Sustainable Fashion and Guilt-free Profit

The IPCC tell us we have 12 years left. 12 years until climate change is out of our hands and we are at the mercy of mother nature. It’s blasted all over twitter and facebook that we can make a change. Recycle, they say; walk or take the bus, they say. But now we’re given a new slogan. Conscious consuming.

What does it mean to be a conscious consumer? Well, every time we walk into a shop or restaurant, we are mindful of the ethical and social consequences of buying from such an establishment. We have a boycott, or buycott mentality. Does this firm give back? How big is their carbon footprint? Corporate responsibility has slowly seeped its way through the system and into the lap of the, often millennial, consumer. This consumer is one that is determined to reverse the mistakes of the past, often because the implications faced are very real future problems for themselves. Environmental issues are particularly emphasised because they are the issues that are closest to home. There’s a water shortage in South Africa today, and before you know it there’s an avocado shortage in your fave LA coffee shop tomorrow.

As we all know, this generation is also consumption-mad. The short attention span of my generation drives us to be constantly after new things. The emphasis on sustainability and newness come together to form conscious consuming. We needn’t give up our lifestyles, provided that we do it correctly.


The truth is, a brand can label itself sustainable by merely focusing on one aspect of their manufacturing process and evolving it. It is almost impossible to create an entirely sustainable brand. The consumer also needs to be conscious of the fact that a face-value “eco-friendly” brand might also be doing more harm than good. If those board shorts are handmade out of regenerated recycled plastic, but flown to you on complimentary next day delivery, then is it truly sustainable? The consumer cannot dictate where the profits end up either. What if the CEO of this ethical firm is in fact spending their bonus on an expensive and fuel-inefficient car which they run the kids to school in everyday? The firm can carry on with a larger consumer base due to their “sustainable” branding, guilt free. They’re doing their bit, they think.

We are not at a loss when it comes to this problem, however. Technology is on our side. The app Good on You (which has recently gained support from Kering as part of the luxury conglomerate’s sustainability push) is one that helps you analyse the sustainability levels of a company before you purchase clothes from them. You can even search for the type of item you want to buy and the app will recommend retailers to buy from that are the best for the environment. They provide thorough and comprehensive  reports, with quantitive grading and well-rounded analysis. This guarantees that the firms claiming to be sustainable are called out about the other aspects of their firm structure that could be improved. Ultimately, I highly recommend this app to anyone looking to be one step ahead in terms of sustainable fashion.

Click the image below for more details about the app.


Musings on edginess

What makes someone edgy? The immediate answer would be an original way of living and representing oneself in a way not thought of before. But how was this concept born? I would argue that the exotic plant of alternativeness springs from the seed of necessary resourcefulness.

A person who sees past the price tags, and doesn’t want to spend the month’s earnings on only three items of clothing, may look to recycle what they already have in an innovative manner or will seek cheaper options. They will almost instantaneously stand out as subversive and quirky for turning everyday or old items into something truly unique and of use. The moth eaten and oversized charity shop buy that has since been redecorated or the dusty and grainy record player takes everyone by surprise and all at once becomes the new ‘cool’.

This kind of cool lies in the curiosity of the public. In a society obsessed with all things brand new and shiny, it is refreshing to come across something a bit dated or different – something with a story behind it. Naturally, this new find is soon hijacked by high fashion and the high street, or indeed opportunistic people trying to make a quick buck in a niche market before it dissipates into the buzzing void that is the world of the trend, perhaps toxifying all things vintage and indie in the process. This then begs the question, can the most people buying from “edgy” stores and boutiques today consider themselves to be truly a part of the “indie” and alternative community? Especially since they themselves are not innovating nor are they acting out of resourcefulness, as they are not strapped for cash. In this case, they are no longer riding against the trends, but with it instead. These people shy back to their minimalist apartments and overpriced cereal without an original thought having entered their head on their shopping trip.

83FB0E78-0B6B-4011-BA19-CA09576B14DCArguably, the internet and social media has brought an end to true quirk in consumer choices, because no one can confidently say if, when and how they have been influenced in some way. An idea they believe to be utterly their own and untouched may have been implanted in their heads many double taps and up swipes  ago.

