Deborah wearing the LuLu Manna Monarch Dress
Welcome! 2017 is a year of change. Stylish Murmurs has moved to new location, and is taking a new direction.
I shared on Instagram recently that over the past 12 months I have moving towards curating a more minimal wardrobe and a wardrobe of items that have been ethically produced. The journey to this point has been challenging, intentional and exciting as I find myself learning more about what I am wearing.
There are many issues and concerns associated with the manufacturing our clothing and it's quite overwhelming to try to address them all at once, so one step at time and my first step has been to buy either Australian made or ethically made off shore.
Like many people, I have been well aware of the issues for many years, but to be honest, felt it was all too complicated to consider. My internal conversation was about how difficult it was going to be to find out about the ethical stance of different labels, and could I even afford to by ethically made clothing.
Last April, I saved the Ethical Fashion Guide to my iBooks and started to check the ratings given to various labels as I considered my purchases. I studied how the ratings are decided and read through the the 2016 Australian Fashion Report. (I also read some books and watched the documentary "The True Cost" - but we can talk about that in another post) I also started doing some casual work for an 'affordable' Australian made label and figured that there must be other affordable Australian made labels out there also.
Through my blogging work, I started to come into contact with other labels producing stunning designs who were either designing and making their clothing here in Australia, or designing here and partnering closely with offshore businesses, building relationships to ensure that all workers are paid properly, provided with safe work environments and treated with dignity and respect.
In some cases, the pricing of of these garments is the same as other labels that don't produce their garments here and sadly receive a poor rating on the Ethical Fashion Guide. Others are more expensive, however between knowing that my clothes are ethically produced and that the quality of these garments is far superior to much of what is being mass produced, I find myself moving to that place of being happier with less but better.
Now I won't be throwing out everything in my wardrobe that isn't Australian/ethically made, but as those items wear out, or no longer get worn, they will be donated and replaced with items that are. I won't promise that I will always buy ethical clothing, BUT I will always carefully consider my options. For example I recently purchased a night dress, made offshore and I don't know the ethical stance of the label. My sleep wear is in a sorry state, I had a trip to hospital and had a limited budget, so I made a call. I have since discovered a couple of suitable sleep wear labels and will follow up further when I next need new sleep wear.
I am not big on numbers, or keeping a count of the contents of my wardrobe, but I did do a little review before writing this post, and was pleased to see that over 50% of my wardrobe now meets my 'ethically produced' criteria.
The other side of this is the desire to not encourage the growing cycle of continued purchasing and purging, often forgetting what we actually bought the previous week, and discarding items, without thought, for the latest and newest designs. So as a style blogger, who loves clothes and sharing my finds with you, how do I do that? Well you may be surprised that over the past 6 years my wardrobe has, in fact, been shrinking. My wardrobe is very cohesive, neutral in tones and most of it works together which means there are almost endless opportunities to create new combinations.
I tend to stay away from super 'trendy' looks, preferring modern, timeless (to a point) pieces that work across seasons, can be layered and have longevity. This means that you will actually see a lot of items repeated and remixed. Of course I will have new items to share but you won't see me buying and posting new items each week.
As a matter of transparency, I do act as a Brand Ambassador for a few smaller Australian Designers and as such am privileged to receive gifted items from them from time to time. In these instances, we do 'collaborate' and I select the items that are gifted, choosing items that fit my style preferences and slot seamlessly into the wardrobe I am carefully curating. The opinions I share on these items are mine and will always be 100% honest and I will note that they have been gifted.
Finally, you have my word that I won't get all preachy on you! And, there will be no label shaming. This is a very personal journey that also encompasses the concept of more simple living and a more minimalist approach to life.
I know this is a rather long post. If you have made it all the way through... thank you! I would love to hear your thoughts, experience, desires in relation to this topic.