Posts in Style
ASSEMBLY SPRING/SUMMER GATHERING 2019

Another Assembly Gathering has come and gone and I can’t wait to tell you all about it…

These Gatherings are like markers in the year for me - signifying the beginning of a season, a punctuation mark to welcome in something new. They take months to plan and it feels like they are over so quickly so I love to be able to record it all here and keep the memories of these special days alive.

This year for our Spring Summer Gathering I wanted to host it somewhere fresh, somewhere peaceful, somewhere that immediately felt like a retreat from the daily grind and the chaos of life. It didn’t take me long to know that Origin Community Farm was going to be that space. From the very first time we went to check out Origin as a family - a working flower and vegetable farm, cafe and community space - I felt at home. The team that run the space are some of the very best people you could know. They care deeply about what they do, they are creative, insightful, welcoming and generous and the space they have created was just the ticket for gathering almost 30 women together to eat, drink and escape routine for a while.

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AVOIDING FAST FASHION IN A CONSUMER DRIVEN SEASON

There’s really no denying it…

It’s upon us. The countdown meter at the supermarket even told me today that it’s only 32 sleeps. We are either merrily entering, gently tiptoeing or begrudgingly dragging ourselves into the Christmas season.

I’m not quite there yet - but I feel it starting to pull. I may have even started thinking about what kind of garland will adorn the mantlepiece this year and where we’ll put the tree. I may have dived back into my Christmas pinterest board.

We all know that Christmas is the highest consumer season of the year. We throw cash around that we don’t have on things that we and other people don’t really need. We buy outfits for parties and novelty clothing that we’ll forget about next year. In fact, this article exposed that one in four Christmas jumpers bought last year will never be worn again. One in three under 35’s will buy a new Christmas jumper each year (stating that they don’t want to be seen in the same one again or that they buy new ones because they are so cheap). It’s estimated that £220 MILLION POUNDS are spent every year on novelty Christmas jumpers alone. Call me scrooge. I can take it.

About 6 weeks ago, Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary about fast fashion aired. It caused quite a stir and started some brilliant conversations on and offline. It did a great job of highlighting some of the major environmental catastrophes connected with the demand for fast, disposable fashion and people were rightly outraged and concerned with how our excessive consumption of clothes is effecting people and the planet.

I thought it might be a good time to circle back on some of those conversations - to remind ourselves about the impact that fast fashion has and how we can be agents of change as consumers, especially with party season approaching and the lure to buy new shiny things becoming a real draw.

If you are wanting to change your fast-fashion habits this season, this is for you.

If you want to pull the reigns in on your over-consumption and look at fashion as a long lasting investment, this is for you.

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INSIDE THE ASSEMBLY SPRING/SUMMER GATHERING!

It's been a few weeks since we had our Assembly Spring/Summer Gathering for the year so I thought I'd take you inside and show you what we got up to.

These Gatherings are pretty all consuming for me in the lead up - so much thought, preparation, promotion, sourcing and energy goes into putting this day together and I love it. I do. It flexes creative muscles in me that I want to build but make no mistake, it also takes a small army of helpers around me to make it happen. I am so grateful for all the people who were on my team for this Gathering - so many beautiful women who made it all come together - with their skills, expertise, encouragement and generosity. 

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THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER IF YOU WANT TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT ETHICAL FASHION

It's Fashion Revolution Week - five years on from the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh where over 1000 people lost their lives because of health and safety negligence when a garment factory collapsed. 

I'm so glad to see ethical fashion become a more mainstream conversation every year and I'm so grateful for trailblazers in the fashion, labour and environmental industries that are demanding change, creating change and expecting change. I am a proud ethical fashion advocate - it's something that I've worked hard to understand and be intentional about. Slowly, over the last 6 years, my fashion habits have changed and I feel connected to and part of this movement.

There are so many amazing articles and books that are available for those just starting out on the journey that are hungry for more information to change their mindset and habits (my personal recommendation would be to read any of Safia Minneys books - Slave to Fashion or Slow Fashion are my two favourites) but here are some issues I think we need to dig deeper into if we want to get serious about ethical fashion:

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5 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE MORE ETHICAL IN 2018

Now is an amazing time to make some green changes to your everyday. The slog of January is over and the motivation of the new year is beginning to hum in the background…

Maybe you’ve felt drawn to be a little more earth conscious and you want to begin somewhere attainable. Maybe you have realised that we are both the problem and the solution to so many major environmental and ethical crises in the world today. What you need to know is that being green, eco, ethical or sustainable doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s merely a slight readjustment of priorities that we can all have a go at.

I’m talking small steps that really make a difference. That’s what this blog is all about – showcasing simpler ways to be more thoughtful in how we live; understanding that modern life and being ethical don’t have to be conflicting or difficult to marry up. There are ways and means to begin our eco journey without feeling overwhelmed – here’s my starter for five for 2018:

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WHY FASHION IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

If you’ve stuck around here long enough, you’ll know that I am an advocate of slow, sustainable fashion.

Much of this passion has come from my work looking at exploitation and human trafficking – realising the connection between what we consume and the people who make our stuff. I have spent years now learning about the fashion industry; the systems, the policies, the garment workers, the belly of the beast.

The fashion industry is the most pollutant industry in the world; second only to oil. There are huge environmental concerns that we just don’t consider when we bag a bargain. Did you know it takes 1800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make the average pair of jeans? The rise of fast fashion means that factories in developing countries (where labour is cheap) are manufacturing non-stop to keep up with our quick-fix excessive shopping demands. The factories are filling the air with toxic chemicals pumped out by machinery used to making synthetic clothing.

The effects of this relentless manufacturing is evident in climate change – an issue that impacts developing countries with particularly huge devastation. Climate change means that developing countries are experiencing overwhelming heat and vast areas of drought, leading to crop failure. Crop failure means that farmers can’t survive in business and trade. Business failure leads to poverty, malnourishment and eventually whole community vulnerability. Can you see how it all connects…?

Environmental issues in the fashion industry are one thing, but lately I’ve been feeling strongly that in order to see real change, we need to recognise that fast fashion is a massive feminist issue as well.

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