Do you ever consider the "real cost" of fast fashion?

(139 Posts)
ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 18:32:13

I love a bargain but have recently started wondering about the practices in the entire process of garment production which allow us to buy into fast fashion.

I been reading Naked Fashion by Safia Minney (founder of People Tree) and I really don't know if I can ever buy cheap clothes, or even certain not so cheap brands, again. Lots of brands claim to have a clear conscience but often they are only making that statement based on the "making up" factory experience and not the entire supply chain - dyeing and weaving for example.

How much consideration do you give to the ethical status of the brands you buy?

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 18:50:01

I buy Peole Tree for this reason, or Brora or Celtic Sheepskin.

I also get a few bits and bobs in normal high street shops.

The rest I buy used off Ebay.

I do think about it but times are hard so I do what I can.

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 19:00:09

TigerseyeMum - I agree, costs are probably central to most peoples' purchasing behaviour. But I also think that we collectively have a very greedy and irresponsible attitude towards clothes - too much buying on a whim or because it's a bargain. And the fact is that those cheap clothes rarely turn out to be a true bargain because they don't last.

Vintage, charity shops, eBay, buy less but pay more.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 19:03:09

I'm concerned about fast fashion, and trying to change my ways.
Unfortunately many ethical clothes are hideous not exactly my style.
I'm interested in fairtrade and labor conditions, but many say that the certification processes are flawed and that outsourcing arrangements make it very difficult to track who is doing what. But I've been reading about cotton in Uzbekistan and it's not a pretty story.

My personal solution is to buy as little new as possible. I'm interested in recycling and thrifting and have been trying to mend, alter, repurpose - to love and respect my clothes.

Ujj I have a long reading list for you if interested wink

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 19:05:35

Completely agree about the greedy and irresponsible consumerism. Filling a charity bag is not a charitable act!

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 19:20:48

Lots. I have read a lot about awful working conditions and the enviromental impact of fast fashion. The quality is awful these days too so I can't stand shops like H&M now!
I try to buy from more ethical brands and to hunt down things that seem well-made and buy some from thrift stores. I buy less now but to find the clothes is hard work!

Filling a charity bag is not a charitable act!
How do you mean?

I read a history of fashion lately and was surprised to see that American Apparel are fairly ethical. However, since I won't buy them because of their soft-porn adverts, they are still no use to me. (The book made a big point of saying that their advertising was off-putting too). Unfortunately, most of the People Tree etc clothes are just not really my kind of style.

I tend to buy less and buy better quality, overall - but it's difficult. I won't shop in Primark at all but I suspect that other places are bad too. I just think it's obvious that no shop could be selling shoes for a tenner etc unless they are doing something morally/ethically reprehensible somewhere down the line.

florascotia Fri 22-Mar-13 19:33:05

I have no connection with this company but here are some good quality plain organic cotton basics, incl tights. (Non-organic cotton is very polluting and consumes precious water resources.) Some styles more flattering than others, but in my experience they wear well....

www.greenfibres.com

I don't think about it because I don't really buy fast fashion - I only really like Brora, Boden, Seasalt, white company, celtic sheepskin, and second hand good quality stuff from eBay.

I think probably the worst company I buy from is Phase Eight - high street shop so probably aren't that ethical.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:35:44

I buy what I like because I like it.high street,boutique,designer
And quite frankly sone hippy whining on about the ethics of gap doesn't cut it
My ethical stance is no fur

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 19:42:28

Yes, I do and I buy a lot of 2ndhand or ethical for this reason. But not 100% of my purchases.

Have never been really into fast fashion anyway but for the last ten years or so have been more conscious about a lot of my shopping.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:43:27

Having adequate disposable income let's the consumer reject bargains in favor of pricy ethical
However if you're on budget and tesco sell school shirts,then tesco it is
I detest the affluent preaching to others how,where,what to shop.if one wants to exercise consumer choice purchasing ethical and pricy that's your prerogative

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 19:48:43

No oneis preaching except you SM.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:49:03

I'm torn. I agree with Scotthishmummy that its harder to be ethical in purchasing if on a very limited budget and I think back to my childhood and life would have been a lot easier in many ways if there were more affordable/fashionable clothes around for children.

But so much of everything now is throwaway from sofas to dishwashers to clothes. Although there is now more chance to buy secondhand with ebay etc than there ever used to be.

I do prefer to buy better brands though as I'm not keen on the quality/fabrics used in shops such as primark. But then I feel that some more expensive brands are trying to rip consumers off now by selling shoddy fabrics at expensive prices.

Handy score board here.

apatchylass Fri 22-Mar-13 19:52:30

I hate fashion full stop. I have no faith whatsoever that more expensive clothes are more ethically or reliably sourced. They just give higher returns to the shareholders.

Given that we all shop on the high street then I tend to go for cheaper clothes, but if two things are similar in design or price and one is fair trade cotton the other isn't, I'd go for fair trade.

Friends of mine recently put up a French lacemaker who came to London to work for a world famous fashion house. She worked for three months for them - fourteen hour days and wasn't paid a penny. She's back this year doing the same work 'experience' for them. Three months, no money, 14-16 hour days. In London. My friends said she was skeletal and hollow eyed by the time she left. They put out food for her in the evenings but she was too exhausted to eat it.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:53:14

The whole tone of thread is preachy and profligate waste is wrong
Frankly i was skint I wouldn't send my kids into school in 2nd hand when I can buy five new vests for £2
This is essentially the choice those with disposable incomes can and do make

None of the companies I mentioned are on that list confused

Nor are they on the 'good list' either confused

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 19:53:50

Yes one reason why fast fashion stores are so popular is because well some people don't have that much money. I grew up wearing nothing but hand me downs and really cheap crappy clothing. I don't want a divide where you either have to be rich or only can afford crap clothing made by underpaid poor factory workers. I want ethical clothing for everyone!

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 19:54:39

I would love to buy ethically.
The best I can do it to buy less.

