Tuesday, 24 April 2018

5 Easy Ways to Support Fair Fashion

When people hear the term "ethical/fair fashion," I can see their eyes glazing over with the thought that it is an unnecessarily expensive genre of the fashion industry. I know, for a fact, that there are plenty of well-meaning, curious and intrigued people who would love to change the way they shop for clothes, but have been stopped by this stereotype of the niche—that is slowly growing to become the norm. While a lot of ethical fashion brands can be expensive—for good reason—there are various ways in which you can contribute to the cause without breaking the bank. As a tight-budgeted working class citizen myself, who also wants to advocate for ethical fashion, I've found several ways to do so. Here are at least five ways you can start with.


Buy Local

Or what I'd like to call "the lesser of two evils." While it is hard to trace where and how the materials for their products are harvested, local brands—that are, of course, also locally made—already contribute to fair fashion by eliminating sweatshops from their chain of manufacture. From a social standpoint, they also provide job opportunities to the middle-to-lower class citizens. It is even better if they cultivate local cultures, using traditional methods and styles in their products without butchering them into mainstream patterns or textures, devoid of its history and cultural meanings. It would have been, obviously, perfect if they happen to be environmentally conscious too, but, if these are out of our price range, it's okay to settle, for now, with at least the sweatshop-free ones. For Indonesians, here are some you might want to check out.




Find Out

Knowledge is power. The only way we can fight a problem is by researching more about it and really knowing what needs to change or how to solve it. What is even fast fashion? How can we move against it if we don't even know what it is or who support it or how they work? If you're a complete newbie, start somewhere you know. You can begin by finding out about your favourite clothing brands: where their materials come from, their manufacturing process, whether they have commitment to create a better future. This can be as simple as visiting their website and reading their "About" page, but sometimes it needs an enquiring email to acquire. If you've known a thing or two, always keep your knowledge updated, because the industry is turning and some brands may move towards a more positive future. You can always go to fashionrevolution.org and peruse their downloadable documents.


Choose Well

Although the manufacturing process may be a source of ecological damage and human rights violations, it is only half of the battle. How we see and purchase clothes also matter. There is no point in turning to ethical/fair fashion, if we see them as an ephemeral item, ready to throw them away after one wash, then the waste will only accumulate. Which is why it is very important for us to not only look at what we buy, but also how we buy them. If we see an item in a store that we simply must buy, we need to ask ourselves three questions: Will I wear this? How many times will I wear this? Do I want this because of me or because of trends/influence from others? If it seems like you won't keep them for long, maybe it's better to put it back on the rack. Quality also matters, of course. It would be better to buy a $50 pair of boots that would stand the test of time than a $15 plastic leather ones that would fall apart within the year, don't you think?


Do It Yo'self

Another way to cut the chain altogether is to not even be a part of it. Instead of going to store—online or otherwise—and getting an item you take fancy, you pick out your own materials, create your own patterns and put together a piece of clothing yourself. For the materials, there are a lot of secondhand stores that provide vintage fabrics for your perusal, which would obviously be better than buying new from IKEA. Otherwise, if you want to take it a step further—and really customise it—you can also print your own pattern on organic fabric. This way you can control the waste you produce from the process, the silhouette and cut that you may have never found elsewhere and, most importantly, you don't have to feel bad about all the labourers who might otherwise have made the item you purchase. Plus, there is a good chance you won't find anyone else wearing the same thing.


Make It Last

Back to the whole waste thing, the best way to contribute to fair fashion is actually to wear the hell out of what you already own. There is no point to do all of the above, if you're still stuck with the wear-and-toss mentality. The problem with fast fashion lies not only with the manufacturer, but also with us, the consumer. If there is no demand, there will be no supply. The best way to break the chain is not start it altogether. Instead of making it a priority to own everything that's on trend at the moment, set it as your goal to keep wearing your clothes for as many years as possible. Take pride in owning clothes that has been in the family for generations. Feel fulfilled by knowing that you love what you have and you'd like to keep it that way. There are so many ways to learn to fall in love with your clothes all over again—one of which is DIY. Here are some ideas you can transform your clothes into something entirely new, just in case.

I hope this has inspired you to start thinking about how you purchase and treat your clothes.

Let me know if you have other tips on this topic!

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Monday, 23 April 2018

It's Time for a Fashion Revolution!

