Street Style, Nicola

Sweatshops, child exploitation and mass production infamously make up a pretty nasty dark side to the fashion industry. But business is still booming despite us apparently knowing better, so is it time we started to get preachy about Primark?

This month we found Nicola who showed us that what you wear can have both style and substance if you think more carefully about what you’re buying. “I decided five years ago not to buy new things from shops”, she says. “I didn’t want to carry on buying things which were made using slave labour or with children being used to make my clothes.”

Are we just being ignorant in our fashion choices and would we rather look good on a budget rather than doing good? “People don’t want to know the truth but the second you do know you really don’t have an excuse”, Nicola says. “It’s been tough doing what I do but by making these changes it’s a simple way of making a difference to so many lives.”

Hat from People Tree
“I got it in a shop called Fair on Queens Road and it’s by a line called People Tree. We’re really lucky to have shops like Fair in Brighton but I think it’s just a shame that places like Topshop only do small ranges of fair-trade clothes; it’s a bit tokenistic.”

Coat from eBay
“I think it was originally Topshop. I get a lot of second-hand clothing online.”

Skirt from Oxfam
“The vintage look is definitely important to me. I think the smarter, feminine and tailored shapes just look better on me but it’s probably taken me six or seven years to find my style. I know I used to get it wrong and end up looking like I was going to a fancy dress party!”

Shoes from eBay
“Finding shoes is the hardest thing about what I do as it’s really difficult to get ethical ones which are cool but aren’t incredibly expensive. They are expensive for a reason and I support that but I can’t afford to spend £80 or £90 on a pair of shoes every time I want one so I try to get them second-hand and hardly worn instead.”

Photo by LomoKev