Like SM says, supermarkets sell school uniform for a few quid. I remember the days when it cost £300 to kit out a child for a state primary. That is joggers and sweatshirts, not blazers and boaters.

Now I can kit out three of mine for a third of that for a whole year if I need to.

I am over my BUY BUY BUY at primark. I did do it at first. I stocked up on clothes in case I could never buy anymore hmm

The fact is, most people can not afford to buy ethical clothing. It is very expensive and its usually pretty grim.

I think most people would pick an ethical primark over a non ethical one even if it cost a few more pounds per item.

But its never a few more pounds IME. Its a lot more.

Even making your own clothes doesn't really help. The fabric industry is just as bad.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 19:56:19

Sorry to bang on about Primark but I think I would rather buy from a shop where the mark up was less.

I am pretty sure the expensive shops are just as crap but just make more money out of it.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:56:51

Ethical fashion always has that I cut my own hair and have verrucas look to it

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:58:00

My husband is so not into clothes at all but he still remembers being the kid at school in the 'jumble sale' clothes that were out of fashion and his awful national health specs.

So ultimately I think its good that now people on all budgets have more choice. But yes I'd rather that the owners of retail empires took a more ethical line and perhaps took a cut on their profits rather than exploiting children/workers but not sure that's going to happen anytime soon.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:58:14

Asda,primark,tesco kids school uniform and clothes are great.good price wash well too

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 19:59:14

I really think expensive shops are getting worse - there's an awful lot of cheap fabrics in the more expensive stores at the moment. Polyester blouses at £100 - someone is making a very big profit on those if they sell.

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 20:01:30

Wow, ScottishMummy - I didn't expect such aggressive responses.

I totally agree with your POV about the lack of ethical fashion at reasonable prices/things you want to wear.

"Some hippy whining about the ethics of GAP doesn't cut it".

I wonder, does a 10 year old child working a 17 hour shift in a textile factory/weaving sweatshop cut it?

And with regards to income - I can afford to buy new but I chose to buy second hand more and more - even for my kids. It's been washed & it's clean. WTF is the problem with that? And I speak as someone who grew up the youngest of six, supported by a single mother on a nurses wage in the 1970s so yes, I know about deprivation and "the shame" of hand me downs.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:02:20

SM your posts sound so bitter.

I disagree about the money thing. We spent very little. Mostly got suff 2ndhand for the kids. I did it how I wanted for my own reasons.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:03:16

Re: the charitable act. It makes us feel better (H&M has just started doing this too) but sorting is brutal, and unfortunately lots of the clothes have to be dumped/sent to the landfill. Some charities in my home town stopped accepting donated clothes because the waste disposal fees were higher than what they were able to make by selling the good bits. The Africa part is not simple either...

Hope I am not preaching. Have made my share of irresponsible purchases, guilty as charged. But sick and tired of it now and trying to change. And refuse to be labeled a whining hippie grin - I love beautiful clothes and fashion. But want to learn to consume in a more sustainable way.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:05:36

Oh I see the handwringing about ethics of clothes,profligate spending,waste is ok
I express contrary opinion and I'm bitter?lol Funny how that works with opinion no likey
I buy where,what I want and I'm aware there is poor practice doesn't inhibit my choice of retailer

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:07:19

It is what you say, it is how you say it. You attack people. That is what comes over as bitter.

TooMuchRain Fri 22-Mar-13 20:07:57

I want to buy more ethically sourced stuff too, at the moment what puts me off are the style and price of most of these. I don't buy a lot of new clothes but, like a lot of people, I could buy less and better.

Does anyone have any recommendations to share for more fashionable / fit for work ethical clothing?

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:08:03

Sorry, should read it ISN'T what you say, it is the way you say it.

ujjayi Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:11

FrugalFashionista - I think we are essentially at the same point regarding our consumer behaviour.

It really wasn't my intention to start a bun-fight type thread - I was genuinely interested in whether people considered the ethics behind fashion. I stand guilty as charged of buying into H&M's bargain-tastic clothes in the past. It's just that having begun this research, I don't think I can go back.

The high street and fabric industry is awash with exploitation on many levels. And I agree with MrsCampbellBlack that charging £100 for a polyester blouse is outrageous (and even the mainlines of most designers are awash with polyester too).

I have no idea what the solution is. I just know that I am not happy to buy into it any more.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:16

I won't put my kids in 2nd hand as first choice,not when there is primark,asda
Have bought eBay baby stuff at good price so will dip in/out not my first choice though
If your disposable income allows you to buy more,and buy ethical.that's fine.and exercising ones choice as consumer. It's not important to me

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:29

OK I understand your comment now Frugal! It's often better to re-use the clothing you already have in some other way isn't, unless it's some nice brand name piece or similar that can be sold/swapped.

It's great how a lot of big clothing companies signed up to be on Greenpeace's Detox campaign. I wonder if it's possible to have them slow down and make less and better clothing though. Probably not as they will earn less but it's the only way forward. The current thin fabrics and all the polyester is turning a lot of customers off from buying the stuff.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:13:46

It really wasn't my intention to start a bun-fight type thread - I was genuinely interested in whether people considered the ethics behind fashion.

This type of thread will probably always get angry/defensive type of responses because people can feel guilt tripped if they don't care or can't afford to care about ethical shopping.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:16:51

I'm not guilt tripped about my retail shopping in the least,don't presume I am
Why would I be guilty at choosing how I exercise free choice as consumer,and at good price
£2 for pkt vests, he'll that's not guilt that's bargaintastic and wholly guilt free

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 20:29:24

Why are ethical clothes so horrible?

Are they designing the sort of clothes they think people like?

You must be able to make nice stuff ethically.

Do they think that we want to wear our ethics on our sleeves?

I haven't had a look recently so I could be way off the mark but it all used to be sludge coloured and frumpy or madly euroethnic.

Whats new on the ethical clothing front?

