Fast fashion – the True Cost.

Good afternoon to you my fashionista friends,

A short while ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost” (an absolute must watch if you are as fashion conscious as I am) and it had such a profound effect on me. I knew immediately it was something I needed to research in more detail and share with my readers. Therefore, this month we delve into the world of Fast Fashion.

(All images courtesy of google images)

I was in tears by the end of the documentary as it goes into great detail about the working conditions in textile factories in some of the most poverty stricken, third world countries in the world. Mothers can be seen bent crookedly over their sewing machines whilst their newborn babies are swaddled in a blanket at their feet, whilst others earn so little money each month they have to send their children to live with relatives in distant villages because they cannot afford to provide basic human needs for their families.

It really puts a spot light on the influence of how Fashion has evolved so dramatically even in my lifetime. The demand for ready to wear collections; seen one day on the catwalk and then available in stores the very next is now the norm – but at what cost?

I was absolutely appalled to see how in some remote regions in India, because of the harsh chemicals used to dye leathers and suedes, the local rivers which provide drinking water to its inhabitants are now heavily polluted. These areas do not have access to bottled drinking water like we in the western world take for granted, so they risk severe illness and even death by consuming it.

Or when textile workers complained to their senior management about unsafe working conditions in a factory in Dhaka which was ignored, Rana Plaza came crashing down to a pile of rubble in May 2013, killing over a thousand people albeit barely making international news channels. These companies are under such pressure to produce garments as cheap as possible, with the notion of if they refuse, the fashion houses will just find another factory to fabricate their collection even cheaper.

It really puts me into such a conundrum. I, like everyone I know will shop in high street chain stores where you know you will be getting basic items at minimal prices because frankly we all love a bargain. That feeling of buying a dress which was originally £50 but only amounted to £19.99 when you go to the checkout counter is an instant endorphin boost. I wholeheartedly admit that with the world of social media and digital technology, the ideology of being able to wear a new outfit every time you socialise with your friends is highly coveted but not sustainable at all. What with rising costs of living, bills and supporting families – many of us do not have anything extra from our salaries to purchase frivolous clothing.

I also believe however, that spending a bit more on classic, well made items ensure they really do stand the test of time. A wonderful example of this is a well worn Burberry trench coat is now one of my prized possessions after it was handed down to me by my mum. It comes out in the Spring every year and must be at least 20 years old but utterly timeless in my opinion.

I guess my passion for Fashion has predominantly come from seeing masters like Manolo Blahnik lovingly going to his factory in Italy every few months where he insists on making the sample shoe of each style himself, teaching his staff the skills and quality he brings to his brand. And Dries Van Noten ensuring all of his textile factory staff are taught how to sew couture gowns and intricate sequin work by hand as he wants his legacy of dress making to continue long after his reign in the industry has surpassed. When you learn that a standard Michael Kors bag can be made in 20 minutes whereas a Hermes Birkin can take easily 24 hours as it’s all hand made – you can fully understand how the costs can vary so dramatically.

Personally I have learned that I as one person will never be able to change the world myself by refusing to wear animal products or only choosing to buy clothing from high end designers perhaps once a year instead of for that special occasion you would like to look your best for, but by consciously thinking about where the item was made and if you really need it instead of merely wanting it – day by day you can make a difference to your own life and your loved ones around you. I believe one small act of kindness or compassion achieved by us all, will collectively make a lasting impression in the world for our future generations.

Until next time,

Keya x

Colour Champions.

Good afternoon my colourful chameleons, 

I believe I would be correct in saying that those who know me personally, would say I am a happy go lucky kind of person and I love incorporating bright colours and patterns into my day to day wardrobe. Today’s post I am dedicating to some of my favourite colourful outfits I have worn and I also want to give you some advice on how to incorporate brighter shades into your own wardrobe if it all seems a tad daunting.

  
The above outfit I wore for an fashion party in the city which is one of my favourites. The dress is by Hoss Intropia, the snap back is by Fort Riu and the shoes are Jimmy Choo. I love the quilted material and flared skirt of this dress and the cut away detail on the top flatters my broad shoulders. 

  
This red dress from Massimo Dutti I wore whilst on holiday in Portugal. The red hue really compliments my olive complexion and as the dress was a statement on its own I teamed it with my black Kurt Geiger wedges and a Chanel bag.

  
This is another outfit I wore whilst on my vacation. As soon as I saw this print in the shop I was drawn to the bright colours and the fitted shape suits my athletic frame. I just threw on some sandals with it so the dress could do the talking. 

