Friday, 6 February 2015

Being an Ethical Shopper & Peng Chau Pier / Ten Percent of the Brain

dress is Liz Lisa | cardigan is from Hong Kong (id:c) | socks are from market stalls | shoes are Naot | necklace is handmade from Hong Kong (HKID gallery)

I'm actually amazed that I ended up with enough decent photos to make this blog post, because it was SO cold and windy while we were taking these photos on Peng Chau pier that 90% of the photos ended up like this:
Good look there, Annika.

I had such angst about purchasing this dress. There were many pros: it's the cutest damn dress I've ever laid my eyes upon, from one of my favourite Japanese brands who own a store in Hong Kong AND it was half price! 
But the angst was caused by a number of cons, which included the following: one, it's made out of really thick material and is NOT suitable for Sydney summer. Two, I'm pretty sure it's actually a top because it's hella short - although I can always wear it with cute shorts underneath, and pretend that it's a dress anyway. However the most troubling thing about this dress, and the thing that stopped me from buying it immediately, was that I had no idea where it was made - which could have meant that it was made in a sweatshop.

Cue 4 long hours of research to find out where the dress originated (that entire saga is documented on my instagram feed). Basically, though, I'm 99% positive that this dress was made in a decent factory, and 100% sure that it was NOT made in a sweatshop. Same goes for the piano cardigan. And I am so happy. Because this dress is now the cutest thing that I own and I can't wait to wear it all winter long in Sydney!
Also - location shot! These photos were all taken on the gorgeous Peng Chau island, just south of the busy city. Peng Chau has the most adorable villages with kitsch buildings and gardens galore, and many small, secluded beaches! If it hadn't been so cold, it would have been paradise - but it was still a fun place to explore, nonetheless.

So I'm both very excited and nervous to share this all with you - myself and my partner Luci (who has appeared on my blog exactly once previously) have started a podcast! The podcast, called Ten Percent of the Brain, is all about examining popular misconceptions in science, biology and the body. We really enjoyed making this and want to do more in the future! Have a little listen to our first episode (or subscribe in iTunes!) and please let us know what you think of it - as this is a new thing we're just trying out, your feedback would mean the world to us! And if you have any pieces of received wisdom that you're a bit suspicious about, then please feel free to suggest them as a topic for a future episode.

Much love, and I hope that you're all having a gorgeous day,

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  1. Such a gorgeous outfit! Just wondering, how tall are you? I have that "is it a dress or a top" crisis so often, it sucks.

    1. Maybe about 5 ft 5? I have super long legs and a really short torso though, so I don't really ever have that problem! <3

  2. that dress is so cute, but I can't wear that mini dress in my country too. Yes, fair trade is just like a nightmare, we should check the product every time we want to buy something, not only for cloth

  3. Congratulations on the podcast launching! It's such an interesting idea and you don't see it executing by a lot of young people so this is incredibly inspiring. I have something I've always wondered (although I don't know if it's just a dumb question): Which will actually make you fatter/which is harder to digest by your body, fat or carbs?

    Also, thumbs up for your "fashionable with a conscience" as I call it. It's wonderful if a lot more young people aspire to this as well! My go-to solution these days is shop locally. There are a lot of local brands who do not get the hype they deserve for the most part. So yeah.

    Alive as Always

    1. That's an awesome question! I definitely would love to do some episodes about metabolism and carbs/fats, there are just SO many misconceptions about that! :)
      Also, thank you for your lovely kind comment :)

  4. That cardigan is so adorable and that dress is perfect! Glad that you were able to find out the ethics behind it - not many people would do that to find out where their clothes come from! You go, girl!


  5. Such a cute dress! Liz Lisa make the most adorable clothes ever, although 95% of them are much shorter than I would like :P However sometimes they are just too cute to pass up.

    I can't WAIT to subscribe to the podcast. I'm a psychology student and there are so many misconceptions about 'popular science' that are complete and utter crap. Its perfect for me and I'm so happy to see something like that. The 'you only use 10% of your brain' misconception is so annoying, especially when you see it on pseudoscientific 'psych facts' or 'did u know' pictures that get shared around.

  6. I love this outfit. Darling dress and socks. Your podcast sounds super interesting-thanks to marketing/certain companies' agendas out there, there are so many misconceptions about health and general science. I hate how misinformed we're conditioned to be. I am inspired by your passion for science and am happy to see it in the blogosphere :)
    xx Sarah
    Russian Dressing

  7. This outfit is so gorgeous, the dress and the cradigan look amazing together! :)
    The Urban Obsessions // Vegan Food & Lifestyle Blog

  8. I love love love this look that dress is adorable! I know what you mean with the photos, the wind and the cold does not make for attractive facial expressions. You think that wind will make a nice effect on your hair but most of the time it just looks hilraious :')
    Ooh that podcast sounds good, will definitely check it out! <3

    The Quirky Queer

  9. That's such an interesting and awesome idea for a podcast :)

    Question: Do you have any tips for research methods when trying to find out if a company's production is ethical? I.e. Keywords and things to look out for? xx


    1. Well, it took me 4 whole hours to work out where this one dress was made. So I don't think I'm very good, haha. Although Liz Lisa was easier than most - I translated the page, found the website for the company that owns it (Vent international), found their page, found the name of the factory from that, then used labour behind the label for another company that uses the same factory and from THAT ascertained that the factory was decent, had unions, workers rights, etc etc. It was kind of super confusing... haha :) Nobody makes it easy, because it's not something enough consumers care about!
      Generally if a company KNOWS and lists the factory that their clothes are made at though, that's a good sign - it means that they are not subcontracting like crazy, which means they have direct contact with the factory and also generally means that it's not a sweatshop because it's all very above-board :)

  10. What do the people do if we don't buy the clothes and they don't have a job though? Isn't it better to make their working conditions better so they can keep their job but receive good pay etc...


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