I’ve never been totally comfortable with high street fashion and shopping. That’s not to say I haven’t been a part of it – I absolutely have. Along with so many others, I’ve been guilty of skipping gleefully around shops like Primark, filling my basket to the brim and squealing with glee at the astonishingly low cost at the checkout. But in my heart, buried beneath all the cheap stuff, was the nagging feeling that there was a cost. Not to me but to the people making these things and also to the environment.
I ignored the niggling feelings of guilt and discomfort for a long time because I like stuff. I mean, I really like it. Especially if it’s very cheap. Bargains give me a real buzz.
But there comes a point at which you have to say enough is enough. For me that was when I started to read more about the human and environmental cost of fast fashion. No dress is worth the suffering that is embedded so deeply in the garment industry. Something has to change.
It’s easy to feel totally powerless when injustice is happening on such an enormous scale. However, I think that through making more conscious choices in our consumption, we can make a difference – all be it a small one.
Like I said before, I really love stuff. I’m a sucker for a pretty dress and bright colours. I don’t want to stop buying them altogether. So I was delighted when I discovered People Tree. People Tree is an altogether brilliant company which prioritises fair trade AND sustainability – double win! When looking at fair trade clothing in the past, I’ve found it to be a little on the ‘hippy’ side for my tastes. I want clothes that are contemporary and classic, that I can imagine myself wearing in another five years. Fashionable but not faddy. People Tree clothing is exactly that. It’s also brilliantly made, using organic, natural materials. Their mission statement outlines their intent to be 100% fair trade throughout the supply chain and they have a strong commitment to the environment as well.
When I placed my first order a couple of weeks ago, I felt deeply nervous. People Tree could be the answer to my shopping prayers and I was desperate to love the clothes as much as I loved the ideology of the company. I really didn’t want to be disappointed.
Luckily I wasn’t. I chose three items (there was a great sale): a dress, a jacket and a jumper. All of which are things I can see myself wearing regularly year round. The quality of all three pieces is lovely and they are made from organic cotton, which is a pleasure to wear.
The jacket: I’ve been after a navy blue blazer for a while now. They are so versatile: great for work with dresses and smart trousers and they can be dressed down with jeans etc. (you know the drill). Originally I hoped to find one second hand and spent a long time trawling eBay and combing charity shops. But alas, no joy. Imagine my pure delight when I saw that People Tree had one. And it was in the sale! Be still my beating heart! I seriously love this blazer. The fit is great. The sleeves are a little long for my stumpy arms but it lends itself well to turning up. At work it makes me feel pretty darn grown up and it’s also really easy to wear casually too.
The jumper: Coral is one of my favourite colours to wear so this jumper was destined to be a hit. I love the detailing at the top which just makes it that little bit different. The organic cotton is fairly lightweight so it’ll need a good under layer in the winter but it’s perfect as it is for the current autumnal weather. No doubt I’ll be wearing it throughout winter, spring and if we’re honest, probably summer as well.
The dress: Dresses are my weakness. I’m delighted to say People Tree have a lot to offer in this department. The navy spot dress I went for is my typical style for work. It is definitely a trans-seasonal piece (bare legs and sandals in summer, thick tights, boots and a cardi in winter) which is a huge bonus as far as I’m concerned. Oh and it has pockets. Need I say more?
So all in all I am thrilled with my first People Tree shopping experience and would highly recommend them. Yes, the prices are higher than you might pay on the high street. To me, quality clothes that have been made by people who are treated fairly and using processes that have minimal impact on the environment are worth paying for.
If you’re interested in becoming a people tree customer, here are some handy discount codes!