Good things often come in threes. This was proved true when I arrived back from a few days by the coast to find an exciting looking package from Goodone waiting for me. Following twitter and email communication, I had requested to borrow three items from their AW11 line - a jumpsuit, a belt and a cable knit muff. For me this trinity of gorgeous garments brought with them three words: recycle, re-use and re-claim.
“Re”, unsurprisingly, means ‘again’. I currently need to re-charge my phone and re-organise my room. My parents need to sort out the recycling. Ah, there is a word that has been much misappropriated. As Pearl (from Fashion Pearls of Wisdom) pointed out in one of her recent posts, the term ‘recycling’ has been (ahem) 'recycled' to encompass all sorts of meanings. I agree with Pearl, in that it is definitely not the act of wearing the same dress twice – that’s called being normal.
On the other hand, the ethical company Goodone are definitely encouraging the right (and real) sort of recycling with their wonderful label. As they state on their website: “By using reclaimed fabrics in every possible part of the design process we create desirable, assertive and feminine pieces.”
I can attest to that. The jumpsuit was the first garment I decided to style, and the minute I slipped it on I felt like Katharine Hepburn. I have something of a battle with jumpsuits. I want one of my own very badly. However, I will not touch anything that looks vaguely eighties related. I want 1940s satin, not 1980s batwings! The other issue is the length. I love having long legs, but they do not lend themselves to trousers and jumpsuits. The hems usually graze the middle of my ankles, or even sidle up my shins.
So you can imagine my delight at getting to style this classy all-in-one. The fabric is soft and cosy, while also being durable. My inspiration for the first look was land girls – ergo the vintage headscarf and muted colour scheme. I have just put The Land Girls by Angela Huth on my reading list after seeing this review by LandGirl1980. All those monochrome and sepia photos of the large groups just seem irrepressibly optimistic. I don't know if it's the smiles, the uniforms or the images of machinery and windswept fields. Whatever it is, essence of land girl definitely influenced my style choices yesterday.
However, I’m not sure if any self respecting land girl would complete her duties in second hand Faith wedges and a vintage belt that belonged to her grandma. Or a silk shirt from a charity shop for that matter. I would probably have been chased away with a pitchfork.
What I like about Goodone is that they embody the spirit of ‘make do and mend’ that was so popular during times of genuine need. I recently came across the most extraordinary advert in an old ‘Picturegoer’ magazine. During WWII, the British National Savings committee spent considerable time and effort trying to convince people to stop spending. Imagine that! How different, how alien that seems to us twenty first century buyers. Long gone are the thrifty years of war and post-war, where every scrap of fabric had a purpose. Nevertheless, companies such as Goodone are reviving the practice of ‘reclaiming’ and ‘reusing’ unwanted fabrics and off-cuts to create their clothes.
The wartime campaign mentioned above even had a purpose drawn ‘squander bug’ – a gremlin style creature covered in swastikas, which the government used as a propaganda tool. This naughty pest would be depicted in adverts, whispering in innocent ears “buy it now”. He was a menacing puck; persuading citizens to part with money that could have been put to good ‘war effort’ use.
One of my favourite advertisements stated simply, “To dress extravagantly in war time is not just bad form, it is unpatriotic”. I think characters such as Anna Dello Russo and Daphne Guinness would not have taken well to rationing and coupons. Neither would I. But I can tell you something – we would have all got by.
We don’t ‘need’ new clothes all the time. We don’t ‘deserve’ it. These are wishes and privileges, not concrete rights. There was so much debate about these ideas when Lucy Siegle’s book ‘To Die For’ was first released (you can read my review here), but I wish to echo her sentiments once more.
Siegle suggested buying less and spending more. This sounds logical – I would rather save up for something from a label with amazing credentials such as Goodone, Orsola De Castro or the Vivienne Westwood’s ethical fashion programme.
Unfortunately, every time I utter the word ‘ethical’ (or in this case type it) the images brought to mind are of saggy hemp sack skirts and nettle waistcoats. The word itself is almost too worthy – too alternative. How to combat this negative stereotype?
Goodone claims that “We aim not to stand apart from the mainstream fashion industry, rather to achieve positive change from within”. This is exactly the approach I applaud – creating style rather than forfeiting it. The brand has worked with large names such as Topshop and Asos, and is a part of London Fashion week.
The second part of my styling used a gorgeous Goodone cable knit belt (I want one!) and an equally delectable cable knit and faux fur muff. I moved from land girl to Russian dinner guest meets hiker. The long cream dress is second hand charity shopped Miss Selfridge, and the boots are Topshop. The socks peeping out are from Nanadecor – a Japanese company that specialise in beautiful, organic, ethically sourced cotton clothes. The faux fur hat was from a charity shop, and the owl necklace is vintage.
Goodone can be bought from several places including Yoox, Young British Designers and Beyond the Valley. See their website for more information.