Our Sharer's Stories: Meet Ali

 Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Introducing Ali, a member of The East London Nu Community. Although you’re most likely to find her in one of her many black polo necks hunting for cheap avocados on Ridley Road market, Ali’s always on the look-out for an unusual piece to add to her wardrobe. With her style icons being Alex Chung and Florence Welch, that’ll come as no surprise to readers. Her dream dinner party guest is the political campaigner and civil rights activist Jessica Mitford, so we thought Ali would probably have a thing or two to say about the fast fashion industry.

“Fashion today is depressing”, says Ali. “The fast fashion cycle is wasteful, trends change daily and it’s impossible to keep up. Labour rights and concerns about the planet's finite resources are set aside so that we can have a cheap dress for every occasion. Advertising keeps telling us we're not sexy, chic or pretty enough. It’s a huge pressure.”

 Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

So why did Ali join The Nu Community? “Because I wanted an alternative to the fashion system I found myself in. Fashion should be about self-expression and make you feel good. It shouldn't be about exploiting people or the planet. I love meeting interesting, passionate people through the community. It’s great to be part of a movement that is trying to push fashion in the right direction.”

At one of our recent East London shoots, Ali brought along a stunning sparkly pair of trousers from the ethical and feminist London-based brand, Birdsong. “Every time I wear them I just know that they've been made with love, for a fair wage and for a brand that is doing good in the world.”

Ali found out about the social and environmental issues of the fashion industry at university while travelling in India with the Irish NGO, Suas. “I had the opportunity to meet with an organisation who represented garment workers”, she says. “I met and spoke to garment workers about their lives. It was an eye-opening moment for me - I used to spend every cent I had in Topshop. After that I started doing a lot of research into where my clothes were made and the conditions workers faced. It was through this research that I also began to learn about the environmental aspect.” 

 Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Rather than buy into the fast fashion industry, Ali would love people to borrow her clothes through Nu. “I have too many clothes and I can only wear one outfit a day! Why not let someone else enjoy my gems when I'm not using them - then they can enjoy their full potential.”

Ali’s East London loves: Gigs in café Oto and the Shacklewell, and visiting Broadway Market. The bars and cafes generally, and  the  Arcola theatre and Rio cinema particularly. Oh, and Victoria Park and London field Lido!

and loathes? The air pollution and noise…

 Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

Photography: Kolbra Sveinbjornsson

If you'd like to join our community in East-London as one of our first 100 members, click here to sign up!

Aisling ByrneComment