Busy busy busy.
Very unusual for me on a Saturday, I'm more often lazy lazy lazy.
But when there is a vintage fair in town, and a focus group to attend, I'm up and off!
First stop; Sheffield's Town Hall for some vintage shopping.
The details of the venue were as interesting as the vintage finery on offer.
Although I must say there were some great bargains to be found, plenty of sellers had sale rails, and I had some birthday money from my mum burning a hole in my pocket.
1970s fabulousness at £5 apiece.
Floral lace-front maxi dress, St Michael black/gold knit skirt, and green/silver lurex top.
Can't resist the lure of the lurex. Obviously.
Next stop; Meadowhall.
This shopping centre is not my destination of choice as a rule; in fact, apart from doing my stint as a Christmas temp at Debenhams here, I never, ever go.
But I was prepared to make an exception for Natalie, who blogs as Pearl at Fashion Pearls of Wisdom; she works at the University of Sheffield in her day job, and was facilitating a series of focus groups about shopping choices.
The research project she and her colleagues are working on is called Transfer; Trading approaches to nurturing sustainable consumption in fashion and energy retail.
The issues we discussed related not only to shopping for clothes/fashion, but also our household energy. These areas of purchasing are being considered together, since "both are things we purchase on a regular basis and their provision impacts on the environment."
Interesting. I had plenty to say about my secondhand shopping habits and why I don't buy fast fashion, but I hadn't considered my choice of energy provider at all, and was amazed to hear how other participants shop around for better deals and change their suppliers reasonably regularly. We were not a group of fanatical shoppers, that's for sure; several people talked about preferring to shop online, some only shopped under duress and disliked the activity, but all of us had an eye for a bargain, we shared environmental and ethical concerns, but this was balanced against price.
I am fascinated by the questions of how and why people shop, particularly for clothes. For leisure and pleasure? Status? Keeping up with trends? Driven by practicality and functionality, or creativity and self-expression? For everyday or occasions? Replacing what has worn out, or buying more than we could possibly need?
And what would encourage us to make more conscientious choices? How will manufacturers/providers, businesses aiming to maximise profit and competitiveness, whose interests are not served by our reduced consumption, engage with an agenda about ethical production and sustainability?
I will follow this research project with interest, I really enjoyed participating in the discussion, and it was great to meet Natalie/Pearl.
(And yes, we were paid for our time. A £30 Meadowhall voucher, which can be spent at any retail outlet in the shopping centre. Rest assured mine won't be spent in Primark!)
An altogether different set of glass-domed buildings were my next destination.
The Botanical Gardens, where I met up with Simon, Owen and Nina (Claud's away for the weekend).
The statue of Pan in the rose garden is always a favourite...
Little cherubs. Or not.
and bear hugging.
There was a wedding going on.
Not champagne, sadly; just water in the fountain.
Ninja, Whinger and Ginger.
Me; 1960-70s Hong Kong-made maxi dress - flea market
Sandals - Ebay
Sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped
Pendant - gift
Owen and Nina - t-shirts, shorts and shoes - charity shopped and hand-me-downs
All three of us are dressed in secondhand clothes and proud of it!
And my dress is a perfect example of sustainable fashion; well-made, still going strong after over 40 years, frequently worn and much loved.
Did you know that Sheffield has more trees per resident than any other city in Europe? And that over 60% of its area is green space?
Our very own emerald city.
Then a leisurely walk home through the beautifully green General Cemetery (the cemetery and the Botanical Gardens both opened in 1836, a little quirk of synchronicity I find ridiculously pleasing)...
followed by a Chinese takeaway for tea.
I call that a very good day indeed!
Linking my highly visible and sustainable frock to Patti's Visible Monday gathering.
See you there!