It takes 200 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans, and 2720 litres of water to make a T shirt: that’s how much we normally drink over a 3 year period. Textiles involve wasteful processes, we know this yet despite this knowledge, the clothes we discarded in one year in the UK alone would fill Wembley Stadium. I still love clothes – but as I get older I lean more towards second hand and good quality, opting for longevity/upcycling or making my own.
The average British woman in one year hoards approx. £285 of clothes she will never wear, the equivalent of 22 outfits. This amounts to £30 billion of unworn clothes, shocking figures which can be avoided if you chose great fibres and styles for longevity and shop more carefully for fewer quality items. You would wear all of your clothing, if you followed my 6 Cs shopping mantra. Colour, Cut, Cloth, Cost, Character and Correct size.
In order to make the fashion industry more sustainable, first it needs to be transparent. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes, most of them 18 to 35year old women.The people who make clothes for the global market generally live on the bread line, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. We only need to recall the massive 2013 disaster when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh, the fourth largest industrial disaster in history where 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, mostly women.
A recent step to transform the industry has started with one question: Who made my clothes? One way to get involved is by taking a photo of your clothing label during Fashion Revolution Week 23rd– 29thApril, and by asking the brand #whomademyclothes?Tag the brand in the photo so they can see your question. See Instagram posts for the ‘Fashion Revolution’ or say that you made it yourself by getting creative.
As part of the BBC #Get Creative event I am hosting a few community workshops; incorporating embroidery, dressmaking and some basic knitting to encourage a Creative Style Revolution to have fun and inspire many people to upcycle their old favourite pieces and consider other ways of buying and experiencing textiles, refreshing your wardrobe in creative ways. Also I did a talk at the weekend at the Rheged Centre Penrith Cumbria to encourage folk to join the Slow Style revolution.
Click on the link Below to see the SLOW STYLE Powerpoint:
The above shawl was designed by Melanie Berg aka Mairlynd as part of the Fell Garth Range in the most beautiful colourful ‘Cumbria’ fibre and is available to view on The Fibre Co. website. This photo was taken in Cumbria by Tommy Martin , styled by me Maggi Toner-Edgar and worn by Debbie Ingram. These colours make you want to knit something in preparation for the colder weather returning. this summer has been so colourful – lets just keep those colours going all winter.
This summer’s colour schemes have been influenced by neon and brightly colour-blocked sportswear. If you love colour, but don’t want your colours to be too garish, here are a few ideas.
Choose one of three methods
1. Monochrome = entire outfit in one bold colour or shades of a similar colour.
2. Separates = mix garments of 2 or 3 complimentary combinations.
3. Let the designer do it for you = buy one colour-blocked garment, then match accessories to it.
For No.2 Separates – try Complimentary colours, which are opposites on the colour wheel (I prefer almost opposite combinations) – bright contrasts. Analogous colour schemes, are colours next to each other on the colour wheel, slightly more harmonious. Two to three colours work best in an outfit, especially if one of them is a Neutral colour (black, grey, white or nude).
The secret is to ensure the focus is on you, rather than what you are wearing, choose a favourite colour that flatters your complexion. If you are not sure of the best colours for you, don’t give up! Just try a few two-tone accessories, or stay confident and ensure that your colourful summer continues through the autumn as it lifts your spirits and makes you look and feel so much better when you wear colours you love that suit you the best!
I am sure you have noticed how cool people look on their way to the gym – even if they’re not?
Increasingly, daywear looks more like sportswear, including stretchy, high tec sporty fabrics. When Stella McCartney designed our Olympic team GB’s kit, suddenly everyone was wearing neon trainers and colour blocked clothing with go faster stripes. She produces great sportswear, as do other brands which are springing up everywhere. If you fancy getting into stocks and shares, I predict that athleisure is here for some time to come.
Whether it is yoga, pilates, running or dance (it is really specific to each sport these days) the garments are usually very well-made. When people wear fabulous sports gear, they look like they are really good at it – somehow that they know what they are doing – even if this is not the case. This is how we are – it is amusing how clothes make us feel emotionally, how uniforms affect us!
There is so much thick spandex in use, it has become like the playtex corsets our mothers used to wear. Strange how previously corsets were physical restraints to look slim, now for women the restraints are uniforms to become slim.