And here These are even worse than the dresses.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:34:10

The Emma Watson collaboration was quite nice but that was a while back

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:02

Ethical clothes always look like should be accompanied by verrucas,and lady mustache

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:06

Livia Firth has an ethical red carpet dressing initiative - so there is some high fashion effort too.

I have a friend who is evangelical about ethical fashion and she has found some decent stuff too (that is, if you like Acne type clothes).

nars Fri 22-Mar-13 20:38:42

i tend to buy LOTS from american apparel, they so called 'porn' angle is just a bit crackers imo. bodies are bodies!

i tend now to buy clothes that cost a bit more but I love and know they will last. i think people know the cost of cheaper clothing but when i was younger (80s) cheap clothing looked crap and didn't last 5 minutes, now at least there is alot of choice and middle range stuff which lasts a bit longer than usual

it was pretty crap in the 80s though unless you had money so wouldn't want to go back there

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:39:38

Livias looks here.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:40:22

Yes I wish People Tree could make less quirky items and more "normal" and useful basics. The cardis are especially weird looking this season. I looked at their japanese site and they had TONS of more stuff. Why don't they sell it on their Uk site?!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:42:30

Ujjayi - to some extent I think it is just a habit you give up.

I think beng very clear what you need is a good starting point. Have you looked at project 333?

I occasionally look at blogs and I see very similar outfits day after day. How many skinny jeans do people need? And scarves? I look at the pictures and see the same person wearing multiple versions of the same outfit, but if I knew that person I would hardly notice the slight change in jean colour from Monday to Tuesday. They need two pairs of really good trousers IMO. If they look great, they look great three days in a row.

V good point, Yellow.

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:45:50

Sustainable Kuyichi skinnies here (my friend loves them).

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 20:52:12

One more link from my friend and then I'll stop wink - some sleek minimalist stylish sustainable clothes here. Ladies, would you wear that?

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 20:54:17

I think someone's account has been hacked, it is school holiday time after all smile

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Mar-13 20:54:26

I buy or acquire the vast majority of my clothes and the kids clothes second hand.

If I am given stuff I gratefully accept what I am given.

If I buy second hand I don't exclusively get ethically produced stuff but I am really pleased if I can make a purchase that is both ethically produced and second hand.

But I do what I can and can do no more.

I do buy school uniform where I need to get it new from places like Tesco's because it's too expensive otherwise,and it's needed in quantity.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 20:55:52

Why do you think someone's account has been hacked?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:56:30

I think its definitely easier to be ethichal if one has money or access to amazing designers like Livia.

Also easier to shop more from one's own wardrobe if its full of older designer stuff. Or if one has inherited amazing vintage Chanel from relatives like a lot of people I read about in magazines.

And if you wear jeans all the time and only have 2 pairs - they'll wear out pretty quickly.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 20:57:55

I find jeans very tricky actually because they are rubbish 2ndhand, i think people tend to wear their beloved jeans a lot so you don't get many nice ones in charity shops and vintage stores are more expensive than new cheap ones.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 22-Mar-13 20:58:07

Ethical I meant!

I wonder also if years ago people's weights fluctuated less so a woman could wear the same few dresses for years and years where as now so many of us have issues with out size.

Over the last 10 years I've fluctuated a lot weight wise and know when I'm at my heaviest is when I buy disposable fashion as I want the 'lift' of something new but don't want to spend much.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 20:59:05

Because no one writes like that without being a 14 year old on a wind up. Or pissed. Or both.

Like what?

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:03:33

Ethical requires disposable income,it's a choice associated with prosperity
at back to school when 2for1 it's really cost effective,and in recession that's important
I don't consider ethical when buying,I buy on desire,cost,and I'm guilt free.I'm bemused anyone presumes guilt about how I spend my own money

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:05:14

Like my £10 dress I wear for work and have done for about a year? Which everyone always asks about? Rolling in it, me.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:08:53

My two pairs are holding up ok.

I have no budget for clothes. I have no wardrobe to fall back on. I do have Some old clothes but never had much quality as never had money!

I manage fine.

PretzelTime Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:33

wonder also if years ago people's weights fluctuated less so a woman could wear the same few dresses for years and years where as now so many of us have issues with out size.
Yes this is interesting. Even if people's weights fluctuated less in general there was always pregnancy and illness etc. Perhaps it was easier to alter clothing in the past. Women usually wore dresses and those could perhaps have extra fabric that was sewn in or let out if you understand what I mean?

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:59

Well done on bargain,does it nean you've got halo or good eye for bargain
Have you looked at the links the brands getting mentioned there not cheap
Shop how you want,that's point.we have choices.capitalism gives us choice how we spend

practicality Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:36

I have tried going down the ethical route re clothing but it's harder than you imagine, especially when it comes to childrens clothes.

Ethical school uniform, socks, underwear etc? Hard to find. Then there is the school uniform that is required with school motifs etc. Trainers and shoes.

Bras and other underwear are tricky.

I have tried things from different companies such as Komodo, Nomads, Giggle,Seasalt and Gringo and I have to say there are two problems. Firstly there is a look attached to these clothes which I now feel stands out too much for me. I like oretty plain stuff.Secondly, in my experienece, nearly all the clothes have worn badly and don't last which rather defeats the object in terms of sustainability.

I am quite attracted to EKO clothing but haven't tried it yet.
I like Conker Shoes -love the higher POB. These are a good buy to my mind.

I have come to the conclusion that buying plain basics is the way forward- of the best quality and where I can buy ethically. I like Gringo Bali shrugs for example over a black maxi dress but I cannot find an ethical black maxi in jersey which is a wardrobe staple for me.

Until there really is a viable alternative then people just have to try to work with what they can do but I don't think it is entirely possible to be completely ethical on the clothing front.

There are issues to consider around leather, dyes, materials, transporting goods, chemicals in non leather goods and durability as well as exploitative labour.

