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


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