The True Cost – A Review

Well it’s been a while! When life happens I guess other things get pushed aside as much as you don’t want them to, I do wonder about packing it all in selling everything and travelling and writing,  but that’s probably another story.

I managed to find time to watch a film that I was highly anticipating the release of, a documentary called The True Cost. Directed by Andrew Morgan, it is a film about the impact the new culture of fast fashion is having on our planet and the people behind the clothes. It’s a brilliant insight into the industry itself as well as first hand interviews with workers, including those involved in the tragic Rana Plaza disaster, factory owners and some of the people and companies who are trying to stop fast fashion, like Eco-Age.

I’ll be honest I buy into fast fashion, ashamed to say it. What I think when buying a new item of clothing which helps me feel that bit more confident, that bit better about myself is that it’s worth it, however would I be willing to pay a bit more for this, yes. In some instances a pay rise for some factory workers would mean the equivalent of a few cents added onto the price of a T-Shirt. But it’s not just about the money it’s also about the unbelievable impact on our planet. It takes the UK 10 minutes to throw away 7 tonnes of clothing; clothing which can’t be recycled, it will sit in a landfill polluting the land, not to mention the damage caused to the earth to just make the clothes in the first place. 

The film is well shot, narrated and beautifully edited and it will make you consider that £9 Cami. I’ll never stop buying clothes, however my tactics will change now, I will continue to turn to vintage clothing, reusing old clothes whether it be from my parents cupboards or the local charity shop or Beyond Retro. I also want to make a conscious effort to turn to responsible clothing instead of what’s convenient. As a nation we are wasteful, food gets thrown away without a second thought and now we are doing the same for the clothes. It’s up to the consumer to say to companies, we will buy carrots that aren’t the prettiest (side note, I also recommend a show called Hugh’s War on Waste, it illustrates just how much edible food is unused especially by chain supermarkets) and we will spend a few pounds more on clothing if it means an actual livable wage for someone and a safe working environment. This won’t happen overnight but to quote one of these guilty supermarkets ‘Every little helps!’ 

True Cost

Photo Credit @truecostmovie Instagram

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Career Girl Goals

Do you know just how differently men and women are paid?

When you’re in the office, ask your male counterpart what his salary is, firstly you’ll notice the sheer disdain that you dare break the boundary of work decorum, then if he answers you can do the math. Women have been entitled to equal pay since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, however there are still major issues 45 years on. The gender pay gap is still at 9.4% (Office for National Statistics, November 2014), which is actually an improvement of 0.6% compared to the previous year. David Cameron’s call this year to put more pressure on large firms to disclose their data is a welcome break as it is completely down to the companies ‘discretion’ as to how much they pay their staff.

Of course as a career girl myself I know I have to work harder and speak louder and be that ever bit more careful than my male colleagues. Is my blouse just slightly see through? Is my skirt too tight? If a woman gets promotion…… ‘Sleeping with boss ay?’ We’ve all heard it, there’s no denying. So reaching breaking those boundaries and reaching that career goal as women is more important than ever, whilst also having the added pressure of the size of your waist, marital status and the ticking clock within your ovaries. However, being the best at multi tasking, boy do women know how to do it.

For any woman you need goals in life, whatever those goals may be and here are some of my top career girls –

Annie MacManus (DJ)

I could start with Beyoncé or Angelina Jolie but I take my female role models a little differently. Born in Dublin and at 37 years old she has an ever growing empire, having started BBC Radio 1 in 2004 she has now recently taken over for Zane Lowe, making it 5 nights a week on (my opinion) the best radio station in the world. As well as this her AMP tour spans from Coachella to Glastonbury to Ibiza. All the while raising her young son with her partner, artist Toddla T. The curly hair, addictive personality and perfectly executed craft make her quite the lady.

Stella McCartney 

Famous surname or not she is one of the best designers, (first making her mark as the Creative Director for Chloé 1997) as well as being British she is a firm animal rights activist and refuses to use any fur or leather in her collections. A lifelong vegetarian and supporter of PETA, married with four children, an all round Wonder Woman.

