Archive for August, 2010

Size MATTERS

Friday, August 27th, 2010
BelleMannequinn3 copyWe have grapped the measuring tape by the horns and committed to a size chart. We have even reclassified some of our items, particularly in the trousers section based on this chart. The intention of making life easier for our customers. We would be really interested to hear whether it works…

Clothes sizing can be a bit of a nightmare, particularly for an online shop. Sometimes brands size generously, and sometimes they size small. Our job at Belleetik is to ensure that people have a good idea of the size & fit. This also avoids the hassle of having to return an item.

There is no doubt that standardising sizes is complex. We all have different sizes in different places, which change over time, sometimes over the times of the month. For a tailored, made-to-measure dress a designer could take up to 20 different measurements.

In the clothing industry there are no internationally agreed sizing charts and size tags can vary significantly from one retailer and designer to the next. These variations may be based on experience but more often than not it seems they are based on customer trends and our desire to be one size smaller that we care to admit. This is also called vanity sizing. Perhaps they want to make us feel better, but you would have to wonder are we doing ourselves any favours. Shopping becomes hard work when you know you take 3 different sizes in 3 different shops. Interestingly this week the headlines referred to market research by Mintel, indicating that women are unhappy with vanity sizing  (More)

So out with the measuring tape & check out our NEW Size Guide. Our aim is to bring size back to inches and cm and our advice is to buy what fits & ignore the label – chop it off & shred it altogether.

Dressing for Your Shape : Knowing your shape & strengths is key. No doubt, this is easier said that done. For more on dressing for your shape, read this piece by the 2 doyennes of dressing the masses, Trinny & Suzanna  (More)

 

Berlei_MeasuringChart2 The Berlei Indicator : Is It Any Wonder We Find Sizing so Complicated

I came across this amazing contraption last year at a Fashion & Textile Museum exhibition on the Evolution of Underwear in 2009 .  It was invented in Australia in the 1920s by Berlei Ltd, following the world’s first first large-scale survey of the shape of women’s bodies, which grouped women’s bodies into 5 types.  

The indicator allowed a fitter to determine  bust, waist and hip measurements - Read More

Fast Fashion Frenzy Pushes Workers Into Starvation Conditions

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Taken from BBC3 documentary in 2008 'Blood, Sweat & Tshirts'

Taken from BBC3 documentary in 2008 'Blood, Sweat & Tshirts'

Third world factories – and their employees – are being overwhelmed by the demands of western fast fashion” – The Observer Aug 8th -  This article by Lucy Siegle is a depressing and well written reminder that our shopping choices in one part of the world accept that people in another part, work in conditions more suited to Charles Dickens time, than modern, civilized society. This article was in response to an Observer expose on the same date, relating to sweatshop conditions in factories producing for three major players on the highstreet. Read Full Article

Of course it is not every factory, every brand and every retailer, but it is very difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. The New York Magazine picked up on the article and asked their readers “What would you have to learn about the unsavory behind-the-scenes practices of your favorite fast-fashion chain in order to stop shopping there?” The article and discussion make for interesting reading. 

The New York Magazine turns the spotlight back on us as consumers,  saying that that a request for last minute design changes which may involve “aching fingers, few bathroom breaks, and definitely no snacks” would “not only render us incapable of moving buttons, but probably strike us dead in our desk chairs”. The magazine concludes its piece by saying “So long as consumers gobble up fast fashion, retailers will try to keep up the supply. The short of it: Terrible factory conditions are just as much the fault of as of shoppers, as of  lackadaisical inspectors and exploitative manufacturing giants.”

Lucy ends the article in the Guardian with a quote from a fashion buyer turned sustainable fashion consultant Claire Hamer – “The future is behind the label and the story behind it, not just the brands,” she insists. “The smart fashion brands are beginning to design and buy out of these issues. I envisage a world where, when someone says ‘I love your top,’ you won’t just say, ‘Thanks, it’s from Topshop’, you’ll take pride in knowing who made it. The value is not just in the brand, it’s in the people who made it.”

At belleetik with our tag line “Great Clothes Great Stories” – we hope this is the case. Not only will you look good, but you’ll feel great in luxe fabrics, knowing that your shopping choices can contribute to positive change.

Thankfully there is a growing movement for change.   Visit Re-Dress and Ethical Fashion Forum for links to people, information and online networks discussing some of the issues in the article.

Also check out the BBC documentary Blood, Sweat & Tshirts from 2008

As a wise man (in this case Buddah) once said “A jug Fills Drop By Drop”