers I wear loads! Considering that the average person buys at least one item of mid-priced clothing a week, I have certainly succeeded in drastically lowering my contributions for the linear economy. 



The whole point of these challenges is to get us to look more closely at our clothing consumption and to reconsider if those consumption levels align with our values and how we want workers and the environment to be treated. They’re a means for us to step back and look at how capitalism affects our day to day decisions, and how we perceive our desires and what makes us satisfied. We’re constantly told that commodities will make us happy and the vast majority of the time that is a lie – books may be the only exception here, but that’s just me – and initiatives such as #NoNewClothes are a great way for us to rethink what we’ve been told since birth and find out what we really want/need. 

 

In her book We Need to Talk About Money, Otegha Uwagba discusses how capitalism and patriarchy intersect severely through the beauty and fashion industries. She highlights how ‘[m]odern consumer culture is sustained by a mixture of aspiration and dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the belief that this product or that brand is capable of transforming our lives; capable of making us happier, sexier, richer; capable of allowing us to self-actualise’ and that this was the ‘unsolvable lack’ as described by Anne Helen Petersen. Initiatives like #NoNewClothes teach us all about how to love what we already have and feel great in old clothes. I know having learned about slow fashion for several years now, I now value any clothes that I acquire much more highly, whether they're second or new, they will be cherished so much more now that I'm much more selective with the clothes I own and wear. To me, learning to love the clothes you already own is a great way to loving yourself more, and feeling better in your own skin by rediscovering clothes that make you feel great or trying out new outfits from clothes. It shows us that we can be content with what we already have and that supposed ‘lack’ is not, as we are told constantly by capitalism, ‘unsolvable’, but that it never actually existed in the first place. 




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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September 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

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I have been thriving in September. Still a bit overwhelmed and stressed at times, but on the whole thriving. 

 

Favourite part?


I kicked off the month with an action as part of Green New Deal Rising aiming to hold Rishi Sunak for his climate delaying actions. A few of us from the North East travelled down to Richmond together and met up with the rest of the team taking part. We covered all entrances to the venue of the event Sunak was attending so he had to pass one of us and Fatima managed to challenge him directly! It was so much fun, gave me so much energy, and it felt like we made a real impact both in publicly embarrassing him to his constituents (by reeling off everything he has done to prevent climate action outside on a megaphone) and online. I love being a part of GNDR and meeting other people involved. If you’re interested in joining there’s a call on how to take part in the GNDR actions at COP26 tomorrow, and you can sign up here



I also moved house! It’s so exciting to be in a new place with more space, a bigger bookcase, and did I mention the space?? Moving on one of the hottest days of the month if not summer was a great idea. Really great…

 

The day after we moved, I had a trip down to London where I visited ethical brand Birdsong’s Launch and Lunch for their new website. I was so honoured to be invited and it was so much fun meeting people I’d only known through online spaces, to try on lots of snazzy clothes and to be in London for a fun day rather than simply travelling through. I stayed with a friend I’d not seen in ages and we had such a good afternoon/evening. 




My first piece for Shado Mag was published this month! I have loved Shado for a long time and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that they asked me to write for them. I’m super proud of the piece (which is based on my undergrad dissertation) and I got pretty emotional about the amazing feedback I received on it. I’ve got some more exciting news when it comes to my writing, but I’ll update you on that in the next wrap up! 

 

Two of my best pals came up to visit me for a weekend! They’d not been to Newcastle before so it was great to show them around and show off my fave city. We went to some of my favourite food spots, had a wander around the city centre and my first bar crawl in a long long time. It was great to dance with pals again. 



After about 2 years of having the tickets, I finally got to see McFly live! I had such a good night with my friends Leo and Rosie and it’s still weird to have been in an arena with thousands of people. I have been slightly paranoid about having Covid since then, but so far all my tests are all good. Here’s to not catching deadly diseases at public events!

 

I officially started my Masters degree in September! It was so weird being back on campus actually in lecture theatres and seminar rooms with actual real-life people! What is this fantasy world?!

 

Best read?

 

I finished reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, which is one of the books I’m looking at for my course. 

 

I also started reading We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba, which so far has been incredible. I want to set aside more time to read next month and I cannot wait to read more of this book! 



Favourite listen?

 

Of course it has to be McFly seeing as I finally got to see them live! 

 

I’ve also listened to Maisie Peters’ new album on repeat. There are some serious tunes on there. 


 

Favourite watch?

 

Everything has seemed to have started up again in September and I am HERE for it! Strictly is back, Bake Off is back, Drag Race is back. 