Carol Jean Pentland (Mother to this lucky kid) 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she left Steeler nation and worked travelling the world eventually meeting her future husband. They had 2 children in a picturesque house in Johannesburg, before settling in England. Even with the odd judgmental look from other mothers when picking up her kids from school, straight from work, in a pencil skirt, heels and blazer with shoulder pads you could only envy, she was successful in work and now academia earning herself a top degree with highly credited work. Not to shabby I’d say.

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Long Live Longline

Can you even believe it the heat wave is finally here and of course the inappropriate hot pants, lack of T-shirt in the middle of a city centre and ‘health warnings’ are rife. What to wear today when you don’t necessarily want to go with the norm, or better yet what to wear to the all dayer in the pub garden this weekend? Well I have a new found obsession, the Longline.

It comes in various formats, T-Shirts, Dusters, Blazers, Camis, Shirts…. But it is the perfect item to turn any outfit around. Diverse in that it can be worn throughout the seasons, it comes in so many different ways that you can wear the style without getting tired and it is perfect for those I cannot be bothered days.

One of my favourite things about it is it covers my troublesome areas without being obvious, by this I mean my thigh and buttocks region. I always prefer to wear a longer top, unless I’m feeling daring (or I have already had a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc prior to finalising my evening attire) and decide to go for a black jeans crop top combo, however this is strictly saved for an evening out and wouldn’t be my outfit of choice for the day. I currently have 2 longline sleeveless coats and 3 longline camis but I’ve got my eye on a few more, namely pink and lilac ones, be rude not to now the sun is out.

Top tip, the sales are quite simply killing it at the moment, I just bought some sandals from Topshop for £7, (less than a double Gin and Tonic), so have a look out for any key pieces even if they are a size or two too big an oversized sleeveless longline blazer will simply have more of an androgynous look if it’s less fitted.

Happy Summer!

Longline final

Double Denim-mania

Denim, once a symbol of poverty, hard labour or in a more modern sense with rips/safety pins/political statement patches a symbol of rebellion and angst….. now a symbol of complete normality.

We all own it in one way or another and no doubt we all have our favourites, for me it is of course high waisted black jeans, perfectly suited for my body type and always a fall back for any outfit crisis. Then, going back a few years I have my ultimate ripped Abercrombie and Fitch light denim baggy and slightly flared jeans I wore so much in my teenage years the rips weren’t so much rips as gaping holes and my Abercrombie and Fitch (can you tell I went through a preppy stage?) light denim ripped mini skirt, I still hold onto them both waiting for them to make a big come back. Now the trend off of the 80’s is back, the double denim, once shunned by all those with style and taste and now back gracing the style magazines and flooded over Instagram and blogs alike. I never thought I’d say it but I am a fan, I confess!

There are a few ways to play it, keep it simple with a denim shirt and jeans, I personally team my Mom’s light denim shirt with a pair of dark Hollister (also from my preppy days but not so ruined) ripped boyfriend jeans, must add here that these are low-rise, not a trend I think I would like back too soon, so they are always worn with a baggy(ish) and long top. Or you could push the boat out that little bit further, try a triple threat, denim top, jeans and jacket if you’re feeling really up for it or one outfit I plan on testing this weekend (weather permitting) it’s a denim midi skirt and baggy denim cropped T-shirt, teamed with a pair of sandals. Keep it light with the accessories and make up otherwise you could find yourself more 80’s LA wannabe cowgirl than flaunting fashionista. Something simple like gentle make up and a matte red lip with loosely styled hair I think fits the bill perfectly.

Denim 4

Sunshine Basics

BIKINI BODY READY?

ARE YOU READY FOR SUMMER?

GET YOUR BIKINI BODY IN TEN DAYS!

