The Story of My Clothes: A Fashion Revolution Week Haulternative

Being a sustainable consumer of fashion is not easy.

First, you have to work out what you’re concerned about – is it animal welfare, human rights, chemical use, landfill, or one of a thousand other critical areas?

Next, you have to think about how you’re going to be sustainable. Buy less, or buy the same but ‘eco’, or buy nothing, or recycle everything, or…?

Then, you have to find the places where you will be able to take part in fashion sustainably – the brands and shops who have sustainability woven into what they do.

Finally, you have to spend significant amounts of time thinking about your purchases before it’s in your hands. You might ask yourself…

  • Do I need this?
  • Do I want it?
  • Do I have something like it already?
  • Will I wear it 30 times?
  • Will it make me happy?
  • What’s the cost-per-wear?

…all before you’ve even bought anything.

Eventually, when you do decide to buy (or make, or re-craft) a piece of clothing, you also have to care for it and maintain it to make sure that it lasts for a long time – another facet of sustainability.



I can absolutely see why being an unsustainable consumer of fashion is a lot easier.

It’s quicker, it’s simpler, and it’s a bit more fun as well (because you haven’t got to ask yourself any of those awkward questions). In the short-term, it’s also cheaper.

And I’m not going to blast someone for being an unsustainable consumer of fashion because, as I said here, no-one likes being told off and everyone is at a different stage in the complex journey of understanding, comprehending and caring about things like environmental impact.

The role of people who are sustainable consumers of fashion is to tell their story, authentically, and individually, so that we can learn from each other.

For Fashion Revolution Week, I’d like to tell the story of my clothes as part of their #haulternative campaign.



I’ve never thought that clothes were just things you put on in the morning. My mum’s favourite thing to say to me as I ran to get ready for a day out was “It’s not a fashion show”. But every day really is.

When I was in my teens and early 20s I dressed in a way that made it clear I was the hero (or anti-hero) of that fashion show. Our lives are one long journey of finding our identities and this was a time for me in which I did that through clothing.

As I’ve got older, my feelings on clothing as a way to express oneself, and to tell a story about who you are, hasn’t changed. But I think as people age, their stories become subtler.

We go from having a life story which is all about the high-impact special effects to one which is about deep characterisation, recurring themes, and the finer nuances of emotion and language.



The story of my clothes, in this way, has become subtler. I am more interested now in that depth of character which clothing can have, the layers of consideration which have gone into the garment, the ways in which one piece can be perceived in many different ways.

Importantly, that’s not about aesthetic. My aesthetic tastes in clothing have changed significantly, partly because the person and story I am expressing through that aesthetic has changed (and become, maybe, a little bit subtler). But you can have a wild, colourful aesthetic that’s as considered and characterful as one which is neutral and minimalist.

The story of sustainability and clothing is one of these subtle elements.



It wasn’t a particular day where I woke up and wanted to be more sustainable in how I consumed fashion. It was more a build up of reading and research, and most importantly a strong intuition about who I wanted to be and the story I wanted to tell with my clothing.

There is not a single story where one character manages to avoid interacting with anyone. Even a novel which is from an individual viewpoint or features a single protagonist, like The Catcher in the Rye, is made incredible by the implied or actual interactions the character has with other people.

When you buy a piece of clothing, your story becomes entwined with the stories of countless others: other people who’ve bought the same item, the designer, the retailer, the brand, the people who made the garment, marketed the garment, washed it, the magazine writer who featured it, the photographer who shot it.

All of their stories, and yours, converge on a single garment.

The choice to become a more sustainable consumer was a choice about whose stories I wanted to be part of and the story I wanted to be able to tell about and with my clothing.



So over the last few years, I’ve made a concerted effort to consume fashion in more sustainable ways. I’ve always been a big second-hand shopper and a swapper, so that was easy.

But this year, because I really enjoy finding ways to fulfil my own and others’ potential, I decided to bite the bullet and quit shopping for clothes.

The alternative path that I’m taking is to make the clothes I want. I love dressmaking and so this path is a way to fulfil more of those potential skills.

But it’s hard. Really hard. I find clothes beautiful and fascinating, and want to consume them. Dressmaking is time-consuming, mistake-heavy, not really any less expensive than buying, and just difficult.