Today marks the start of Fashion Revolution Week. In case you didn't know, it is a global movement set up by the Fashion Revolution organisation, in which we all do what we can to inspire brands and the greater public to be more ethically responsible about clothing, from producing, manufacturing, selling and, lastly, wearing. It is inspired greatly by the shocking and horrifying event on 24 April 2013 at the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, when it collapsed and killed around 1200 people in the process. This is the building where various clothing brands get their products manufactured, including Primark, GAP, Uniqlo, C&A and Walmart. It became the wake up call for a lot of people worldwide, jerking them away from the daydream, ephemeral way they've been looking at fashion and clothes in general, and forcing them to look at the bloody reality that has been going on for years. Last year, I posted content every single day for a week in regards to Fast Fashion. This year I hope to do the same. Check out the lineup down below!

WHAT IS IT?

Fashion Revolution is an organisation formed by two fashion designers, following the tragedy at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. It has created a global movement, in which people raise the questions on the behind-the-scenes of every clothing brands. It has spread throughout social media. Every year the date that Rana Plaza collapsed has been deemed Fashion Revolution Day and now it has spread into a Fashion Revolution Week—the dates usually announced on their website. On such occasions, fashion revolutionaries worldwide take it to the streets and the cyber world to ask brands the story behind how their clothes are being made. It is a great way to help brands realise that the greater public demands environmental and social responsibilities of the brands they wish to support.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

There are various ways you can take part in the movement, be it online or offline. It is a movement open to everyone and can be done from the comforts of your own home, so don't feel intimidated. The easiest thing you can do is wear a clothing item inside out, show the label, take pictures of it and post it online mentioning the brand and using the hashtag #whomademyclothes. If we're lucky, they will reply with their code of ethics. You can take it a step further by showing off your haulternatives or sharing tips on various ways to support slow/ethical fashion. It is important to spread the word and help people become aware of the issues surrounding the fashion industry. There tend to be various offline activities and events too, relating to this. You can check out the list here, if you're interested in attending one.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Last year on Fashion Revolution Week, I posted slow/ethical fashion-related posts every day of the week. You can still check them out here. This year I intend to do the same—and then some. But, unfortunately, it's my midterm exam period at the moment, so I can't really give you the lineup of posts to expect for the next 6 days. I've got a few already scheduled and ready to go, though, so I hope you'll look forward to those. On my social media, particularly instagram, my plan is to question brands on how ethical their clothes are, by showing the labels. Most importantly, I'll be showing my old items all the love they deserve.

Lastly, at the end of the week, Fashion Revolution always publishes their annual Transparency Index, which you can read to get a good scope of how the revolution is changing the fashion industry. Aside from that, feel free to go through their archives to read all about the life of a factory worker in various parts of the world—maybe even your own backyard! You can also check out other influencers who may join in on the movement too—Marzia, for instance, is an avid haulternative advocate. Or find out about various ethical brands that you may learn to love—even better if they happen to be local. If you're not a newbie on the movement, share along what you've been doing so far to contribute to the cause! It'll be a great source of inspiration.

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

Be Like Ramen

 Yoisho Ramen

Last week I had the pleasure of having a long-overdue sister date with, well, my sister, in which we tried this new-to-us ramen place in the heart of the city—a place I barely ever ventured to anymore—and visited a secondhand book event. Let me talk about the ramen place first, please! It is located at the start of a food district, right after a traffic light, so you could miss it if you're not careful. It's quite small, but very homey with adorable murals, cozy lighting and wonderfully arranged seating. We chose a sofa seat right by the window—for them good lightings, you dig?—and quickly looked through the menu. The menu design, by the way, looks so minimalistic yet adorable! They offer a fusion selection of ramen—soup and dry—as well as rice meals, appetisers and dessert. The waiters are very friendly, attentive and real helpful. We both fell in love with their Cheese Paitan Ramen. Some of the drinks are free flow—with self-service dispensers—and the desserts are really tasty—including raindrop cakes. Most importantly, it was really affordable, especially for Senopati. It definitely deserves more stars than it's getting on Zomato at the moment!

