Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Expenses displacement activity

I am not here to account for my latest culinary cock-ups. Mostly because we’ve eaten out a tremendous amount this past couple of weeks. (The rest of the time I’ve been nibbling on bits of raw fruit or veg that find themselves within digging reach in the fridge.)

Also, I am not here to write obituaries for my bowel movements. 

Certainly remarks on my bowel movements will be largely omitted because my mother has joined Twitter. @MotherFantaskis and @FatherFantaskis continue their marital bliss online and, as in the non-virtual world, Mum goes around after Dad’s tweets and clears up the mess of any untidy 140 characters. 

I’m here, because I’m on the coach to London and it’s one of the few times when I truly go offline. Naff signal, and shag-all hope of 3G, I automatically open a fresh page and start tapping. 

And, I should be doing my expenses, so this serves a dual purpose.

It has been just over one year since my high-heeled entrance into the ‘ethical fashion’ world with the 2010 Ethical Fashion Show in aid of the Sacred Childhoods Foundation. 

I get a nasty sense of motion sickness when I go through what has happened in the last 365 days, but that’s probably due to the the suspension on the coach; notable by its absence. 

Providing some sort of catalogue and commentary on the past few months’ employment and activity would be dreadfully dull for the both of us. You’d be better following @HJFantaskis. But be prepared for your news feed to fill up with utter drivel about my thoughts on rain (shit), food (brilliant), my job (always positive, my boss is on Twitter), my lifestyle (mostly dull, with over-personal quotes lifted from exchanges between my boyfriend and I), and my constant struggle to live within my means (bollocks, but largely successful). 

The apex of the last 12 months has been leaving Bishopston Trading Company as a retail assistant to open my own shop in Bath. 

Enter Charlie Boots, a womanswear designer, with sustainability and human rights on her mind - not to mention a tremendously good eye for vintage jewellery.

Like most good plans, this one started in a pub. Here is the wine we drank: 

I would recommend it. I actually took the photo so I would remember to get it next time.

She had an idea. A couple of designer-makers and I (I can’t make for shit; my idea of sewing is stapling) opening a shop in Bath. The general ethos of the brands and stock we’d favour would have some sort of responsible-sourcing, or sensible thought behind its creation.

And so, after a couple of months of planning and a flurry of soapy water, paint and fittings, we’re open. 
I don’t like the word, and I certainly don’t like that it makes me sound like a total wanker, but I’ve been on an mind-bending journey. I’ve had a crash-course in plate-spinning. I’ve been introduced to buying and merchandising, and how to negotiate lead times and order sizes (ethically, of course). 

I’m pleasantly struck by how many brands and small businesses are out there that have brilliant stories to tell - how they upcycled some perfectly good quality waste material into a crafted, intelligent piece of design. Many of them you can’t get elsewhere in the South West and a few you can’t buy in the UK. (If you’re imagining me sat here bouncing and shuddering about in my seat with an insufferable look of smugness on my chops, you’d be spot on.) 

I realise I’m sermonising on the merits of living sustainably and buying ethically, so I’ll shoot off. I do need to at least start thinking about doing my expenses but, happily, we’re just about to arrive in Victoria, so I can leave putting it off to another day. 

Facts: Charlie Boots, 35 Broad Street, Bath, BA1 5LP. 

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