Self Help, Helps Sustain!

Before I start this blog post, I just want to thank God for all the lovely people I have met because of my blog and because of the cause and ideals I am slowly but surely making progress towards. Ever since I started blogging about sustainability in what we wear, everywhere I turn around I see only sustainable brands, ethical bloggers and people who have adopted slow fashion as a form of living and its just so motivating to know this community is not a very small one. Am I experiencing the Baader Meinhof effect (*Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly.)  Probably, but look who isn’t complaining? Me! 🙂

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So as I had mentioned in my previous post, I am doing a few blog posts on the various ways you can live a little gently, and ease into sustainability in fashion. To take that forward, today I wanted to discuss about stitching our clothes ourselves. Learning to sew your clothes is an important life skill which is not being stressed enough. It means you are taking proactive steps to ensure the clothes you wear have been made ethically and no one has been unfairly exploited in its making. There are two plus one ways of doing this (you’ll see why I didn’t say three in a minute 🙂 )

  1. Source the fabric and sew your clothes. There are countless Youtube and blogging tutorials for literally every piece of clothing you can imagine. So even novices can enjoy stitching if they invest in a basic sewing machine. The least one should know is to do quick fix sew tricks like sewing back a button, or stitching up small holes, etc because that will ensure you don’t end of throwing or letting an outfit sleep in your closet simply because of a small correctable defect.
  2. Take an old piece of clothing and give a fresh spin on it. Now this is a trend I have honestly never tried, but that being said, this is also my favourite genre of videos I love watching on Youtube! This is also the kind of sewing which is popularly seen in the US because there are so many stores where you can get oversized second hand clothes for prices way cheaper than what you might be paying to buy raw new fabric to make them!
  3. The third method is not exactly a self-sewing method, and is popular in India. It is where we don’t stitch our clothes ourselves, but get it stitched through our friendly neighborhood tailor! (Or tailors who literally live in another city if you are a crazy person who is a sucker for good stitching like me :O) When you think about it, even this form of stitching is so much better than fast fashion clothes because you actually know #Whomadeyourclothes and chances are these tailors are well taken care of because of the scale of operations and achievable targets set for them. Stitching blouses and salwar kameez sets are so common in India but many tailors these days are ready and eager for a challenge, so next time try giving your tailor a piece of not very expensive fabric and get your a nice pair of pants or a simple top stitched. You’ll be surprised how customized and one-of-a-kind the end result will look!

I have taken a course on stitching in the past and have made my fair share of clothes and I intend getting back to stitching very soon.

For my birthday this year, a close friend decided to present this beautiful skirt she completely stitched herself! It was such a perfect and thoughtful gift and I was moved by the gesture! When I decided the theme for the current post a few days ago I realized there was no other better way to portray self-sewing than by creating an outfit around this cheerful, floral skirt! I didn’t technically “self-stitch” it myself, I know, but hey showcasing a handmade gift like this makes this whole theme even better! You can thank me later for showing you what best gifts are made of! 🙂

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My friend has used a stretchy synthetic fabric for the skirt which is what gives it its beautiful fall and pleats. Sewing a circle skirt is quite easy (once you get over the weird and rocket science-ish measurement part of course) and I have attached an easy but detailed tutorial of it here!

Sewing can be a lot of fun once you get a basic hang of it and the pieces you sew is going to help you in the path of sustainability because when you put in your hard work to make something this beautiful, chances are, you are going to treasure it, treat it like an heirloom piece! When my dad had a short stint of about a year’s work in Germany before his marriage, he lived with an old grandmother-ly lady there as a paying guest, and as a part gift she made a fully hand embroidered handkerchief for me. Guess where it sits till this day in my house? In our locker with our other valuables! 🙂

After much contemplation I paired this skirt with this maroon top. I was feeling so reluctant to blog about this top because I bought it a couple of years ago from Forever 21! But then I realized sustainability is not about changing your wardrobe overnight but is a gradual process! Also, by throwing out all the fast fashion clothes I own, I am doing exactly what I am trying to move away from ~ cloth waste! So don’t judge me!

I’m going to leave you with a few more images of this beautiful outfit! Hope you enjoy it and get motivated enough to buy yourself a new sewing machine and in case you already have one, I hope I have intrigued you enough to wipe the dust gathering on that thing and start using it! 🙂

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P.S: Oh! And finally, I watched two very powerful documentaries on Netflix recently. The first one was The True Cost which is about the evils of fast fashion, the effect it has on the laborers, the effect to our planet and what marketing strategies these large brands use to make people buy clothes they really don’t need! The other one was more of a lifestyle documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Strongly urge you to watch it to understand how liberating minimalism and slow fashion are! 🙂

Thank you as always for reading all the way to the end! Have a great week ahead!

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Shop Local!

