A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Independent and sustainable creativity is thriving despite the pandemic

Hello! It's been a while since I graced the pages of the No Debutante blog, following a year that has seen everyone grow and adapt to this new world, where things have certainly changed in many ways.

As a journalist who had regularly supported and written about indie business and slow fashion, I found myself wanting to say so much that it became overwhelming. As more writers and (instagram pages!) stepped forward to share the indie biz love, unconsciously, my focus began to shift.

My side hustle turned small business Fruit Salad

My side hustle and fashion brand Fruit Salad had started to grow and take on its own identity, which was amazing (especially in a pandemic) and all my spare time....

- Not that there's much of it - imagine a fast, intense photo montage here, with a superfast techno soundtrack, I hate techno but it captures the mood/chaos perfectly, of me looking after a family and working a day job and all those other side hustles in fashion, bands and radio shows

....was taken up by just wanting to create and make! So, swamped in piles of pre-loved fabrics, I found myself asking... 'Am I not a writer anymore?' 

Seriously, with a lack of writing flow and consistency and mind-blowing covid confusion,  I had started to doubt my ability and (like in everything I ever do) imposter syndrome snuck in and made me think I was no longer a writer - maybe I never had been really...despite being a Fashion editor, copywriter and JOURNALIST! (my eyes are now rolling at my own stupidity).

Yep, It's been a mad ol' time for self-doubt but I've also learnt that if I enjoy a thing and I'm kinda good at it, I can drop in and out of it as and when I like. It doesn't have to be completed NOW, NOW, NOW! It can be considered, I can slow down and actually enjoy it, without adding unnecessary anxiety and stress.

My favourite writing space at the kitchen table!

The term 'writing a blog' has also changed, with many people now pretty much writing articles on a single social media post or creating regular video content and podcasts, blogs and the written word, as it currently exists, look to become redundant!

As a journalist and blogger,  I had felt a tug of resentment against this new style of journalism but only as much as the journalists who actually studied journalism feel about an untrained indie journalist like myself, who started off with a self promoting fashion blog and a random, yet regular, fashion spread in a weddings (yes weddings!) magazine, as I stumbled blindly into journalism. 

Y'know what? It's all good. We all have something to say and we can share it however and whenever we want to. It's so exciting that we now have so many platforms and formats that we can share our ideas, thoughts and stories. It really is a time to communicate, learn and collaborate! 

There has certainly been an explosion of support for both small business and slow fashion during 2020 and into 2021, as more and more writers, instagrammers, online markets and indie businesses themselves have come together, to share the love, (well, the government doesn't give a damn does it?) which is truly amazing! 

I have, of course, felt guilty about not promoting all the other amazing indie brands out there as much as I used to, but as a multi-passionate creative, who thrives on being busy,  I have learnt to slow down in life - as many of us have had to lately -  I have got over myself and realised I can't do everything at once and that's just fine. 

Honestly, if I read myself saying this a few years back, when I started the 'you only live once do everything now' quest (for no real reason), I'd think I'd been hit by a hippy stick (quite possible in Bristol tbh!). 

I still agree that you only live once and if you like a thing, you should do a thing but perhaps try everything in moderation and take a moment to smell the flowers! (Yep, definitely hit with the hippy stick). 

Hello Dodo from the Indies in lockdown series

Looking back at my writing during the pandemic I am really proud to have shared new indie makers and brands whilst spreading the word about slow and sustainable fashion. I really love my Indies in Lockdown series where I got to speak to so many indie businesses about their experiences and learnt so much.

If anything, supporting all these amazing small businesses and interviewing so many inspiring indie makers and creatives over the years has encouraged me to bring forward a passion that has been on the back burner for a long while, giving Fruit Salad the push it deserves!!!.....Of course, I feel like an imposter fashion designer now, despite previously working as a fashion designer in industry for years!

After I had readjusted my mindset,  I got my writing mojo back and popped myself back into the journalist room on a mission to share my knowledge on sustainable and slow fashion.

In lockdown two, I was super excited to be asked to contribute to the first ever edition of The Indie Guide, an independently published magazine created by a collective of indie bloggers, sustainable fashion designers and photographers. The aim of the magazine is to support sustainability, independent creatives and small business. 

Proudly holding my copy of The Indie Guide

My excitement to be writing again went into overdrive which meant I ended up contributing two articles (once I start I cant stop) including 'My Slow Fashion Journey' and 'How to become a slow fashion supporter'. 

These are sustainable subjects that I could continuously write about, probably forever, or until I've managed to convert the whole fashion industry and all its consumers (that's the whole population no biggy) to slow down and bring an end to fast fashion. 

It was so awesome to collaborate with The Indie Guide founders and so many other indie writers and independent makers and fashion businesses to showcase how great the indie fashion/creative industry really is. 

Despite a pandemic, independent creativity is totally thriving!  

Like myself, during lockdown many creatives were given the opportunity to spend more time on their hobbies and side hustles to grow and evolve them into functioning small businesses!

We really don't need the fast fashion corporate chains and trend obsessive fashion houses anymore! How empowering and inspiring is that?

All the prints with independent accessory designer I am R

Remember, we can all support indie businesses every single day, not just by buying from them and writing articles about them but by following, liking, commenting, sharing and getting to know a whole new community of makers (instagram's a good place to start). Do your research and find your new favourite brand/artist/maker! 

I shall sign off  'the first No Debutante blog post of the year' here, full of excitement of what's to come. In an ever-changing world anything can happen and why the hell can't it be positive eh? 

So start writing, start creating, try something new or just do your thing, take your time, there really is room for everyone to get involved, you are not an imposter, you are fabulous, you CAN do this! 

Spread the joy and Big love in 2021 x

Buy a printed copy of The Indie Guide 

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