It may be a skyline filled with rain and grey cloud as far as the eye can see, however it is very nearly Summer and the bikini’s are rearing their ugly head from the draw under the bed, like the boogie man taunting you from the darkness. I’ve already taken the plunge, I had the most fantastic short break in Malta just a few weeks ago and that involved summer dresses and two-pieces. Safe to say, it’s a daunting prospect for most of us, myself included, with trips to the nearest common in mind, pool days and of course the next holiday (to Croatia) I have to remind myself that what may seem like a mountain of cellulite and whale blubber to me is nothing to everyone else. As women we now have an extreme stigma of beauty to up hold, this pressure is worse than ever with girls as young as 9 suffering depression and anxiety due to issues with body image. Really.

I’m not usually one to dress for my size per say, I own cullotes, shift dresses, men’s shirts all which shouldn’t be worn by those of a certain breast size, height, body shape. I plan on focusing on the positive, wearing what makes me feel comfortable and overcoming all those nagging insecurities, see ya, bye bye now.

So here is a mini hit list of some of my go to items of the Summer, the basics you might say…..

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Spring is in the air and there is a Spring in my step, cliché or not there is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a tree covered in full bloom flowers and the sky a wonderful shade of blue, but what lies ahead for the year for me. I think the phrase ‘time flies’ is simply all to real, I now go onto my Timehop and see reminders of a bungee jump in New Zealand three years ago or a fancy dress night 6 years ago with numerous photos taken in a less than presentable student flat. Now I like to think of putting some of my time into different things, although the next bungee jump is already planned for the end of this year, in none other than South Africa.

Of course on the cards are the numerous festivals coming up in the Summer, unfortunately no Glastonbury for me however I do think I will be partaking in an old favourite South West Four, just a stones throw from my humble abode, taking place on Clapham Common. The line up is unmistakably good, Faithless headlining Saturday, their first major London performance in four years I believe, not to be missed. Within my girl group of friends we have also been looking into Croatia, a place I’ve never been before but have only ever heard amazing things.

One thing thatapril 24 is special about London is that you’re never short of things to do that extend outward from the classic pub session (not denying however these will still be a common occurance). I remember last year having lunch and a prosecco cocktail, in the height of Summer, with my Mom before visiting the fantastic Glamour of Italian Fashion Exhibition at one of my favourite museums The Victoria and Albert, London. We spent a little too much money in the gift shop stocking up on books and beautiful prints as well as a miniature vintage Fiat 500 for my Dad to match his actual vintage Fiat 500. Previous to this I attended a lecture on Italian Fashion with a special focus on Salvatore Ferragamo, Shoemaker to the stars and if only all lectures in life had been like this one, so informative and fascinating. Next on the list is of course Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, also at the V&A, I’m hoping to fit in time to go to one of the 2 talks accompanying the exhibition too! (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 14th March – 2nd August, for tickets click here)

The other event I would love to attend which is slightly out of my reach is the Trust Women conference, a 2 day long event covering topics like Human Trafficking and Slavery as well as Women’s Empowerment and Special Focus talks. In light of some of the recent events including the tragic lost of over 800 lives in the Mediterranean Sea, these topics are more relevant than ever. With an advisory board that includes Cathy Russell (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues), Cherie Blair (wife to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, lawyer and founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) and Christie Turlington Burns (Founder, Every Mother Counts, filmmaker, author, super model) the event is sure to be a success once again. (Trust Women Conference, 17th – 18th November).

Funny how when you’ve finished education you eventually start to look back fort it, however this time I’m looking for more fashion trends and empowering women seminars rather than geometry and physics calculations.

For the love of Valentino

Hi there! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from my blog as I’ve been pretty busy with other commitments, such is life ay!

However, for this edition I want to talk about one thing and one thing only, the wonder of Valentino. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in fashion, everything from the Haute Couture to the accessories. I’m lucky enough to work on the marketing for Valentino Eyewear in the UK and part of my job is to know the brand and fortunately this is far from a chore.

