Category Archives: Fairtrade

Six Items

Six Items Challenge

Raise your hand in the air if you’ve been on a cheeky shopping trip this week. Yep, me too. I love fashion and the thrill of finding a bargain on the high street, not to mention the speed with which catwalk trends appear on the rails at Topshop, H&M and Primark. A replica Marc Jacobs dress for £13? Yes please! A different outfit every day for a month? No problem.

My wardrobe is bursting at the seams and I have clothes on every available surface of my bedroom, yet I can never find anything to wear in the morning. If this sounds familiar, imagine what life would be like if you had only six items to choose from.

The ‘Six Items Challenge’ began this week, coinciding with the end of London Fashion Week and the start of Lent, and sees participants shrinking down their wardrobes to just six pieces for 40 days, in a bid to highlight our increasing reliance on fast fashion – and the sweatshops that help make our fashion whims a reality.

Organised by Labour Behind The Label, who work to support and fight for the rights of overseas garment workers, this campaign aims to highlight the unseen perils of our ‘throwaway fashion’ shopping habits. Ship-Shape met LBTL last year to find out more about their work, and the benefits of clothes swaps and buying secondhand, so it was great to find out about this fantastic and challenging campaign.

You can read the rules here, but in a nutshell, participants are encouraged to ‘re-engage with creating clothing identities with less’ by relying on just six items of clothing for 30 days (after this week’s initial Lent launch), which doesn’t include underwear, accessories or performance-related gear, such as work uniforms or gym outfits. The team will be on the lookout for 10 new participants every couple of months, and hope to raise awareness and donations through sponsorship and documenting the process on their blog.

While I’m not sure I could cope with only relying on six items of clothes for a whole month (not least because I am constantly spilling food over myself) I think this is an incredible idea and I hope you do to. Could you survive with only six wardrobe staples? What would you choose and do you think this would change your shopping habits? Let me know by commenting below.

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Filed under clothes swap, environment, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, London Fashion Week, recession, shopping, vintage fair

An Evening With… Charlie Boots

Charlie Boots at 204 Gloucester Road

Last night, before a girly meal at Zero Degrees, nom!, I had the pleasure of taking a trip up Gloucester Road to Charlie Boots. Shamefully this was my first visit to the ethical clothing and jewellery boutique since it opened four months ago, but I can gurantee it won’t be my last.

As regular readers know, while I struggle to resist a fast fashion bargain, I believe as consumers we must make ethical fashion choices where we can and it is up to us to acknowledge where our wardrobe must-haves come from and how they are produced. Charlie Boots (a clothing brand as well as a boutique and workshop space) ticks both of these boxes as it is focussed on using sustainable, vintage and fair trade fabrics and processes to produce limited edtion clothes and accessories. As well as this Charlie Boots, run by the lovely Ruth, stocks pieces by local and national artists, jewellery designers, photographers and  creatives.

Last night was a ‘open house’ at Charlie Boots – an opportunity to meet Ruth and the rest of the artists and designers stocked at Charlie Boots, as well as a chance to raise funds for The Moggery, a local cat rehoming centre based in Bishopston.

As well as chatting to Ruth I fell in love with some ceramic milk jugs by Joanna Rose and some gorgeous vintage and reworked necklaces by  Kirsty Kirkpatrick, see photos below, while S and I marvelled at the intricate, handmade vinyl clocks and earrings by Kristina.

Just doors down from the vintage emporium Billie Jean, Charlie Boots is part of a fantastic cluster of creative studios, shops and galleries that make this end of Gloucester Road well worth a visit. As one of the longest roads of independent retailers in the South West, Gloucester Road makes the perfect home for Charlie Boots and an essential destination for Bristol fashionistas.

I know I’ll be back for one of those milk jugs and perhaps a necklace too, or maybe an upcylced leather clutch bag… the wish-list is endless!

Jewellery at Charlie Boots

Selection of jewellery gems at Charlie Boots

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Once I Was... leather clutch bag

Joanna Rose Ceramics

Beautiful tableware from Joanna Rose Ceramics

Gorgeous reworked jewellery at Charlie Boots

Gorgeous reworked jewellery

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Filed under environment, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, handmade, independent fashion, jewellery, vintage

Something for The Weekend… Fairwear Fashion Show

Fairwear Fashion Show 2011

We’re smack bang in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 (28th February – 13th March) and Bristol is doing its bit by hosting the Fairwear Fashion Show this Saturday. Ethical fashion has been on my radar this week as readers of my Labour Behind the Label post will know, so I’m delighted to preview the Fairwear show for this week’s SFTW.

Since it’s inception two years ago, the Fairwear Fashion Show has showcased the best Fairtrade retailers and designers this city, and indeed country, has to offer and this year it moves from Bristol Cathedral to the Galleries in Broadmead. Ex Hollyoaks actor, Fairtrade campaigner and Bristol resident James Redmond will be presently the catwalk shows and the event, hosted by the Bristol Fairtrade Network, will also exhibit designs by UWE Fashion students. There will be three catwalk shows throughout the day as well as plenty of local Fairtrade beauty and fashion retailers, including Lush, Shared Earth and The Body Shop.

Fairwear fashion show 2010

Above: Fairwear Fashion Show 2010

Speaking ahead of this year’s show, Bristol Fairtrade Co-ordinator Jenny Foster told Ship-Shape, “Fairwear 2011 will be an exciting event showing that Fairtrade and ethical clothing and accessories can be affordable and beautiful, as well as providing a fair deal for farmers and the environment.” This is the second year I’ll be missing out as I’m off to London for the weekend but if you get a chance to pop down let me know what you think and look out for other Fairtrade Fortnight events across the city.

The Fairwear Fashion Show is free and catwalk shows take place at 12.30, 2pm and 3pm so there is no excuse to go down and catch a show – there will be plenty of fashion and beauty samples and goodies to enjoy too. For more information about the event click here or visit the Fairwear Facebook page.

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Filed under Broadmead, ethical fashion, Fairtrade, Something for The Weekend, UWE