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

Friday, 26 February 2021

Why slow and sustainable fashion is the new influencer on the block

Hello Sunshine! It's been a long time coming and I am sooo ready for Spring with its fresh starts, a new optimism for our future selves and the end of lockdown!

I cannot wait to ditch the coats and start wearing less, which brings me neatly onto todays topic....

A few months ago I saved a post that google decided I would be interested in, and for once, I actually was interested in it but the headline just made me feel a bit, well, uncomfortable...

"Woman wears same dress for 100 days"....

It was an article supposedly bigging up slow and sustainable fashion and it did, to some extent, but, as a person who whole heartedly embraces sustainable and slow fashion, my initial thought to that headline was simply...."Ewwww!!!!". 

This type of article for slow and sustainable fashion is not, in my view, helping to promote a realistic, sustainable lifestyle. It is actually scaring people off! 

"What? I have to wear the same dress, every day, for four months to be sustainable? No, it's not for me!" 

I can understand that mindset. Even as a big sustainable supporter I also DO NOT want to wear the same dress for 100 days! I will probably wear many of my clothes more than 100 times but not in daily succession thank you very much! 

Don't get me wrong, I congratulate the woman, for the sake of slow fashion in the fight against mass consumerism, her stamina to wear that dress for 100 days is to be commended...I'm just not going to do it and it isn't giving out the positive message that sustainable and slow fashion needs to right now.

The world is slowly being woken up to the nightmares of fast fashion so we need to keep that audience captive for as long as we can, not lose them to fast fashion as soon as all the corporate high street shops are open again. 

To make matters worse, a year ago, I read a similar article in The Guardian, I think, where there were lots of reasonably enthusiastic slow fashion supporters, like myself, lumped in with the likes of this bloke who confessed to be wearing his dead Dad's pants! NO!!! THAT'S JUST TOO FAR!! 

There needs to be a limit to how we encourage and champion sustainable lifestyles without bringing in the gutter trash journalism that terrifies the general public straight back to Primark and its fast fashion safety net. 

We need to gently ask people to stop buying fast fashion and to buy less.

Clothes do wear out so it is OK to replace them but buying just because you are bored, on a lunch break or out of habit is just not acceptable anymore! 

Shaking away that view that pre-loved clothing is unpleasant whilst changing the mindset that sustainable fashion is only for the middle classes who can afford it....I feel like I am repeating myself here but....supporting sustainable fashion doesn't mean buying ethically sourced organic clothing neither does it mean you have to stop buying clothes altogether. 

We have to make slow fashion fun, unique and the biggest new influencer on social media, that everyone wants to aspire to. This is where the independent designers, vintage stores, charity shops and your existing wardrobes come in, you know what to do! Get creative and look outside that box! 

The Six Items Challenge

A year ago I was up to my neck in Labour Behind the Labels - Six Items Challenge.

I wore six items of clothing for six weeks and it was HARDCORE! I would probably lose the plot if I wore the same dress for 100 days, but I did manage six items for six weeks.  

The Six items challenge asks you to create a capsule wardrobe and limit the amount of clothes you wear in support of garment workers who are suffering as a result of fast fashion AND change your mindset on over-buying!

The challenge is happening again RIGHT NOW. It only started a week ago so why not hop on board the slow fashion train and give it a go and see how long you can last???  

It's a challenge in itself to reduce down your beloved wardrobe to only six items that will also work together as a capsule wardrobe but it's totally doable. 

My biggest tip would be to include dungarees, jumpsuits and/or dresses that can be layered up, as this offers so many outfit variations, much more than separate pieces like trousers and tops. 

The other thing to consider is the season.... In the UK cold weather and grey days can be on the regular so your fave cardigan, hoodie or light jacket will need to be included. 

Accessories are also your friend with a capsule wardrobe, nothing changes an outfit more than an amazing headscarf, big earrings or a good ol' belt, so creativity is key! You have unlimited options with accessories and they will also help relieve the 'same outfit' boredom that creeps in around the end of Week 2! 

