Do you know what's in your knickers?
Lynda Brown - 22 November 2011
Well, I've been absent for a bit, so I thought a catchy title might be just what an absentee needed (the title, by the way, is genuine, but more of that later).
I've spent some time recently trying, once again, to have a go at doing something about that perennial problem called eco- fashion. A problem because it's so easy not to, clothes on the high street are everywhere, ridiculous cheap - and then there's all those bargains...... As my friends will also testify , trying to get me to spend money on clothes is like pulling teeth without an anaesthetic - it just doesn't happen, unless ,of course, they're a double bargain, when all my principles fly out the window. I rationalise this by saying I work from home, so never need anything you'd remotely want to be seen in, and the odd occasion I've succumbed to 'you're worth it', and bought myself something a bit more special, apart from suffering shed loads of guilt, it's been a disaster (I have a hand knitted jumper from the Lake District that I bought 25 years ago and still haven't worn). Apart from which, I'm no good at buying on line, and utterly hopeless at making any sort of retail decision.
I do, of course, do my bit - I've got a few token organic things, am ace at vintage and upcycling -I just wait the odd 20 years or so for my things to come back into fashion, buy virtually all my dance gear from charity shops, take back at least 75% of whatever I buy, but organic-wise it's pretty pathetic, more H&M organic than Greenfibres, who deserve my suport far more.
But every now and then something happens which stiffens my resolve to do better. This time it appeared as a crisp brown paper parcel that arrived unexpectedly in the post. Nestled lovingly in tissue paper , in a cute cardboard bag so stylish I shall covet it always , a pair of chunky organic Fairtrade fairisle socks from eco-fashion hero, People Tree, handknitted in Nepal - a present from my best friend who'd recently visited and knows me too well to ever think I'd buy them for myself.
It is impossible to describe the pleasure I experience from these socks (I've since found out the tissue paper is handmade Fairtrade and their packaging is recycled as well as being beautiful). Talk about wear your organics with pride! In terms of the sheer feel good factor, they're priceless. They also happen to be super-groovy and gorgeous to wear: for once I don't feel like an Oxfam reject and really do feel worth it.
I got their catalogue next and found out that People Tree have just published a book called Naked Fashion (£14.99 from People Tree , www.peopletree.co.uk; available also from Amazon and Waterstones), so got that too. Every one who wears clothes should read this book -I'm passing my copy onto my local library - or make it their number 1 christmas gift. Suffice to say, it both informs and seduces in the form of inspirational stories and great pics in the best ways possible.
The upshot is my precious socks have succeeded in more ways than one. I've taken back my lastest sale woolie, and this morning received my first online order from People Tree (you can ring orders through, and the staff couldn't be nicer. PS they're currently offering 'deal of the day' - which means, of course, another order !) More to the point, from now on I'm a resolutely hard-core organic, fairtrade and second hand fashion-ista . And you know what? It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. The only puzzle is, why on earth didn't I do it years ago ? It'll mean less clothes (hurrah!), I won't have to endlessly trail round stores I don't enjoy being in looking for bargains, and I'll finally get real lasting pleasure from any new clothes I buy.
Which leaves "Do you know what's in your knickers?". Go to www.morethanprettyknickers.com and find out.
Lynda is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster, and keen advocate for organic living. She is author of several food books over the last twenty years including Planet Organic: Organic Living, The Cook's Garden, and The Modern Cook's Handbook, as well as writing The Preserving Book that was published in 2010 in association with the Soil Association. Lynda is an expert on food and nutrition and a seasoned broadcaster, regularly speaking on food and farming both on the radio and television.
04 October 2012 07:04
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