I often wonder how non exploitative ethical clothing really is. It is hard to track down a firm answer to this.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:50

Capitalism gives us choice so long as others are slaves. Personally I don't want that. I can avoid that by spending little by shopping widely. You're right, that's my choice.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:11:59

I think the weight thing does cause problems, yes. And the worst is maternity stuff! So expensive.

awaywego1 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:12:24

I do worry about it. I don't have much money so buy pretty much all of my clothes from eBay or charity shops. I actually really like a lot of people tree stuff, but the cost is prohibitive new. Buying secondhand not ethical feels better for me than buying new. I avoid primark etc but I don't have kids so imagine if I did I'd buy there clothes from wherever I could afford rather than having the luxury of buying ethically.

florascotia Fri 22-Mar-13 21:13:41

I absolutely take your point, scottishmummy and others. Many organic/ethical clothes are indeed very pricey.

I have no wish whatsover to preach. I can't afford to buy organic/ethical new clothes all the time. But it is a long-term aim to try. And I am a fan of buying second-hand - although, logically speaking, if there were fewer wasteful first-time purchases, there wouldn't be so many second-hand bargains.... This is not a straightforward issue!

In case anyone would like to see it, here is some information about cotton farming from the World Wildlife Fund.
wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/cotton/

However, I wish that, as well as raising awareness of the problems, the WWF (or someone - it probably needs politicians and a mass movement) could help make it easier for the customer-in-the-street to find affordable, ethical and attractive garments.

I am not an economist, but it seems to me that policy-makers and manufacturers/retailers need to do some more joined-up thinking. On the one hand, creating new jobs in clothes factories is often welcomed as 'good' development, and retail sales figures are anxiously monitored for signs of increase, while, at the same time, producing the raw materials to be sewn in the same factories or sold in the same shops is environmentally disastrous.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:14:55

People Tree has amazing sales though. The top I'm wearing now cost about £7 I think, reduced from £40. It's just a basic long sleeve cotton top.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:20:37

Consumer power is v potent.the ability to chose how you sound your money
The influence you want your money to have,how one exerts preference
And pragmatically how you make your money work for you,based on preference and budget

FrugalFashionista Fri 22-Mar-13 21:21:45

Final link - this I found on my own.
Swoonworthy sustainable fashion.
May have been converted...

At our school, almost everyone wears hand-me-down uniforms - the school has regular used uniform sales and most of our uniform items are bought from there. It's cheap and convenient for parents and there is no stigma.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:26:25

Ironically I think certain mc like being worthy and doing 2nd hand shabby chic
It's a uniform,boys with longish hair,shabby chic 2nd hand
Essentially do what you want with your money,and let others do what they want too

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:26:56

I'm going to hunt out some jumble sales I think. I am in the mood for a 50p bargain!

There is a car boot sale near me, the clothes are unbelievably cheap.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:28:43

Ye gods, not boys with longish hair! [Shock] grin

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 21:29:26

Erm, shock went MIA!

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 21:29:39

I do like a good ole charity shop rummage

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 22:41:41

Some of that People Tree stuff is ok. I quite like little frocks. But way way too expensive, particularly as they look like the ones you can get from Sainsburys for a tenner in the sales.

I buy too much. I know it. Its a thing with me. I looked like a tramp all through childhood. Until I had my own money I looked scruffy and stood out like a sore thumb.

I over compensate. But I do care and have been cutting down. I have always bought second hand because I have never had a lot of money but now when you go to a charity shop its full of the badly made chain store stuff.

Lets be honest, why would you pay a fiver for a second hand top that you can get for six quid from the original store?

SpinningHamsterWheel Fri 22-Mar-13 22:55:02

The thing is that if you are on a limited budget there really isn't much choice, certainly not where I am anyway.

Charity shops in my local town charge £1.50-£2 for a child t-shirt, even if it is is very poor condition. At Matalan I can get a pack of 3 t-shirts for £5, a school sweatshirt for £3 I think, a pack of two short sleeve school blouses is only £3.

No idea whether it is ethical or not but I can't get decent clothes for the same price anywhere else.

Ebay is ok, but if you have limited funds and spend them on a childs coat say, it arrives and it doesn't fit, then your money is gone (at least until you can sell it on for hopefully the same/more) and you still don't have a coat. If you are very limited money wise ebay can just be too risky.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 22:58:16

I am shocked at charity shops charging so much. Much cheaper ime.

scottishmummy Fri 22-Mar-13 23:02:41

2nd hand isn't necessarily cheaper.5vests £2 primark cheaper than eBay or oxfam

SpinningHamsterWheel Fri 22-Mar-13 23:02:56

I was too, I'm in a fairly poor, working class town in Yorkshire. An old mill town, the high street full of pound/99p stores, but the charity shops are just so expensive.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Fri 22-Mar-13 23:09:29

Are car boots expensive near you Spinnng? Last one I went to was 20p an item on kids stuff!

alemci Fri 22-Mar-13 23:12:54

yes I think the charity shops can be too expensive and would sell more if slightly cheaper particularly Barnados.

Difficult about ethical choices but agree to some extent with Scottish Mummy. Perhaps if we all bought less and wore it for longer. With kids they grow so slightly different.

SpinningHamsterWheel Fri 22-Mar-13 23:18:33

Yes, I do car boots, love them. They are great for spotting things but you can't really go with a list like
DD - vests, socks, a rain mac and a sweatshirt
DS - jeans, vests, long sleeve tops and wellies

Because when you get there the chances of finding what you actually want are slim. They are great for seeing things, say a pair of wellies for 50p that are the next size up for DS, getting them and putting them away for later though.

Quite a few baby sales, similar to the NCT sales, around too but they only seem to go up to about 2 years and after that the clothes are fewer to choose from and usually is well worn condition.

To be fair, we used to be skint, we aren't now though I still shop like we are because it has become a habit and I like to save every penny we can to help us through the next time we end up skint. I remember how it was though and it was tough, fast fashion or not, if it makes the most value-for-money sense that is where you spend your money, whether you like it or not.

SpinningHamsterWheel Fri 22-Mar-13 23:21:21

Out of interest I had a look at People Tree, some of it is awful!

