Ethical Ellie: The Fashion Blogger

The student behind successful fashion blog Ellie Speaks talks about her ethical approach to clothes


Third-year French and Italian student Ellie Jackson is the creator and writer of the hugely successful blog Ellie Speaks.  Here, she tells the Bristol Tab about her style evolution: from fashion blogger to ethical shopper.

I like to think of my blog as an online scrapbook.  It’s a place for me to document memories, ideas, passions and inspirations. I am not advertising anything other than a positive outlook on life and I don’t have any sponsors (other than perhaps the lovely man in Mocha Mocha who once gave me a free cake with my coffee!)

Ellie turns a pinafore dress into a skirt

An important blogging lesson I have learnt is that it’s incredibly important to blog about things I am genuinely interested in, even if it means losing readers.

I love style-blogs, particularly those promoting fashion for regular-sized girls with a regular-sized income. They were the only blogs I ever used to read, so I soon began to wonder whether I should start doing outfit posts too.

I tried it. But the pressure to think up outfits, as well as finding someone to take pictures for me became so stressful I soon stopped blogging altogether.

I’ve always enjoyed putting clothes together but I realised I wasn’t passionate enough about style to blog about it regularly.

Ellie buys ethical from her feet to her fingers

What I am passionate about is ethical fashion. I was one of those people who, whilst packing up my uni room or moving house, screamed ‘I AM NEVER BUYING ANY MORE CLOTHES!’ only to go out the following week and buy something from H&M just because my friend was having a party.

So I decided to commit to a year of pursuing ethical shopping habits, posting a little update on my blog every once in a while tagged as ‘No Clothes for a Year’.  The first six months were relatively easy. Other than tights, leggings and underwear, I reused outfits, borrowed dresses from friends or searched the Bristol charity shops for unique items.

The Rules Of No Clothes For A Year

Then I started my year abroad, and my first placement was in a theatre in Düsseldorf. Unfortunately I didn’t get the dress-code memo and all my wonderfully ethical office-wear finds looked horrendously out of place.

By that time I was so used to shopping with a conscience I found it incredibly difficult to buy from the high street again.

So instead I spent a lot of time researching the ethical policies of the companies and tried as best as I could to shop accordingly.  I still felt icky whenever I bought something, but when there are no ethical options you just have to get over it. I switched from shopping ethically to shopping responsibly, by only buying things that I really needed.

Instagram: A fashion blogger’s best friend

My year of pursuing ethical fashion is over but I still would choose charity shops, vintage and over the high street. The pieces always feel special, plus you can guarantee you and your friend won’t turn up to a party wearing the same thing! 

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