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Barboot: A Nice Little Earner!!

4 Jun

Today I carted some pre-loved clothing and accessories to the Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath to pitch a stall at the weekly Barboot Bazaar!

Like a Carboot, without the early mornings and risk of bad weather, people come together with clothing, crafts, homeware, books and other misceleaneor every Saturday between 11 and 3.

Here is my stall of clothing and accessories that I no longer want or wear…

But what better way to pass them on?

Today’s society has a real mix of attitudes towards throwing things away!

Many people think it is better value to buy cheap and in bulk, throwing things in the bin when they break or the condition deteriroates, or the product goes out of fashion.

However, everything just ends up in land-fill polluting the earth! Plus, many people in poorer countries continue to be exploited and abused due to thehigh demand for more of what has just been thrown out!

On the other hand, many people have embraced reusing and recycling as a way of life. Not just with paper and other household materials but with their wardrobes.

Vintage is not a new concept but the attitudes of wearing something old and hand-me-down culture are becoming more widespread.

Today I was not only lucky enough to have many customers with these attitudes, but also to make some great new friends (and useful future contacts).

One lovely girl (who was also selling her old things)  in particular noticed my eclectic style and was at my table like a shot. After chatting all day we agreed to have a swap of anything we liked of each others at the end of a day.

So now I have:

a) Earnt some pennies

b) Got rid of some things I no longer wanted

c) Done a good deed (in recycling)

d) Got some new clothes (recycled)

e) Made some great friends

A thumbs up all round!

Pick a Pocket or Two!

2 Jun

It’s day 4 of the Killer Jeans campaign against sandblasting and we’re stepping out of the virtual world and into reality…

Day Four Action:

Put a message in a pocket…

This involves printing out the downloadable PDF of a pocket slip and putting it into a pocket! It informs the finder of the campaign and the dangers of sandblasting!

So earlier today I sneaked into *a retailer of sandblasted jeans* at the Bullring, to slip the message into the back pocket of a pair of jeans. I wasn’t quite rebellious enough to stick around for a photo though!

“Fact of the Day: The first two workers to be diagnosed with silicosis from textile sandblasting had been in the job since they were 13 and 14; they died before they were 20 years old.

Tweet Back at Ya!

2 Jun

Last night I had a good response from London vintage retailer Harry Smiles on my Tweet about the Killer Jeans campaign!

Here’s what happened…

It’s great that people are noticing the campaign and are concerned by the cause!

However, my opinon is that vintage clothing is already the purist form of ethical clothing. it has already been made and it is being reused.

Plus, old fashioned methods of making clothing were alot more ethical, with alot of garments being made by hand in the the country where they were sold.

My opinion on fur and other skins is true for the same reasons. It’s already been used, and by buying vintage fure, leather, or other skins you are prolonging the life of that garment as opposed to buying a new, mass produced coat/bag/pair of shoes/hat etc that ultimately won’t last as long!

On another note, feel free to follow me on Twitter, that is if you haven’t had enough of my ramblings here!! @Tweet_Dolly

Killer Tweets!

1 Jun

Facebook is already awash with pics and posts about Killer Jeans and Diesel have already responded to all the comments, saying that they’re putting a ban into effect as of now (they had originally told us they would keep sandblasting until summer 2012).

Today the campaign is taking on Twitter!

Day 3 Action:

Today’s action is to create a storm on twitter by messaging @dolcegabbana @ARMANIdotcom to ask the Killer Question.

Here’s me in action:

“Fact of the Day: Jeans with the faded or worn out look achieved by sandblasting often retail for as much as 180% of the price of an untreated pair of jeans.

I wonder what Labour Behind the Label will have in store for me tomorrow!!

Asking the Killer Question

31 May

It is day two of the campaign against sandblasting jeans lead by Labour Behind the Label.

Today my mission is again, using Facebook to raise the issue of Killer Jeans with three top luxury fashion brands who are yet to ban or illiminate sandblasting from their supply chains!

Looks like I’m not the only one!

“Fact of the Day: Over 50 fatalities from Silicosis in turkey have been directly link to denim sandblasting.

Taking Action!!

30 May

Campaigners around the country are taking action this week to tell the fashion industry that sandblasting kills, and it MUST BE BANNED.

I am actively supporting the campaign and will receive an email from Labour Behind the Label everyday instructing me on how to act on getting the message across about this brutal and unnecessary method.