  
I wore the above outfit to a party in Newcastle at the end of last year. The dress is a vintage lace one which I wore with my Valentino tan shoes and Michael Kors snakeskin bag. I really like the navy colour of this dress with the sequin detail, it looked chic and elegant on the night and really sparkled under the dance floor lights. 

  

  
  For my fathers 60th birthday dinner I wore the above embellished grey dress that I found in TK Maxx and the shoes are from Kurt Geiger. The A-line style of this dress was really comfortable especially when sat down for dinner and the colour was really appropriate for the winter setting of the celebrations. 
Brighter prints do not need to only be worn on nights out, they can be appropriate for the office too. I love this jazzy shirt from Ralph Lauren which I wear with black skinny chinos and pumps. 

 If the idea of wearing a bright colour brings you out in hives I would suggest starting really small perhaps with colourful bracelets or a patterned scarf which will immediately brighten up a plain outfit. You can then start introducing colour block shoes or a pastel bag. You will amaze yourself at how quickly you will love having brighter items in your wardrobe and you can go as bold or as muted as you wish! I am probably at the extreme end of wearing colour but when I am having a bad day or the weather is miserable, it’s amazing what a bright red pair of suede moccasins or printed dress will do for your mood 😀

Most of all, the reaction you will get from friends and colleagues is amazing – if you can bring out a huge smile or start a conversation because your outfit, what’s not to love ❤️

Until next week, 

Take care, Keya x

Birthday suit

Good afternoon my sunshine souls, 

What a wonderful day in the city today, feeling so happy 😀

For this weeks post following on from celebrating my birthday last week,I have decided to dedicate this post to dressing for your special day.

I have been lucky enough over the years to celebrate my birthday in a number of different countries. Below I will reveal some of the more memorable for me and what I wore for the occasion. 

On my 25th birthday I got to enjoy it whilst in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. On my special day my friend and I went out for a wonderful dinner which involved the freshest pasta I have ever tasted and copious amounts of prosecco. We then went to a club called Music on the Rocks which was as the name suggests built into a cave overhanging the ocean. It truly was spectacular. I chose to wear the below dress from a vintage stall I used to frequent in Brick Lane. The nude colour was perfect against my deep sun tan and I just wore classic black wedges and bag to let the dress do the talking.  

  

For my 26th birthday I went to Bali on a yoga and surfing retreat. My day started with a sun rise yoga session overlooking the beautiful rice paddies, I then relaxed by my hotel pool in the afternoon and in the evening my wonderful South African friend (who I had met on the trip) and I jumped on the back of some local scooter taxis to a great restaurant to watch the sunset with exotic cocktails in hand. I chose to wear the below dress as the evening was so beautifully balmy paired with some simple sandals. The bright pattern and metallic accents really made this dress one to remember. 

  
For my 27th birthday I was working overseas in South Africa at the time which was an amazing experience. I am actually half South African so it meant a lot to me that I got to spend my day with my family and friends. Although winter was on the approach on that side of the world, my best friend and I decided to go all out and celebrate in style. We went for a lovely dinner overlooking the harbour, followed by drinks at our favourite watering hole in Long Street and then onto Club 31 which as you may have guessed was on the 31st floor of a skyscraper building. I chose the below navy lace dress with sequin detailing paired with my vivacious Valentino shoes and a Michael Kors snakeskin bag. 

  
For my most recent birthday ( cannot quite believe it but my 29th) I celebrated on the following weekend as my special day fell on a Tuesday this year. On the Saturday morning I did my birthday wod at my Crossfit box which was tough but a lot of fun and then I had my closest girlfriends over to my house for drinks in the garden in the darling dusk of evening. We then went to East London to a few bars where we met my birthday buddy and all of the rest of our friends. Wow what a night. As I knew we were going to be on our feet all evening I went for the comfortable option. My top seen below was vintage lace which I paired with my black wet look jeans from Massimo Dutti, boater hat from the Italian wool company and my espadrilles from Havianas. 

       

 These are just a few of my more recent incredibly memorable birthdays. I think the key to enjoying your special day is to firstly ensure you dress for the venue.  Always research a new place thoroughly before visiting to ensure all guests adhere to the dress code and there are no problems gaining entry. Most important of all though,  as long as you surround yourself with your dearest friends and family, it does not matter if you are turning 21, 30 or 50 you will surely be the belle of the ball and have an amazing evening. 

 Until next time party people,

Take care, Keya x