Thinking of what to wear now that Christmas is well and truly underway? Holly from Natural Mumma magazine shares how to be glamorous and ethical from head to toe by becoming part of the slow fashion tribe.
We've all suffered for beauty but should the environment, our fellow humans and animals suffer too? When it comes to going ethical, buying special occasion wear can be one of the hardest to get right...
When it comes to staying true to your ethical principles, finding that conversation dress can be incredibly difficult. So where do you start? What should you look out for? How are you going to find that perfect dress?
1. Go timeless
You may be drawn to certain colours or cuts that are achingly hot right now, but you need to consider the long term and be realistic about whether you'll get your wear out of a garment. Anything too faddy will start to look dated within a matter of months and will no doubt end up pushed to the back of the wardrobe before eventually making its pilgrimage to the charity shop.
Instead opt for classic cuts, timeless pieces that will last for years and quality clothing that is built to last and is truly sustainable. The latest trend pieces won't necessarily suit you and you also run the risk of blending into the crowd. Finding something unique will make you stand out in the best possible way.
It's safe to say that red will always be popular at this time of year and has consistently made its way into every AW collection for many decades. However, it takes a certain amount of confidence to wear a red dress and if it only gets an airing at Christmas, it may be better to opt for something that you feel more comfortable in. It is also worth thinking about skin tones, those with a cool colouring can look washed out in red (which looks stunning on anyone with a warmer skin tone).
Likewise, you may feel like you can't go wrong with the classic little black dress but it can leave anyone without a cool complexion looking washed out and tired. If you have a pale complexion, you may decide to add some colour nearer your face to soften the look (perhaps with a shrug, bolero or scarf). You need to pick colours that suit your complexion and work well with the rest of your wardrobe, fashion and trends shouldn't come into it.
2. Go vintage
If you are looking for something special then genuine vintage wear can be a great ethical option. Vintage can be the perfect antidote to our throwaway culture. In this world of fast fashion, saving clothing from the landfill and lessening the production of new fibres has obvious ecological benefits – you just have to be careful where you source your vintage garb from. Some retailers throw the vintage and retro labels at anything and with reports of exploitation in sorting factories and “rag” being traded by the kilo, there is an unsavoury side to some aspects of the vintage textile trade.
FairWertung is a German organisation who through extensive monitoring have identified duty avoidance scams and illegal import operations within the industry. Be sure to buy your vintage from small genuine retailers and not large corporations who are churning out vintage clothing like it's fast fashion.
The Jan issue of Natural Mumma (out Jan 5th) is all about vintage style and how to source the most ethical vintage clothing, so be sure to join us for that one if you're interested in sustainable vintage apparel.
3. Do your research
Nowadays ethical purchases and slow fashion are increasing in popularity. This is fantastic news for the planet but it also means that more brands are throwing around words such as ethical and sustainable as a marketing tactic rather than a true indication of their products. If you are serious about going ethical then you'll need to learn about certification and standards.
The World Fair Trade Organization has developed 10 principles that members must adhere to. With a focus on improved working conditions, pay and improved situations for women and children you can be sure that any brand who is a member of the WFTO is playing fair.
If purchasing organic textiles is important to you then the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is one to look out for. In order to be certified, all garments must contain at least 70 per cent organic fibres as well as meeting strict toxicological, environmental and social criteria.
In any clothing bearing the Fair Trade mark there is traceability at every stage in production. It starts with cotton farming and the monitoring continues right through spinning, weaving, dyeing, cutting, printing, sewing and embroidery.
The Ethical Fashion Forum offers a great list of certifications and memberships, to give you an idea of what to look out for.
If you're lucky enough to have a packed social calendar this season then you won't want to buy a dress for each event. Look for a couple of key pieces that can be easily customised and create several looks that can be used throughout the year and not just for Christmas. Again, look for classic pieces that won't date fast. The manufacturing methods of shoes and bags can be especially brutal so you'll want to look out for Fair Trade options.
Slow fashion is all about selecting beautiful, quality items that last. With a little thought, research and consideration you'll slowly build a wardrobe that will fulfil your stylistic and practical needs while treating our earth and its people with the respect they deserve.
Image: Benete Jumpsuit in Blush - Armed Angels via Sheer Apparel.
Cover: Daruma Blueberry Dress - Frieda Sand via Sheer Apparel.
You're in for a treat. Today we meet Jane, the founder and curator of Blue Patch (also a talented illustrator) to discuss the mysterious treasures she would put into her metaphysical advent calendar.
From handmade gifts to ditching Amazon we love Karen’s brutal honesty in what an ethical Christmas could look like. It's not too late to make a change!