The ethical dilemma of a serial shopper

I first started rethinking purchasing from brands of cheap mass production retail (think Zara, H&M....) in the spring of 2017 when I saw David Redmon’s documentary Mardi Gras: Made in China in class during my exchange in Italy. In the documentary the author highlighted the negative consequences of globalised trade, especially focusing on the ethics of mass production. The documentary begins with a scene depicting western tourists celebrating Mardi Grass and drunkenly flashing their naked body parts to the crowds in exchange for obtaining shiny plastic bead necklaces. Moreover, the documentary quickly shows that the beads are treated as something easily discarded post-festival, with majority of the beads ending up on the ground or otherwise neglected. When a young woman on the screen is asked about the origin of the beads, she quickly realizes that she has no clue and probably hasn't stopped even once to think about the origin of these necklaces, let alone what goes into producing them. Quickly, the scene cuts to a small factory room somewhere in rural China, where a young man is working non-stop melting and infusing plastic beads together by hand. The effect that the tough and dangerous work has on the viewer is compounded by the horrible factory owner who proudly boasts to the camera about the strict and inhumane work regime that he maintains over his employees. When I see the thousands of beads discarded on the ground in the wake of the carnival, I can't help but think what happens to all that plastic just left laying around.

If I reflect on the reason why the documentary left such a strong impression on me, it's because I realised that in various aspects I am that girl. I would buy whatever fashion items were trending at the moment, offered at super low price points from websites like Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, Zaful or Zalando, only to discard them later in the back of my closet to collect dust, as the next best thing would come around and I would have to have it. The fashion industry  has many times been the subject of criticism for its means of mass production with claims for exploitation of workers and the burden on the environment. Especially in the heyday of social media, influencers and models contribute to the fast pace of changing trends with their daily new outfit posts. Meanwhile us average mortals 'are influenced' to try and recreate that instagram closet with whatever income we have. And the reality is that in today's globalized clothing industry adjusting your wardrobe to whatever latest fashion whims is possible even with average means, as cheap materials, and outsourcing of production to developing countries where there's low regulation on workers' rights and cheap wages enable cheap prices for a serial shopper such as yours truly. But how often do we think about the ethics of fashion? What happens to that plastic garment that is worn out after a few months of use? 

Now, I’m sure you can imagine, as a student “budgetee” and a fashion trend-coaster I was, and still am, extremely torn between my selfish inclinations to take advantage of the cheap prices and easily accessible produce to suit my every fashion whim, and my conscience telling me to stop supporting the consumption economy and to invest a longer penny into durable ethically produced clothing. I want to be clear in that in no way do I mean to purport that these shops are all evil and support an unsustainable lifestyle, or that the only answer is to boycott all mass produced retail. My point is rather that when making the choice of purchasing fashion, let's put these questions back into the weighing equation through education and awareness instead of burying our consumer heads in the sand.

Moreover, I think more and more stores are taking responsibility for not only ethics of workers but also environmental sustainability. For example, recently I saw a sign in & Other Stories, which encouraged customers to recycle by offering a discount reward for bringing back the used beauty containers/packaging. 

In some sort of conclusion, I have since accepted that my fashion dilemma is not a one-decision battle, but rather a staircase of smaller decisions in every day life and a willingness to educate myself. I believe that an answer lies somewhere with consumers collectively demanding more transparency and accountability from the clothing industry, as well as opting for quality rather than quantity, buying more second-hand and getting crafty with old clothes. 

Here are some cool links if you are interested:

With high hopes for more ethical and sustainable fashion industry in the future,


Viewing London

View: Mister Fitz's Finest Ice Cream, on Great Windmill St

Dress - Urban Outfitters
Net bag - Mango

View: South Bank
View: Tate museum 

View: The 10th floor of Tate museum

Blouse - Zara
Scarf - Mango

Sliders - Vagabond

View: Elán Cafe

View: Elán Cafe
View: Shoreditch Grind, Old Street Roundabout, Shoreditch

View: Redemption bar, Shoreditch

View: Brooklyn Coffee, 139 Commercial St.

Tube top - Brandy Melville
Belt - & Other Stories
Hair clips - H&M
Net bag - Mango
View: Shoreditch
View: Space Station Gallery, Shoreditch

View: An unknown street of an unknown coffee shop 

View: An unknown street of an unknown coffee shop

View: Bricklane, Shoreditch

View: A random wall art, Shoreditch

View: Brick lane, Shoreditch
Oversize tee - Cheap Monday
Skirt - Urban Outfitters
Shoes - Asos

View: Camden Town
View: Camden Market
View: Halloumi fries from the food market

View: Camden canal

View: Primrose Hill

View: Soho, London (Carnaby St. area)

 Top things to view in London

1. Primrose Hill

Go to Primrose Hill (the best underground station: Chalk Farm), a posh neighbourhood allegedly populated by some English celebrities. Eat lunch or have coffee in one of the chic restaurants on Regent's Park Road which after you could climb to the Primrose Hill.

Instagram tip: Go see the pastel houses on the Chalcot Crescent

2. Camden (Food) Market

This in fact goes with the first bullet of the list. Once in Primrose Hill neighbourhood, you can head over to the Camden Lock, a canal, which runs from Primrose Hill to Camden. If you walk over to the canal and descend down the stairs, you will find a nice walkway along the canal leading right next to the Camden Market. It's a nice 5-10 minute stroll depending on how fast you walk.
Camden Market includes handmade jewellery, vintage shops, regular shops, and the list goes on, but the best part of the market is hands down the food section. Among the food stands you can find all types of cuisine sharing only one thing in common: It's hella good.