For those of you who are terrified of the idea of the Six Items Challenge, can I reassure you that underwear, sleepwear, sports gear, work uniforms, coats, shoes and accessories ARE NOT included in your six items. This was the game-changer for me. 

Find out how I got on in my blog posts from 2020's challenge in the links below and find out all you need to know about the Six items Challenge from Labour Behind The Label



After five weeks (and a lot of ridiculous and cheesy ideas) the IGTV series that accompanies this blog, finally has a name...Drumroll please.....EMTV  - You know like as in Emma, my name.....it was obvious really wasn't it? Plus, it was given the thumbs up from my, usually over-critical, 16 year old son Lucian so it must be good! 

In my next blog post I shall be sharing how a capsule wardrobe of six items of clothing from my wardrobe can be styled up to last the whole of the Six Items Challenge and perhaps I shall even challenge myself to see how long I can last! It would be really great if you also chose six items and joined me and Labour Behind the Label in supporting slow and sustainable fashion. Let me know if you want to take part! 

I'd really love to hear any feedback about this post and anything that is mentioned within it. It would be great to hear your views and experiences.

Please give the IGTV vlog that accompanies this blog post a watch alongside the other videos in the EMTV series. 

Thank you for supporting  - Big love XX

Taking on Labour Behind The Labels Six items Challenge -Part 1

Taking on Labour Behind The Labels Six items Challenge -Part 2

Taking on Labour Behind The Labels Six items Challenge -Part 3

How to complete Labour Behind the Labels Six Items Challenge

Friday, 12 February 2021

Simple ways to support independent creatives on social media

You start to follow a creative on social media, you are loving their content, their inspiring photos, fun videos and what they create and you think to yourself, 'I'm gonna buy something from them one day, I'm gonna tell them just how amazing I think they are'..,...but you just press 'like' and scroll on through your feed, dishing out likes to a selected, and often random, few...We've all done it! We are all guilty of this!

Your favourite creative has no idea how much you like their work, whether they are a maker, a musician, a hair stylist, an artist, they can't read your mind. Instead, they are creating away, oblivious, that they are making so many people happy and inspired. 

They are unsure if the content /products/ music/artworks that they are creating is exactly what their followers want (despite having hundreds, even thousands of followers) and why? 

Because so many of us don't say anything, we drop them a like and follow, what more do they want from us?

They want feedback. 

They want praise, they want support, they want to know what you like and what you don't like, this in turn helps to motivate them and inspire their creativity further. It makes them happy. 

Why would I want to help them you may ask...Well, why not? 

We are a funny old bunch the British, stiff upper lip, slagging off success with a feeling that sharing your talents is to show off and being kind to others is a sign of weakness (seriously??). 

Well, this archaic view needs to be shaken off. You are all AMAZING and everyone has the right to be amazing and to be kind to each other without being accused of either being a fake liker or a kiss-ass! 

We are all having such a crappy time of it lately that we know what we are all feeling, so kindness is so important right now. 

There are various ways to share the love, virtually and physically (in person- can you imagine?) here are a few examples.


Supporting each other via Social media

If you are following and liking creatives you are already supporting, but could you do more??

The next time a creative shares a blog post, a video or a piece of music, why not actually take the plunge and interact with it? Listen to it, watch or read it? 

Why not go even further and share it on your own social media? Will it offend your followers? Certainly not! The more we all share indie creatives work, the more people will move away from mass consumerism and appreciate independent creativity! 

This is how important it is to say more than 'like'. If you really do like what you see, give creatives a positive boost and the motivation to keep going. You gotta share the love! 

We saw lots of support over Christmas for small business, with friends and followers sharing posts and links to online shops, THIS WAS AMAZING but why stop at Christmas? Keep sharing, it doesn't have to be the same small businesses every time, do some research, find new creatives and others will follow.

