THE CUTEST BAG AND THE ISSUE OF ETHICS IN FASHION

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I’ve been lusting after this little bag since I first spotted it on the Stella McCartney website a while back. I held back because it’s cheaper to buy from the Irish online store than the American one but now that I’m back in Ireland, I couldn’t resist. When I ordered it, I was so afraid that my iPhone 6 plus wouldn’t fit. I genuinely thought I would have to return it.  Thankfully, it just fits, because I love this little bag so much. And I mean it just fits, a millimetre or two more and I probably wouldn’t get it in (that’s what she said…..yeah.)

So this bag is not cheap. It’s the most I’ve ever paid for a hand-bag. But I was tired of my bags falling apart. When I love something, I wear it to death. Literally. I’ve had so many handbags fall apart on me and it’s so annoying because then I have to go look for another one that’s just going to fall apart on me as well. This is my second Stella McCartney bag; the first one I got last July and I have used it pretty much daily. It shows basically no sign of wear. It’s not falling apart, the lining doesn’t have any holes, the stitching isn’t coming undone. Apart from the white details on it looking a little bit dirty, it’s like new. Now I’m not saying you can’t get a cheaper bag that wears well, but in my experience, it’s hard to find one that has longevity when buying from the high street. I can literally feel how well made this bag is.

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But beyond this, I love Stella McCartney. Not just for the designs, but because they’re probably the most famous brand that is focused on improving ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s very educational about sweat shops and how people in the supply chain are treated, as well as the environmental impact the fast fashion industry has on nature and villages. To summarise, the fast fashion industry treats people like shit and is ruining the planet in many different ways. It is not sustainable. These are things everyone should know about. But the trouble is, even when you know about and want to change you’re buying habits, there aren’t many great alternatives.

Firstly, you can buy from ethical companies that use sustainable practices. But these are far and few between. Even online it’s hard to find shops with a lot of variety; I’ve been trying to find companies for a while now and I still only have a limit selection. They also tend to have limited sizing and can be a bit expensive. Then there’s designer clothing. And while I’m okay with buying a few handbags from Stella McCartney, so many designer items are over-priced. You might be paying for the fact that is wasn’t made in a sweat shop but you’re also paying for the name. Not only do I not like that, I don’t have the money for it. Again, limited sizing is also an issue. I’m not saying I’ll never buy a designer clothing item but they’re never going to fill my entire wardrobe.

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Then there’s second hand clothing shops. This is something I want to explore more but honestly, our second hand stores in Ireland are not great. In the U.S., they are big and have a lot of options. The ones in Dublin are small and cramped. It’s hard to find anything good, and it’s hard to find things that fit. Altering clothes or just making your own is something else one can do, and I do want to experiment with this, but again, right now that isn’t going to work for my whole wardrobe.

These issues seems to be gaining more and more attention in regards to the fashion industry but change is happening very very slowly. There are tons of people talking about it online, but the Ted Talks on the issue date back years and are unfortunately still extremely relevant. It’s hard for me because clothes are my thing. I love clothes. But I also want to be a responsible and compassionate member of the human race. I think the answer is keep doing research but ultimately, don’t be too hard on yourself. Am I never going to buy anything from a fast fashion brand again? No. It’s not feasible for me. But am I going to think twice about it? Yes. Am I going to continue to look for alternatives and buy from them when I can? Yes. Doing their best with what they’ve got is all anyone can do but I really would love to see some bigger shifts in the industry starting to happen.

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Dress – ASOS (old)
Cardigan – ZARA (old)
Boots – Vegan Doc Martins
Bag – Stella McCartney

Jane x

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