But the process is also making me realise the difference between desiring and owning, and how you can value something without needing to possess it. It’s improving my skills and my reverence towards clothing has only increased

The stories of my clothing have become more interesting (saying “Oh, this? I made it” cannot be beaten) and I’m interlacing my story with other, different customers, like the incredible women in America who share their hand-made garments on Instagram and pattern companies who are genuinely interested in how their product comes to life.



I’m averaging about a garment a month so far in 2016. I’ve made more toiles (practice garments) and drafted more original patterns than I’ve ever done before, and I love it. Here are some of the items I’ve created.

A long-sleeved mock wrap top based on a Vogue pattern and made from fabric from Leeds Market.

Making Your Own Clothes Eleanor Snare 6

Making Your Own Clothes Eleanor Snare 5

A cropped swing top in grey wool from a second hand shop, plus lining from Leeds Market, made from a tweaked 1970s pattern (from a charity shop).

Making Your Own Clothes Eleanor Snare 3

This vest, of which I am so proud, made from a perfect Merchant and Mills pattern using environmentally-friendly material.

Making Your Own Clothes Eleanor Snare 2

Making Your Own Clothes Eleanor Snare 4

These are really small and subtle stories about my clothes, but they form part of a much bigger story about who I want to be and how I want to represent myself to the world – even if the rest of the world is only faintly aware of these things.

I urge you to take some time this week and look at the stories Fashion Revolution and other groups like them are telling about clothing. You are on a journey of discovering your identity and you have an opportunity to make that journey into a story of epic proportions. The key is to first find out what paths you can take.

Read more about Fashion Revolution on their website or follow the hashtags #fashrev and #whomademyclothes.



I’m very excited to be a new member of the Ethical Writers Coalition, a group of writers and bloggers dedicated to furthering the cause of ethical living. Many of the members have written great posts for Fashion Revolution Week, so take a look at the links below.


Thanks for reading.

Ethical Fashion Alternatives for SS16

Ethical Fashion Alternatives for SS16

Question: What do you do when you love fashion, and you love trends, but you’re committed to shopping ethically and sustainably?

Answer: You scour the web for products made fairly and made ethically that just happen to be completely on trend, and add them to rather lovely Pinterest board.

Then you write an article so other ethical fashion shoppers know where to look.

So, here are my picks of ethical fashion alternatives for four SS16 trends.

The incredible earrings featured in this image are from Palomita Jewellery – visit their Etsy shop here.

Find out the sustainable, ethical alternatives for four key womenswear trends for SS16.


The sportswear aesthetic is still very strong, probably because it’s very comfortable and practical (unlike a whole lot of other trends).

Although a class pair of adidas stripes look great, the company isn’t well-rated when it comes to ethical production.

Here are some alternatives (in timeless black).


This trend is inspired by Gucci and other designers who used acid colours and clashing patterns on the SS16 catwalk.


Some things about the 90s I wish were left back in the past (scrunchies, for example). Other trends, like casual dressing and grunge styling, I’m happy to see renewed and revamped with spring colours.


An accessories trend exemplified by Gucci but popular on high street shows too: big, bold, over-the-top and mismatched earrings.


Thanks for reading. Have you spotted any more ethical fashions that fit in with this season’s trends? Let me know on Twitter!


Is a Blog Better for My Business Than Social Media?

Is a Blog Better for My Business Than Social Media? | Eleanor Snare

I love writing articles for my blog, whether that’s on catwalk trends or how to make fulfilling your goals for this year more enjoyable.

But like other small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, I’ve got my fingers in lots of digital marketing pies; I also enjoy writing articles on LinkedIn, and sharing photos on Instagram, and starting interesting conversations on Twitter.

These channels are continuously developing their functionality, whether that’s increasing character count or linking up with other platforms, and using them for marketing is more exciting than ever.

So the question is – is a blog better for my business than social media?



Services like SquareSpace now offer beautifully-designed, seriously pared-back websites for entrepreneurs and businesses. If you have a bricks-and-mortar retail store, the idea of having a website that’s anything more than a clear and communicative home page seems a bit unnecessary.

