Can a sustainable dress really cost $50? I tried out Nobodys Child

Can a sustainable dress really cost $50? I tried out Nobodys Child

As you guys will recall from my piece about off-setting your online purchases, a few months ago I read an article about Nobodys Child, an affordable sustainable clothing line based in the UK, and I was C.U.R.I.O.U.S.  To the internet!  And the placing of an order so I could learn a bit more about the clothes and then tell you what I think.

Sustainable clothes, for me, fall into two price categories.  Category one is thrifted clothing, which is super cost effective but requires a hunt, and category two is locally-made clothing in environmentally friendly fabrics, which is much more expensive (but in my opinion, worth it if you can afford it).  Finding a middle ground where clothing was sustainable, but at the price of high street clothing, seemed impossible outside of H&Ms Conscious Collection or other occasional dalliances with sustainability by mainstream brands.   

After a brief peruse on the website, I chose three bits (two dresses, one jumpsuit) and made the sacrifice to the fashion gods that is expenditure from my Frivolous Things account.  I chose:

The Fenn Wrap Midi Dress in red and white check

The Black Star Sharona Jumpsuit

The Purple Tie Dye Mesh Louisa Midi Dress

Three items, delivered to the other side of the world, for $148.74 (NZD.  Just ridiculous.  That’s cheaper than what I could buy in Glassons…and it was sent to me from the other side of the world.

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Now, some immediate issues to address.  First up, I also purchased these things so I could try out offsetting their flights, but generally speaking let’s try and limit our use of fossil fuels to ship cheap clothes across the globe, oui?  And secondly, I had a total fail and didn’t check the fabric content for any of these clothes.  You will understand why this matters shortly.  Finally, thirdly, you are unlikely to ever need to buy three items of clothing new in one go – I’m obviously shit at this, but try to only buy what you need.  In this case, I wanted back ups in case things went awry.

The order process was quick and easy, they allow you to use Paypal which I always love, and the email updates were great.  They also sent me a discount code to share, which, since I was just buying these as a normal consumer and not as a “blogger”, must be common practice for them. 

The shipping was quick as a wink, and the clothes were packaged safely.  Packaged in a parcel full of single use plastic, which was frankly a pain in the arse, but at least they weren’t exposed to the elements as has been the case for me with at least one other online retailer.

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That’s the thing about Nobodys Child – they are not, and do not claim to be, fully environmentally friendly.  They only claim to repurpose leftover textiles and create limited runs of each design so that they aren’t contributing to the mountains of leftover, unsold clothes in the world.  They also work with factories with good working standards, and they do things like provide information about how to reduce your environmental impact when you wash your clothes.  It’s not perfect, but it’s about a thousand times better than fast fashion and it’s a pretty accessible approach.   

To the clothes!  I picked three things because I honestly thought at least one wouldn’t fit, and one I would hate, and therefore I’d have a clear winner and could either return the others or just give them away at the next clothing swap when I inevitably procrastinated the postage and the return period lapsed.  Here’s where things get weird.  EVERYTHING FIT.  Okay granted, the mesh dress has a bit of stretch, but still – a miracle of online shopping occurred.  The second miracle was that I LIKED IT ALL.  I truly expected to put on at least one of these things and think it looked like total shite, but instead, as I did my little try on in my bedroom one evening, I loved everything.  I felt great.  There were cries of joy and “WHAT is HAPPENING” emanating from my bedroom.  I mean: just look at that jumpsuit.  And a wrap dress that actually fits me across the front and doesn’t leave my non-existent boobs hanging out!  I felt like the fanciest of fancy b*tches, and all for less than $150.  Truly, I was shook.

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Every item is now hanging in my wardrobe and the invites for my wedding to that jumpsuit will be in the post later this week.  Get ready to watch me slow dance with a jumpsuit.  Even as I was writing this post I was getting excited by how much I like these clothes and was thinking about when I will wear them.  That gingham dress is so picnic-bitch that it makes me glad to my heart.

Just one, teeny tiny ickle wickle problem, as I mentioned earlier – the fabrics.   The jumpsuit is 100% viscose (fine-ish), but the two dresses are both polyester.  In truth, I knew the mesh dress would be polyester but I absolutely assumed the wrap dress was cotton and was pretty much horrified when I felt it for the first time.  The mesh feels okay as a fabric; the wrap dress feels really average.  The only comfort I feel here is that this is textile that was doomed to be landfilled so this is a minor improvement, and as we know, the secret is to basically never wash polyester unless you are forced to.  There is a linen section on the site, and when I searched for cotton, six items did turn up – so you can pick non-polyester options if you are mindful when you go onto the site.

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The verdict?  While I’m pleased with what I purchased, I won’t be buying more stuff from Nobodys Child.  It’s too hard to find environmentally friendly fabrics on the site, and shipping endless cheap dresses from the other side of the world is frigging ridiculous.  I also still think that if a dress costs $50, someone, somewhere is getting ripped off and that person is almost certainly a woman.  It’s a better choice than many for the price, but it’s still not the best choice available to me right now.  Next time I want to throw down $150 on clothes, I’ll head to the sale sections of my favourite NZ designers – or alternatively, save $100 and spend the other $50 at the op shop.  That’s a whole outfit!

Other item details: orange necklace is from Unearthed Vintage; yellow shoes are from the Miss Crabb x Mi Piaci collab of my dreams; yellow necklace is from the op shop; pink shoes are from Ziggurat (they’re Miista); and the yellow bag is from Marlafiji. This post was not sponsored (duh).