Maybe, then, to solve this issue, we should be calling out more copycats, purposeful or not, and praising more innovators, so that we may return to the roots of edge and find originality in its purest form once again.

There are already voices out there acting out and getting this message across. The instagram, Diet Prada, in particular, a collective of curators who regularly put designers to shame who poach the original ideas of others in such an explicit manner, yet go unnoticed. They do so with a keen eye and a loyal and informative fan base. Not only does this account bring a stop to fraud but also brings the need to the think of new ideas to the forefront of conversation in the fashion industry. Following a trend is one thing, pulling off something unique to someone else as your own idea or creation is another entirely.

iz xo

Irony is the new black: crass fashion

I remember growing up, thinking that the 70’s was possibly the most shameful era of fashion. The haughty (and clothing obsessed) ten year old I was, would cringe at the sight of my uncle’s throw-back pictures. I would only dare to glimpse for a second at his bell-bottom corduroy trousers and loud shirts, recovered from a dusty family photo-album. I resolved that the 70’s was a time that wouldn’t ever come back to haunt my precious world of fashion.

Fast forward to today and highstreets are swamped with peasant shirts and shaggy jerkins. I imagine my old self would consider it her worst nightmare, but admittedly, feelings of repulsion don’t spring up at all. I, unashamedly, now own flared jeans and a large collared dress (corny textile and all), both of which I find myself reaching for on a regular basis.

So, what has changed? I believe that it is the fashion industry’s discovery of irony. To dress ironically, is inherently a deep expression of self-confidence. What the market has come to appreciate is that a gorgeous vixen dressed like Eddie the Eagle possesses more credit for her beauty than if she was dressed in a simple LBD. Irony amplifies her beauty.


“Fortune favours the brave”; good things come to those who take risks. Take Gucci, for example, 3 years ago it was a fashion house who’s future hung in the balance, facing an uncertain future after both CEO and creative director stepped down. Then in swoops Alessandro Michelle, floral cape and prominent beard to the rescue, a controversial choice, but nonetheless one Gucci would not regret. Immediately, a change in the vibe of the brand became visible. Gold, glitz and glamour returned to the brand. Opulence and subversion of classic Gucci branding became the key concentrated points of the new look. And naturally, sales soared through the roof. Gucci is now the poster boy for it’s parent, Kering.

Not only this, but Gucci has managed to maintain its heritage and distinctive style despite such drastic changes. The monogram is maintained, the coloured straps too, and a distinctive Italian feel remains. Perhaps this is the perfect way a creative director should approach their work at a massive and historic fashion house. Many who find themselves at the helm of a successful brand, overwhelmed by the resources at their fingertips, can’t resist the temptation of making the brand their own, abandoning any previous identity the house held beforehand. Alessandro, however, prevailed, and in doing so, found the perfect balance of putting his mark on the brand without sacrificing any of the core ideas behind Gucci.


By this point, many consumers had tired of being delivered mass market and bland looks. Irony and Gucci became the guava sitting next to the gruel being offered to luxury buyers at a continental breakfast. There was no longer a desire to ‘fit in’, the only trend worth following was to be as different and new as possible; the fashion industry had finally woken up and smelt the coffee.

Irony, therefore, has not just been limited to the 70’s revival. Von Dutch hats, slogan crop tops and metallic everything is back, signalling a reignited love of the 90’s.  Gone are the days when we can look back at 80’s sitcoms and disdain at Jennifer Anniston’ outfit choices. Other ironic rebirths, new ways of taking risks in the industry are becoming available. Triggered by the appointment of Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Vetements, to Balenciaga, the IKEA Bag was born and became an instant hit. More and more luxury consumers are rushing to buy what the press are labelling as outrageously expensive trash. I personally believe the media are missing the point. If you can rock a skirt that looks like a car carpet protector or a high-fashion version of retails lowest moment, crocs, then, surely, you could wear anything.

iz x



The Phenomenal Rise of Streetwear Fashion

FentyxPuma, Off-White, Yeezy, VetementsxChampion, SupremexLouis Vuitton.