Do you know which figure type you fit into and how to use proportions and garment shapes to enhance or emphasise your form?
If you have been to one of my events or talks and took part in identifying figure types then please download one of these leaflets. They are of course generalised statements and all women tend to be a mixture of two figure types, e.g. Slim and Latina etc. If you wish to have a consultation to see where you fit in with these six body types, then contact me on blog, twitter or Facebook and we can do an online consultation.
1. If you are an even figure type top and bottom with a waistline 8″ smaller or more, then you might fit the curvy jude shape.
4. If you have a fuller figure with weight mostly at the top half and a waistline not much smaller than your bust, then you may be similar to a guitar shape, curvy but not as curvy as an hourglass or curvy Jude.
Enjoy! It is meant as light-hearted suggestions and not to be taken as fixed rules, just a few methods, if you wish to balance things up a bit – if not, go with enhancing the differences and use clothing to emphasise what you have in your own personal creative way.
What is it about Xmas and January, one minute it’s feast the next it’s talk of famine!
We could use resolutions to give us positive feelings, instead of going on the guilt trip, driven by media frenzy.
If I want to look good – I have to feel good inside first. This happens from simple things like eight hours sleep, healthy nutritious meals, less alcohol and appreciating life. Positive thinking really helps, giving myself a compliment now and then and being grateful for being healthy. I try and learn from each year’s experiences and then the end of year review becomes the driver for positive thinking.
When clothes shopping – my ‘learn from experience’ rules also apply. Try to ensure you only buy clothes that flatter you and make you feel good in terms of colour and fit. Appreciate quality in terms of style, cloth and construction, as it could mean that fashion company has good ethics too. Try not to overspend as debt hangovers feel bad, but good choices should still make you feel good a year later. Just make sure your excellent find fits properly.
We all need new ideas – so I’m inspired by attic chic and upcycling. You can see from my sketch that I am working on an evening dress, which was a bit too short. I am adding a slashed panel to lengthen the side. It gives the dress a more formal look for a special event, good for those who are shy about showing their legs.
The secret of evening wear is that it is like a present. You want the parcel to be wrapped in a seductive, exciting way, not too unwrapped and spilling its contents. You may be pleased to hear that a more covered up look is popular this season with polo necks, palazzo style baggy pants, longer skirts but lower back necks. Perfect for the latina (pear-shaped) figures, long is not frumpy, as you can add accessories and create drama.
Some women do not like the unwrapped nature of strappy tops… are you a bit coy about upper arms? Most women of a certain age are, so I have designed a lovely lace cami with attached mini sleeves. Come and see my design in the flesh in the Stitch Studio above Gallery Artemis, Cockermouth, Cumbria.
Black is the perfect colour for evening wear so I am sharing a few little black dress (LBD) tips. This might help you wear that black dress again, but maybe with a few 80’s retro updates. Black benefits from added texture and colour, so if you want a quick 2015 fix here are 10 ways to change your look.
Take one LBD and . . .
swop the tailored jacket for a leather biker jacket.
add patent leather accessories or a faux-fur wrap for texture.
wear it with a turtle (polo)neck or lace top underneath and a long necklace.
wear a white or plain bright coloured shirt underneath and leave the collar and cuffs extended. Add black/white or colourful jewellery to give an 80’s graphic feel.
try some animal prints, (orange browns or monochrome) belt, scarf or shoes.
find a cute net underskirt or some black polka dot/striped or very open fishnet tights.
brightly coloured shoes work well, try red, cobalt blue, metallic or two tone brogues.
experiment with glitzy jewellery, such as wide cuffs or crystals…
or colourful, bohemian jewellery works with longer dresses.
shorten your dress and try wearing it with a sweatshirt or over-knee boots and leggings or with raw-edged skinny jeans and chunky Chelsea boots.
Caution: Just try one addition at a time, so that you don’t lose that chic effect!
The LBD is so timeless whether worn à la Audrey with classic pumps and pearls or by radical punks, goths and showbiz celebrities. We had a very stylish fashion event at Gallery Artemis this month, with a talk about the nature of the LBD and how it has shaped our view of many of the ‘femmes fatales’ who are famous style icons today.
Here is the country chic style show – it was shot a year ago when the Country Clothing shop was still in Market Place and she is now selling online due to Floods in Cumbria. So go to <cococlothing.co.uk> to see her range.