And if you can now gain customers from your carefully-curated Instagram feed or Twitter recommendations, you might not need to convince people with length blog articles.

Long-form writing isn’t right for every business. It takes time, planning, and resource dedicated to dreaming up and getting down on paper lots of relevant ideas which you and your customers will benefit from.

But there are still plenty of reasons to have a blog for your small business, and keep it regularly updated.


Is a Blog Better for My Business Than Social Media? | Eleanor Snare


The most important thing for me about my blog is that it’s got all my ideas and support for clients under one roof. Rather than direct clients to an insightful Instagram photo from six weeks ago (which will take me ages to find anyway), I can direct them to a blog post which is simpler to find thanks to good categorisation and tagging.

A blog means you can link articles to other articles easily, showing clear connections between your ideas and sending potential customers on a journey (which encourages them to stay longer on your site).

It’s a portfolio of your expertise that’s easy to gather together and direct people to; spreading yourself across multiple social media channels means getting people to stick around and ‘join the dots’ is a lot harder.



While increasingly we’re seeing visual content take the place of the written word, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to explore infographics, photo tutorials or video, clients still want to absorb you through what you say in person and in writing.

That’s why Instagram photographs have captions and even the shortest emails can take hours to craft.

Keeping a business blog means you can articulate your brand through a clear tone of voice – a personality that helps people feel as if you’re really there with them.

Video is another key way to create this, but not everyone is confident on camera (and it takes real skill not to fidget, mutter or waffle).

In a blog post, you can be yourself – a crisp, edited version of yourself that speaks directly to your client’s needs.



I’m going to go out on a limb here: while all other digital marketing channels for entrepreneurs, especially social media, can be populated with curated content without any negative repercussions, only your blog has to be original.

On Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest you can re-post, re-tweet and re-pin other people’s content; in fact, that’s actively encouraged. On LinkedIn, sharing and reacting to other people’s updates is seen as a good networking strategy, and the articles are often repeated content from personal blogs or brand websites.

But on your blog, the idea of using someone else’s content or not writing something original is frowned upon – both by customers and by Google. Even Buzzfeed, the king of curated content, writes every blog article from a unique point of view, linking together images and ideas in an original way.

Your blog is the way for you to show your originality and demonstrate your business’ USP. You should be doing that on social media, but you’ll also be curating and sharing other people’s ideas; other people’s USPs.

Your blog is for you, your USP and your customers – not anyone else’s.



Showing your USP and your tone of voice very clearly on a regularly updated blog can also build real trust in your brand. This can be the difference between a client considering you as an option, and actively wanting to work with you – whether they take that next step on the customer journey towards conversion.

Having a regularly updated blog will not gain you more customers as a small business if the rest of your website doesn’t have key information a customer needs. This includes opening hours, clear descriptions of services and contact details.

Some customers aren’t bothered about a blog. In BrightLocal’s 2016 survey of 800 American consumers, only 2% said a blog was important on a local business website and just 3% said not having a blog would stop them from shopping with a local business.

But in a saturated market, having an informative, helpful and well-written blog can be the difference between a potential customer and an actual customer. From BrightLocal:

We should clarify that these [like the blog] are good features to have; they will help to inspire trust, establish expertise, answer more tricky questions & even encourage return visits from knowledge hungry customers.

And looking at the stats from their survey, helpful content features like FAQs, customer testimonials, accreditations and a blog are all more important to customers than they were in 2014 – so investing in a blog now could prove very fruitful in the future.

Bright Local 2016 Survey



One of the biggest struggles about using social media to promote your small business is thinking of what the hell to talk about. Because of the suggested frequency of some of the channels – for example, five times a day for Twitter or twice a day for Instagram – it can be a real struggle to find interesting, relevant content to share with your customers.

As a recent client of mine said, “This social media stuff’s a full time job!”.

Writing for your blog gives you something to share on social media – it’s that simple. You can share your blog posts multiple times in multiple ways on social media, giving you something fresh to talk about on a regular basis (as well as showing off all the good stuff I’ve already mentioned, like your tone of voice and USP).

Rather than simply ‘moving’ content around in the big community of social media through re-tweets and re-posts, you’re adding to the community.