The brand was established in 1960 by now legendary designer Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino S.p.A. in recent years celebrated a major cornerstone, its 50th anniversary further consecrating its heritage and success story. In October 2008, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were named Valentino Creative Directors, which has proved to be a game-changing move for the brand as the duo have been credited with re-inventing the brand with an astonishing success. They have an unparalleled attention to detail and focus their attention on every element of the brand, they’ve also become household names in themselves as any designer does with a brand they revolutionise, as Karl Lagerfeld became a part of Chanel and Stella McCartney became a part of Chloe. This has just been further recognised as the designers have won the CFDA International Award, which has been won in the past by the likes of Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo. As a brand Valentino in the past were known for its high society female customer, opulence and pure luxury, now the brand has edge, a younger following and designs which we have quickly seen replicated down to high street level. The Rockstud is now an iconic element the brand, the Camu is now synonymous with the brand whether it be on the leather goods or the trainers.

The recent PR stunt during the Fall/Winter 2015-16 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week at the Jardin des Tuileries, where two stars of the upcoming Zoolander 2 film took centre stage on the runway was a resounding accomplishment. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took over the runway in a mix of custom suiting and pieces from the Valentino 2015 Collection and then took part in a photo shoot on the streets of Paris in head to toe Camu (I’d especially like to note the Valentino sunglasses worn by Ben Stiller). The stunt once again proved the brands new direction and was talked about on everything from Vogue to Buzzfeed.

The brand is a perfect example of what fashion is best for, expression, designs you can only dream of, re-invention, I may not have a Haute Couture gown or a pair of Rock Stud heels but my Valentino sunglasses and my Camou glasses are my little piece of Valentino and hopefully just the start of my collection.

Valentino Blog

Choices, Choices

There is one thing in life which is unavoidable, making decisions. You wake up in the morning and it’s what do I wear today, in my case at the moment however this usually involves mastering the layered look (or trying to) as my office has sub zero temperatures; you decide what to have for breakfast and so on. It is these individual choices which are superficial you might say but there are other small choices which can often depict the person you are. You can choose to have an opinion, make your point heard, have an impact or you can keep your thoughts to yourself. Whichever you choose I think it is important for people, especially women to not be afraid of having their opinion heard and if you’re labelled opinionated, so be it. It’s hard to imagine waking up in the morning and having to choose your clothes for the day with strict guidelines in mind. I recently came across a video of an Iranian woman dancing on a train on the Tehran subway without her veil covering her face or head, breaking two laws. The video was posted on the website My Stealthy Freedom, a sharing page for women in protest against the strict regimes. An outlet for those who would like to be able to make a choice in life. I believe that feminism can often be misconstrued and unfortunately the sheer word ‘feminist’ is tainted, however it isn’t about women being better than men it is about gender equality, which works both ways. As a fashion enthusiast and a feminist I’m always thinking of the two things combined, a book next on my reading list does exactly this Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism, it covers exactly this explaining how wearing a 5 inch heel and a red lip doesn’t diminish your morals and doesn’t give anyone else a reason not to take you seriously. This post is in no way intended to preach, it’s simply stating that your choices make a difference and when you’re putting on your favourite jeans in the morning remember for a moment, that there were people in the past that fought to allow you to be able to wear trousers, go in to further education, earn your own money, the list goes on and on.

Life is about choices, just make them your own and no one else’s.

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Armed with Style

Khaki, camouflage and anything army style were usually things that I either associated with my younger tomboy self and my favourite camouflage khaki trousers, worn with a baby pink hoodie of course or with a student fancy dress night, always a firm favourite during my university days, however it is now fast becoming one of my style staples. Ever since the Khaki army jackets made a comeback the colour and style has gone from strength to strength and can now be applied to anything from shoes to nail art designs. I was looking for something to wear for a friends engagement party this past weekend and wanted something quite classy for the occasion but at the same time not overdressed and I decided on Khaki tapered trousers (as seen below) and a boxy white leather cropped T shirt; there is something about khaki that can make an outfit that little bit more interesting. There is also an element of fun with this genre of style, camo can always be played with and moved away from different shades of green and instead pulled together with pop colours, have a look at my multi-coloured camo nails below, so easy to do, it’s just all about Y shapes and joining your top 2 colours in my case pink and blue! If you’re looking for true army style then I always recommend a vintage renewal, Check out Urban Outfitters, ASOS Marketplace or an army surplus store, you’ll get the best deals and undoubtedly the best quality.

Happy shopping cadets!

Khaki