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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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8 Years After Rana Plaza and Fashion Brands Still Aren’t Keeping Their Workers Safe

Friday, 23 April 2021

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The Rana Plaza factory collapse on 24th April 2013 was a landmark event in the fashion industry – and is an event that still haunts many people. Killing 1,133 people, injuring over 2,000 more, and leaving 800 children orphaned, it is the worst factory disaster in the fashion industry's history. Workers were well aware that the building they were working in was not safe – there had been complaints made to supervisors about large cracks visible in the walls, and, although other staff (such as bankers and shop workers) working in there were evacuated days before it eventually collapsed, garment workers were told to go inside and keep working or have their wages for the month docked.


The Rana Plaza factory complex held five garment factories spread across several floors, at least two of which were built illegally, each churning out clothes for many well-known brands, including Primark, Walmart (ASDA), Gap, BonmarchĂ© and Matalan. While we now know many of the brands who sourced their stock from Rana Plaza, the brands themselves weren’t aware their clothes were made in factories like Rana Plaza, only finding out when their labels were found in the wreckage. Even now, the entire list of brands implicated in the disaster is not entirely known. To me, that is terrifying. Brands should be able to answer such a basic question as ‘who made my clothes?’. 


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Rana Plaza was supposed to be a point of change, a moment of realisation, an event that would never be repeated. But eight years later, the fashion industry is still very much the same as it was that day. 

 

While there have been wins and small improvements here and there, along with a heightened general awareness of the issue, the systems which caused the Rana Plaza factory collapse are still in place and are still thriving today. The violence at the heart of the industry has not gone away, and will take a lot of time and collective effort to remove and overhaul.

 

The Bangladesh Accord was created in response to the Rana Plaza disaster, and does incredible work aiming to make garment factories in Bangladesh safer working environments by particularly focusing on fire and building safety. Many brands based all over the world signed this, including H&M, Primark, Edinburgh Woollen Mill (who own Peacocks and BonmarchĂ©), Next, New Look, and M&S. The Accord monitors factories’ progress and marks ones not effectively implementing safety measures as ‘ineligible for business’. The current agreement will run out in May this year, and will need to be renewed and protected, as well as built upon for further protections, to ensure garment workers are kept safe. 

 

As with many other injustices, the Covid-19 pandemic was a tipping point that pushed the horrors and intense inequality further out into the open – with the pandemic, there is even less opportunity for brands to hide and even more difficult for every citizen to ignore or push aside. In March 2021 fashion brands refused an estimated $40 billion worth of payments to their suppliers, with the global lockdowns given as the reason, despite many of these cancelled orders being either entirely or partially completed. Brands withholding the payments owed to their suppliers, and therefore the wages of their garment workers, had and is still having disastrous effects. Despite signing the Bangladesh Accord, supposedly legally committing to keeping their workers safe, brands such as Peacocks have still not paid for orders cancelled over a year later. With no pay, there is no opportunity for safety. Pay is a fundamental aspect of basic safety, and seeing as only 2% of garment workers were paid a living wage pre-pandemic, the removal of these starvation wages put workers in immediate danger. While the Pay Up campaign (and ongoing petition) has made significant differences in this specific crisis, paying for these orders is the minimum brands should be doing, and yet many still have yet to do just that.  


 

Rana Plaza is just one example of the type of violence garment workers face every day. Sexual and gender-based violence is a common occurrence within many supply chains. This is particularly prominent in the fashion industry, where 80% of garment workers are women aged 18-35, and managers and supervisors are more likely to be men. Threats of physical violence, verbal abuse and emotional abuse is also common as a means of pressuring workers to work faster and increase product output to fit the demands of brands. The system of fast fashion encourages this kind of abuse and must be entirely overhauled for it to be changed. 

 

One harrowing example of this is the case of Jeyasre Kathiravel. Jeyasre was a woman in her early twenties, working at Natchi Apparel garment factory which supplies H&M. On 1st January 2021, Jeyasre went missing, and four days later her body was found. After being repeatedly sexually harassed by her supervisor, she had been raped and murdered by him. Since her murder, over 25 workers at Natchi Apparel have come forward to the Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU) with allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and verbal abuse by male managers and supervisors. At Natchi Apparel, 90% of the workers are women while 90% of the supervisors and managers are men. This is not a pattern of events isolated to this one factory, or even to the fashion industry. We know that at least 97% of women aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment of some form in their lives. Sexual violence must end in every aspect of life across the globe. As part of those efforts to ensure women and other marginalised genders are safe, fashion brands must act to ensure that gender-based violence is eradicated within their supply chains. They cannot sell so-called feminist t-shirts and share an inspirational quote on International Women’s Day or a black square last summer while the black and brown women who make their clothes are regularly attacked, assaulted and even murdered while just trying to do their job. 


