Thursday, December 7, 2017

Why is fashion important to me?

I answer the that question, and many more in the following interview, conducted by the wonderful Sarah of SSO. For valuable insights into the thoughts behind a fashion blogger's shopping habits, read on!

1. Have you ever experienced that ‘the world is going to end if I don’t get this,’ feeling when shopping? Do you still have that piece and if so, what does it mean to you now?
Absolutely, I tend to buy pieces second-hand from sites like eBay and Depop where there’s a real sense that if I don’t make that purchase then and there I’ll never have the chance to own that piece! Earlier this year I bought a silk dress by Australian brand Romance Was Born, it’s silk and features a pattern based on the gem malachite. I’ll probably never part with that piece! 


 2. The idea of people cherishing, patching up and passing on clothing seems like it used to be much more popular than it is now, due to disposable fashion. Do you think it’s possible for more people to feel like this again?
Do you ever have moments when you feel like this about clothing you own? It is possible that people might start patching up their clothing more, but I’ve bought a Shrimps purse with beading detail that was coming undone and Marques Almeida trousers with their stitching coming undone. I was shocked the sellers didn’t just repair these pieces, or pay someone else to do it for them. Instead they were treated as ‘damaged goods’ when they were fine in all other respects. I try to repair what I can, and never throw anything away. Unloved clothes always go to the second hand store, and lots of people follow suit but at times those charities can become inundated with the cheap stuff when really they need good quality clothing that will last a lifetime. As we start to see less and less of that these days, we’ll start to see problems with clothes simply falling apart. I think less people cherish and make connections with pieces in their wardrobe; and I blame fashion blogging and influencers on Instagram who, in an attempt to make a name for themselves have high turnover in their closets, wear a piece once or twice and pass it on. I’d like to see more and more people reinvent and style pieces they’ve had for years in new and interesting ways. 


3. Would you be inclined to spend more money on a garment, knowing that it has been made in a sustainable way and comes with the promise that it’ll last you a lifetime?
That really depends on what it is- I’m not a big believer in investing in wardrobe staples but there are certain pieces I do splash out on. That said, many clothes aren’t made in a sustainable way, and they certainly don’t make the lofty promise of lasting a lifetime. I’m a visual being though, so ultimately there has to be a balance between aesthetics, practice and durability. It’s 2017 now, surely it is possible albeit something that is not practiced. 


4. Does the story behind the brand and products interest you? And if a brand has an identity and values that you can relate to, does it make you more likely to want to purchase from the brand in the future?
Definitely! As much as I love the watching the runway shows, in particular London Fashion Week it’s much more interesting to know a little about who made my clothes and whether the business model integrates aspects of sustainable fashion. Falling in love with a brand is one thing, but if there’s no longevity and they disappear, or if someone’s safety was compromised during the process of making my clothes then I have to reconsider if that purchase is really worth it. Brands which also celebrate diversity, showing their clothes on women of all different shapes, sizes, body types, and skin colours is something that’s also important. I don’t see myself or my personality reflected in a size 0 model with porcelain skin (not that there’s anything wrong with that) 


5. How important is sustainability in the fashion industry for you? Does it affect your buying decisions?
I’ll admit I’m not the most conscientious buyer when it comes to sustainable and ethical fashion, but I avoid Zara and H & M. It’s difficult when my mum buys a piece of clothing from them, and I will still wear it but I make sure that they’re not getting my money. That said, I have no idea where my favourite labels sit on the spectrum of sustainability. I suspect that I would be horrified if I were to learn the results. 


6. Lastly, why is fashion important to you?
For me fashion is a form of self-expression; it’s liberating to get dressed in the morning, however I want and feel comfortable that day whether it’s jeans and a nice top or a vintage dress. The overwhelming majority of garment workers are women, so ensuring that they have working conditions which meet international standards is vital in their empowerment, and giving them the opportunity to provide for their families. We cannot stand by and wait for the collapse of another garment factory, and we cannot throw our money behind companies willing to profit off someone else’s suffering. While the majority of garment workers are women, it’s estimated that women occupy just a third of the top jobs in fashion. The brands I love, intrinsically are designed by women for women, and it’s something I’ll continue to support.

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