Thursday, 13 July 2017

Why We Should Be Aware of Where Our Clothes Come From | Seasalt Ambassadorship

Slow Fashion: Why We Should Be More Aware of Where Our Clothes Come From
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Slow fashion, ethical sourcing, responsible brands - you've probably heard all these terms before but do you know what they actually mean? And how aware are you of where your clothes come from?

I'm been thinking a lot about all these factors and the question of where my clothes come from for a while now, especially since more and more bloggers are talking about slow fashion. I'm reading more and more about the carbon footprint left by big brands and their labour practices and it really concerns me.

Ethics is one of the reasons I decided to accept an ambassadorship at Seasalt this year (you may have read my posts with the pretty green summer dress or the maxi layered over jeans), not just because I've been a lover of their clothes for some years. As a fashion blogger who is often offered free clothing, shoes and jewellery I've become very aware over the years not to accept everything and anything, instead choosing what I do accept very carefully.

The ethics of a brand has a lot to do with it for me. I have a very, VERY strict "no fur" policy, for example. And I'm becoming increasingly choosy about working with those brands who produce sustainable garments, have ethical working practices and care about the environment. I will admit I've succumbed to a lot of fast fashion in the past and while it's hard to avoid all of those brands all of the time, I will say I'm becoming more aware and more responsible as a consumer.

Preppy summer style from Seasalt Cornwall \ multicoloured stripe t-shirt \ wide leg red trousers \ navy knotted neck scarf \ straw fedora hat | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

What is slow fashion?

"Slow fashion" is the idea that garments are designed, produced and bought for their quality and longevity rather than those pieces that are copied off the catwalks then produced quickly and cheaply via dubious working practices (hence "fast fashion"). Those producing slow fashion are responsible brands, not just where the materials used and resources are concerned but also with regards to workers in all areas of the business.

I'm proud to say that Seasalt is a responsible brand and I'm proud to be representing them this year. What is interesting is that as a company they don't really shout about their ethical practices or their environmental policies. They believe that ALL clothing retailers should work this way and that it should be the norm, not the exception.

Why I'm working with Seasalt this year

Seasalt does things differently to many fashion brands: They use top quality fabrics and they produce unique prints designed in Cornwall. They run their shops and design studio with the impact on the environment in mind and work with their suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint. They employ over 500 people and are one of Cornwall's biggest employers. 

Add to that their fundraising, their claim to being the first company to gain Soil Association certification back in 2005 (meaning they're pioneers of organic cotton) and their win at The Queen's Awards for Enterprise Sustainable Development in 2013. The list goes on and on.

I'm won over by their company culture. I went to spend the day at the head office down in beautiful Falmouth in March and was blown away by the general "good vibes" about the place. I visited all the offices, the customer service team, the design team and saw a photo shoot in action.

They told me they have never compromised on quality and recognise the importance of long-lasting products that are good value… they make the claim (and quite rightly IMO!) that "you won't find better".

By being open and honest about their production processes and informing their customers about how the clothes are designed and made, Seasalt's customers understand what goes into producing a quality garment. The chances of a responsible brand selling a dress that retails for $5 is pretty remote, therefore I'm happy to pay slightly higher prices for good quality clothes. I wrestle with my conscience when I know that something is as cheap as chips... it just feels wrong. REALLY wrong.

Hot weather style: Printed green summer dress \ pompom and tassel embellished sandals | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
I'm working with Seasalt not just because I like their preppy vibe, their timeless garments and their excellent raincoats; I'm working with them because I'm proud to represent a brand that basically has its head screwed on right and sets standards by which ALL brands should work.

What Seasalt sells

I love Seasalt's preppy vibe and nautical inspiration - when a company is based down by the sea it's going to happen naturally, isn't it?! Here are some examples of pieces I picked from their website that I love that I also feel show off the brand at its best:

Seasalt Cornwall SS17 \ Breton stripe sailor top in green \ blue print fit and flare dress \ yellow leather satchel
L-R: Breton Sailor T-shirt - I have this t-shirt and I couldn't love that shade of green more | Painted Boats Dress - the same fit and flare shape as my green dress, it's so comfy and flattering | Rosenithon Mustard Yellow Leather Satchel - the perfect crossbody bag in one of my favourite colours

As well as clothing, did you know they also sell...

Accessories and footwear
Raincoats and wellies
Homewares (bed linen, pottery, towels, blankets)
Gifts (for him, for her, and for the dog)

Another thing I love is that Seasalt design all their own prints - everything is designed in-house and is inspired by Cornwall. The print on my maxi dress was inspired by boat windsails and the repeated pattern of my green summer dress (when you look closely you can see them) is actually garlic bulbs.

Summer dressing: Strappy printed maxi dress over jeans and white t-shirt \ retro styling \ preppy style | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 blog
Hot weather style: Printed green summer dress \ pompom and tassel embellished sandals | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Sailor stripes - a staple item in your wardrobe

Seasalt sells superior quality sailor stripe garments (I have this lush green stripe sailor t-shirt) which are made from Soil Association-certified 100% organic cotton and always available in lots of colours. Breton-style tops just don't date so buying quality ones is a no-brainer: Because of their excellent quality, Seasalt's sailor stripes wash, wear and last for ages.

