Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fashion Revolution


Today, the 24th of April 2014, is the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,133 workers. But today is also Fashion Revolution day - if anything good has come out of the Bangladesh building collapse, it's this.
Fashion Revolution day is about remembering the devastation of the factory collapse while asking "Who Made Your Clothes?" and making change. Many people are wearing their clothes inside out, showing the labels and taking "inside out selfies" which are posted to instagram, facebook, twitter and the like, with the #insideout, #whomadeyourclothes & #fashionrevolution hash tags, and contacting the clothing brands, wanting to know who made them. You can show off your ethical labels the same way.

No one is going to know that the dress or the jacket you're wearing is ethically made just by looking at it, which is why I think the idea of wearing your clothes inside out is so brilliant and powerful - it's something that's noticed, that provokes thought and asks questions. Today I'm wearing my clothes inside out, seams on the outside, the buttons of my shirt felt against my skin and the label on the back of my trousers exposed. It's something everyone can join in on, every year on the 24th of April. But it doesn't have to be just today, we should be asking the question of who made our clothes all the time, everyday can be a Fashion Revolution day. "Who made my clothes?" is not the only question to ask either, there are plenty of questions to think about when you're buying something, questions of how long it will last, think about how many wears you can get out of it, can you pass it on to a friend or child? Sell it second hand? And what/who are you supporting when you buy this? There are so many questions to consider, but your basic "who, what, where and why?" questions are always important.

"Fashion is a force to be reckoned with. It celebrates, provokes, and entertains. And, from April 24th 2014, it’s going to do even more. Because we’re turning fashion into a force for good." - quoted from the Fashion Revolution website. 

Today also marks a personal anniversary - one year ago today, I gave up buying clothes new unless they were from an ethical company, taking the pledge to only buy clothes vintage, second hand, handmade or from an ethical label, rather than supporting slave labour and brands that don't care about the people that make their clothes. Even though I sourced most of my clothes from charity shops anyway, it was still difficult. There were a few occasions where I almost broke my oath, trying to justify the purchase I was considering, but once you know the true cost - paid by those who stitched the seams and hemmed the fabrics - you can't really justify something like that. Remembering this, I would put the garments back on the rack.

A very powerful quote that has always stuck with me was this one by Anna Lappe:
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." The world I want is free of companies that view the people making their products as dispensable, rather than human beings. All the people killed, injured and affected had and have their very own lives, thoughts, feelings. We may only see a number, such as the death toll of 1,133 - too many people to name individually in the news reports, articles and shared links, but it was the names and lives of individuals that made up that number. Like anyone, the world didn't revolve around those people, but someone's world probably did. And that's the thing, isn't it? you don't have to change the whole world, but you can change someone's whole world, and that's a pretty big thing. That's part of what Fashion Revolution day is about - wearing your clothes inside out and asking those questions are a seemingly small thing, but all together, a large number of people all over the world asking for change...that's a big thing, a very big thing...that's a revolution. 

Also, I'd like to link you to this excellent post by Rosalind of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee about Fashion Revolution day, which includes links to a whole bunch of wonderful pieces she's written in the past about ethical fashion and why it's important, as well as a very important, goosebump-and-possibly-tear-inducing poem she wrote about the Rana Plaza building collapse. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Same Love



“I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom 'til we're equal, damn right I support it.”
– Same Love, Macklemore.

didn't really pay much attention the first few times I heard the song ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore. I ignored it like I did with most of the pop songs my sister, Ireland, listened to. It was only after I caught some of the lyrics that I asked Ireland if she could replay it for me so that I could listen to the whole thing. The lyrics and music video are both heart-warming and incredibly important...and not at all what I would have expected from rap: a song about same sex marriage, equality and love. I usually dislike rap, but ‘Same Love’ is much slower and milder, and now I know the lyrics; I've actually ended up enjoying the song as a whole. It makes me feel a lot more hopeful when I start getting upset: it’s easy to get incredibly dispirited some days, the problems with the world and society feeling like a painful grip on your shoulders. The world has come so far with equality, but we still have a long way to go. Last year, Australia made a huge step toward equality when same sex marriage was legalised in Canberra. I was happy and hopeful (of course, angry that it took this long and had to be legalised at all, when it should have just been a given). But that happiness was soon followed by anger and deflation when that law was repealed and all same sex marriages became legally invalid.

