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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

April 22, 2019

It's Time for a Fashion Revolution 2019

Gang, it's that time of year again - the time of year when we need to be holding brands within the fashion industry more accountable and demand transparency from them. It's time for the Fashion Revolution. This week (22nd - 28th April 2019), it is Fashion Revolution Week, a week-long push in "the global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry". Over the past 5 years of their activism, they have become the largest fashion industry movement and are continuously pushing for rights, transparency and education both in and about the fashion industry but as with most activist groups and movements, they rely on the support of the general public. Last year, I blogged about Fashion Revolution and why I think the movement is so incredibly important in today's consumer society and this year I want to continue supporting this movement as much as I can.

Their aim to change the way our clothes are sourced, purchased and produced are topics that are thankfully becoming much more "hot topic" amongst bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, and the general media alike. It seems that fast fashion has come more and more under fire from so many different avenues and are being rightfully questioned about anything and everything from how materials and fabrics are sourced, the conditions in which employees work, and the gap between the CEO wage and those who work below them. This year marks the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse. This factory collapse took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh and it killed 1,138 people and injured many more - making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. As you can imagine, this spurred individuals from all corners of the globe and walks of life to scrutinise fashion supply chains and Fashion Revolution took that intrigue and desire for answers and built the movement that they have today.

Whereas last year I talked more about the movement itself and why it is so vital that we have such movements for education and awareness, this year I thought I'd delve more into what you can do to support Fashion Revolution and be an activist in the fashion industry in general; regardless of how much time, resources, or support you have!

1. #whomademyclothes
One of the biggest driving forces during Fashion Revolution week is asking brands "who made my clothes". This is one of the easiest ways to get involved in the movement as you simply need to Tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram post brands with the hashtag - whomademyclothes. The idea behind this simple # is to force brands to answer - the more people asking the question, the more pressure brands will be under to listen and answer. This helps promote this idea of transparency and helps us as consumers actually acknowledge, celebrate, and thank the garment workers behind each item we own. Tweeting is pretty easy as you just need to tweet the brand in question with the hashtag too but, if you want to head over to instagram, get your tag out of your top, dress, coat etc. and do exactly the same. You can also consider emailing or sending a letter to a brand too if you feel you have more to say than the character limits of social media allow. Using your voice is the easiest way to get involved and makes the whole movement stronger.

2. Sign the Manifesto
It's sad to see, but upon writing this blog post there were only 7,115 signatures on the Fashion Revolution Manifesto. Although it's fantastic that many individuals have already signed it, just imagine the greater impact this manifesto *could* have if we all took not even 5 minutes out of our daily lives to sign and support it. Fashion Revolution clearly lay out their manifesto step-by-step on their site and it includes everything from equal and fair pay, to eradicating enslavery, endangerment, exploitation, and discrimination of anyone in the industry, to making sure fashion becomes a more circular economy and stops damaging the environment. By aiming to liberate workers, promote diversity, and safeguard ecosystems, it is difficult to see any reason not to sign the manifesto. Signing up is super easy and only requires your name, email address, and a reason why you're signing. You can sign up to the Fashion Revolution newsletter at the same time and access hundreds of instagram stories, quotes and more from likeminded individuals who have already signed up to the movement.

3. Follow Fashion Revolution social media!
Something *so* simple that we often overlook it but, by following Fashion Revolution on their social media accounts, you are demonstrating support and power in a collective conscious. Not only that but social media sites give you a chance to feel more involved with other likeminded people, the movement itself, and stay up to date with any news or events that may be happening. The movement has various accounts that you can support and here are just a few linked to the UK:
Facebook Fashion Revolution page
Facebook Fashion Revolution Scotland page
Twitter Fashion Revolution page
Twitter Fashion Revolution Scotland page

4. Free resources - knowledge is power!
Fashion Revolution are very transparent themselves and thus you have free access to action kits, booklets, educational resources, reports and more (all right here). Access to these resources is fab as it means you can spread the message further and also gain some ideas for your own spending habits so you can try to make more sustainable fashion choices and take part in things like #haulternatives.