The next step asks you to part with your money, of course you should only buy something because you really like it (or actually need it) but do consider small business over corporate where possible and buy their stuff! 

Sharing the indie joy with my exclusive Emotional Waterfall Buddha! 

Hitting save on instagram

A brilliant tip to remind yourself of an indie made gift that you have seen on instagram is to save the post. You may not want the item right now but having it in your saved archives is a brilliant way to remember and rediscover it at a later date.

I have been hitting save constantly since I discovered this gem. It's almost like pinterest, where I am saving all my favourite things, from inspiration to self care tips to products that I love and want to buy, either for myself or as gifts for others. It's a win, win for both customers and indie business. I love it! Try it out and let me know what you think. 

Where is the save button you ask? Bottom right, below each post, looks like a square with a triangular chunk taken out the bottom. Where are your posts saved? Click on the burger (three lines, top right) on your profile page. Now get saving! 

Sharing on Instagram Stories is so EASY!!! 

One of the simplest ways to share indie creatives posts is to share them on Instagram Stories, just click that arrow (looks like a paper aeroplane see above graphic) and share posts direct to your stories. 

I share a few stories a day mostly via my Fruit Salad platform, I am so happy with who I follow on there, everything is so inspiring, so when I get a moment I share. 

It's not on my wall, its only there for 24 hours but it lets people know that 

1) I got their back...and...

2) That I really like something and want everyone else to see it and like it too. 

That's all, its easy and I am addicted to the cute gifs!! (Cute gifs optional). 

Please do this!!!! 

Commenting is super important

One of the best things you can do that comes for free is to simply write a small comment below a creatives post, to let them know you are there and that you are enjoying their content. 

Not only does this make creatives feel all warm inside, it also ups their engagement on social media really helping them to share their amazingness and reach more people who could become their future followers, supporters and customers! This is also the same with likes, saves and shares. Well done! You've done a good thing! 

It only takes a moment but your kindness to take time to write something from the heart  - other than a few emojis - will mean the world to a creative /small business. It will stay with them a lot longer than it takes you to write it, that's for sure! 

Sharing more Indie biz love - Introducing the lovely founder of 
Carny Valley Capes,  Cat Johnson

Indies supporting Indies

As I say in the vlog that accompanies this post, I would also encourage other indies to share the love and create communities within social media. It is so important to get involved and be present, not just as a content creator but as a follower and fellow indie supporter. 

If you want to up your following and reach (reach is more important than likes these days) you need to like, comment, share and create conversations with fellow makers, who will in turn, do the same for you; offering out handy tips, share new business opportunities and may even want to collaborate or work with you. 

I promise the more you do this the more you will feel part of an online or maybe when things are back to something relatively normal, a local indie biz community. 

Sharing the love & repping my fave I am R polo earrings!

When hugs are out of the question...

When we are allowed to see each other again and hang out in social situations with OTHER PEOPLE we need to start visiting our local indie owned shops, indie pubs and eateries, buying local produce, supporting your mates band or art exhibitions in person. No excuses! Just do it! 

We are so desperate to get back out into society but are we willing to change?  Or when some normality is restored will we be back to mass consuming and corporate supporting 'just cos its easier''???

Now is the time to make the change! Changing our mindset and lifestyles, supporting small and local, not just at Christmas, but all year round! 

The other thing is to support your family, close friends and colleagues in their creative endeavours and indie businesses. 

It sounds obvious but I know from personal experience that many of the people that surround me have never read one of my blogs, listened to my radio show or even looked at my Fruit Salad website. 

I often hear this from creatives and it seems shocking but I just think we have got lazy. There is so much happening on social media that we are not checking in with the creativity that is happening around us and on our doorstep!

Your friends and family need that boost from their nearest and dearest. So check in and acknowledge their creativity and give it the attention it deserves. It may even surprise you!