  • Did you know fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil?
  • Did you know it takes 70 million barrels of oil to produce the polyester used in fabrics each year? Oh and this polyester is non-biodegradable too!
  • Did you know in less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans trash each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons, which roughly works out to a whooping 80 pounds per person?
  • Did you know stone washing of jeans is done using volcanic pumice stones and when they are used they break down and this waste is dumped in rivers and inhaled by workers in the jeans factory? (Needless to say, these jeans originally manufactured in the United states are now manufactured in developing nations. Cant get their precious water and precious workers in harm’s way can they?)

I din’t know many of these facts until recently and I won’t blame you if you didn’t either! But this is just a minuscule compilation of facts against fast fashion. The kind of resources and the kind of waste the fashion industry is creating has gone unnoticed and hidden from us for too damn long and its time we take a stand!

What do we as people trying to be responsible do about this? Where do we start? There are numerous things you can do to help this planet and I thought it will be a good idea to do a small blog post about each way, and here’s the first way!

Know brands in your city/country which stand for sustainable and ethical fashion

Shopping locally ensures that minimum costs, efforts and pollution have gone into shipping and logistics. It means you are wearing fabrics best suited for your environments. It also ensures you are doing your part to supports artists and craftsman in your city/country!

So this step, as a I realized very late (:|) is very easy in India because we live so close to the fabric produce and the weavers and the tailors. It gets harder in this country because only 3% of all the clothes worn in the United States are made here! :O And needless to say, all ethical brands here charge you an arm, a leg and a kidney for one piece of clothing! A lot of digging and research later I found a great brand Amour Vert (Means Green Love in French!) which stands for responsibly sourcing fabric and also plants a tree for every purchase made! What’s better? They don’t kill your bank account for an outfit!

In an attempt to build my wardrobe staples first, I bought this black and white striped tee-shirt. It was more expensive than what you might pay for something similar at a H&M but knowing this is going to last you much much longer makes it worth it.

I paired it with my Nikes tights which I’ve had forever and a pair of trusted converse. I didn’t know what to have in my hand (I feel I need some prop in my hand always! :’) ) and so I went on Pinterest to draw some inspiration and I saw denim jackets look really good with such a look and so decided to have my denim jacket in my hand with no intention of ever wearing it for the look! 😛

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The “basic” striped top can be worn in so many different ways. I chose this very basic one because really more than the outfit, the cause (sustainability) and the way to achieve it (shopping locally) is what this post is about! 🙂

This top is literally 100% made in the United States. It is made of Texas-grown organic cotton. Knitted in Los Angeles. Cut in Oakland. Sewn in San Francisco! Feels like I’m wearing a piece of the west coast on me! 🙂

If you have navigated through all these photos and reached this point, Congratulations! 😛 Now I have a question for you! While I was doing my research about locally made brands, one thing which eased my search so much were lists of ethical brands made by so many American and European bloggers. Do you think I should do such a hyperlinked list or an index of sorts of Indian Ethical and Sustainable Slow fashion brands? These lists would ideally include apparel, footwear, accessories and probably bags. Would that be useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! 🙂 Have a lovely Sunday and lovely extended weekend to all my friends in this part of the world! ❤

Here’s the link to this top : https://amourvert.com/products/bria-sleeveless-top?variant=39711722631

This is in no way a sponsored post! I bought this top (for my Birthday :P) and decided to blog and post about it myself!

Hi Again!

Why hello there! It has been a while isn’t it? Quite a while infact…201 days to be precise! In between my last post and this one I quit my job, I got a husband and I moved cities! 😀 So this new hello comes all the way from Los Angeles! An Indian at heart, figuring her way through the Hollywood city would be an apt description of me now! 🙂

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Married, happy and in love!

This move has been the biggest one for me so far! Married, living with A BOY! (:O) and thousands of miles away from where and with who I had spent the first two and a half decades of my life! The settling in and figuring out a pattern and setting a routine took me more than a couple of months but that just doesn’t justify a 6 month gap of no blogging!

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Well I do have a reason for that, just hear me out! 🙂 So in the first month of arriving here, I was so pumped and kicked about the fashion scene here, about all the clothes I could buy and styles I could create for my blog, (I even wrote a couple of blogs – they are still in my draft) about the amazing clothes I was generally going to own and so on until I went to a mall.!!! *insert dramatic drumbeat music* So this was an outlet mall where you get top brands at heavily discounted prices and each shop I entered into was more chaotic than the previous one. There were clothes strewn around and girls going bonkers throwing them about and treating them like trash (which I later realised was where those clothes belonged in the first place….especially clothes of some shops we can call Always22 and NotH&NotM? 😉 ) I am not going to lie, I did buy a couple of clothes in that mall that day, but the overall experience left me quite disgusted and far from what I expected to be honest.!