There are many more exciting things in this life than SEO, but it’s a bit like death and taxes; you can’t avoid it. Considering SEO means you’re considering Google, and considering Google means you’re considering the shopping and search habits of the millions of people who use it every day.

An informed, original, consistent blog for your business means your website is regularly given an injection of content – what Google refers to as ‘freshness’. And the freshness of a website directly affects whether it appears in search ranking or not.

So does the number of people linking to and sharing your website, which is much more likely if you write about things your customers are interested in and find helpful.

Having a blog means your fresh, original content is under your roof (not Twitter’s or Instagram’s) so Google is more likely to display your site in search results and your potential customers are more likely to discover it.


Is a Blog Better for My Business Than Social Media? | Eleanor Snare


If you’re a small business or an entrepreneur, having a blog on your business website isn’t always going to be the right option; you might find more success in social media, email newsletters or traditional marketing.

But a lot of the time a blog is ignored because businesses don’t have the time, energy or skills to keep it going, even if it might be one of the most successful and cost-effective marketing channels to reach their customer.

Taking the time to work out your customer profile, where they hang out and what sort of content they’ll respond to is key to understanding whether a blog is a waste of time – or an incredibly good investment.


Thanks for reading.

If you know your blog is a great way to reach your customer but want some much-needed support, get in touch to find out how my cost-effective copywriting packages can help you make the most of your blog and social media marketing:


Clever Retail Ideas for Small Businesses and Creative Entrepreneurs

If you’ve read my article on how to make the most of your retail space, you’ll now be looking for some tactics to make sure your shop, market stall or pop-up shop gets your customers to help achieve your business aim.

There are plenty of ways to find inspiration for your retail space. One you can do from the comfort of your armchair is browsing (ok, ‘becoming addicted to’) Pinterest.

But don’t search for ‘retail ideas’ because you’ll get the images everyone is seeing.

Instead, search for home trends, storage solutions and other more personal visual merchandising and display tactics.

For small businesses, these are often more cost-effective and innovative than trying to fit the latest Parisian concept store idea into a tiny retail space.

Don’t forget, your tactics should fit with what your customer needs and wants, and what you want to achieve from your retail space.

Here are my five favourite, clever retail ideas for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs.

Clever Retail Ideas for Your Small Business Eleanor Snare


(1) Use a feature wall to draw a customer’s attention to the till or key product area.

(2) Install modular display units you can move around to fit new products and renew customer interest.

(3) Display small products inside larger items to show contrast and intrigue customers.

(4) Combine hanging window displays with information to attract and educate your customer.

(5) Show your inspiration or work-in-progress in simple ways to help customers trust your story.


You can find more inspiration by following me on Pinterest and Instagram, where I share marketing ideas and more. See you there!

Thanks for reading.

Liked this post? You might enjoy these ones too:

10 Fashion Illustrators to Follow on Instagram for Fashion Week

10 inspiring fashion illustrators to follow on Instagram - Eleanor Snare (1)


Originally this article was going to be about top Instagram accounts to follow for upcoming fashion weeks. But there are only so many pictures of macarons, flowers, pigeon-toed shoes and other nonsense one can suffer through before you get to the good stuff – you know, the actual clothes and shows.

Instead, here are 10 fashion illustrators you should follow on Instagram for fashion week. Some of them will be live-sketching at events, while others might recreate the looks afterwards – and some just draw people with clothes on.

Whichever way it goes, their beautiful mark-making is much more interesting than another perfectly manicured hand gripping a Starbucks.


10 Fashion Illustrators to Follow on Instagram for Fashion Week


Blair Breitenstein @blairz

Loose portraits of melancholic, alien-like models.

Scott W Mason @scottwmason

Big black lines with primaries and plenty of s-p-a-c-e.

Duangkamol Suthumachote @daydream.drawing

Soft, dreamlike marker work (and occasionally fishes).

James Davison @jamesdavinsonstudio

Slightly aggro, sexy punk stuff. A bit NSFW.

Cristina Alonso @cristinaalonsoillustration

Gorgeously girly, super-pink. Just enjoy it.