Finally, after long last, the luxury fashion industry is taking note of a genre of clothing that has been brewing in the background for a while now.

Although an already prominent style among the masses (from Sports Direct to Liverpool FC shirts), streetwear has never really achieved recognition within the fashion community for its originality and expression of individuality. In the past, it has merely been accepted as practical clothing for physical activity. That is, until now.

In recent years, streetwear has come to the fore, at both fashion week and on social media. No street style review or instagram feed is complete without a pair of trainers or an oversized hoodie. This, once exclusive and elusive, bubble of style has exploded into a legitimate clothing option among the most elite in the luxury industry; even the most exclusive and prestigious of restaurants accept customers bearing what was once considered ‘inappropriate informal wear’ (provided it all hails from a high-end brand). Every blogger, editor or model now views a pair of designer trainers, a duffle bag, or even a skateboard, as an essential wardrobe item.


Of course, where the luxury industry beelines for, investors naturally follow, like a dog to scent. Those who would commonly play for safe bets in LVMH, and Kering are becoming increasingly more appreciative of more niche areas of the luxury market. The “hype” sector, one among these niches, is certainly being taken more seriously. Supreme recently revealed that the Carlyle Group, a major private equity firm, had invested in them. To be among oil and energy companies in the fund’s investment portfolio is indeed promising for the brand, despite a nigling feeling that it is somewhat out of place among its counterparts. The faith Carlyle has in Supreme is signified by its valuation, at a whopping $1 billion USD, and a rumoured 50% stake.

So, why such a bold exhibition of trust in an anti-establishment and all together controversial brand?

Streetwear, with its standard-bending enigmatic approach and high price tags, is becoming increasingly popular among the younger population, especially in Asia. This may, in fact, be down to the fact that most under 35’s continue to live at home, the overwhelming density of living in major cities, overpopulation, and as a result, sky-high house prices. With an increasing disposable income, most of the wealthy and young seek status symbols, which come in the shape of luxury fashion and sensationalism, given the immediacy with which a trend can emerge on social platforms. Enter, highly (yet seemingly reasonable) priced Streetwear with a strong and identifiable brand.

But, why not just opt for the go-to, high fashion brands, with a deep heritage and reputation in the industry? The answer lies in the fact that Streetwear maintains both a loud and proud brand, simultaneously to providing originality, imagination and gutsy humour. Designers such as Thom Browne, for example, a pioneer by any standards of the tailored streetwear genre, now have successful stores on an incredibly international basis.

Perhaps, this is what Supreme is aiming for. Having become accustomed to the market and figures, they are no doubt setting their sights on a presence in large consumer economies, such as China. In order to penetrate this particular area of fashion, however, you need the funds to prevent the bombardment of counterfeits you undoubtedly face. Quashing counterfeits has no doubt been a top priority for Supreme (and other Streetwear brands), who ensure, while at this scale, they provide at a very minimal level, having shut down stores within hours of the LV collaboration drop, due to the number of fakes already being passed around. This, no doubt being an expensive branding technique, would need the increased funds to maintain on an internationally expanded level.

Some might argue, however, that the fun for Supreme might not last. The brand is already facing backlash from its core customer interest, who believe that the house has become a “sell-out”. Skaters and brand reps are already speaking out about their dissatisfaction with the latest moves made by what was once their favourite brand. Supreme, like brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Jack Wills, is at high risk of losing their edge and their cool to what many might consider to be greed.

Iz x

I love clothes and culture, do you?

Not going to lie, I’m a bit of a fashion freak. I live and breathe clothes. On another, honest, note, I never ever buy a piece of clothing for the trend. It’s just not me. If something speaks to me (and I can afford it..) that piece will ultimately make its way into my wardrobe. Not only this but I love the mechanics of the industry, the gritty numbers behind the glitz and glamour, so there will probably be a bit of that too, you never know. I also like to document my movements, so although you guys, my (current) social void and general public, may not appreciate my commentary and blabberings, it’s also useful for me to document my journey this year and my ever-evolving style.

Sending all that love to all of you out there,

Iz x