10 October 2017

Vegan shoes & the value of clothes

It's feels so good to finally be able to sit down and write some fashion content. We've had a very busy 1st week here in New Zealand: walking to some beautiful locations, floating in rubber rings in freezing water down in caves, visiting old gold mine sites, Hobbiton, the Tamaki Maori Village Cultural experience - we just haven't had the time (or WiFi) to work on some new posts. As I lie here comfortably in our Hostel room here in Rotorua, I am happy to say that I finally have the time to discuss a couple of interesting topics in this new outfit post. I'll be talking about my recent purchase of Vegan shoes, fast fashion, and of course some thoughts on Vancouver where these awesome pictures were taken just a couple of weeks ago.

I've spoken about my thoughts on mass consumerism and re-styling old pieces several times on this blog and I'm excited to visit these topics once more although this time I'm hoping I can word my thoughts better in order to let this post flow better.

Summer & I will always shoot our items over and over again. We have even re-shot and shared the same outfit multiple times over a long period of time. The reason for this is that we always want to be honest with readers on how we dress in our day to day lives.

We are conscious of the fact that a. we often buy from fast-fashion brands, b. We aren't in a position to buy expensive pieces which will last much longer and are of much better quality and c. We simply cannot afford to buy new clothes and 'update' our closet every season. There is a choice we have to make when you're into fashion but also aware of the dangers and hidden secrets behind the industry. Do we buy cheap clothes that are nice which enable us to change up our wardrobe every couple of months? Or do we buy investment pieces that are pricey but hold up? How do these choices impact being 'fashionable' or having your own personal style? It's an interesting topic which is definitely being discussed more and more in the blogging community.

There are several things I want to discuss but let's start with the value of clothing.

I think clothes have lost their value. You can pick up a nice jumper from Primark for £8 and it doesn't matter if it doesn't last long or if you stop wearing after a couple of months because you'll just go and buy a new one a couple of months later, supporting a fast-fashion trend. This can be avoided if you earn enough money to invest in some more expensive pieces which will last longer, and will most likely be produced by brands who are more ethical. But what if you can't afford to do that? I know I can't. Although I do avoid brands like Primark in particular, I can't always afford to splash out £50-70 on a nice jumper. I need that money for transport! Food! So when we do buy from ethical brands or even better quality brands (I'm not generalising here, I'm aware there is much more to say about all this but let's just skim the surface) we need to make sure we invest in pieces that we can wear over and over again over a long period of time.
Whenever I think about this I think of fictional characters who have that one piece of clothing that their identity is tied to. I am also reminded of when my parents talk about a piece they loved and wore for years when they were young.
Do any of us have something we value as much as that? Or has it been lost to mass consumerism?

This is why Summer & I wear the same outfits over and over again and shoot the same pieces over and over again even if they're 2+ years old. We grew up in a place where mainstream shops weren't available (hello rural France!) which means that when we were introduced to the world of fashion we made the absolute most out of it because we didn't take it for granted. Yes, most of those pieces are from well known brands: Zara and Topshop in particular.
As we grew older we became aware of the issues related to the fashion industry: including the impact it has on our planet and the treatment of the workers. So what to do if we are aware but can't afford to invest in more ethical brands? What happens to the workers who work for mainstream brands and rely on that income to live? What is left for them if it's taken away? We need to start to value our clothes and make sure we question where they were made. We don't buy what we don't need and we definitely don't buy for a one-time wear.
Of course there are other ways to enjoy fashion and clothes without contributing to fast-fashion: thrift shops, second hand and charity shops, eBay, depop, there are alot of resources out there.
This is something Summer & I are slowly but surely moving towards (shout-out to the lovely Holly Olivia, who has stopped buying from fast-fashion altogether and is one of the most stylish people on Insta).

We are moving towards more sustainable fashion/more ethical approach to fashion and the first step in that long journey is to buy non-leather shoes.
After alot of thinking I realized I no longer felt comfortable wearing leather. I don't want to wear animal skin. We all know leather jackets are popular (and they DO last but that is a discussion for another time) but I never put much thought into shoes. I did quite alot of research and I also found out about vegan clothing brands through Evanna Lynch's Instagram (Evanna is a passionate vegan), eventually I found myself on the Toms website.

I needed a pair that would suit any outfit and that would be comfortable for my travelling adventure. Summer calls them my 'Cinderella' shoes: a glamourized version of the simple, soft shoe seen in period dramas and fairy-tales alike.
I'm interested to see how they hold up. I've done alot of walking in them so far and although it's too early to tell I very much doubt that they'll last more than a year or so. I honestly hope they do! I'll definitely review them once a longer amount of time has passed.

As for the rest of my outfit I've shared the wide trousers several times on here, and I almost always wear it with this cropped jumper. It's such a simple outfit which doesn't require much effort and it can easily be dressed up or down. The jumper was my first piece from & Other Stories, it has lasted really well so far. I wear it alot and it still looks in good condition. I love these trousers, they were pretty pricey at £50 from Topshop so I do keep them for special occasions. They have already ripped on the pocket but luckily it was close to the seam so they were sewn back together but the material isn't stretchy at all, so it was probably my mistake for wearing them on the night I planned to produce a food baby.

This is the only city bag I own. It's large enough for my purse, a small bottle of water, make up and phone and even a camera if you pack it properly. I have never really been into bags so I always buy one which I can use for any occasion and that will suit any outfit! This one from Zara has lasted me really well so far. I bought it last year and wear it on daily-basis. Again I do take care of it as I want it to last but overall it is still in great condition, despite being put to the test (I've had to stuff it into my 65L rucksack on numerous occasions and it's a miracle it hasn't bent beyond repair).

All these pieces are pretty well worn and they all made it with me to Vancouver and New Zealand! The jumper is pretty basic which is great, it goes with pretty much anything high-waisted as you don't have to worry out clashing prints/materials. The trousers again are great because the design is super delicate, nothing too overwhelming which makes them a good choice for any season.

I love how this outfit looks against the Downtown Vancouver skyline. The mix of grey tones with just a pop of colour. I miss Vancity so much already. It's only been a week but because we have already done so much in NZ it feels like so much time has passed! Summer perfectly described the city in one of her posts, a perfect balance between man and nature. I really hope I get to go back in the near future, I'm interested to see how the city will change and grow.

We will be posting a Vancouver City Guide in the near future, so if any of you are interested in visiting or would like to know what is actually there, keep an eye out for that!

For now, Kia Ora, and thanks for reading!
Holly x

Holly is wearing cruelty-free makeup

Foundation and Powder: Charlotte Tilbury
Concealer: Nyx 
Mascara: Smashbox Cosmetics
Lipstick: Rosie for Autograph
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay
Eyebrows: Anastasia Beverly Hills 

Cropped black jumper: & Other Stories
Wide-leg floral print trousers: Topshop
Vegan Shoes: Toms
Convertible rucksack: Zara

*Please let me know your thoughts about these topics: even if you've never thought about fast fashion before or never considered green brands - the goal of this post wasn't to make anyone feel bad about their choices but to share some thoughts about it all!*


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