"My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold"
I live in a small town in Aberdeenshire in Scotland. We moved here when I was 12 and going into my second year of high school. I lived the first years of my life in the far north in beautiful Caithness: first in a place called Murkle and then in Hill of Forss. I've also lived in Durham, Edinburgh, Stirling, York and la Coruña in northern Spain. I love travelling and my life has been, like our clothing, a bit of a fragmented tapestry of different places, faces, sights and sounds. Our lives are so interwoven with our clothes. I think this is one of the things that has fascinated me so much in learning more about how our clothes are made. It's incredible to think of the journeys our clothes go on throughout manufacturing and production before they end up in the shops on our high streets.
So how did I become interested in ethical fashion? Well, i've always loved fashion, but have never been what I would call an expert. I like what I like and that's it really. I never keep up with the latest styles or trends and have never been one to be sucked into the latest fashions (although, I would buy them if I liked them). I would describe my style now as bright and colourful. I've gone through fazes of wearing a lot of preppy and vintage clothes and now I like wearing a lot of colours in either pastels or slightly muted shades.
In all honesty, I knew very little about the fashion industry until very recently and even less about ethical fashion or what it was. I remember buying my first pair of organic cotton yoga pants when I was 17. Amazingly, I still have those yoga pants in my drawers! But I didn't buy them for their ethical credentials and although I knew they were organic, I didn't really know why that mattered or understand anything about sustainability. For years after I continued to shop on the high street and at fast fashion chains for the majority of my clothes.
When I lived in la Coruña (the home of Zara and fast fashion) I spent all my money on clothes but it was all fast fashion. Fashion is a big part of the culture there and the people mostly wear brands owned by Inditex such as Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Pull and Bear. Inevitably, with such great fashion stores to choose from the people in la Coruña have a great sense of style. In comparison to the UK where most people aren't particularly fashionable, it was really refreshing to walk down the street and see a wide variety of fashionable ensembles on display. Their sense of style inspired me and I began to develop a renewed interest in fashion and what I chose to wear.
However, it was only on my return home from La Coruña that my journey into the world of ethical fashion began and I realised my fast fashion buying ways had to become a thing of the past. As a lover of fast fashion brands including Zara, Pull & Bear and Urban Outfitters, this was initially quite a difficult thing to come to terms with, but the abuses within the industry as a whole are so great that even going past stores now on the high street makes me uneasy. My first knowledge of the abuses that lie at the heart of the fashion industry came after stumbling across a book called "Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second Hand Clothes". I was shocked by what I read and what I learned. Firmly hooked on the subject, I went on to read as many books as I could, including Lucy Siegle's famous book "To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?'. These books came as a much needed wake-up call. I realised I wasn't being ethical by not shopping in Primark and that the abuses lie for the most part within the fashion industry as a whole. I've been on this journey for about a year now and as my interest has developed into a passion, I've decided to start writing about it. It's a journey which is ongoing and which I continue to learn about each day.
I hope you enjoy reading and learning with me on this ethical journey.