Praise means the most from someone who is close to you. Your friends and family are not mind-readers but they may think you are just not interested in what they do, so speak out and share the love! 

Amazing catsuits by Burnt Soul. Credit - Burnt Soul

Being thankful

I watched a great IGTV video from Bristol catsuit queens Burnt Soul this week, who were sharing tips on starting up your own small business, after noticing so many people had done just that during lockdowns. Instead of keeping the secret of their success to themselves they shared the love. 

One thing that stood out to me and made me think - I NEED TO DO THIS  - was Burnt Soul's display board in their studio (I've not seen it but it sounds AMAZING) with positive quotes, photos and feedback from all of their customers, reminding them how loved they are and that their hard work is really appreciated. Which is especially great if you are having a down day AND everyone has those. 

Everyone should have a positivity wall!! In my opinion!

In my next blog post I shall be discussing how some 'so called' sustainable fashion articles can, despite meaning well, give out the wrong message. This headline "I wore the same dress for 100 days" didn't impact me the way it was meant to. What does it conjure up in your mind? 

As always I am really interested to hear any feedback about this post (especially as it is pretty much encourages you to give me feed back) and anything that is mentioned within it that you would like to contribute to the conversation. 

Please give the IGTV vlog that accompanies this blog post a watch too.


This week I shall be taking part in the Bristol Market online market with my slow fashion brand Fruit Salad. I am also going to be doing an Instagram live chat on Friday 12 February at 3pm with sustainable fashion designer Evie from Daines Atelier, discussing what we shall be selling at the market and sustainable fashion. 

I have an exclusive code that you can use during the 24 hour virtual market - which takes place in Bristol Markets Insta stories - alongside 30 other small business makers - from 8pm Friday until 8pm Saturday 13 February.  Type in BRISTOL at checkout to get 15% off everything in the Fruit Salad online shop

Thank you for supporting XX Big Love XX

Thursday, 4 February 2021

How looking outside the box can inspire creativity

No Debutante blogger and journalist


My goodness, why is everything so hard at the moment???

I started the day so positively, I had planned today's vlog and was mentally ready to smash it! Then the first of many home distractions and interruptions happened (watch the vlog to find out some of them), right in the middle of my 'record in one take' weekly vlog! 

Despite the chaos of home-life, I really want to keep posting a weekly vlog and blog as I actually enjoy it, so I refuse to be beaten by a few home distractions! 

By the time I did finally get back to recording the vlog, I was stressed out but wired and decided to just go for it and you know what? I think I got away with it! Find the link at the end of this post and make your own mind up! 

This week's topic is actually about looking outside the box to inspire creativity, so let's ignore the lockdown home-life madness for now and get stuff done! 

A rare, calm family moment! 

Adapting to change

The main inspiration that led to this weeks topic was actually stock, or a lack of it.

For the past month I have been having problems trying to get stock (beautiful pastel beanies for Fruit Salad) in from my local suppliers due to a mix of both Brexit and covid issues. It's been super frustrating and, to be honest, as a new business, I hadn't really given a thought to how Brexit may personally affect my business. 

In hindsight, I wished I had ordered lots more beanies in, not just because of Brexit, it's also the best time of year to sell beanies so there's a little note to myself for next winter! But hey! You live and learn.

On a positive note it has actually made me reconsider other ideas that I had in the pipeline for the future of a more sustainable Fruit Salad Beanie, that may now come into plan. Which can only be a good thing! 

However, I am now also getting very low on my stockpile of pre-loved garments and fabrics that I use to create my Fruit Salad REWORK collections, despite doing a massive charity shop haul back in October.

I long to be back in the charity shops sourcing new fabrics to rework but, due to current lockdown rules, that will have to wait until at least March! 

It's time to scrape the barrel and see what I can create with what I currently have in stock, which is also pretty sustainable too! It's a challenge, but I'm up for it. 