FrugalFashionista Sat 23-Mar-13 06:36:28

For anyone who is interested in the themes of this thread I recommend the book 'Overdressed' - it was a huge eye-opener for me.

Although I really admire the people on this thread who have gone all the way, I also believe in baby steps and gradual change.

SimpleSi Sat 23-Mar-13 07:03:10

Spinninghamsterwheel is it by any chance Morley? The charity shops there have truly lost the plot on the true value of their donations vs supermarkets. I've seen tatty Tu items at the same cost as they were new. I fear that the perceived stigma of charity shops amongst many people has lead them to believe that they are only going to sell to middle class do gooders and should price accordingly.

FrugalFashionista Sat 23-Mar-13 07:19:39

Simple in my home town charity shops started getting so much unsalable clothes donations that their waste disposal fees skyrocketed and some of them went out of business.

chanie44 Sat 23-Mar-13 09:11:32

I've started buying basics like jeans and plain tops with a view to use accessories to jazz them up. As I reached my 30s I've really struggled with clothes now I know what does and doesn't suit me. So I avoid high fashion most of the time.

Matsikula Sat 23-Mar-13 09:35:19

Scottishmummy, no-one is talking about trying to restrict choice - I think what a lot of people are saying is actually that they would like to see more choice - trendier ethical clothes. American Apparel demonstrate that it can be done, and they are in a similar price range to Warehouse or Oasis, which I am aware is not dirt cheap, but it is also in reach of lots of people.

I grew up wearing plenty of hand-me downs and yes DIY haircuts too,, and I didn't feel a stigma about it because my Mum just didn't talk about it in a negative way - and she grew up somewhere really very poor by today's standards. It wasn't till I was a teenager that I became aware of fashion - but really young kids are aware of what is and isn't cool, and I think that's really sad.

ujjayi Sat 23-Mar-13 09:58:36

Agree that charity shops and "clothing agencies" price their stuff in a very strange way, often charging more than you suspect the original ticket price.

The dress in Sainbury's and People Tree may look the same but the price difference is explained by everyone in the supply chain being paid & treated fairly. IMO that is something worth buying in to.

The facts are that we own far too much stuff and a lot of it is sub-standard in terms of quality. It is difficult and expensive to kit children out with ethical clothes but perhaps we could make a change and offset with our own wardrobes? How much of what we own do we actually wear? Making an ethical decision isn't just about choosing between fair trade v sweatshop. It's about quantity too.

Being an ethical-only shopper in this market is impossible. Even if the clothes are ethical, who made the machinery, needles etc etc? Very few high street brands sell entirely "clean" ranges. But some do offer a fair trade option within their ranges so why not buy it?

As ScottishMummy says, it is about exercising your right of choice as a consumer. This board has had several threads bemoaning the decline in quality on the high street so why are we still buying in to it? Habit? Misplaced sense of "need"?

alemci Sat 23-Mar-13 10:06:47

very true ujjayi and the internet makes it worse as there are always 'bargains' and tempations. I also like buying things for the house.

also I don't tend to buy in primark because of the quality but do you think some of the more expensive shops are any more moral in their production methods e.g. M&S but the mark up is more?

I don't think I wear some of my things but tbh we have had a really cold winter so i have tended to wear warm skirts boots and trousers and my shorter skirts have not been brought out (plus i haven't waxed my legs since new year smile extra insulation)

CambridgeBlue Sat 23-Mar-13 10:23:50

I think, because it's impossible to know what really goes on 'behind the scenes', the best way is to buy less in general. It's something I'm trying to do but it's hard when you love clothes! I've definitely cut down though and give much more thought to whether I really love something before I buy it. Being on a budget like most people does mean I sometimes buy from Primark or the supermarket (especially kids' clothes) which in an ideal world I wouldn't but I try to balance this with a few better quality items and buying second hand.

elQuintoConyo Sat 23-Mar-13 10:50:03

I'm in Spain (Catalonia) and they don't 'do' second hand. Anywhere. E-bay is a fairly new thing and the stuff is high-street prices for high-street stuff. So I must buy cheap and I don't like it.

I have, however, just thrown out a blue top I bought from Miss Selfridge in 1995!

I'd love a place where I can buy decent, interesting 2nd hand pieces and modify. I love this site by a girl called Marisa:

www.newdressaday.com

She was heading for 30, just lost a job, bought one dress every day for a dollar (Goodwill) and adapted it simply into something else. I'm aware not everyone can sew, but she does just basic stuff.

I'd buy ethical if I had the money - but to pay 45quid on a minging top from people tree? I'd rather wear leaves!!

DolomitesDonkey Sat 23-Mar-13 12:33:11

Just looked at the people tree link - clicked on a dress I thought was pretty. Doesn't go up to my size and as is made in India (ha!) I don't believe a fucking word of their ethical shite - and how did it arrive in Europe? Unicorn dust highway?

I want to buy made in UK from decent fabric.

PretzelTime Sat 23-Mar-13 12:43:00

Dolomites, if you go to the People Tree blog you can see videos and read interviews with the people who made the garments. But if you want ot be sure I guess you have to travel all the way to India and talk to them for real which is almost impossible. Agree that more clothing should be made in the UK.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 23-Mar-13 12:55:24

The whole ethical question is a nightmare.

I work for a clothing company who have sustainability and fair trade policies as do a lot of the main retailers. They don't really push it as a huge marketing campaign as it doesn't sit well with other parts of the company.

What surprises most people is the stores they think are fair trade, because of the brand profile are actually not.

When I last did a factory visit in India it was very difficult to "suss" any Dodgy suppliers out. They outsource to villages and make it impossible to track. But one long term supplier gave me some very different points of view. We would all love children to be children, but in India for example, if the entire family is dependent on the 15 year olds income and that is suddenly cut off then it can be very difficult to survive. If everyone stopped buying clothing it would also have an effect on their earning power.