3. Shoreditch

If you are into fashion, art, or just that downtown vibe, then Shoreditch is the place for you. I recommend taking the tube to "Old Street" and form there strolling down to Brick Lane. On the way, you will see lots of street art and once you get to Brick Lane you have the chance to do some "vintage shop-hopping".
Instagram tip: After shopping, head over to a bar called Redemption and take a photo in front of the beautiful wings painted on the wall outside the bar.

4. Tate museum

The admission to Tate is completely free of cost and many exhibitions are free as well. As it mostly contains modern art, there are a lot of fun things to do and see. 

Instagram tip: The 'Viewing Room' on the 10th floor of the museum has one of the nicest views of South Bank and the City. There is also an aesthetic light sign, which reads: Everything is going to be alright.

5. "Instagram cafés" of London

Let us not lie to ourselves. We all have that instagram or snap monster inside of us just waiting to pounce on aesthetic content, whether or not we admit it to ourselves. Élan cafe is one of such cafés, slamming down all the breaks in providing an enjoyable and an aesthetic interior (a wall of flowers, baby pink theme, chic diner vibe...) as well as beautifully arranged dishes. The cakes at Élan cafe deserve a special shout out. The only cons to the place are the higher than average pricing and the not so photo friendly lighting. 

Peggy Porschen Cakes is another drool and photo worthy café in London. It's still on my list of places to go, so I can't tell you anything else other than to google it and see for yourself.

If you prefer more ascetic and simplistic vibe, I recommend Brooklyn Coffee in Shoreditch. They don't serve food but the coffee deserves an accolade of its own.  

Instagram tip: Try to go to these cafés at a time when it's not so busy to get more space to take a photo without having other people ruin the shot. 

Peggy Porschen has the perfect front door in front of which one can take a cool photo in natural light.

Halkidiki, Greece

Destination 1: Portokali Beach Bar, Kavourotrypes

Destination 2: Achinos Beach Bar-Hanioti

Destination 2: Elephant Beach Bar, Pefkochori 

Destination 3: Sani Resort - Bousoulas Beach Bar

Destination 4: Sani Beach - Anemos Beach Bar

Destination 6: Lefki Ammos

Is it even summer time if your social media feed doesn't include at least one photo from Mykonos? For the longest time, the go-to travel destinations in Greece have been focused around the islands of Greece (think Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, Corfu,...) However, a few years back I was introduced by my Greek friends to an inland holiday favorite of the locals: Halkidiki. It's safe to say I fell in love with the place and this post is a dedication as to the reasons why.

The number one reason for me was the abundancy of different places to see, each beach different from another. In addition to that I got to see a wealthy resort area full of chic exclusive boutiques and fancy restaurants by a small marina with yachts, but also a quaint old town alive with Greek music, and cheap local food. Halkidiki also is known for it's historical sites, such as the ancient monasteries built high on the mountains. Mount Athos, the third leg of Halkidiki is in fact self-governing (an autonomous theocratic society) and completely closed off from women. It is a home to over 2000 monks.

For any future travelers I would recommend to stay on the first leg of Halkidiki, Kassandra, as that's where all the beach clubs, party places and hotel resorts are. The second leg (Sithonia) has beautiful nature and uninhabited beaches. To get the most out of Halkidiki, I would recommend to rent a car, as renting a car in Greece is quite cheap and provides an easy way to get around the peninsula. In terms of food, a Greek taverna is a must! The best way to go is to order a bunch of stuff to share, my favorites being fried zuccini, mussaka, fried kalamari, fries, and tsatsiki. The best part? In a greek taverna you get free dessert!! Another food you cannot miss out on is pita gyros.

Other recommendations include visiting Afytos, a lovely small town by the sea, going to Bousoulas Beach Bar for a white themed party (more posh and relaxed), which takes place on wednesdays, or spending a day at Lefki Ammos and staying for the "after beach" party for some more hardcore (and not so posh) partying. In August when the party season kicks off, the beach parties also have incredible fire performances. If you are into the club scene, then you must go to Angel, Pearl, or Coral, which are all located next to each other.

Let me know if you found this post useful!

Until next time,

Belts, bags, bags as belts, belt bags...

I've had this post a long time coming and now it's finally here. First, bumbags made a reappearance, carefully latched on the torsos of the fashion folk in a diagonal fashion. Next in line was the brining back of belts. Not just any belts, the belts that cinch any outfit to give you that snatched waist (or if you asked my 14 year old self, the belts that you put on top of your tube top to "add layering" and, the real reason, to highlight one's boobs.) Just like my younger self of the past,I was living my best life with this trend. I bought this thick black leather belt with metallic holes in it and a big oval statement buckle and wore it over my black classic wool coat.

Whereas the bumbag trend endured, the fashion houses took it a step further and came up with the perfect hybrid: a belt bag. Why hadn't we thought of it before?? Two handy functions combined into one: 1) cinching the waist 2) the ability to go hands free. Genius! Initially, the one downside was that belt bags were offered solely by high-end fashion brands, the original and popular choice still today being Gucci. However, these days you can find much more affordable choices to live the trend. Here are some links to my favorites:

Now, personally I love taking a trend and running with it in another direction. Some took a little creative initiative with the bag + belt phenomenon and instead found another twist to the trend: bags attached to belts. The tiny bag trend of small purses with attachable clasps was also prominent in the store front and thus lent the perfect opportunity for these small bags to be attached to basically any belt. Here's my version:

Both belt and small bag from & Other Stories.

Here are some smaller bags that I would totally link through or clip to my belts:


Source:, INI/JosiahW/BACKGRID
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That's all for now. See you in the next post!