Thursday, 25 April 2013

Bangladesh: Taking Responsibility

Image from The Times
Yesterday's preventable factory disaster in Savar, Bangladesh comes just five months after the Tazreen Fashion factory fire in Dhaka. As I type this the death toll has climbed to 228. The footage of distraught families searching through the lines of deceased for their loved ones reveals to us the true price of our cheap, disposable clothing. The images should prompt more than just pity and outrage in Western consumers, we should feel uncomfortable and ashamed. It is not enough to merely point a finger at the retailers involved such as Penneys (Primark outside of Ireland). We need to change the way we shop. We are all complicit.

Photograph: Andrew Biraj/Reuters via The Irish Times
If we, the consumers are upset by the bleak lives led by the people who stitch together our low price, trend driven clothing we have a responsibility to put our money where our mouths are. That is, if we complain about unethical business practices in the fashion industry our spending should reflect our opinions. We need to shop responsibly and although that's not always easy there are plenty of options if you want to avoid sweatshop labour. Many don't like the idea of wearing second hand clothing (although when you see images of the places where contemporary clothing is made you do have to ask yourself how clean it really is) and ethical fashion labels generally carry larger price tags than most high street chains, but I genuinely believe that it's better value in the long run to shop for quality and longevity than spending little and often on pieces that have a very short lifespan. The Guardian has a directory of ethical fashion brands and I find Ecouterre to be a great resource for all things ethical and sustainable.

I believe that there is also a responsibility on those who have a public platform within the fashion industry to promote ethical brands. I've lost count of the amount of Irish stylists I've seen whoring themselves out to Penneys. In March 2012 an Irish stylist and fashion writer who has gained international recognition over the past year wrote an article about how wonderful Penneys is. I left a comment under a link to the article she posted on facebook expressing my disappointment, she responded encouraging me to contact her privately (link appears to have been removed since). Below are screenshots of the message I sent to her and her reply:

Sounds like a conflict of interests to me. She's happy to associate herself with Re-Dress but she's also happy to associate with Penneys. It's all work I guess. If you see a stylist or fashion writer endorsing a brand that you know to have less than acceptable manufacturing standards don't be afraid to challenge them on it.

Penneys' image has sort of changed for the better during the recession. There was a time when shopping there was not really something you'd want to broadcast, now there are countless young ladies uploading videos to youtube with the sole purpose of broadcasting their "Penneys Haul". As if they're a thrifty bargain hunter. As if they just picked up an Hermes scarf in a charity shop for a fiver. No, that's not what you did, you went into a budget clothes retailer and bought a load of budget clothes. That's not a once in a lifetime find. I could do the same thing but I think too highly of myself to dress in rags designed with the express purpose of either falling apart or else falling out of fashion in the next fortnight. As with the fashion writers I encourage you to give people shit for promoting this stuff.

Bangladesh is holding a mirror up to the west right now and I'm hoping that everybody is as disgusted with the reflection as I am.  I'm going to end on a humorous note, here's a comment taken from the Penneys facebook page, underneath their "Shocked and Appalled" lol press release:

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Let's get some shoes

I'm so half arsed I'm sorry, I've had very little free time over the past few months and the limited time I do have I spend watching Star Trek or looking for 1940s platforms in my size on etsy. The other day I realised that 1940s shoes might just be my favourite. The trouble is people had much daintier feet in the past. Whenever I find a pair that are the right length they're always crazy narrow. I blame the poor footwear choices I made in my teens for having such uncooperative feet these days.

Stanley Kubrick on the Retronaut
These were on etsy but they're long since sold, I like to keep pictures of the items I missed on etsy.

I feel sort of like this except the shoes are dangling just out of my reach.
These are exactly the ones I want but they're not big enough. They even have their original box. From

Monday, 4 February 2013

Roller Skates

I treated myself to a pair of vintage roller skates even though I already own a pair of modern skates which I don't use. The skates were about $25 on etsy and the shipping was over twice that. Why did I buy them? No good reason. I've had a few goes on them, they're very noisy, it's hard to stop, and I suck at skating; but in their favour they're very pretty looking and they go really well with glitter tights and my deadstock 70s socks:

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


WHAT WHAT WHAT was British Vogue thinking when they published the 8 page Kate Middleton spread? It was hysterically crazy. It was offensive.

I'm going to keep this entry brief because I already resent the time it took me to leaf through the article. Lisa Armstong's Katepedia is an insult to the readers' intelligence and also a shameful and eerie level of scrutiny to impose on anyone. I was particularly irked by the pie chart of Kate's preferred hairstyles, but there's plenty here to affront even the most amiable of readers: her arm to sleeve ratio, her average clutch dimensions, what hands she usually holds said clutch in, the percentage of the time that she's been seen wearing yellow... I think I've bought my last Vogue.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Bullet Bra

I have a vintage bra in the shop which I coveted for myself, but it was way to small for me. This sort of put the idea in my head that there was a bullet bra shaped hole in my underwear drawer, so I had a look on etsy and found one in my size, yay! It's really beautiful and according to the seller it's from the 1940s. (The seller has more vintage lingerie here.)

I'm surprised at how supportive the bra is considering it's not under-wired. The tighter you fasten the shoulder straps the pointier the results, however it does require re-tightening a couple of times during the day. Fear not, I won't be modelling the effects, but here's an image taken by the etsy seller and another from the retronaut which should give an idea of the result:


Vintage underwear gives an interesting insight into how the preferred shape and proportions of the female body have changed over time. Rather than delve into the social context reflected in these garments I'm going to post some nice lingerie themed pictures (please note not all of the source links are safe for work, in fact most of them aren't, also maybe these pictures are nsfw either):









Source: unknown, tumblr somewhere





Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Flea Market

I went to the Christmas market in Smithfield this weekend hoping to pick up some more Christmas presents but mostly everything I bought was for myself. I bought a scarf for €5, a book of short stories from 1958 for €1, and a 1950s / early 60s beaded clutch shaped like Hello Kitty's head for €25. I think the Mary Quant tights are going to be part of somebody's Christmas present but it's not easy. Sorry for the excessive use of instagram but my normal camera is out of action.

Friday, 23 November 2012


I bought a pair of 1960s slippers on etsy, the shop doesn't usually ship outside of the US but I messaged and asked very politely if she'd make an exception because I rarely find vintage shoes in my own size and these ones are still in their little box. She very kindly agreed to ship them and I love them so much, which shows it's always worth asking! I also pilfered a little fur and pearl collar from my own shop which is super fancy.