Taking solid advice from @sociallysquared that I needn't be a tips-and-tricks machine, I'm sharing a personal story with you today.
Also - it's kind of a blind spot in my brand that I urgently need to fill for you.
Lest you be wondering why the heck I care about ethical fashion so much. I mean, clothes are clothes, right? What harm could little ol' H&M do?
Where do I begin...
In a previous life, as a fashion designer, I visited many garment factories in Guangzhou, China.
Got tissues? It’s about to get deep.
The women inside those walls were being treated disrespectfully, slapped if they didn’t produce items quickly enough…
Working in putrid, unsafe conditions that you and I couldn’t possibly fathom...
For hours and hours through day and night (fashion stops for no one and nothing)...
For a cost that you and I wouldn’t dream of waking up for.
But this is capitalism, right?
Capitalism is a major driver for the flourishing prosperity of many nations and people. I don't want to get complex, but I do believe in capitalism. I simply believe that financial growth should be lined with human- and planet-centred care. It's not too much to ask.
And, so here's the thing about fast fashion -
I could never reconcile the fact that, simply because I was born in a different country to these ladies, I was now entitled to a better life.
The equation seems, and always did seem, imbalanced.
To make matters worse, corporate robots didn't care. Twelve years ago (I was 25 years of age), I was laughed at by a board of directors, who saw no reason in my argument to edit the supply chain.
My values were being tested every day by the heartbreaking realities in front of me. The very realities that the Boring Directors chose to look away from.
How can we claim to be inherently interested in a world that empowers women and our daughters, and love fashion, whilst wearing a dress made by a woman living in fear and poverty?
I left the fast fashion industry to work at Grace Loves Lace, a humanitarian breath of fresh bridal air, and truly a dream come true.
There was one problem -
My transition didn't mean barbaric actions weren't still taking place in every $3 cotton tee sweatshop. (BTW, you can still spend $3000 on an item that isn't made ethically - I'm looking at you, Louis Vuitton. PSSST - Buy Chloe instead.)
That’s when I decided to put my money where my mouth was. I’ve been supporting Oxfam every month for five years, as they work to liberate women from the dire system known as fast fashion.
The clothes we wear and the people who make them are not mutually exclusive.
I believe we can break this cycle.
Now, I’m putting my best foot forward, and trekking 50km with my dear friends from school. Our team is High School Sweethearts.