Sunday, May 29, 2011

A saint once said

There's a couplet by the revered Indian poet-saint
Kabir (incidentally, connected to the clothing trade in a way -- he was a weaver) that teaches us that it is not a person that conquers a situation, it is time. Same person, different time and the results can be unexpectedly altered ('purush bali nahin hot hai, samay hote balwaan; bheelan maari gopika, vahi Arjun vahi baarnd').

And so it is with ethical fashion. Casting my mind back to 2007-8 I can recall the quizzical looks I got at dinner parties when the subject was mentioned (by me only, of course). I was once even asked by a fellow school mother how my business in 'ethnical' fashion was going. Business minded types looked askance almost immediately when they heard I was starting an online business selling ethical or eco fashion.....many simply looked past my ear, scanning the room for a less ditzy conversation partner.

And here we are now -- same subject, different time -- and the response has changed noticeably. Eco fashion is a well recognised topic, feted far and wide. Vogue sponsors a Green Style Blog and Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge begets nods of recognition rather than head shakes of puzzlement. Ethical fashion makes its presence known at (no less than) the dinner in honour of Barack and Michelle Obama's London visit and, the launch party for (the inimitable) Lucy Siegles' new book 'To Die For' has a glitterati guest list to be reckoned with, including Sheherazade Goldsmith, Alice Temperley and Laura Bailey. Esthetica, London Fashion Week's collection of ethical fashion labels superbly curated by Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci, has always been a fantastic microcosm of the 'space' but rather than shouting to be heard, it is now honoured by Global Cool, as it celebrates its 5th birthday (the most picturesque note about which you can read here, courtesy ecouterre.). As if all that is not enough, at last count I rated about 40+ blogs, centrally connected to ethical fashion, as worthy.

Now thats what I call being known and being heard, loud and clear. Fashion's intellectually superior, cool-because-I-got-the-brains-AND-the-looks sister, has arrived to stay. Over the next little while, this blog will sat-nav its readers across the changed landscape of the relationship between these siblings.....

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double. ~Toni Morrison

Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday Swishing at Spitalfields

Winter's not quite behind us but the spring/summer 2011 collection 'round-ups' are upon us and upon us. Time to close your eyes and visualise yourself in sheer dresses, leather shorts, capri pants, cat woman sunglasses, clogs and more. More to the point, time to open your eyes and peer in your closet. Does it have what it takes?

If you are not in the mood to spend as you would have in years past don't fret....just stay with me; however, if you are, then perhaps you should first and foremost, aquaint yourself with why austerity is the name of the game for the next little while and then return to me.

Okay cautious spenders, next step: take from your closet clothes you won't be wearing/are happy to see the back of/have never worn; mentally note your favourite new season looks and then, on February 5 (Saturday) head to the historic Old Spitalfields Market for the first major swishing event of the year.

Swishing is just over 10 years old and is, basically a way to keep your wardrobe fresh by recycling what you no longer want for what you definitely want. Its upscaling of sorts, ie, the by -product has more value than what first went in...which for you it will. Most of you are well aware of the glorious, ethically brilliant idea that swishing is but if you want to know more read this.

Meanwhile, the rules for this Saturday are pitch up at Spitalfields between 11am and midday to drop off your contribution (you have to bring at least 1 good-for-wear thing). Chillax in the cool environs till 2pm when you can browse but not (yet) swish. At 2.45 get swishing. Tickets and full details now available online.

And remember to be civil to your fellow swishers. It is after all an ethical event.


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