I get so angered by the ludicrous arguments people have against gay marriage. Saying ridiculous things like “if gays can get married, what’s to stop someone marrying a goat?” well, um, there’s kind of a humongous difference between two human beings getting married, and a human marrying a goat. And if someone can’t see that difference, they need professional help. I have no idea how people can think that same sex marriages will ruin marriage for everyone else – I'm sorry, are they crashing your wedding or something? If you ask people what marriage is about, most of the answers are going to be “love.” Why would anyone be worried about gay marriage “ruining the sanctity of marriage” when there’s infidelity, spousal abuse, dowry marriages, etc. to be worried about (that is, if you're going to be worried about anything, although I don't see how that affects anyone else's marriage). Or being worried about it ruining the tradition of marriage? Marriage traditions have changed drastically over both thousands of years and just a decade, many for good reason. Plenty of ceremonies don’t have the father giving the bride away because of how it was a symbol of the “ownership” of a woman being passed from one man to the other. Of course, a lot of these are religious beliefs, even though marriage predates many, many religions and is not owned by anyone or any belief. There are some ridiculous things said by those who aren't religious as well. Some people have said that people should just stop getting married and then there wouldn't be a problem (what?!) or saying same sex couples should just take part in a civil union (where’s the equality in that?). The thing is; it’s not so much about marriage, but about equality and freedom of choice. I could go on forever listing the things said against it, and then point out why that’s ridiculous, but I think I have done enough angry "ranting" about that here to be satisfied(ish). But hey, that’s why I created this blog – to express myself.

Basically, it’s distressing and sometimes I really wish I had a point of view gun, but the closest I can come to that right now is to voice my opinion. When I get upset about things like this, it’s important to remember that there are still some wonderful people and wonderful things happening in the world. I am not alone in my wishes for equality, and there have been some huge steps towards it. Even though same-sex marriage is no longer legal in Australia, it was, for a brief time, and nothing can change that. It was one step back, yes, but after two steps forward and I feel hope for a future with equality for all. Although, of course, as Macklemore sings in ‘Same Love’ “no law is gonna change us, We have to change us” but he also says “a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all, But it’s a damn good place to start”. 

*Disclaimer: In mentioning religion, I am not saying that all religious people say and believe those things and I am not attacking religion. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Galaxy Of Poems & A Bed Of Vines






I was at a small local secondhand bookshop when the lovely 60's print of this wonderful book of poems caught my eye. I grabbed it excitedly and added to my haul of books. It's the perfect book for reading on a relaxed afternoon in the garden, enjoying poems and poets both familiar and unfamiliar. It has work from poets and writers such as Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Lord Byron, to others less heard of. To me it has similar qualities to charity shops. I love that charity shops have a range of things, old and new, to search through until you find something to treasure. You don't have to look for anything in particular, just search until something catches your eye (perhaps something that you're surprised you like, either because it's not what would be your usual style or because it's by a creator that you don't usually like). The same goes for this book. I find myself enjoying a variety of different poems and poets. From dark, morbid poems to seasonal poems with autumnal descriptions of golden pears, crisp light and overripe fruits, spring and summer poems telling of babbling brooks, blooming daffodils and faerie feasts.

I have only recently taken an interest in poetry and this book was an excellent place to start. I have taken a particular liking to Byron and Keats and I keep going back to Keats' poem 'To Autumn' every time I open the book. The lines in this beautiful poem are to be savoured, I particularly loved: "With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage trees" and "While barr├ęd clouds bloom the soft-dying day...".
Anyway, I just wanted to share my love of this book with you. The photos were taken by my mum this afternoon, we sat amongst the green vines that cover a large part of our garden, laughed and took pictures of each other. The vines are not as comfortable as they look.
Oh, and while we were on the subject of poetry, has anyone read this rather brilliant poem 'Our Generation' by a fourteen year old named Jordan Nichols?