Seasalt raincoats

I've had my Seasalt raincoat for several years and it's always my go-to for walking the dog or any day it looks like the weather is going to be playing up. It keeps me super warm as well as dry. All their raincoats are waterproof, have fully taped seams and are breathable and wind-resistant. I have worn my raincoat in the drowniest of downpours and I stayed TOTALLY dry underneath...!

Bright spring weather outfit: Floral Seasalt raincoat \ high neck stripe Breton top \ wide leg cotton denim trousers \ red brogues \ ochre bucket bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

About the company and the service

Delivery

Seasalt are a UK company but they deliver everywhere. They offer:

  • Free UK returns
  • Free standard UK P&P over £50
  • Next working day UK delivery for £6.95
  • International delivery from £7.08

Goods are packaged really nicely too - no excessive packaging, however, and it's reusable and recyclable.

Social and environmental responsibility

Seasalt is committed to being a socially and environmentally responsible business. I love this transparency - it makes me realise that those brands that aren't so transparent about their working practices are probably not doing good things where the planet and the people on it are concerned. They say that:

  • They're committed to improving and maintaining their environmental performance 
  • They seek to follow the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code which summarises the labour standards towards which they aim to hold themselves and their suppliers accountable 
  • They're increasing the number of products they manufacture locally in the South West, Guernsey and across the UK 

Bravo, Seasalt. The more I learn about good working practices and slow fashion, the more I like it.

The beauty of slow fashion

I really believe in making a difference where other people and the world around me are concerned. I never have that attitude of "Oh, what difference can I possibly make". I always recycle as much as I possibly can and try and reduce my waste. I always vote. I'll always try and save that baby bird that's fallen out of its nest. I always believe in speaking out rather than being indifferent. In other words, I care about stuff.

By making conscious choices about the clothes we buy we can ALL make a difference. We can all try to buy less - and buy more responsibly. Fighting for fair pay and good working conditions for workers and caring about the environment should be a priority for anyone interested in fashion, and we can do that by the choices we make when buying clothes.

Slow fashion isn't concerned with on what's on trend right now. It's about buying and wearing timeless garments that you truly love that also last. Top marks to Seasalt for being so "slow fashion-forward"!


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HOW ARE AWARE OF SLOW FASHION ARE YOU, AND WHAT CONSCIOUS CHOICES DO YOU MAKE WHERE FAST/SLOW FASHION IS CONCERNED? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Catherine

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Seasalt as part of my Seasalt ambassadorship (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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9 comments

  1. I'm currently taking an online course that is in conjunction with #fashionrevolution.
    It's just re-enforcing all of the horrors I knew were happening globally within the fashion industry.
    Fair wages for fair work should be standard. The thought of women like me working all day everyday for next to nothing is heartbreaking.
    BUT, I'm not willing to give up my love of fashion.
    A brand with decent ethics is the way to go.
    Good business too!
    I have a couple of Seasalt coats but struggled with the sizing of the clothing.
    I will need to give them another look.

    Caring is the only way to feel good about yourself, recycling, donating, voting....YES!
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous | Style and Fashion, over 40

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh that online course sounds very interesting, Samantha! It's all about ethics at the moment - I'm so proud to be working with Seasalt even for that reason alone :)

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  2. I totally agree with their ethics that it should be the norm rather than the exception! At the moment I am still kind of waiting for my body to settle into what is normal for me so wouldn't pay full price for things like hat because I don't know where I am going to be this time next year, BUT I am really trying to make e effort to cut out fast fashion. I'm a big lover of charity chops and actually got my own very sea salt dress from a charity shop last year for £3!

    Charlotte | www.shoestringchic.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are a few stores selling cheap fashion which I've never been in - their labour practices are murky and they think outsourcing gets them off the hook. Bravo Sea Salt for being ethical and responsible.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Catherine
    thanks for the post !
    Lovely outfits and selection !
    Enjoy your weekend !
    http://helenamybeauty.over-blog.com/2017/07/les-astuces-de-beaute-des-japonaises-the-japanese-women-beauty-tips.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am totally into slow fashion and have been for years but what I loved most about Seasalt's website was they have a heading for RAIN! :) That says 'Made In Britain' more emphatically than anything else I can imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel good about wearing a lot of secondhand clothes, although I do still indulge in some fast fashion :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post Catherine, and I think you're really tapping into current concerns that consumers are starting to have. The issue of "transparency" is huge. Chanel is BOTTOM in the world for that currently!! There are charts you can look up.

    Great to be supporting 'British' too xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been putting myself on the slow fashion track about two years ago. That means I buy less, I buy better, or I buy second hand which is no problem with my unending love for flea markets and thrift shops. It's not perfect yet, it might never be, but I for one couldn't do fast fashion the way I did anymore, after learning about conditions under which the clothing is produced.

    This brand looks like they have very stylish options for ethically minded consumers. I'll have to check them out.

    Alex - Funky Jungle

    ReplyDelete

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