 

I’ve already watched all of the new series of Sex Education (justice for Ruby!), Dear White People (I felt very emotional saying goodbye to these characters although I’m still not 100% sure what I think of the musical format of the last series), and Married at First Sight UK.

 

And for some reason I decided now would be a great time to rewatch all of Downton Abbey. I hadn’t watched it in so long and while the characters are everything I stand against I absolutely love it. This time round I also connected lots of what they say in the series to an English module I studied last year for my BA and I actually wish I could have done a project related to depictions of sex and relationships in Downton Abbey connected to the real-life culture of 1910s/20s because there is so much to say! 

 

What did I learn?

 

That some opportunities that you may be perfect for just come along at the bad time, and prioritizing mental wellbeing is most often more important than saying yes to absolutely every opportunity made available to you.

 

What’s happening next month?


It’s both mine and my flatmate’s birthdays so there’ll be various different celebrations. I’ll also be getting into the rhythm of my masters and just figuring out how my life is going to look now that different areas now starting to pan out a bit more. 

 

What’s been on my mind?


I’ve been quite overwhelmed with climate news recently and cried a few times because of it. One particular thing that got to me was seeing a video of a 13-year-old girl from where I grew up giving a speech at a recent climate strike. That video really hit home how my generation was the last to enjoy the outdoors without worrying that it will be destroyed in front of our eyes. It just means we have to fight harder to save it on their behalf. Children should be able to make the most of their local environments and coastlines not having to campaign to save them.

 

Favourite post?

 

I’m proud of both my blog posts this month. Fashion Deep Dive: Shein is a super exciting one as it kicked off a new series and I hope is useful for anyone wanting to learn more about the brand. 

 

I also hope that 5 Ways to Learn About Fast Fashion When You Don’t Have Much Time is a useful resource for facilitating education on the fashion industry. Time is such a privilege and I want to make sure what I share supports as many people as possible in taking action or deepening their understanding. 

 


Biggest inspiration?


Seeing pals in person doing regular things, being in the sea, lots of new starts and beginnings! And honestly the feedback on my Shado article and being taken seriously as a writer at the Birdsong event (and the other writing news I'm keeping back for a little while) gave me such a boost and has given me so much more confidence and motivation in my writing and what I can do.



Any other favourites?


Does my bookshelf count? Or new cafes I’ve discovered close to my new house? Actually my other favourite has to be a new jacket I got secondhand for free recently and I have been wearing it almost every day single I got it. It’s so comfy, and works with everything. We love a versatile garment. 

 



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: August 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

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Fashion Deep Dive: Shein

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

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Welcome to the first instalment of my new blog series Fashion Deep Dive, where I delve into the details of mainstream fashion brands looking at their histories, their human rights violations and any other cobwebs they might have hidden away in their cupboards. 

 

First on my hit-list is Shein, the Chinese brand that has risen rapidly in prominence in recent years and is now practically infamous – for all the reasons I will be discussing.  



The brand was founded 2008 in Nanjing, China by Chris Xu (who is thought to be a billionaire and doesn’t give interviews), and was originally called SheInside. Not quite as snappy as Shein I think you’ll agree. However, the original name nevertheless shows the brand’s aims and core ideal customer base: to make young women believe they are in a trendy exclusive club by buying more and more of their clothes. The app’s 7 million users per month and 160% surge in sales in January and June 2021 certainly show that that marketing is working. The brand officially became Shein in 2015 and now includes the brand Romwe as a subsidiary company. 

 

Shein have a history of opaque business practices, from the elusiveness of its CEO to the details of its supply chain. There is very little information about the people who make Shein’s clothes, which usually is a sign they are treated very poorly.The brand received 0 points in Remake’s Sustainability Assessment, which looks in-depth at a range of factors including worker welfare, sustainability of garments, transparency, and diversity of higher level staff. It’s pretty impressive to score absolutely nothing, and Shein trump even Boohoo who received 5 points. 

 

Shein is perhaps the prime example of ultra-fast fashion. On their website, they list 500 – 2,000 items listed every day and the time between the ‘design’ (read: theft) and  shipping to be as little as 3 days. That is ridiculously damaging on so many levels. The sheer amount of new clothing listed on their website every day is frankly nauseating. Think of the number of sizes for one item and the number of each they will have. That’s most likely tens of thousands of garments in total – mostly made out of polyester (aka plastic aka fossil fuels). With such a quick turnaround and at such cheap prices, you can almost guarantee that the (majority women) workers who made these clothes are not paid a living wage and are probably treated quite badly in order to get the clothes out in time (you can find out more about some of the things that occur in fast fashion factories in this blog post). Shein were one of the brands highlighted by Reuters in August 2021 for not making the relevant suppl chain disclosures in relation to the Modern Slavery Act.