In other news, I have just joined Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mike's and many other bloggers in Pip's A Year Of Ethical Fashion. I am taking the pledge to only wear ethically. "If I'm looking for things to wear I will only:
a) Buy from ethical makers or
b) Buy second-hand or
c) Make it myself  or
d) Wear things I already own or
e) Borrow or swap garments with friends" - The A Year Of Ethical Fashion pledge.  


You can join in here or on the YOEF Facebook group. I took the pledge in April last year after the tragic Bangladesh factory collapse that killed over one thousand workers. This year I'm continuing to wear ethically and have been introduced to some excellent labels thanks to what's been shared in the facebook group. 
On that note, I should tell you about my the clothes I'm wearing. The shorts (which are actually a darker emerald green) are vintage and were a present from my mum. The silk top is Little Green Dress and was borrowed from my sister. Little Green Dress is a 'slow fashion' label, the clothes are made from sustainable end of run fabrics and are Australian made. I'm even being ethical with my underwear choices: my bra underneath was bought a year or two ago (thankfully still fits well) and my knickers are from Who Made Your Pants? which is a company in the UK that gives fair wage jobs to women who need them to make underwear from end of run fabrics. They also tell you exactly who made them (my very comfortable Cecilia pants were made by Batol & Friends). I was also meant to have a hand-me-down black cardigan with that (so I could match the print of the book) but it was forgotten during the shoot.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Let's Talk About Sex [Education]

My sister and I were home schooled from the ages of six and eight. When she was ten and I was eight, we moved from our small house near the beach, to a large rural property in a different town. It was decided that we'd go to school in this new town to make friends...we lasted two terms. School crushed our creativity and desire to learn. While teachers thought we were way ahead of the other students, we didn't thrive. My sister and I enjoyed learning, but the school system was a very negative experience for us.
At the beginning of 2012, when we were a few months away from me turning thirteen and my sister fifteen, we agreed we wanted to go to the high school there. We both wanted a high school experience and our parents wanted to support whatever decision we made.

High school was even more damaging for us. My sister had nervous breakdowns, couldn't learn in that environment and left school pretty quickly. I stayed a little longer and I did surprisingly well coping without Ireland (my sister), although I was still incredibly socially awkward and stuttered on occasion. I quickly learnt that I didn't care what other people thought, was quite happy to stand up for myself, I ignored the kids who were negative and I didn't take any bullshit. In that respect, I think high school was good for me - I needed to realise how confident I was in myself and in my own morals and ethics. I got by, I didn't make any friends but was happy on my own and my grades were an average of As, Bs and Cs. But I was infuriated by the school system and the terrible education we were receiving, particularly for HPE.

Health and Physical Education - basically, teaching teenagers how to barn dance. Regarding Sex Ed, we learnt a little bit about a few venereal diseases and menstruation. The subject of rape was briefly discussed - girls were told to be careful: about what they wear, how much they drink, who they talk to and how they behave. Rape is caused by a rapist, not the victim. I worry about what that puts in their minds. They are almost saying to girls that it's their responsibility if they get raped. What if a girl doesn't report a rape because she is practically being taught that it's her fault? Teachers are telling this to the girls (forgetting that men get raped too), in front of the boys. I wonder what that could make them think, subconsciously or otherwise? I'm male and I can't control myself, it's her responsibility, she's been warned about what she should wear and she's still wearing something besides a hessian sack, she's a "slut" and "asking for it".  They should be teaching "don't rape" rather than "don't get raped".

That was all my experience of sex education at school, but I have talked to people from different grades at that school and other schools, teachers, read about the school system and have found out a lot of what goes on in sexual education.


