x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Katie Trotter: the high price of clothing with a conscience

You get what you pay for -- and when it comes to fashion, maybe more is more.

Oh, eco-fashion! How you puzzle me so. While there is no doubt that your aim is truly admirable - and of course unmistakably responsible - perhaps a slight shift in foundation principles is called for.

With eco-shoe companies such as Green Toe (rolls off the tongue as eloquently as "trench foot", doesn't it?) and Swedish Hasbeens (are we talking about shoes or members of ABBA?) it seems some rebranding may be needed in order to entice the masses.

While I hope our fashion coverage in this Green Issue of M magazine proves it is possible to find products on the market that are both ecologically friendly and fashionable, if I am honest I will concede it hasn't been as easy a task as I had hoped.

If we truly want eco-fashion to break into regular fashion (and trust me, we do), and not exist as a stand-alone trend, it cannot and will not survive as a niche. Logic will tell us that anything done on a small scale will ultimately remain expensive - which is where the problem lies. Mainstream fashion, despite much effort, remains disposable.

While there is no doubt the eco-revolution is on our minds - whether it be when you read about the pesticides used on cotton, or the pennies paid to the woman who stitched together your new shirt from Gap - it is simply too easy to say we would buy ethical if it were cheaper.

We all want things to look good. We want style, selection and quality. We want it now. And we want it cheap. The problem is, fashion has become cheap only because labour and production standards have been pushed downwards. Yet in reality, what most of us feel is expensive is probably a garment's true cost.

So what can we do? Start small; it doesn't have to be overwhelming. First, take a look in your wardrobes - I mean really take a look. We have some fantastic tailors here in Abu Dhabi, so use them. They can work miracles on a garment. If a sleeve looks dated, change it. By adding a collar or taking in the waist of an oversized shirt you can invent a whole new look. And if you are feeling extra brave take a look at www.wardroberefashion.net, a website that will help you step by step to recycle and refashion your garments. If this isn't your forte there are also a great range of websites purely devoted to the cause (try People Tree or Gossypium) - that work directly with producers and have a great range of products on offer.

Perhaps it's simply time to stop and think before swiping our cards. When our new striped jersey dress costs little more than our taxi fare to Marina Mall, it may well be the epiphany we all need. Because, more than likely, we all have plenty already.



This week's highs and lows

NOT SO WONDERFUL The new Wonder Woman series stars Adrianne Palicki wearing jeggings. What?

GUN-METAL NAILS Get your manicures done, ladies, because summer is all but here. Chanel’s Black Pearl is the way to go.

THE NEW DENIM Why has leather become the latest go-to fabric? It’s certainly not easy to wear.

MILAN’S FINEST Miu Miu’s online shop launched recently. Hello, silky, flower-printed dresses!

TRAILING AWAY Céline’s extra-long trousers may be this season’s must-have but their hems sure can attract a lot of dust.