For todays post, I wanted to have an honest chat with you guys about the brands I work with and represent going forward. I shot these images around a month ago, after spotting this blouse online and excitedly buying it as one of my few ‘summer purchases’. It’s by a big brand that I have worn pieces by pieces by before and have (up until recently) been happy to support due to their seemingly ethical and sustainable practices. Bigger brands that have practices in line with my own morals and beliefs about the world are very hard to come by, but the last few weeks have definitely been an eye opener in terms of how just how far the fashion industry has to go in terms of being kind to the planet and the people living on it…
Just to make this clear before going any further – I’m not going to mention this brand nor tag them in any posts/affiliate links etc until they can prove themselves as an inclusive brand. I’m pretty sure you could guess which brand it might be as the news came to light during the current Black lives matter movement and has been spread far and wide over various social media platforms. I just don’t want to encourage any sales from my platforms personally, but I also think it would be a bit nonsensical not to use these images when this outfit could inspire a very similar look, using similar white blouses from brands that are doing a much better job at practicing what they preach. I’ve been back and forth as to whether I should even share these images, but ultimately, I think they sit alongside an important conversation that I really wanted to have on here, and it’s an outfit that I have genuinely been wearing a lot in real life.
I would never throw clothing away because I don’t want to support the brand anymore – that’s wasteful and doesn’t make sense after purchasing an expensive piece. I also wouldn’t agree with donating the pieces as I’m then saying that said pieces are good enough for other people but not for me personally. That’s not to say that we don’t have to hold brands accountable when they fall sort or make false promises, but we have to be willing to let them grow in a more positive direction whilst we invest our money elsewhere. After all, a lot of these big brands have big money – money is powerful when it’s in the hands of the right people and amplifying the voices that truly need to be heard.
I think going forward, with the few summer pieces I have from this particular brand, I just won’t be tagging them or encouraging any further sales. I also won’t be purchasing anything new from them to wear away from social media. I pretty much share all of my outfits with you guys either on here or over on Instagram, so I always try to make sure that the brands I’m representing are in line with the messages I’m putting out into the world via my content. There’s never any secrecy or brands that I buy from that I choose not to share – if you bumped into me in real life, I’d be wearing something by a brand I’ve mentioned on Instagram or a piece of vintage clothing you’ve probably seen countless times before.
I also want to make it clear that I will also be making sure that any previous affiliate earnings from this brand/blouse go towards a charity in line with the Black lives matter movement – along with any of the earnings from this particular blog post (despite the fact I’ll be linking similar options from different brands). All affiliate earnings made from any other pieces that make up this outfit will also be donated to charity, and I won’t be going out of my way to feature this brand in any further content going forward. As things currently stand, there’s no way of knowing whether they will turn things around, but for now, I’ll be looking into different sustainable brands to support.
The latest thing I’ve heard is that the founder has stepped down from her role which hopefully means that someone better equipped for the job can make real, lasting changes within the company. Who knows what will happen going forward but I’m very intrigued to see how a lot of well known brands will be making actual changes. Not just what we visibly see on their carefully curated Instagram grids either – it’s easy to create an inclusive shop front, but internal changes are just as necessary (if not more so) than what they are presenting to customers via social media. The changes have to come from the internal cogs of the business, otherwise anything they emit externally is based on a false narrative fuelled by performative allyship and greed.
As a society, I also think we need to analyse the rise of ‘cancel culture’ and what it represents. I personally don’t think ‘cancelling brands’ is productive or progressive long term. I think we have to believe that change is possible or I’m not sure how we will ever truly encourage it. It’s such a huge conversation because most brands could be doing better in some capacity, and the fashion industry in general really needs to slow down and reassess the mark that’s leaving on the planet. It’s one of the reasons I’m a huge advocate for vintage pieces – I’m not really aligning my views with a company when I choose to shop secondhand. It’s a much healthier way to shop in general, but it also means taking a cut when it comes to the business side of the blogging world. For instance, wearing a lot of vintage often means I receive less paid partnerships as it makes me less visible to brands when I’m tagging content online.
This has never been an issue for me as someone genuinely finds joy in shopping vintage – I’ve never big into ‘fast fashion hauls’ and I never really order numerous pieces at once and less I’m maybe leaving for a last minute summer trip. Generally, I’ve found myself steering away from fast fashion brands as I’ve gotten older and a bit smarter with my money. I’m in a position where I can actively choose not to encourage a lot of fast fashion purchases because I’m able to save and invest in longer lasting pieces. Someone once told me that ‘if you’re not paying the price, it usually means someone else is’ – it’s a sentiment that’s always stuck with me, so I choose to try and be as careful as possible because I’m in a privileged position to do so.
Does that mean that all the brands I represent or link on here are perfect? Absolutely not.
When it comes to the weird and wonderful blogging industry, I just try to navigate with caution as best as I can as a one woman band. If a brand gives me a bad gut feeling then I won’t even entertain working with them. However, I’m also very aware that fast fashion makes clothing accessible to a large proportion of people that can’t afford higher end pieces. Like I mentioned before, it’s a huge conversation, and all I can do personally is to proceed with caution and understanding. I have to be prepared to fail and fall short, but I also have to do my best to avoid it and implement changes that protect my audience from feeling hurt or let down. It’s a huge responsibility that weighs heavily on me with every decision that I make personally, but also as a business owner trying to earn money and create a life that’s stable.
I try to consider how I present ‘new’ outfits online and really try to re-wear pieces as much as possible – it’s not normal to wear a different outfit everyday of the month, and I’m forever trying to find the perfect balance between creating inspiration whilst still maintaining a level of realism throughout my wardrobe. Ultimately, I will have a bigger wardrobe than the average person because I work in fashion and get sent samples to style throughout the year. I’m also likely to have a bigger wardrobe because I just love personal style and it’s always been a means of self expression for me. However, one thing I’ve really tried to focus on over the last few years is slowing down. The constant need for newness in the world is the cause of so much harm, and I try my best not to glamourise getting new pieces in a way that’s unhealthy.
Again, this is a major topic of conversation and one that I’ll no doubt be revisiting throughout many blog posts to come – especially as more brands are being called out and held accountable. I want to make it my mission to keep buying less and informing myself more. Less scrolling/online shopping means more time to inform myself and educate myself further about the brands hanging in my wardrobe. I’m hoping we can learn together and to continue to use this blog space as somewhere to share, support, and evolve in a better direction.
Trousers c/o – Arket, Shoes – Stepney Workers Club, Basket bag – Loewe, Jewellery – Charlie Luxe Vintage
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what a responsible, thoughtful, and honest post. ethical decisions are so tough in real life indeed, they’re never as easy as self-righteous make it out to be. but it’s necessary, and it will be rewarding. and i look forward to hearing more discussions from you on life issues such as these. thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! it’s helpful
Thank you for taking the time to read and for being so kind! I definitely feel as though both the fashion industry and the blogger/influencer landscape are starting to shift and I’m hoping it’s in a more positive, sustainable, and inclusive direction xx