This guy had set up many facilities and better conditions for his staff, crèches, time for schooling, stricter hours, clean well lit conditions and was trying to improve from the inside out. It's very difficult without the support of the government though.

FrugalFashionista Sat 23-Mar-13 13:12:58

Wally fascinating. And agree. Lived for several years in a 3rd world country and often it was difficult to find good solutions - starving was a realistic option there too and working teens were often able to lift entire families out of poverty. But then that normally meant dropping out of school.

Have recommended this book elsewhere but 'Factory Girls' by Leslie T Chang is also an excellent read (about girls who assemble many of our everyday goods in China).

Snog Sat 23-Mar-13 13:49:47

I would like to be able to buy ethically produced clothing that is suitable for me to wear to work but I can't find any.
I normally wear my clothes until they are worn out - but for work wear this means once they look scruffy they have to go. For casual wear I am happy to mend and re-mend, and for children's wear I love buying second hand from car boots etc
I like Project 33 as an idea for work wear - it makes me really think about what I buy and how it will work with my other clothes.
My other problem is that I keep changing size/weight and therefore need more clothes to cope with this. So for me, staying a stable weight would make me more eco friendly.

I find the toy industry far more shocking than the clothing industry in terms of exploitation - exploiting children the other side of the world for our own children's fun just seems very wrong to me.

badguider Sat 23-Mar-13 13:59:15

I think the worst thing about 'fashion' is that it is so disposable. I do not believe in wearing things for a 'season' or that are in fashion in a particular year. I buy clothes when those I have wear out. I rarely give to charity shops because I normally wear my clothes until they are unwearable by anybody and can only go into the textile bank for rag. I wear styles that suit my shape and HATE that 'fashion' sometimes makes the 'right' shapes for me impossible to find.

I would like to spend more time/effort buying ethical when I do buy but it's quite a rare occurance for me anyway so I don't put the effort in to really look into what i'm buying but I do like natural fibres such as bamboo and merino and I am worried about the environmental issues associated with cotton pesticides as well as human rights issues in production.

MadHairDay Sat 23-Mar-13 14:18:56

I do think about it a lot. I try to buy mainly fair trade clothing, or if not, buy from eBay. Charity shops are too dear and often crappy anyway. However, I am by no means sorted with this. I still trot off to Asda etc for school uniform. I've searched high and low for fairtrade school uniform but there's hardly any out there, and what there is is unsuitable/rubbish/far too expensive. It's not easy. I don't like it but it's a needs must thing.

The other thing with fairtrade clothing I have found is that they are not always the greatest quality, esp for the price. I do buy a fair amount of Nomads stuff, only in the sale or on ebay, but it's not always lasted. I can also see there's next to nothing suitable for workwear on sites like that. I like the slightly hippy/boho/floaty dress and leggings look so I'm happy with it but I can see it's a niche thing.

Also, children's fairtrade stuff is fairly rubbish. And only goes up to age 7 or so - with nothing for older children - honestly, on every website selling fairtrade clothing, I cannot find one that sells clothing for eg 12 yr old girl.

Maybe there's a good gap in the market here, for good quality ethically sourced clothing, wider ranging styles and for all age groups.

An interesting thread and thanks for starting it OP. I think the most ethical thing is just to buy less. I accept wally's point that there are now whole families in developing countries dependent on us buying shed loads but that shows how skewed the whole system is.

I've been doing Project 333 for about four months now and it has really helped focus my mind on this. For the first time in many, many years I am now wearing 90% of my clothes on a regular basis. I wasn't someone who had a crammed to bursting wardrobe in the first place but virtually all of us have far more clothes than they need.

We need to start by having and buying less. The next step is buying second hand - a second hand Gap top is more ethical and environmentally friendly than buying a brand new People Tree dress. I also don't get this criticism of charity shop prices - they are there to raise funds for the charity, not to compete with Primark.

Also companies like People Tree are niche boutique labels. They are always going to be more expensive than high street shops as that's their business model. But I agree with people who have no faith that M&S or Monsoon are more ethical than Primark or Asda yet are way more expensive.

alemci Sun 24-Mar-13 11:32:31

I think the trouble with the charity shops is that if they charge too much which I think they do for some things, then people will go to Primark and buy new something that is more up to date. I think it would be better if they charged slightly less and they may sell more.

I do appreciate the charity shops need to raise funds and I try to support them.

I sell on ebay and my things go for a bit less than in a charity shop yet I think my customers get much more of a bargain.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:12:13

charity shops set price to maximize funds, fair enough but the price can exceed high st new
It often cheaper to buy in primark etc than it is buy charity shop.
leaving individual to chose new or charity,and I don't think it's wrong to chose new

This has been on my mind for many years.
I follow tons of blogs which discuss this topic, but feel a little bit confused as to why so many people think that avoiding fast fashion has to mean shopping with high end designers.
I kept attempting to start discussions about a healthy/affordable middle ground but nobody seemed to want to look into it. It's like a lot of people use the fast fashion sweatshop excuse to head on over to NAP.

But ARE the higher end designers sourcing ethically? I have a friend who adores APC clothing, but she simply shrugs when I ask her how/where the stuff is sourced.

It's a cultural thing now though, isn't it? The consumer balks at higher prices (But i can get it so much cheaper at Primark!) yet expects the company to pay workers a decent wage and source materials ethically. We're kinda stuck. We have been primed for so long now to expect cut price goods. So yeh, it's political too.

I have found a few mid range companies, but often they're not known for their cool factor, which younger people especially are so driven towards. I also agree that many higher end stores are taking the piss with their prices. They KNOW there's a market (like me) who wishes to escape the high street for better quality and fairer practices - and they're (rather unethically) milking it.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 13:16:17

You're making some broad generalisatuons,I don't expect ethical sourcing
I'm realistic about how most retail goods are made.doesn't inhibit my purchase choices
if it doesn't say ethical blah blah on label it wont be.I don't seek ethical out as choice

Scottishmummy, it might be cheaper at Primark etc. than mid-range or more ethiclal at a charity shop or eBay, but it doesn't last <voice of experience>. That's confusing price and value.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 13:24:24

I buy primark kids clothes wash well,last well.not unhappy with quality at all
I'm not in the least confused about my purchases
And if something wears out ill buy more

Bramshott Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:41

That list downthread was really interesting - supermarket clothing scored REALLY badly, but New Look for example, scored really well. And Topshop, H & M and M & Co scored above M & S and John Lewis.