5. Become an ambassador or get your brand involved
The Fashion Revolution movement isn't limited to a general public level. Brands, wholesalers, distributors and students are all encouraged to take part. If you're brand-related, sharing stories and supply chain information is great and for you students out there at college or university, how about becoming an ambassador and hosting your very own event on campus?

6. There's a podcast for that
Although the podcast isn't bursting at the seams with episodes, listening to it can certainly boost the numbers and show Fashion Revolution that there is support out there. If you're particularly interested in the garment workers' rights and voice-side of the activism, you need to check these episodes out as they can be eye opening.

7. Is art and journalism more your thing? Buy the Fanzine
Okay so you only need to flick through a couple of images of the latest fanzine to see how wonderful they are. These bi-annual collectable zines are packed full of great articles, discussions, and artwork focusing on varying aspects of the movements focus. This current issue is exploring craft and culture and discusses globalisation, the future of craft, and cultural appropriation. They're sustainably created in the UK on recycled paper so they stick to good ethics too!

8. Donate donate donate
Fashion Revolution are a registered charity here in the UK which means you can donate money and time to support the movement. You can support Fashion Revolution all year round and become a regular monthly donor, make a one-off payment, set up a fundraising page for Fashion Revolution Week to encourage family, friends, and colleagues to get involved (and you could even ask companies to match your donation too!), or host an event and donate any money raised from it. Although donating money isn't an option for everyone, it's certainly there if you want to support the movement at any point throughout the year and every little bit will help towards making a change.

9. Attend an event
Speaking of events on that last suggestion, there are Fashion Revolution events hosted all over the globe and all throughout the year - not just during Fashion Revolution Week! These events can range from local companies and independent businesses coming together to celebrate their crafts and selling their wears as advocates of fashion transparency to exhibitions in museums and art studios, to money off sustainable capsule wardrobes and workshops on how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair your garments. There's bound to be something for everyone out there and by supporting these events, you help keep Fashion Revolution not only supported, but on the map in the public eye as it helps the movement keep an active voice when Fashion Revolution Week winds down. You can search what upcoming events are in your country, here.

Hopefully this post has helped highlight all the many great things Fashion Revolution (particularly this week) are doing and how you can support and be part of their activism. I always find that this week is humbling and grounding and reminds of how passionate I am about sustainable and ethical fashion. It helps me realign my own ethics and purchasing choices and focus on the underlying parts of the fashion industry most of us tend to overlook because we consume without care or consideration. Although I always feel like I could be doing more and certainly want to *do* more the older I get, taking part in Fashion Revolution Week in any sort of capacity is helping voices to be heard and changes to be made in an industry that is so large and powerful.

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April 13, 2019

The Things you Don't Expect when you're Expecting

Oh dear, apparently it's happening - here comes the start of the pregnancy blog posts! For those of you who don't follow me on social media or don't know me in real life, you might be currently sat there, slack-jawed, at the mention of pregnancy and to be perfectly honest - I'm right there with you. I never expected my 2019 to kick-start with this new stage of my life but here we are and I cannot put into words just how happy and excited I am about this next leg of my life journey.

Although I'm someone who wouldn't consider themselves a private person, I've realised I actually am in most capacities. I'm happy to blog about sex and mental health concerns etc. but most personal life things I keep to myself unless directly asked about it. I don't know why that's the case but it's the way it's always been. When I first discovered I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to keep that air of secrecy and privacy surrounding my baby (still as weird to type as it is to say out loud) but, I also knew there would be some elements I would want to share and shout from the online rooftops. One thing I knew I did want to share however, was and still is, the things that you don't expect to come out of pregnancy. Currently sitting happy in my second trimester, I have experienced negativities that I think many just don't associate with what is usually a very happy period of time for most individuals. I certainly didn't expect to find myself in some of the conversations, situations, or at the end of some of the jibes I've experienced thus far. So strap yourselves in folks, we're going for a rant ride and some truth telling!