Day 1

Tell friends on facebook that you think killer jeans are wrong by making this picture your profile image:


They also encourage you reinforce the picture with a status update!
Here is a screenshot of my Facebook profile taking action today:

If you want to find out about sandblasting and the fatal effects of distressed denim on workers, click this link www.killerjeans.org.

Fact of the Day: Sandblasting is one of more than 5 techniques that can be used to distress denim, but it is often over 5 times cheaper than its alternatives.”

The Queen of Punk Endorses Upcycling…

19 May

I have just finished reading this article in the June issue of Marie Claire about Vivienne Westwood‘s mission to save the world!

Renowned as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Viv is now developing a reputation as an eco-pioneer, and using her status and influential character to promote her thoughts and hopes for the future.

In the article she talks about how she has always been concerned about climate change and is inspired by James Lovelock‘s Gaia theory. The name Gaia was chosen so people would think of the earth of a human being. His theory revolves around the idea that it’s going to get so hot within one or two generations that nearly all the earth will be uninhabitable for human beings.

“Lovelock hoped humans would evolve into something more wonderful. The history of the human race is punctuated by our cleverness: we create one invention after the other.”

Westwood questions why humans cut down trees when they provide us with oxygen and food…

“So why are we, humans, so intent on destroying the thing that gives us life?”

Marie Claire Vivienne Westwood

Westwood is also promoting more sustainable ideas for the fashion industry and its’ consumers…

“The first thing I’ve been doing is promoting the idea of ‘do it yourself’. Make your own T-shirt by putting a picture in a plastic sleeve and pinning it on. Whatever!”

She is also hot on the idea of encouraging consumers to buy less but choose well, opting for investment pieces that will last longer…

“Nearly everyone in the fashion industry is on a train, producing too much stuff. I would like quality, not quantity. I don’t believe in growth if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage.”

Marie Claire

As someone who also supports the idea of ethical and sustainable fashion I agree with Westwood’s views very strongly.

I believe my fondness for vintage fashion has a lot to do with this. To me, vintage is the most sustainable form of fashion as nothing new is being produced. Plus the methods of making clothing used to be a lot more energy-efficient, especially back in the 1940s and 50s when everything was made by hand! The styles have already remained desirable for this long and will continue to look timeless and cool no matter how many trends come and go, or last season’s garments are tossed out to make room for next season!

However, how can someone whose business is producing new clothing have conflicting views on the subject?

“The only thing I have the power to do is to close my business down, but I’ve never seriously considered it. If people bought fewer clothes and made better choices they would start to understand value for money.”

Vivienne Westwood

An extreme example of upcycling!

The article continues to dig deeper into ways of consuming differently to help fight global warming, e.g. apparantly one of the most efficient ways to save energy woudl be to change our diets. Paul McCartney has started a ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign, which could make an amazing difference.

Westwood goes on to say she’d like to make a TV series called ‘Get a Life!’ about making the world more habitable for humans. She also wants to encourage people to ‘get a life’ in more mind-opening ways such as visiting galleries or listening to different types of music…

“Every time I look up a word in the dictionary I get a real sense of satisfaction at learning something.”

Ending on a good note, Viv’ concludes the interview with a few words of wisdom…

“Your time is precious, so don’t just sit around and suck things up. Invest in things, fight for something.
My motto is, ‘You get out what you put in‘.”

To voice her views further, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with ethical fashion label People Tree to produce this limited edition dress. Made from 100% fair-trade organic cotton, £7 of every sale will also be donated to the Society for Human Development, which supports the women of the Garo tribe who love in the Madhupur forest region of Bangladesh.

90% of their native forest land has been destroyed by logging- placing them and their livelihood, at risk.

The cotton used to produce these dresses is made in Gujarat, India so sales will also help the workers there earn a fair wage.

I love a good deed or two!

Knit-Wit!

18 May

I have recently taken up knitting. My good friend Sarah and I have already been to a couple of knitting groups, Stitches & Hos at Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath, as well as Urban Coffee Company.




Going to the knitting groups is also a great way to meet new people. There’s nothing to worry about as you already have a common interest and everyone is also there to socialise!

When I feel like doing some extra work on my knitting practise I also look to the internet as there are thousands of tutorials, such as this one, available on You Tube…

And what’s even better are the proven health benefits of knitting!

Did you know, that the repetitive actions used when knitting can bring the mind and body to a state called a “relaxation response” that is quite similar to what people experience during prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines.

