The other day, sitting on the tube, I was looking around as ever in search of inspiration and wondering who looks like someone I would want to dress like? There was exactly one girl. She looked elegant and perfect, the kind that makes you feel frustrated about having a chipped nail, cause she would never let that happen. Upon further inspection I realized that there was nothing really that special about her look. She was head to toe dressed in basics and didn’t have anything extravagant about her, yet she caught everyone's eye. I caught about 4 girls secretly gimplsing over at her and analysing her, before returning to scrolling on instagram. Of course we could get into a whole other conversation about how her posture and general relationship to the world made sure that she had such a magnetic effect on everyone (and I probably will talk about that once I’ve cracked the code to that myself ha!), but personally I believe it also had something to do with her immaculate outfit - of course, it’s a representation of who we want to be perceived as. The outfit wasn’t anything special but it was perfect, anyone could tell that what she was wearing was high quality, probably super comfortable and so simple to put together in the morning. Wearing great quality basics doesn’t give you any less of a personality or make you look boring, if anything it gives you the space to express who you really are. You’re not having to hide behind extravagant and flamboyant dresses to mask your insecurities, you don’t have to wear the highest heels to feel sexy, you just are confident and sexy because you know exactly who you are. That to me is what really good basics are.
Organic Basics is a company created by four Danish guys to make better basics.
The pieces I'm wearing are organic cotton which is a natural, class B fibre. Their cotton is grown just outside Izmir, Turkey without toxic substances, no pesticides, no chemical fertilizer, and no nasty chemicals. It is grown without genetically modified seeds, and it is of course, GOTS certified, which means that apart from being certified organic, it is grown by humans that are treated like humans. That means fair wages, no discrimination, and freely chosen employment. All factories are located in Europe and regularly visited as well as audited by third parties.
I LOVE IT! If you are on the lookout for some high quality basics, feel free to use my discount code organicbasicsxjil20 for 20% off at checkout!!
I was listening to a goop podcast recently in which Gwyneth Paltrow chatted to Oprah about everything from meditation to recent movements in our culture.
Inevitably the topic of #Metoo and and sexual harassment came up and Gwyneth asked Oprah, ‘why do you think it became such a phenomenon now, even though there have been lots of cases of women coming forward in the past years?’ To which Oprah explained it was due to actresses relatability and the critical mass of people talking about it, aligned with the misogynist political situation in America.
’The culture of enough’ Gwyneth said.
That term really stuck with me, because that’s why I feel there is a space for sustainable fashion to even exist and be talked about in the industry. It’s the reason holistic medicine, plant-based eating, zero waste and minimalism have a voice and an audience.
There has been an excess of just about everything since the boom of mass industrialisation in the 50s and the new generations are now having to face the issues this has brought on, climate change, waste (ie. did you know every toothbrush you ever used is still on the planet?!). People have just had enough of stuff that only has a short life span, medicine that only heals or shifts symptoms instead of curing the root problem, food that only gives you a short-term effect of satisfaction followed by a series of health issues, fashion that only lasts a season if at all.
People already working in the space of sustainable fashion, like to think that the Rana Plaza disaster was the turning point for the fashion industry. Whilst this might be true for a very small percentage of consumers, the truth is that it barely changed anything. As much as it pains me to say this, it was too far from our homes. As Westerners we can’t relate to it because we don’t know those people, their lives, their daily struggle to provide for their families let alone themselves. Even if we have seen imagery or videos of these people, its very likely we will forget the next time we walk by H&M and see a cute dress we really really want - no, “need”.
So how can anything change?
Let’s take the #Metoo movement as an example. Sexual harassment is not a new phenomenon and if you are a girl you probably have experienced it in one of its many forms and levels. You have probably exchanged stories with your girlfriends and yet sadly, as much as you were annoyed at it there was a sense that this was ‘normal’ and nothing could be changed. Men were either unaware of the magnitude of the problem or didn’t know what could be done.
The reason why it became such a phenomenon recently is simply because so many actresses spoke out about the issue and it’s as simple as this: public figures are relatable to us. They could just be our friends because in the movies they play characters we can relate to in stories we can relate to. They have money and power and are not living in a third world country where abuse is almost taken for granted by Westerners. They are like us and it happens to them too. Shocking.
At the same time there was a socio-political landscape filled with misogyny - how is it possible that the president of the United States has been recorded on tape saying “let’s grab them by the pussy” and is in charge of leading such powerful country?! Enough, it’s time to act, because if the president won’t change things, we must.
For the fashion industry to make the change into more ethical practises, sadly I believe something similar has to happen. Something relatable to westerners, it has to happen to someone that could be just your friend down the street and therefore affect you too. At the same time the socio-politcal landscape must line up for people to say ‘enough is enough’.
Not to end this on a negative note, but I only hope it won’t be too late by then.
The jumpsuits is by sustainable brand Jungle Folk and is made from 100% organic cotton. The T-shirt is also in organic cotton by People Tree, the shoes are Veja and the bad was a little hand woven gift my mom brought back from her trip to Marocco!
explore how I have previously worn some of the items in this post
Many people wear leather on the grounds that it's a byproduct of the meat industry, but the reality looks quite different. An animals skin is one of the most lucrative parts of it's body, which means that for farmers trying to maximise their profit,often the meat actually becomes the byproduct of the leather industry.
Leather also has amongst the highest environmental issues thanks to the tanning process, which is often done with chrome, a strong carcinogenic, which is often dumped without filter into drinkable water streams, often supplying entire villages. Livestock per se has one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions, with high levels of CO2 and even methane.
However, if leather is ethically sourced and dyed I will make the case for its durability. We do have a lot of vegan leather alternatives, but since they are all still quite new, their durability is still to be tested. In the name of not producing more waste, I find the durability of a product extremely important.
With this being said I don't necessarily think we should be buying new leather items and supporting a cruel and toxic industry, but I will make the case for secondhand and vintage leather.
I know some hard-core vegans may disagree with me here and refuse to wear it all together, but I think a few things should be considered here. By buying a second-hand piece you are not supporting the leather industry, as money doesn't go into their pockets, you are not producing additional waste by buying something that has already been produced and is in circulation, plus its natural and therefore biodegradable in time. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about leather produced in the past, but I find it would be disrespectful to the animal to throw all of these pieces away instead of buying buying a couple of these pieces and wearing them with love for a lifetime, before passing them on to the next person.
However I will say that there is one concern with wearing leather, even when vintage: setting a trend. When certain items become "in fashion" they are suddenly mass produced by every fast fashion retailer on the high street which can be quite scary. But I suppose if we buy quite particular items and always emphasise them being one-of-a-kind vintage finds, maybe we could start getting more people passionate about secondhand clothing!
Let me know what you think in the comments below, would love to hear your opinion as this is quite a tricky topic!
Top: from Asos but bought second-hand in a charity shop | Pants: really old from a fast fashion brand, over 300 wears by now | Shoes: old #30wears ballerinas I keep changing the sole of | Suede Vest: vintage from Brick Lane market
THE SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR:
This is an outfit of pieces that I've had for the longest time, the white shirt I bought second-hand for £6, proving second-hand shopping is cheaper! And the jacket is a vintage find, #zerowaste!
explore how I have previously worn some of the items in this post