Image source

 

On 1st April, H&M agreed to pay Jeyasre’s family compensation for her death. However, this is not justice. Their daughter and loved one is still dead and no amount of money will return them to her. H&M have still not committed to the other demands that are being put to them, including not outlining a strategy to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence in their supply chains. They must do more than throw money at the problem and hope it goes away. As they were so boastful of being placed at the top of Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index in 2020, surely H&M should be more than capable of discussing these issues with their suppliers as they have the knowledge of their supply chain to effectively do so. Anything less than effective action is not good enough.

 

Nowhere near enough has been done by brands and global legislators to ensure that garment workers are kept safe and that another Rana Plaza does not happen again. Until workers are not sexually harassed and abused, are not fearful for their lives at work, are in healthy working environments, are paid a living wage, and are mentally as well as physically well, the fight doesn’t stop. The legacy of Rana Plaza has to be one of continuing resistance. 





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5 Current Podcast Favourites

Friday, 16 April 2021

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I love me some podcasts, and I love chatting about the ones I’ve been listening to a lot. Recently, I’ve been listening to podcasts on solo walks and I’ve also started listening to them while running too. To me, podcasts are a way to relax, as well as to learn new things from new people. These are some of the podcasts I’ve particularly enjoyed recently!



1. All the Small Things


Born out of Talking Tastebuds, All the Small Things covers an even wider array of subjects and interviewees, and is hosted by Venetia La Manna. This podcast is very new, so only has a few episodes, but the guests Venetia has been able to get are incredible. I think my personal favourite so far is the episode with Gelong Thubten, a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher. I listened to the episode while doing a food shop and with episode having a short guided meditation at the end I have never felt so good after a trip to Morrison’s! Other guests include Megan Jayne Crabbe aka BodiPosiPanda, Pandora Sykes and Rina Sawayama, and with a line up like the one it already has, I’m buzzing to see who else features on All the Small Things! 


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2. Out of Office


Despite still being a full time student and unlikely to ever be a full time freelancer, Fiona Thomas’ podcast has been a regular for my walks during lockdown (*read: forcing myself to go outside and get some fresh air and exercise). I think Out of Office is an incredibly valuable listen whether you are a freelancer or not as Fiona touches on topics that can be applied to a variety of types of working. The episodes I find particularly valuable are the ones discussing mental health, but other topics include finding your purpose at work, money habits, impacts of toxic work cultures, and whether routines are the right thing for everyone, as well as more practical episodes discussing resources for writers and freelancers, how to plan a non-fiction book, and how to find clients. 


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3. Close-Up with Aurelia Magazine


Close-Up is my newest podcast discovery and has quickly become a firm favourite. It is hosted by Kya and Amelia, flatmates who work both work on Aurelia (Kya is the founder and editor-in-chief), a digital magazine which publishes the first person stories of marginalised genders. I have been a fan of Aurelia for a while – they have covered so many issues and published some of my favourite recent articles. Their podcast continues their focus on personal narratives and stories, covering a whole range of subjects, from diversifying your bookshelf (which included fascinating insights into the publishing industry), sex toys and wanking, to writing for Vogue. This podcast is such a relaxing and still informative listen to me, and is really an extension of the magazine for your ears!


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4. Feminists in Training


This one may sound a bit biased as it’s the podcast of my university’s Feminist Society, of which I am the Vice President. But I genuinely love listening to Feminists in Training. It hasn’t had many episodes, we only started in February, but there is so much information and discussion crammed into each episode, I’ve always learned something new when listening to it. Each begins with an overview of recent feminist news, and then dives into the main topic of the episode. These topics have included faith and feminism, self-love, and Covid-19 and anti-Asian racism. Keep your eyes peeled for an episode all about Fashion Revolution Week hosted by yours truly coming up soon!


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5. The Yikes Podcast


Yikes has been a firm favourite of mine for over a year now and I have talked about it for a long time on this blog, other places online, and in person. Hosts Mikaela Loach and Jo Becker discuss a wide variety of issues surrounding climate and social justice. They have also had some fab guests on recently, including Layla F. Saad and Mary Heglar. I have learned so much from Yikes, and listening to their episodes always leaves me questioning myself, my thought patterns and my actions. One of the key ideas I’ve learned from Yikes has been avoiding idolising people, particularly activists, to ensure that you see everyone as humans who make mistakes and try to do better. This podcast s doing amazing work and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future!