FrugalFashionista Sun 24-Mar-13 15:35:33

H&M are trying to do something - they have the in-store recycling initiative and also their 'Conscious Collection' made of recycled polyester (some of the tropical pieces in it are just lovely). Window dressing? Can be, but I prefer them to companies that do not care at all. Plus I want mainstream big players to get involved - they have the big buying power, and they can really make a difference if they want to.

somebody doth protest too much, like 5 pages worth.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 15:53:50

As with any product if I like,I'll buy.not like won't buy.That's only factors in my choice
H &mod d.o some nice pieces,will take look

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 15:56:20

Who are you addressing teacakes?is it a veiled dig at op
Point of threads is garner opinion,and divergent opinions majestic it interesting
As consumers we can chose where,how we spend.and use that as a lever

Scottishmummy, I thought you sounded a bit angry. Thing is though, I do get your point, and agree that ethical choices are much easier to make if one has a higher income (I do not, sadly). If the supermarket stuff works well for you/your family I can see why you'd opt for that - it makes sense. I guess the point of the post is about becoming aware of what we are buying into and if there are other options available. Sadly I don't think that there are very many affordable alternatives and people's minds aren't going to change because we all love a bargain (and why shouldn't we!?).
If any change is to be made it will have to be made culturally. Single individuals being able to spend £60 on an organic tee isn't gonna make much difference when the more ethical stuff is only available to those with pots of cash.

Of course, we can still conserve and buy quality items if we a poor, if we wish to own less...but I can't see how this is immediately possible for a family of, say, 5.

I own a moderate amount of designer/high end stuff mixed with high street, and I would say that 8 times out of 10 the designer stuff (whilst better finished) does not suit me any better than the cheaper stuff. I also own 2 pairs of designer jeans, and whilst they are awesome quality I prefer my cropped skinnies from Next.

It's all so bloody confusing!

Also, whilst I am not a huge fan of high street stuff, I must say a few things in its defense.
Most of the more ethical stores don't have actual...stores. Or they are not appearing on the regular high street outside of city centers. Buying online is a pain in the rear for the best part, and I've found that a lot of the higher end stuff is just as badly fitting as the cheaper stuff. So, shopping the high street makes complete sense for those who are budget conscious, pushed for time and simply want to clothe a family with kids who are still growing. Who wants to pay an arm and a leg to clothe a 3 yr old?

So i get it, completely. Higher end stores are frequently overpriced and the blogging sphere which surrounds them can often seem a bit more concerned about prestige (and flashing an image) than actual ethics. There is a lot of hypocrisy out there. I know one lady who quit shopping at Office for shoes under the presumption that a pair of £400 boots with a designer label attached were inherently 'more ethical'. I say bollocks to that.

Still, I prefer to seek a middle ground, but only because I can.
Many simply can't.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 16:17:16

You thought I'm angry so you do wee dig about doth protest?how odd
angry does that mean we disagree?well that's point of a thread range of opinion
This is essential how individual choses to spend their money and choices we support

FrugalFashionista Sun 24-Mar-13 16:24:41

Scottishmum as a consumer, I tend to choose 2nd hand charity shop over new from supermarket, mostly because I can find good fibers and really stylish clothes in charity shops and at the recycling center. I've done my share of supermarket shopping when my income was extremely limited, but I never really liked those clothes. As consumers, I think we have divergent sets of buying criteria - it's not a one size fits all process.

My friend mentioned another recommended source of ethically produced clothes - Eileen Fisher. Very pricey but according to her they last for ever and are timeless.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 16:30:34

As I said as consumer one choses where,how one spends ones money,part of capitalism
Exerting preferences through spending.choosing a retailer based on own prefernce
Op clearly has preference for ethical retail,asked if others do too?not my primary reason to purchase

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 16:41:28

IMO,the fisher clothes are ghastly bit shapeless and Unappealing
do look Like would be worn by wealthy worthy Verrucas and lady mustache types
but hey ho,clearly they do sell

Scottishmummy, i was saying that i understood your point and wondered why it needed to be repeated so much, unless someone was challenging it, then it would make sense.

Just calling something capitalism does not mean that we should automatically relinquish responsibility or awareness.

And yes, you do seem very angry and defensive. If your own children aren't sweating over a machine 12 hours a day to make the clothes, you've nothing to stress about, right?

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 16:59:23

You seem to want to read posts that reaffirm your pov,but dismiss mine as angry?
Why is it so intolerable for you?I haven't counted use of word ethical,but it's popped up
I wouldnt ask anyone to refrain from a pov or word because they already said it. But you ask this of me?

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 17:03:54

Infact it's you teacakes who is v vexed,and resorting to namecalling
Clearly your pov matters to you,just as mine matters to me
And as consumers we can both chose where,and from whom we buy our clothes

Oddly, i had initially agreed with you and understood your viewpoint, but was curious as to why you keep defending it. Nobody attacked it, and i certainly did not dismiss you in any way. I said you seemed angry, i of course could be wrong.

There is no name-calling. But i do apologize for that last sweatshop comment, i was feeling a bit naughtysmile

Look, if i sense you might be angry, this in no way means i disagree with you. Does that make sense? I simply wanted to know 'why'.

There's a fair bit of snobbery surrounding issues of ethical clothing, so wondered if this was the reason why? If so, i can see why it would irritate.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 17:36:28

Ok,so let's see.you've posted I doth protest too much,I'm angry,defensive,and going on
Presumably you on other hand have been measured,objective and polite to me?
I do wonder why you're so snippy about this.

ujjayi Sun 24-Mar-13 18:09:21

Thanks to everyone who has posted links. It does seem that there is a massive gap in the market for an affordable, sustainable & sweatshop free high street range. The pricing issue makes it appear an elitist privilege rather than a consumer right for all and I fully take that on board.