 

Shein have made a series of very bad product design decisions. I genuinely don’t understand how these got the okay to be manufactured. For instance, in summer 2020 they tried pass off an Islamic prayer mat as a ‘decorative Greek rug’, completely disregarding the religious significance an connotations of these designs. At around the same time (the same week if I remember correctly), they also listed a swastika necklace. They later took it down and claimed that they used the original Buddhist symbol. In either case it’s not particularly great – trivialising and commercialising a religious symbol or a deeply fascist, anti-semitic, homophobic, racist etc. one. Neither is good, Shein. 

 

In May 2021, they released a phone case with the image of a handcuffed Black man outlined in white chalk on the back. Shein are using products using insensitive images, symbols, and cultural/religious items, created on the back of exploitation of mostly black and brown women purely to increase their own profit. 

 

Shein is perhaps most well-known for its regular theft of designs from small independent businesses and designers – ones that are much more ethical and sustainable than Shein themselves. The issue of design theft has been a huge issue with Shein for several years now, kicking off with a lawsuit filed against them by Levi Strauss & Co for using a trademarked jean stitching in 2018. It now seems like every week a new brand is stolen from and they are frequently owned by Black women. Brands they have stolen from include:

 

 

It feels needless to say that stealing from other brands at any time is obviously bad - however, it becomes even more so when these designs by small ethical and sustainable businesses often owned by marginalised people are stolen so openly by a brand that has never shown any evidence that it cares about its workers and mass produces these carefully crafted ideas with the sole aim of creating profit for its billionaire CEO. These tactics push small ethical and sustainable brands out of businesses, leaving the international fast fashion conglomerates with a monopoly on the fashion market – something that is good for neither their workers or the environment. 

 

Shein have hit the headlines in recent weeks for their new series airing this year where designers compete to win $100,000. A slight kick in the teeth considering Shein have been stealing from independent designers for years. Judges include Khloe Kardashian and designers such as Christian Siriano and Jenna Lyons. Big names adding further legitimacy to system of fashion reliant on exploitation and destruction of marginalised people and planet. It’s not something I’m particularly keen to watch.

 

More recently have stepped into the greenwashing arena with their new eco-line Shein Cares. The word ‘cares’ seems to be the it thing for brands who are super unethical trying to trick the public into thinking they give a damn about the environment (workers are normally left out of these campaigns altogether). Through their Wild Heart Collection, Shein raises money for animal conservation charities such as IFAW and various wildlife reserves in Singapore, but completely fails to recognise the role their overproduction has in damaging the animals they are supposedly aiming to protect. Shein’s campaign has been featured by various well known (and mostly rich, white, thin and straight) influencers who have highlighted what massive tree-huggers Shein apparently are with absolutely zero mention of their workers and supply chain. On their website they state that they will be donating $300,000 to animal welfare organisations as part of this campaign – a drop in the ocean of their estimated $10 billion annual revenue. Given everything we do and don’t know about Shein, these claims are undoubtedly lies made up for marketing purposes. These eco-lines never have good intentions and usually make up a small percentage of brands’ total production.  

 

Similarly, Shein claim to use factories that are ISO certified but ISO don’t actually certified brands. The ISO develop international standards but don’t certify brands themselves. This is deliberately misleading their customers. For more information on Shein’s vagueness about their supply chain vs the actual facts, make sure to read Remake’s article on them from earlier this year. 

 

Shein are the prime example of everything we need to move away from in order to make the fashion industry better everyone. They may claim to care but they do not give a single sh*t about their workers, the environment, designers, or even the animals they are seemingly so desperate to protect. They are a company built on lies, theft, and exploitation.



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: What To Do With Your Old Clothes

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5 Quick Ways To Learn About Fast Fashion When You Don't Have Much Time

Friday, 17 September 2021

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The fashion industry is complex, often a bit murky and it can be difficult to figure out exactly what’s what. Many of us also don’t have the time to learn loads about the industry because it’s so complex and there’s so much information out there. I know I didn’t get the level of knowledge I have now until the pandemic, finishing my second year of uni and furlough combined so that I had literally all the time in the world to research this topic that I had previously only really dabbled in outside of changing up my own shopping habits. Time is a massive privilege, and one that doesn’t get talked about much. But never fear! This post aims to help you find ways to learn about the fashion industry in smaller doses. They’re things that you can do little but often so that eventually you’ll be able to answer the question ‘what’s so bad about fast fashion?’ with informed confidence. I hope these are useful and remember to check out my other blog posts for more quick bits of information on this overwhelming issue. 