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If you liked this post you might like: 10 Best Books I Read in 2020

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March 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

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March has been stressful, let’s hope April is better!



Favourite part?

 

The beginning of March was great! It started off with St. David’s Day as a guest on Remake’s March Community Call, discussing the recent events I’d put on with Remake and FemSoc in January. I was also, amazingly, chosen as Remake’s Ambassador of the Month! This was honestly such a huge honour to me. A few days later we also had a call with the Remake Ambassadors in the UK. It was so much fun talking everyone and all of these events made me so excited and motivated for future campaigns and my own activism in this area. 


 

On the weekend before International Women’s Day, my uni’s FemSoc held our now annual conference, Digital Feminism Summit. There were loads of amazing speakers and workshops, and I had such a great time. It gave me such energy and motivation I can’t fully describe. My personal highlight was interviewing sex educator and author Ruby Rare with my friend Taya. It was an incredible event – I have been a huge fan of Ruby’s for a while and was ridiculously excited for it and afterwards I was so happy. 

 

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve actually gotten back into running. I realized how unfit I was after such a long time in lockdown so I’m now forcing myself to move my body and up my step average. Is being an adult forcing yourself to exercise? Couch to 5k has my back. 

 

My flatmates and I had a cocktail night once we’d hit the official end of term. We got dressed up with full makeup, ordered pizza, had some great drinks, played cards and danced. It was fun to do something other than watching TV and make something a special occasion. Although I’m not sure the hangover was worth it…


 

Apart from that I’ve mostly been doing uni work – prepping for assessments, writing more of my dissertation, reading books for my modules and articles for assessments. There’s nothing much more exciting happening than that.

 

Best read?

 

I’ve done a lot of reading this month, mostly for uni but I did manage to get a bit of reading for fun in too!

 

I finished reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which I really enjoyed. I then read A Great Love by Alexandra Kollontai for the book club I run as part of my uni’s FemSoc and held an event on it. 

 

I then read Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, again for one of my modules. I absolutely loved this book, it was so good! It truly got me hooked, despite partially guessing the secret earlier on, and I can’t wait to read more by Braddon. 


 

I then finally finished Pamela, by Samuel Richardson, and read a fair bit more of Charlotte by Helen Moffett, which is effectively Pride and Prejudice fan fiction, when I had a few rest days in between my last deadline of term and beginning to work on my dissertation again. 

 

Favourite listen?


I’ve been really loving Venetia La Manna’s new podcast, All the Small Things. It’s been my favourite thing to listen to while I’ve been going for walks by myself or doing a food shop. The conversations are so interesting and the guests are incredible. 


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Favourite watch?


Since Star launched on Disney+, I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy – I am currently on Series 10, and yes, that is a lot of episodes in a short amount of time, but you know what, I don’t particularly care. 

 

I’ve also watched a few comfort films, like Brave and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as watching other comfort show like Outnumbered. 

 

My flatmate has also really got me into Grayson Perry’s Art Club. I’m obsessed. It’s so wholesome and just lovely. If you need a comfort, uplifting watch, go for this show. 

 

I’ve been catching up on the latest series of Unforgotten. I’ve been obsessed with the previous series of this show but wasn’t quite so convinced with this one until the last episode got a lot better. I’m not sure whether that’s the end of the show or if it’s continuing in a different direction? I’m intrigued. 

 

What did I learn?


I can do a lot more than I think I can. Sometimes you just need to take some time away from Twitter and that’s okay, people don’t need to know your thoughts 24/7. So many things are out of control, even if I want them to go the other ay. It’s okay to be sad. 

 

What’s happening next month?


April is dissertation month. I’m going to be focused on that as well as reading a couple of other books for my course and Book Club. I’m hopefully going to be able to go and visit my family for a short time too which will be great.

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I’ve actually been really enjoying Hannah Witton’s new series of The Hormone Diaries focusing on her experience trying to conceive. It’s very different from my life but I’m finding it fascinating. 

 

Favourite post?


Like last months, I only had one other blog post out, but I am actually really proud of it. Highlighting garment workers’ issues is so important, especially on International Women’s Day. I think it’s a really valuable post and made me reflect on how much I’ve learned through becoming a Remake ambassador and meeting so many other activists. 



Biggest inspiration?


Just reaching the end of my degree and now having a clearer idea of what I’m doing after I graduate. 


Any other favourites?

 

I’ve been finding particular joy in my houseplants recently. There’s not much joy to be had at the moment, so I’m glad to find it wherever I can. Some of them are doing really well and the ones that have been struggled are pulling back!  




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

 

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