The education we receive is discreet and sex shaming. We are taught about sex by teachers who pretend they don't know what a vagina is. We should be taught about peer pressure, body image and how to have safe, healthy sex, both physically and mentally, in an honest, sex-positive manner. I'm not talking about encouraging teenagers to have sex - if they want to, they're likely to be doing it anyway. Which is why, instead of attempting to discourage them by talking about sex like it's shameful and unnatural, what should be done, is to ensure that if they are going to have sex, they will be safe and healthy. Some sexually transmitted diseases are life threatening, but something that is still so, so, so important is for us to be shown what is healthy - both physically and emotionally, and what is positive. Show us the importance of treating your sexual partner as an equal and the importance of being able to openly discuss how you feel and what you do and don't want to do.
Some kids (like my sister and I) will have parents that make sure they're setting good examples for their children. My sister and I have a very open and honest relationship with each other and our mum, but there are parents who leave stuff like Sex Ed up to school. This is why having good sex education (and teachers/counsellors) is so very important. 



I know this is very different to the usual posts on my blog. But I really wanted to write about it and decided I wanted to put this on my blog and see if anyone else was angered by the Sex Ed that kids are receiving at school. So what are your thoughts?

Oh, and sorry if the title to this post got Salt-N-Pepa's song 'Let's Talk About Sex' stuck in your head!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Forgotten Mini-Shoots


Hello everyone! Hope you're all doing well! I haven't really been doing much in the way of photography lately, but I really wanted to do a quick post. Luckily I happened upon a few brief photo shoots (that I had completely forgotten about) of my incredibly photogenic sister. I'm hoping to take some more pictures of Ireland soon, she's just been away so much (lots of visiting her boyfriend, James, who lives quite far away, so she can be gone for weeks!). She gets to have a lot of fun while she's staying with him and his family, doing the things she loves: training his mum's horses, riding motorbikes, doing mechanical work on bikes and cars, hunting, etc. (we may be sisters, but we have very different interests - I shoot pictures she shoots arrows, but we still get on really well). While I love that she has fun, I had been missing her a lot. I'm not sure how I'm going to cope when she and James move in together in a couple of months!

Anyway, to the photos. The first shoot was done the same time I took these pictures of my beautiful god-sister, Jazz in spring last year. Ireland is wearing a vintage pleated maxi dress that used to belong to Jazz's mum (my lovely, lovely, lovely god-mother). The photos below were taken at a beach and a nearby swimming spot, Ireland's swimsuit is BlackMilk and is a Christmas present from me (and I was very happy to find out that they are made in Australia, so no slave labour).
Anyway, I'm off to bed, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos!

P.S. The tiny photos on my last post were re-added in full size once I got internet again (but the edit annoying changed the date from January to February) but if you'd like to now see them without needing to squint, they are there! 






Wednesday, 5 February 2014

No Internet (sort of)










Hello everyone!

Just a very brief post because I have no internet other than on my phone, and I made a New Year's resolution to do at least one post every month - so here's my post for January! 
I've added some photos that I downloaded onto my phone from my Flickr account. The figure on the beach is my sister, Ireland, and the girl with the shadows on her face is my lovely god-sister, Jazz.
Hopefully I'll be able to post more in February.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Au Revoir 2013






Hi everyone, I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and celebration of the winter/summer solstice (or whatever you celebrate) and are having a great holiday!  December has been a whirlwind of manic Christmas present wrapping (I've been wrapping not only the presents I got people, but also other people's presents as well as inadvertently wrapping my own!), delicious food, enjoying the company of friends and family, swimming, fun and summer.
I've been spending lots of time with my sister, Ireland, and her boyfriend, James, after finally meeting him for the first time. It has involved lots of trips to beaches and rivers, watching episodes of Doctor Who and introducing James to some of our favourite TV shows (such as Absolutely Fabulous and Black Books) debating whether Florence Welch says "you're giving me such sweet nothing" in her song 'Sweet Nothings' or if she's actually saying "you're giving me sexy gherkins" (yes, really), making Italian food, annoying each other, and James and Ireland finding interesting ways to wake me up, such as: James playing the Ukulele right next to my ear, slathering Vegemite on my face, and them both jumping on me (but that's okay, because James now has a distinct bald patch on his arm). I spent my Christmas with my gorgeous godfamily and my mum, which was lovely, and am looking forward to celebrating the new year tonight with Ireland, James and my dad.

Anyway, I'm off to do my resolutions (which is basically just a very large reading list).
Happy New Year!
I hope 2014 brings wonderful things for you all. xx