Are guilt-free shopping sprees really possible?
Last year, I was sat in Ozone cafe on Leonard Street - a hop, skip and a jump (even in four inches) away from Positive Luxury HQ - waiting for my friend, B. Twenty minutes after our scheduled meeting time, B rushed in clutching about fifteen shopping bags and her chihuahua Manolo, with her blow dry remarkably intact. "Look at what I just bought," she enthused breathily, removing a pristine Burberry trench from a cloud of tissue paper. "Isn't it perrrfect?"
"I'm glad you've finally embraced ethical fashion," I replied. B just stared at me, her smile turning into a grimace. Manolo growled.
"It's not ethical," she croaked, whispering 'ethical' as though it was a swear word, "It's Burberry."
The truth is, as I told B, Burberry is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative. But B is not alone in turning her nose up at the term 'ethical fashion'. It somehow conjures up visions of hemp tote bags and those hoodies you find in Camden market that smell of stale incense.
That's when it occurred to me - you can live positively - and dare I say it, ethically - without compromising on a luxury lifestyle (and in B's case, shopping habit). I know I'm not the only one excited to realise that a spree of the right brands no longer means that I'm perpetuating child labour or tearing up the ozone layer. You'd be surprised which brands have 'green' leanings. In addition to the obvious, and one of my personal favourites, Stella McCartney, designers such as Kinder Aggugini, Gucci, Acne and Prada all subscribe to ethical practises. Who'd have guessed it?
Positive living - and shopping - has never been so easy, and a recent meeting with Dilys Williams from London College of Fashion proved that it's only set to get easier. LCF is encouraging designers to consider the economic effects of their work. This could be anything from choosing materials with a view to protecting biodiversity - and there is some really interesting work going on here with leading fashion brands - or making a piece that lasts. The sky is really the limit.
Talking of leading designers, we will see some of our favourites play out in a few days at London Fashion Week. And B and I will be there, wearing our Burberry trenches with pride.