Also, research at Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute found that when someone is knitting her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit.

It is also a great way to stimulate the mind and escape from the hustle and bustle of my usual everyday life, by focussing on knitting.

Finally, being a creative person, it encourages me to make something, as I feel the more I knit, I am getting closer to creating a garment.

Here are some great pictures of knitting that I can but aspire to at the moment…



Getting from A to B…

13 May

What I have quickly picked up on in Barcelona is the number of alternative ways people choose to travel around the city, instead of driving.

Of course there are cars, however modes of transport such as motorbikes and mopeds seem to be a favoured, perhaps because it is free to park them. They are all over the place!

As I don’t drive myself I have to find other methods of transport in my everyday life. Although I love riding my bike, Birmingham roads aren’t the best equipped for cyclists. However, in Barcelona, there sometimes seems to be more push bikes on the road than cars!
Bikes are available to hire from various places on the street or shops that hire them out for a day or half day!

This isn’t my first trip to Barcelona, but it is the first time I have used to metro here and I have to say I’m very impressed. It is never delayed and trains arrive within 5 minutes of each other, making it really easy to get from one side of the city to the other very quickly (perfect for super-keen tourists who want to see EVERYTHING).

I ‘Hasbeen’ Shopping!

7 May

Pun definately intended! Today I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Swedish Hasbeens clogs for H&M!

Established in 2006, Swedish Hasbeens produces shoes and accessories but are best known for their extensive range of clogs. Their ambition is to “continue to release more incoherent and fun shoes and stuff inspired by Hasbeens that once ruled the planet”.

Swedish Hasbeens for H&M

Anything mildy suggestive of nostalgia is fine by me!

I plumped for the red pair and am so keen to wear them I have called on some friends for an impromptue meet up so I can parade my purchase!

I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re so comfortable and I do like a shoe that I can walk – and run – in (as I’ll probably have to run for the bus in a minute!), as the wooden heel is surprisingly light for a clog.

I love the retro 1970s vibe of the entire collection and the image of librarian chic my shoes conjure up.

At £34.99 a pop it almost seemed too good to be true, plus, a surprise bonus is the cute organic-cotton tote bag  that your shoes come in. Swedish Hasbeens for H&M
There is also a note from Swedish Hasbeens, detailing all you need to know about your new shoes and how to care from them.
For example, did you know that as Swedish Hasbeens are handmade from natural materials, you could pretty much bury your shoes in the garden? Should you wish.

No chance here – they’re for wearing on my feet…

There’s no place like H&M 😉

Curiouser and Curiouser…

5 May

I have always loved charity shops and frequently used to hunt for vintage clothes in them when I was a teenager.
As well as the obvious, giving money to charity there are so many other reasons for shopping at them…

a. Donating clothing and various other miscellanea is preventing the increase of land fill.

b. Quite often people will buy a second-hand item instead of a brand-new one, therefore recycling that object and cutting down on the need for mass-production. Nothing new is being produced.

c. Buying second-hand clothes is the purist form of ethical fashion, plus it inspires a unique, creative and distinct look for the wearer, making them more conscious of what they are wearing.

d. It raises awareness of the work charities do.

One charity I admire is Oxfam. They are leading the way when it comes to contemporary and interesting ways of encouraging people to shop at their stores.

During my recent Easter holiday I took a trip to London and was lucky enough to catch the last day of the Oxfam Curiosity Shop: a pop-up concession in Selfridges‘ Ultra Lounge…

A host of A-list stars joined forces with Annie Lennox, Oxfam and Selfridges to create Britain’s biggest charity pop-up shop – and twenty-four of the most special pieces were selected for our exclusive online auction too.

The huge space was packed with celebrity donations, sought after samples and vintage clothing that had been hand-picked from Oxfam stores across the country.

Here’s a film, presented by the lovely Annie Lennox and other celebs who probably explain it better than me!

And some photos of the inside of the (Curiosity) shop…


Now I bet you’re wondering if I bought something?

Actually, that’s a stupid question!… Of course I did!!!

I bought these amazing novelty culottes with pineapples on them for £16! I think I was hungry at the time, but I think they’re fab and I hope the weather stays sunny so I can wear them!!

Collectively the store and auction raised £280, 000 during the 10 days it was open, which is an AMAZING contribution to the work Oxfam do. 100% of the money raised will go to Oxfam Circle projects; helping to provide essential healthcare, schooling and much more, to women living in poverty.


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