30 Wears: Jemima Boost
My #30Wears garment is a Primark dress, which is a not quite in the spirit of the revolution but I’ve had this dress since I was at University which was over 10 years ago. I think to say I’ve worn it 100 times would be an underestimate. It has seen me through 2 pregnancies. I love that although I feel like I can hide in it, it also has a bit of shape at the waist so it's still quite flattering.
My shopping habits have definitely changed as I've gotten older, and especially when I became a parent. It used to be all about having a new outfit for an event, that idea that the perfect outfit will ensure the perfect night. But now I think so much more about what I'm buying. Where it came from, who made it, will it last etc. My idea of what constitutes good value for money has shifted and I have become more discerning about my wardrobe.
I often shop online so you would think it would be easy to do some basic research on a brand. But things are never that clear. Most companies now have a tab with their Social Responsibility policy outlined but these seem to be generic statements, usually with an element of "we're trying but it's not really up to us". It's hard to find definitive answers. I don’t want to support a company which doesn’t support it’s workers but how can I find that information.
Although I've never made clothes myself, my husband and I have a swimwear line and being involved in that has made me so much more aware of what it takes to put clothes together. We have 7 suppliers just for one pair of trunks.
It was never about cost for us when we were looking for a factory. We started off using a company in the UK so we could work closely with them in the development stages, and build a relationship with them as colleagues; not just send off a pattern and wait for a delivery. We've recently moved manufacturing to Portugal partly because our cloth is produced there and partly because there is a really exciting hub of swimwear suppliers and specialists operating over there which we wanted to be a part of. Using somewhere in Europe means we can visit much more easily and have more control over the supply chain.
I definitely love to find independent or smaller brands. I would much rather spend a bit more on something which supports a smaller company than something cheap from the high street. I have a top from Cecilie Copenhagen which I think I probably wear once a week. And although you don't know for sure that a smaller brand is going to be more ethical, I think I always assume that things done on a smaller scale will be better.
Spending a little more on something really pays off in the long run. I have a silky Max Mara top that I bought in a sale which I put on every time I want something a bit jazzy for an evening event. It was a little more than I might usually spend on a top but I have completely got my money's worth with it. And even though I've worn it hundreds of times it has kept it's shape and colours which doesn't always happen when you wash cheaper clothes. So I'm trying to find more of those gems which I'll love for a long time.