Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Utter Smugness




In my quest for utter smugness I have done many things including; becoming vegetarian, watching my weight, carefully disecting my rubbish and sending it off to various different sites to prevent the poo hill by the side of the M275 from increasing futher, teaching my children good manners - (this quest is failing me somewhat as my smug smile usually wavers into an embarassed grimace as a result of their manners), giving up my petrol guzzling Japanese import car for a modest bicycle and never leaving the house without colouring in my eyebrows. Okay the latter was more of a nod to my vain insanity than my smugness.

Of course, I would never display any direct smugness, that would be most undignified and the things that I have done could be simply equated into normal everday measures that most people take to improve their lives and the lives of others round them. Hell, if I were to leave the house without my eyebrows filled in - I might just kill someone with the sheer spectacle - or worse still - get mistaken for Whoopi Goldberg. But let's face it - keeping up with the Joneses and the Chans and the Alis is not just about having a well manicured lawn, the newest car, the latest gadgetry and a well manicured wife anymore. It is now more about being seen to be doing our bit for this failing World. Big 4x4 for the school run anyone? No, no, no! To quote Amy Wino. Hang your head in shame if you drop little Jack off at the school gate whilst smothering the lollipop lady in your carbon emissions. Honestly, that is so 1994. It seems everyone wants to be an Earth mother, it's not just relogated to the mad hippy types swathed in tie-dye. It looks like lovely Linda McCartney, she of the veggie lasagne and fashion forward Mighty Boosh mullett should be made a saint.




Now, my forte is fashion, I rely on people's consumerism as ironically unfashionable as it is. I am a clothing snob. I won't set foot in Primark if I can help it. I'd rather elbow my way through the Nana's buying pick and mix for their Grandchildren in Woolworth's to cut through Cascade's and onto Commercial Road than have to breathe in the acres of cheap fabric and neon lights that is Primark. But now, the clever people in the fashion industry have begun a back lash against cheap clothing. Saving money is not ethical. Yes, you heard it. Buying cheap clothing means that someone had to suffer along the way. Ding, another bell on my smugness tally. Hmm. £3 for a t-shirt? What a bargain. But wait, it has shrunk and twisted to something only a 4 year old with scoliosis could find comfortable in it's first wash. What a waste of money! Put your money where the quality is - and then at least when you have ruined something yourself by washing it on the wrong setting - then you can at least take it to the Charity shop in the hopes that someone more petite might be able to carry it off then having to relegate said item into a rag for wiping the hybrid car.

Oh dear, in these credit crunching times, we really do have to be rich to keep up with those Joneses. Because god damn dual fuel hybrid, cars come sandwich toasters, come giant child carrying prams, come waste paper baskets (the innards of my cars always resembled a green recycling wheely bin - so ahead of my time) are just not that affordable now. You can't just get one on HP because the mean loans people keep turning us all down as our credit scores have failed from defaulting on the big loan we took out to buy that big 2.5l petrol 4x4 back in the 90s. Okay, okay, I had a Ford Ka back then - but I'm still paying for it now and I sold it in 2001.

Anyway, I digress. I want to discuss the way in which we are being sold the dream regarding our lifestyles. The McCartney legacy lives on, not in the form of miserable Mills and her poor child who has to fly on commercial airlines instead of private concorde (which I suspect Heather Mills would like to have resurected just for her.) I'm talking about the wonderful Stella McCartney. Not only does she produce the most dreamworthy clothes a woman could ever hope to have in her wardrobe - but she has been one step ahead of the rest of the fashion pack and prduces ethical clothing that hasn't caused an ounce of suffering to anyone. Except probably me that is.

My first suffering comes in the tension that has arisen from the fact that I will not be able to buy many of her clothes due to a failing bank balance that funds a very high cost of living and my relatively low maintainence children. The second comes in the fact that she has rather cleverly produced none leather shoes. All rather pricey for none leather, but they are so ethically sound and beautiful (we're not talking crocs here ladies) that it hurts. Now, I don't eat meat, dairy or fish - even though Fruits de Mar is my favourite meal of all time - because I do not want my tummy to be the end result of any creature's suffering. I do however eat eggs from my father-in-laws farm - free to roam, fed on a diet of Omega 3 rich grain and I know that there is no pain in their little chicky arses when laying those eggs. So why oh why am I such a big hypocrite stomping around in my size 4 platform leather shoe boots, carrying a Chloe leather bay bag and wearing a lambskin leather jacket? Funny it sounds less sickening in the label than it does seeing the words written on my computer screen. What a hypocrite. You see, that's the fashion snobbery. My little fashionista mind is telling me that faux leather shoes just won't be comfortable. The lack of "give" creates blisters. Leather speaks quality does it not? Even if Gok Wan says "Your feet look fabulous" in a pair of £20 New Look stilettoes, he might be right - but he doesn't have to lose 2 inches of skin while walking up Albert Road to the pub on a Saturday evening does he?








I will save the money. I will take the plunge. I will slowly but surely purge the animal objects away from my person. I will perhaps swap my leather jacket for something more millitary to give my outfit an edge (although that might present other faux pars) in my attempt for eternal utter smugness. I will save up for these super cute Stella McCArtney boots as pictured above - only £395 (gulp) from Net-A-Porter.








But really it's so hard. I absolutely cannot carry a none leather bag can I? I physically recoil when I see PVC high street copies of designer bags. Oh and what about the greatest comfort of wearing butter soft leather gloves in the harsh old winter?




I have bee approached by a company called Gruba who sell eco leather bags. They are bags made from recycled cows leather. that sounds promising. I am considering selling them on my website - but I am not entirely sure about the designs. I would love to hear people's opinions. They are made by a group of Argentinians and they look really interesting. The leather outer houses a fabric removable inner that comes in a contrasting colour. My sexy husband quite rightly pointed out that they look a bit like art folders and would probably appeal to students with expensive laptops. They would be retailing for around £85, not bad for a nice leather handbag - that's ethically sound. What do you think? Would you buy one. Do you really like the design - or are they a grower? Much in the manner of Crocs and Uggs which people love to adorn their feet in? Smug, smuggedy smug.






I don't know. I guess the sad truth is that A. I need to get over myself. And B. I have absolutely nothing to be smug about. Ooh, i feel better already.








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