Not everyone will be happy for you. Okay so off the bat, I never thought I would have pregnancy met with negativity from friends, family, colleagues etc. For individuals who know me, I thought pregnancy would never happen without an aid of some description or adoption would become more and more likely so to have people who know this react negatively or simply not at all, to the news, it's been an odd situation to find myself in. Whether it's been a colleague's jab about me "just becoming another part-timer who needs to be covered" or a friend just not even saying congratulations (or you know, anything in response to the news - hi if you're reading this, I'm still waiting!), it's not something you'd ever imagine happening but I'm here to say it absolutely can and possibly will. Now? I just don't care. I haven't got the time or patience with people who can't muster just general politeness. But just as a warning: not everyone will be happy for you and you know what? It's okay because not everyone matters.

People will be over-friendly. I always expected the boundaries to become blurred for some people during pregnancy but I guess I didn't anticipate just how blurred these boundaries can become. It's nice that people want to congratulate you or talk to you about it all but it's certainly bizarre to be on the receiving-end of some questions or comments that are just too over-friendly or too personal that you usually wouldn't receive. There's this weird notion that you almost become public property during pregnancy so any privacy you'd like to maintain is lost and others just assume you're happy to lose it. If you're quite a private person, this can be a huge shock to the system.

You suddenly become nothing else but pregnant. Again, I don't think this one is necessarily intentional when it comes to most individuals but, your identity kind of gets lost in this pregnancy bubble and label you have. Not only do many people want to talk about anything and everything pregnancy and personal with you but they seem to forget that you're your own individual who has a personality and life outside of the pregnancy. I've been elated to chat about it openly with friends and family however, my interests don't just end there because this is happening at this stage in my life. I still would like to chat about the vast array of other interests I have that make me *me* - I'm not just the baby incubator now.

People will invade your personal space verbally and physically. Kind of leading on from those last two points, I knew that people invade your privacy and space a little bit when pregnancy occurs but I just didn't expect the severity of it. The endless stream of comments or people literally touching you without consent is draining and induce anxiety in even the most strong of mind people. Having any sort of body image issues or self-esteem problems can make pregnancy a really testing time and considering I'm only half way through it all at this point, it does concern me a little. Thankfully, I'm not worrying about weight gain or bloating etc. because at the end of the day, I'm growing life inside of me and sustaining that life is way more important but it doesn't mean I can brush off the comments or the touching. Most of it comes from a genuinely good place and I'm fully aware of that however, there's only so many times I can hear
"are you sure there's only one in there?"
"you look good considering"
"you're getting huge!"

before I will inevitably lose my shit. Being this "public property" now means you're just open to this personal invasion whether you welcomed it or not and I think the most infuriating thing about it all is that actually? My wee babe is healthy but slightly on the smaller than average size so you know, please stop telling me I look humongous when it doesn't matter and this is exactly what a pregnant person is supposed to look like?

Everyone is a fucking expert. Okay, last rant and then I promise I'll stop. This one wasn't really any sort of shock or surprise but I've been truly *amazed* and some of the drivel that has poured out of people's mouths thus far. I love having any information I can from anyone who has been through pregnancy in the past because experience is the most genuine and true information to build on for myself but, please don't tell me how you drank 5 cups of coffee and was absolutely fine when I ask you to make me a decaff tea. Please don't tell me I'm being "ridiculous" because I've said I need to have more fruit or veg because I haven't had much in the past couple of days. Don't tell me what I want to buy for my baby, call my baby, or how I want to treat my baby is wrong. Of course if it was something more serious such as discussing vaccinations - I'd be all ears - but if you want to screw your nose up at what pushchair I want to buy or the name I've chosen for my baby, that's all on you, buddy. That's something you need to learn from and try to change so you're not such a shitty person in future.

Apologies if this is was a negative ninny post but I've needed to have a good ol' vent and this is my safe space to do so. Pregnancy is such a gift and I am honoured to find myself in this position as not everyone can so please always bear in mind the many layers of emotions, build-up, and history that is behind each pregnancy and each person carrying the child. Think before you speak and act and always approach both with kindness.

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