Repurposed jewellery by Elin Horgan
Repurposed Shapes and Spheres jewellery collection
by Elin Horgan

Repurposing and Recycling

Inspired by many of the amazing designers that I interviewed in my Indies in Lockdown blog series, I have learnt that working with what you already have IS possible!

During lockdown one, I spoke to jewellery designer Elin Horgan who found herself in a similar situation. Unable to get the components she needed from her suppliers, Elin decided to challenge herself and work with the stock she already had. 

By repurposing and recycling her scrap silver, Elin created a bold and beautiful collection of one off pieces named Shapes and Spheres, a totally unique way to keep her productivity and creativity flowing through a difficult time. Which I think is just amazing and super inspiring! 

Another creative who completely smashed lockdown one and adapted to the new change to her work and homelife was artist Emotional Waterfall, who, after realising she couldn't get to her studio, ended up turning a corner of her kitchen into her new creative space. 

By embracing her new set up Emotional Waterfall (aka Jemma Burnsnell) was posting daily inspirations and creations, even encouraging us to adorn glass jars and tins (basically the recycling) with amazing prints and colours. It was truly a joy to see her latest creations pop up on instagram

These two (of many) brilliant creatives have inspired me to rethink the way I work when life throws us (an albeit massive) curveball, to not dwell on what I can't do and focus on what I can accomplish. It's actually a really exciting thought! I literally want to start creating right now! Lets get the blog finished first...

Upcycled recycling by Emotional Waterfall
Amazing upcycled tins and jars
by Emotional Waterfall

Using media outlets to share your creativity

You may not realise it but, if you used lockdown as a creative window and turned your hobby into a side-hustle or a small business you have already started to look outside the box! You are selling on your own little online platform and for many of you  - due to bricks and mortar shops not being open right now - you have created your own little shop! Well done you! 

We are not just talking about creative makers here...As a multi-disciplinary creative, I am also a musician and a DJ. The music industry has suffered so much this past year and I have (we all have) completely missed experiencing live music as performers, creators and music lovers. 

I'm also saddened that my club night Bang turns 18 years old (I know, 18!!) this month and we cannot throw a big banging party to celebrate! 

However, I am really grateful to have been able to continue sharing music that I love via my radio show - This is Radio Bang. It has been a perfect (and the only) outlet for me to continue with Bang in one guise or another. I am also hoping to do an insta live DJ set too. 

Up until now I have been reluctant to DJ (or speak) on an insta live, despite presenting my own radio show and putting on club nights, ridiculous really! It's the same with performing with my band, I will stand up in front of a crowd of people at a gig and absolutely love it.

Bang DJs by Ania Shrimpton for Nitelife Magazine
DJing at Bang and loving life 
 Photo credit Ania Shrimpton for Nitelife

So, why does an insta live performance somehow seem to expose us more? 

Well, quite frankly, it doesn't! If anything people get to see the real, completely natural, endearing and lovable you! So just do it! 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is another way to look outside of that box and try something new. I completely encourage it! 

As I've said before it's all about video on social media right now and we need to be confident to use it. Never before has there been such exposure, so pick your medium, find out what works best for you and go with it. 

Since covid hit, we have all now become experts at adapting to change so let's use this new super ability to benefit ourselves, promote and inspire creativity! 

Whether it's looking outside the box to create something new from old or stepping outside your comfort zone and performing on insta live, I really hope I have inspired you to keep your creativity flowing! It takes some muscle but I promise you it will be worth it. 

Blogger and journalist No Debutante

In my next blog post I shall be encouraging us all to Share the love! With a look into how we can support each other more, in life as well as on instagram and in business. 

I am really interested in hearing from anyone who has any tips or stories on any of the topics discussed in todays blog post, so please do get in touch, get involved and share the love! 

Watch the IGTV Vlog that goes with this blog post and covers literally everything and more in-between in 11 minutes! Have a great week x 

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