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Till then though, never a great fan of fast fashion, I hadn’t seen its impact in the true sense. In fact, I have styled clothes from these brands in the past because I just didn’t care about the larger issue at hand. Up until that point I had just seen this video of John Oliver about the issues of fast fashion and din’t know much else about it. But the day after I was back from the mall (we all need one night’s sleep to figure out what we are feeling and figure out our plans of action don’t we? :)) I sat down and started reading articles and seeing videos on the impact of buying cheap clothes going regularly on sale was having on our planet and I was quite shocked. This is NOT how it should be! This is absolutely not what I should be standing for!

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So for the first time since I started blogging, I had purpose! A new found sense of why I should blog. The first ever cause I felt the need and motivation to associate my blog with! The very drive I needed to renew and up my blogging game. Henceforth this blog is going to be all about Ethical fashion – ethically sourced, ethically made and fairly traded fashion.

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In the upcoming posts please expect to see brands (Indian and American) which support ethical fashion, the various vices of fast fashion analysed one at a time and tips and tricks to adopt responsible fashion without burning a major hole in your pocket.

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I intend to slowly change my wardrobe and your views on fashion and what better way to do it one outfit and one blog post at a time right? 🙂 This post is interspersed with this beautiful swing dress I got from Mogra Designs in India. Mogra was one of the very first brands I noticed who paid so much attention and love to painstakingly source their materials and have mentioned in detail about the care and attention they give to their weavers and artisans and about fair pricing their products.  This whole blog post was to sort of warm you up to the idea of ethical fashion and not a brand feature and so I used this beautiful dress I already had for this post.

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The more I read the more I realized fast, mindless and cheap fashion does nothing good to you, to the artist creating it or to the environment and it is just not worth it! This is a change which is not going to easy, let me not kid myself, and definitely not going to be instant! I am still probably going to style that ethically bought t-shirt with my Zara skirt, or that beautiful handmade dress with a Forever 21 bag (I am NOT going to shy away from the things I already own!) but I am going to be mindful of my choices and purchases in future! Are you with me on this mission? 🙂

Before I sign off, here are some interesting articles and compelling images which might just urge you to join me!

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-22476774

https://www.thebalance.com/textile-recycling-facts-and-figures-2878122

http://www.npr.org/2016/04/08/473513620/what-happens-when-fashion-becomes-fast-disposable-and-cheap

 

 

 

One Tadka Martini please!

Now that the caption got you all curious, let me tell you this post has nothing to do with cooking, it has nothing to do with drinking and no! it has nothing to do with creative naming either (though I must say I’m mighty proud of “Tadka Martini” Patent material right? Loljk!)

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Onam Special Ft. Mahatriya

Hailing from a city called Palakkad which lies almost on the line dividing Tamil Nadu and Kerala has its own strange perks! We get to celebrate Keralite festivals without looking like a South Indian going on Karva Chauth fasts (er…yes I have some such friends! :P)

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Of Indian Prints and Western Twirls ~ Ft. Tadka by Madhu

My favourite kinda clothes are the ones which resonate Indian but come with a small western twist to them! That’s why Madhu’s Tadka popped from the hundreds of other vendors on Instagram for me!

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Of Sneakers and Shirtdresses

Heylo blogging world! It’s so good to be back in my favourite writing space again! I’ve been having a re-starting trouble for quite a while now. Recently I picked up quite a few stuff from the Koovs.com sale and I decided there could be no better time, rime or reason to come back to my blog and show you what I got! So here goes. 

Shirtdresses have always intrigued me. “How can people wear a straight piece of clothing with no shape or cut or structure and be okay with that?” I asked myself. Always being on the “healthier” side of things I never wanted to try a Shirtdress regardless of how obviously comfortable it was going to be. All this changed when I saw a really cool denim Shirtdress on the Koovs.com sale at a very reasonable price. “Let’s try it” I thought and I was quite literally sold on the idea the minute I saw it! 😍

Being the perfect length, this denim Shirtdress hit just above my knee. Pairing them with my trusted white sneakers was a no-brainer and thus emerged what I suppose must be the simplest and most comfortable looks I have posted on my blog!  

There are no pretensions of perfection when you step into a Shirtdress. You are what you are with all you perfect imperfections (so much lyrics flicking!) and you got to embrace that to actually rock a shirt dress. 


My only two accessories for this look were my white sneakers and my blue sunnies. Since it was an early morning shoot and I was rushing, I didn’t have time to apply even the very basic makeup I usually put on for shoots! 

Outfit Details: Shirtdress – Koovs.com, Sneakers – Promod, Sunnies – Missamore.com 

{Oh Shoot!}

My wonderful and talented photographer for the day was RamKeshav check out his work on Facebook , his Website or Instagram. The wonders he creates with his camera are just amazing! Can you believe all the pictures of the shoot were taken in daylight and the lighting effects were all purely his and his one love- his camera ( that’s what he calls it!) Thank you Ram! I’m going to make the most of our Collab ASAP because this dude is going to be going places very soon! 😍