1. Follow activists and organisations on social media


Social media may be complicated but is useful in some respects. As an issue not frequently covered by mainstream media, you often have to go out of your way to look for updates on the fashion industry. By following NGOs, trade unions, and reliable individuals (campaigners, Remake ambassadors, etc.), you can have that information almost handed to you. I know I’ve learned so much about the fashion industry through posts on social media which have then prompted me to learn elsewhere. Social media has a huge role in ethical and sustainable fashion activism, especially since the pandemic. We now have direct access to contact brands and talk directly with other customers of those brands. This is only exemplified by the successes of the #PayUp campaign which was conducted completely virtually and the pressure it put on brands resulting in the recovery of over $22 billion worth of garment workers’ wages previously withheld at the beginning of the pandemic. 

 

Some of the accounts I’ve learned most from are Remake, Aja Barber, Venetia La Manna, Zainab Mahmood, Clean Clothes Campaign, Labour Behind the Label, Awaj Foundation, and Nothing to Hide (and you can follow me while you’re at it!). Of course there are many more but these are ones you should be following if you want to learn about labour rights and environmental issues in the fashion industry! 

 

Social media is limited though. It’s a starting point, and that’s how I think it should be treated for social issues. Make sure you’re also looking elsewhere and having nuanced conversations that just aren’t able to occur in social media spaces. 


2. Listen to podcast


There are lots of amazing podcasts out there discussing what’s wrong about the fashion industry and the people who are trying to make it better. From Remember Who Made Them to Common Threads and the Fashion Fix, there’ll be a fashion podcast out there to suit you! I love listening to podcasts while I’m running, while doing housework, while cooking, and just generally whenever I have any time when I could be listening to something, I’ll probably be listening to a podcast. They’re a great way to learn new things while on the go!


3. Listen to audiobooks


Like podcasts but in longer form! As you can maybe tell by the title of my blog, I love books and love to recommend books. There are several incredible books by experts in the ethical fashion field, from Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, to Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins, and more recently Consumed by the always incredible Aja Barber which is out very soon (I cannot wait for my copy to arrive!), you have a wealth of books to choose from. While physical books needed dedicated time and attention, you can listen to audiobooks on your commute, while doing the washing up, or even on a pop to the shops, audiobooks are a great way of reading more and therefore learning more. It’s a win-win really. 


4. Sign up to informative newsletters


Unsubscribe from the emails you may receive from fast fashion brands and replace those with the newsletters of small slow fashion brands doing good things, of campaigners, journalists, and organisations working to make the industry a better place. Like on social media, once you’ve subscribed this information will just be handed to you. Some newsletters I recommend include ones by Remake, Besma Whayeb, and Mel Watt. I would particularly recommend Aja Barber’s newsletter and her Patreon articles and updates. She’s someone myself and loads of other people learn a whole lot from and she never misses a beat. 


5. Watch short documentary films


Documentaries are so impactful. They shorten the distance between the consumer and the maker of clothes and have the potential to reveal so much to us. Perhaps the most famous fashion documentary is The True Cost, but since it was taken off Netflix it’s difficult to find for free so may be inaccessible for a lot of people. If you can afford it though, I would highly recommend you pay for a DVD or a download as it is a game-changer. 

 

There are many others available for free and which are quite short but still filled with a lot of information and emotion. 

 

Of course I will never not mention Remake! Remake have many incredible films on these issues within the fashion supply chain that highlight and uplift the voices of garment workers. I would particularly recommend the ‘Made in’ Series in addition to some of the recordings of Remake’s monthly Community Calls, where we hear from experts in the industry, union leaders, academics, updates on Remake campaigns, and sometimes from garment workers themselves. The episodes of the ‘Made in’ series are super short (some are literally two minutes long, I think the longest is about 10 or 15 minutes) so are really easily slotted into a busy day. You could watch one on a tea break!


Mikaela Loach also has a new three-part documentary series on the fashion industry called ReDress the Future. I haven't watched this yet but it looks incredible and each episode is only 15 minutes long so definitely check that one out too.

 

For more documentaries, check out the list included in my Fast Fashion 101 Resource Doc.



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