Hand-me-down dress + jacket + socks // old hat // MKS shoes // photos by my sis

After slurping off the last of our ramen, refilled our glasses once and had a long talk on various topics, we headed off to a bookish event by Book for Good. They are currently opening a space where you can donate/swap/adopt secondhand books at Kopi Kalyan. You can either donate your old books, swap them with books of the same genre and language or pay for a book as you wish—there is no minimum amount (but, you know, be considerate, please!). There's also a place where you can just hang out/play while reading books. Every Sunday they also hold fun activities for children, in case you want to visit there with one in tow. My sister and I went there to donate a few of our old books, turned our attention to the used-books section and purchased three for a price of one. I'm not sure what I'm doing, because I have too many in wait already—but it's still one from my TBR list, so that's okay, right? Plus, I'm always a huge fan of cycling things around, so that they needn't go to landfills. This event is still on until 9 May, so make sure you drop by for a visit!

P.S: This is one of the dresses my friend Divina handed down to me and it's quickly becoming my favourite!


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Saturday, 14 April 2018

Lucky Number 13 pt. III

I've never really been one for superstitions. The saying that certain things—broken mirror, stepping on a crack, walking under a ladder, spilling salt—bring you bad luck has always been more like a challenge for me. But there's something about Friday the 13th that gets me excited sometimes. Personal history tells of how lucky I often get on this day. It's been proven wrong a lot of the time too, of course, but the idea that it might bring me lots of happiness gets me excited whenever I realise it's coming soon. Yesterday was sort of like that, especially with no pressing assignment to worry about. Midterm is coming close, though, so I'll have to really hustle on that front. Aside from that, I don't think there's a lot to update, except maybe that I've moved on to a different book from last week and caught up with a few Japanese animated series. Also, I've been slightly more active on my art instagram this week, feel free to check it out if you want to read a series of mini comics I uploaded. What have you been doing this week?

old jacket + t-shirt + skirt // thrifted loafers // gifted tote bag

One of the things I miss most about living in Germany is having greeneries all around. No matter where I lived, there was always usually a huge park somewhere in town—one of which was located just at the back of my apartment building. It's always been a great way for me to relax and unwind, just be with nature and forget the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately, in Jakarta, that is not very easy to find. Even if there is one, it is usually not big enough to really explore—and/or smells terrible and/or feels significantly shady. What's worse is that most these places are nowhere near walking distance from my house—a huge culture shock for me when I first came home! And so, I try as much as I can to find plants and flowers whenever I can, including at this mall across the street from my campus. It's not too lush, I guess, but it's got a pretty nice park and lovely plants all around. Unfortunately, I had to play a little hide-and-seek game with the security guards :')

P.S: Just in case you want to read part one and part two (not that they're connected or anything)


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Saturday, 7 April 2018

That 70's Vibe

Since this week has been rather laid back on the assignment and work front, I thought I'd have one of those good-old photoshoot sessions by myself again. It's been months since the last time I did one of these and, man, do I miss having the control! These, by the way, were taken in secret nook at my campus, which I usually use to have a peaceful lunch by myself. It overlooks this dingy manmade lake and the campus dumpster. Not exactly beautiful, I guess, but it'll do. If you read my last post, you'd know that I haven't really been thinking much about clothing, in terms of personal style. I have around 5 pieces of clothing that I probably wear in rotation. But, since I got a bit more time on my hands, I start to think more about what I wear. One day, this was the outfit I picked out. Not entirely sure why, but I looked at my own reflection on the train door—yep, that's where I look at myself these days—I thought it has a bit of a 70s vibe, with the plaid and rather baggy pants. It would've been better with bell bottoms, no doubt, but this will do for now. A lot of people don't seem to understand it, though, as it seems to stop conversations wherever I go. But I kind of like it. What do you think?

Hand-me-down shirt // gifted pants (made in Bali) // thrifted loafers (from 2013!)

If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that I recently went to Big Bad Wolf Book Sale—which I've been going to for the past two years now. Following my 25 Before 26 goals to "only buy books from my to-read list," I didn't actually find the offer this year to be particularly interesting. In the end, I was good enough to only buy 2 books—Year of Yes and A Case of Exploding Mangoes. It's actually quite easy when you keep a (mental) list of things you want to buy—not unlike grocery shopping, you see. What else has been going on? Oh yeah, before the book sale, actually, I managed to reunite with my friend Divina—who you might have seen here before—and helped her with her meet-and-greet session. It's kind of strange to see her being so inspiring to a lot of people now, if I remember just how unconfident and scared she was about blogging and such. She gave me a few clothing pieces she no longer wears, which I just can't wait to sport on the blog. Well, that's me, what have you been up to lately? Do share with me!

P.S: These photos were taken with the camera being barely balanced on the banister and me having heart palpitations throughout the whole process :')


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