Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Green Dress

Time to face facts: it is dinner party night and unless I do an “au naturel” number, I have nothing ethical to wear. And there is the small matter of dinner.
Oh dear.

I took an executive decision this morning and headed to a nearby British Heart Foundation charity shop. There, I bought myself a rather splendid green dress, second-hand, of unknown origin. Sure, the dress might well have been made in a sweatshop. On the other hand, I did contribute £17.00 to a noble cause and saved a little space on a landfill. That must be worth some ethical points.

As for shoes, I’m sorry to say the choices out there are horrifying. I live in London. London! You can buy anything you want here. But go to the many shops selling shoes with a conscience and you will leave wearing the type of footwear people chain themselves to trees in.
Take this example: Terra Plana is a great idea for a shop. They’re in the middle of Covent Garden, the shop looks lovely and they seriously signed up for the sustainable fashion concept.  Their website is a delight. You can watch a clip of their shoes being made. They have a vegan range. A low-glue, toxin minimising range. Another one using recycled soles. They won the Observer Ethical Fashion Award a couple of years ago.

But the shoes? The shoes I do not want to buy. I’m really sorry. But I’d rather go and donate some money to a nice charity than wear this:
Then on my way home, I spotted this pretty pair of shoes in humble Nuveau Look and had to dig my nails into my palms to stop myself walking in and exchanging a meagre £20.00 for them:  

Sticking to this challenge hurts sometimes.
But is all cheap clothing necessarily made under horrible conditions? Well, I decided to check what New Look had to say on ethical trading and as it turns out, it’s quite a lot: .

They’re part of the Ethical Trading Initiative and, if their code of conduct is anything to go by, they seem to work in a decent and responsible way with their suppliers and countries they buy from.

Am I being naïve to believe a £20.00 pair of shows from New Look can be worn with a clear conscience?
Well, I am wearing them in black tonight, but I promise to take the shoes to the British Heart Foundation shop if I find out any holes in New Look's story.



  1. Hi
    Really random, but do you still have this dress?!
    I saw this style a few years ago on Jessica Alba, and I have wanted it ever since as my Wedding dress... I am now planning my wedding and looking for my dress, however the original is an Alexander Mc Queen, and costs over £1800!!!Would you be willing to sell it?! or rent it out?!thanks! Sarah

  2. Ha. I was coming to say exactly what Sarah says... My wedding is this December. So... maybe we can work out some arrangement if she's willing to sell, Sarah? I've been eyeing this dress for months and nothing quite compares. I love everything about it! - Angela

  3. I love this dress!!! If youre willing to part with it I'd be very interested!