Saturday 23 May 2009

Getting my knickers in a twist

Got this advert in my email today:

Attached was this invitation:

"Come and visit design director, Yvonne Ellis at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge. She will be talking about our SS09 collection on May 24th - 27th from 12 noon to 7pm. We will be offering an organic silk and Bamboo eye mask with every purchase. We look forward to seeing you there. With love Eco-boudoir x"

The tag line on the Eco-boudoir website is this: 'Luxury materials produced in the most eco-friendly way.'

On thier 'philosophy' pages they say this: "We have made eco sexy" But, what if it doesn't want to be sexy, what if it being sexy is actually a bad thing? I don't think we should be encouraging people to be conspicuosly green, because you're not then asking them to question conspicuous consumption.

Eco-bling drives me up the wall. The most 'eco-friendly' thing to do would be to not make 'luxury materials' in the first place. Companies like this take the attitude that 'we simply must have luxury lingerie for the ladies of Knightsbridge, the world would be so much poorer without it.' How about asking whether we should still be defining luxury in this way and whether the world really needs a company that sells pants for £40 each? More importantly does it need a company that adds to the idea that women should aspire to buy a Bamboo Summer Camisole and Shorts for £149? On the philosophy part of their website they say this: 'Eco Boudoir offers the woman who understands style and extravagance, everything she needs for indulgence and intimacy; from the sexiest and silkiest underwear against her skin to the softest of throws and cushions.' Should the environmental movement be getting pally with people who have 'needs' for indulgence and 'understand', the (assumedly positive) value of, 'extravagance'?

I'm sure the people who run Eco Boudoir are good people with good intentions and they do do a lot of work to raise awareness of the environmental and social impacts of knicker production see this video. But, maybe they should be questioning the the very existence of the product, not just the way it is produced, because lets face it, nobody really needs a £325 printed silk dressing gown do they?


Beloved Media said...

Dear Morgan,

I would definitely like to comment on your expression of our company and the state of ethical consumption.

Fact: Women love lingerie. Women love clothes.
We make very beautiful soft, sexy, comfortable lingerie which is made in as sustainable way as possible, and which is aimed at making women feel good. Why does being eco-friendly / sustainable mean that we all have to go around in old, shabby, cheap clothes and not enjoy ourselves?

Eco Bling drives you up the wall - well Eco 'Granola' drives me up the wall. Why can't more people understand that in order to bring sustainable consumption into the mainstream, it has to look and feel good!! Whether you like it or not, the majority of the people on this planet have got a long way to go before they are as 'green' and anti-consuming as yourself. My personal mission is to prove that being eco-conscious does not mean we have to compromise our lifestyles in terms of fashion and design. (We love fashion and clothes at Eco-Boudoir, but we care how they are produced - simple as that.)

Nobody needs a £325 printed dressing gown: This is very true. Our printed dressing gowns are for people who would like to buy them. They are this price because organic silk printed in the UK is expensive as is paying our wonderful seamstress in East London. If you would prefer to buy a beige hemp dressing gown or a white organic cotton towelling gown for £40 - please be my guest.

Kind regards,

Textiles Researcher
+ Founder of Eco-Boudoir

Morgan Phillips said...

Thanks Eco-Boudoir... I've responded with a new post, please have a look.