Part of the issue I guess is that raw materials are so expensive. Organic cotton is around £12-15 a metre at retail price. Obviously large scale wholesale would be more competitively priced but then labour costs, export/import charges etc. soon start piling up and you can see why a fair price for the maker becomes a less than competitive price for us as consumers.

Also it seems to me that there isn't a "one size fits all" ethical store - People Tree may use women's cooperatives and social enterprises in India to produce garments but what about the carbon footprint of getting the stuff here to the UK? Do they also use fair trade needles, threads, fastenings, machines etc?

Also I would love to see more British made clothing. Am I mistaken in thinking the UK used to have a sizeable textiles industry?

For those of you like ScottishMummy who are unimpressed with the ethical ranges.....what styles/brands would you buy into if they had ethical ranges? I do think there is an image associated with fair trade and it isn't always very flattering!!

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 18:16:19

I'm not necessarily a brand follower and I wouldn't buy solely on ethical basis
I see I buy.simple as that.I've not liked any of the Eco links clothes posted
All the clothes posted have a look,kind of right on chic.too flowy for me

peacefuleasyfeeling Sun 24-Mar-13 18:45:45

I'm totally on a budget for clothes and haven't bought anything new for myself or DD for years. Even when I earned a lovely FT salary I was wary of unethical practice in the high street and was pleased to have my choices informed by this concern. Now, I shop on eBay or from charity shops and nearly new sales (for DD) when necessary. Perhaps I labour under the illusion that the fact that my purchases are second hand (who knows, perhaps even 3rd?), absolves me from any blame for unethical practice, and therefore I don't pay much attention to the ethical record of the brands I tend to favour. Perhaps I ought to?

QueenCadbury Sun 24-Mar-13 20:59:25

Discussions like this and the frugal thread have certainly got me thinking whereas even a few days ago I wouldn't have given a second thought where my clothing came from. But where do draw the line? If you buy ethical/fair trade clothing then what everything else? Food, household goods (cleaning products, loo paper etc), toys, electrical goods, cars, everything really.

I'm not meaning to start further arguments but I'm genuinely curious if those that buy ethical/fair trade clothing apply it to all aspects of life?

ujjayi Sun 24-Mar-13 21:10:32

That's a really good point Queen. For me, I do try buying as much local produce as possible, already buy eco cleaning stuff but cannot claim to be entirely ethical in my day to day life. I suppose it makes me a hypocrit but as with many things I guess we have to pick our battles.

The whole point of the thread was debate rather than preaching so I'm glad to see so many contributions smile

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 21:15:42

I do buy organic food,organic milk but. Don't go on about it though it's non issue
Buy starbucks,shop amazon,Happy meals occasionally for kids,and high st a go -go
On basis of links in this thread won't buy Eco-clothes though

ujjayi Sun 24-Mar-13 21:15:53

Peacefuleasyfeeling - I had a conversation yesterday about the ethics of buying second hand clothing from non-ethical companies. I think somebody here already said they felt it was better to buy anything second hand than brand new - even if the brand new item is ethical. It's surely less wasteful & greener to recycle & reuse? I am happy to be corrected on this point!

FrugalFashionista Sun 24-Mar-13 21:29:56

I believe in baby steps. Trying to restrict the amount of trash I produce, recycle when I can, curb my inherently consumerist impulses ( grin ). But I'm not a huge believer in organic food (long story). An overly black and white attitude can make change impossible. Small changes - if everyone does something - have a cumulative effect, and I believe in this. (Middle-class do-gooders have managed to abolish slavery, end child labor, provide sanitation and healthcare in many countries... wouldn't dismiss them quite so quickly.) I can live with an unethical needle or zipper - you have to start with something. Maybe the zipper producers are next in line wink

I'm trying to simplify my life also for purely selfish motives. I do not want my house and life be taken over by worthless junk. Climate change is not going to make my life easier. I also live in a society where true poverty is present and visible. I cannot change everyone's lives, but I feel that the time of crass consumerism and exploitation should be over. Hope so, anyway.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 21:33:41

I like a bit of consumerism spending,because I can.^because I want to^
Growing up had Tat,and scraped by.it's nice to not do that now
I don't feel in any way bad about my choices or spending

babysaurus Sun 24-Mar-13 22:48:56

This, apart from ScottishMummys often badly written rants, has been very interesting. I am becoming more and more mindful of where stuff comes from, not just clothes, and personally (and admittedly due to buying and discovering for myself) don't shop in Primark / H&M as its often cheap and nasty as well as the more serious consideration of why it is so cheap. However, I do often buy from the mid range shops on the high street and it seems these can often be as bad, ethically at least.
confused

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:57:35

I think you mean you disagree with content,because others understood and responded
I'm not defined by what I buy,and I'm not perturbed by his fashion is produced
if someone buys over priced Eco clothes they are still a consumer,just consuming non high st

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 23:00:16

The hierarchy is:

1) reduce so don't buy anything
2) reuse so buy 2ndhand or repurpose
3) recycle so buy something made from used materials
4) buy sustainable/ethical
5) buy other

So yes buying secondhand high street is better than new ethical as no raw materials used. And yes, the original purchaser carries the stain of the garment production processes on their soul so you are safe grin .

Unless you specifically want to create work/money for a particular person or group of people which introduces a whole load of other complex factors....!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 23:00:59

I put a grin? Why flowers? They better be fair trade flowers on this thread!

FrugalFashionista Mon 25-Mar-13 10:02:10

If anyone wants a bit of an expose on the flower trade, watch the excellent American/Colombian indie film 'Maria Full of Grace'. I guarantee a bunch of roses will never feel the same again grin

Yellow thanks for the hierarchy, v useful!

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