Rachel Merrill @ohhhaeee

My notes say “Tin Tin style fashion illustration”. Very cool.

Nellyaba @nellyaba

Colourful, vibrant and particularly like the work on grey ground.

Mirabelle @mirabelle_fashion_illustrator

Rambling Miro-style lines and puddles of watercolour.

Yuko @pontariver

Puffs of pastel and models fading into the background.

Monika Kozak @mon_and_ka

Slightly creepy block colour people.


Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, you might find these ones interesting too:

Rethinking Your 2016 Goals: How to Make them More Enjoyable

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Pinterest 4 - Eleanor Snare

A month into 2016, do you still care about your goals as much as you did on January 1st?

Research conducted by the University of Scranton showed that of all the people in the US who regularly make resolutions only 8% of them manage to fulfil them.

I get that; last year I made five big yearly goals based around my freelance work and lecturing. By the end of the year, I’d only truly fulfilled one of them.

It wasn’t because I hadn’t tried. It was because I hadn’t set the goals in the right way.

But I only understood that at the end of the year, when it came to setting goals for 2016. The rest of the year I’d been tough on myself for not hitting those goals, even though I’d been doing loads of other stuff I really loved.

Reconsidering how and why I set goals before writing down my aims for 2016 meant I’ve been able to make goals which are not only achievable, but actually enjoyable too.

Here I’ll share with you what I’ve learnt from experience and reading so you can reclaim some of the same passion for your goals and enjoy fulfilling them throughout the year.

Find areas of focus, rather than SMART goals

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Twitter 2.a - Eleanor Snare

All of my goals last year used the SMART method, which people generally think is a good way of making goals and helping you achieve them. The SMART method means your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

The problem is, life isn’t SMART. Lots of types of goals aren’t SMART. You can use SMART steps to achieve a goal (more on that later) but often our big goals aren’t going to fit neatly into these boxes.

I found that when I articulated my goals in SMART ways, I ended up doing the bare minimum to fulfil the terms of my goal’s ‘contract’. I didn’t really enjoy it either, as it felt like I was just ticking a box.

As an example, here’s one of my goals from 2015:

By the end of the year I will have written at least two blog posts a month from March to December on fashion, communication or sustainable business.

This felt like a huge chore. When I couldn’t write two posts a month I felt awful about it and when I did write two I wasn’t that excited because it was just part of my ‘to do’ list.

For 2016, I skipped the SMART description and looked at bigger areas of focus. Articulating my goals around these areas has made them much more enjoyable and – so far – immensely achievable.

The difference between the two is the scope of what your goal encompasses and the phrasing you use. Last year it was about “at least two blog posts a month”. This year, my goal is to:

Create meaningful content and an engaged audience on my website

By giving my goal a focus area I have the freedom to try a range of things to achieve it, rather than tie myself down to a specific output. And I’m focusing less on getting it done and more about whether I’m enjoying what I’m doing.

These sort of goals are about quality, not quantity – for what you’re achieving and the process of doing it.


Choose the right language to phrase your goals

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Twitter 4 - Eleanor Snare

As a writer I’m obsessive over which words to use and when – but in writing my goals for 2015 I now realise I didn’t consider language, and the impact it would have on my goal-getting process, as closely as I should have done.

Last year, the key verbs in my goals were things like “written”, “lectured” and “organised”; all accurate but pretty dull words. The language wasn’t inspirational or enjoyable, and so my goals weren’t either.

For 2016, I described my focus area goals much more carefully. The key verbs are “enjoy”, “reflect”, “develop”, “strengthen” and “create”; a set of inspiring words that also encourage direct action.

There are more words about what I’m gaining from the goals, like “experience” and “knowledge”, and more value-driven words (like “meaningful”).

Choosing the right language for your goals is very important to help you enjoy and achieve what you set out to do. You’ll remember your goals more easily, and you’ll be more interested in working on them if you feel enthused each time you read them.


Make goals across all areas of your life and give them equal priority

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Twitter 5 - Eleanor Snare

Often we set goals in work and education, as part of professional development, but very rarely do we set goals in every area of our life – including family, relationships, health or wellbeing.

Last year all my goals were about work and lecturing, and it meant that I missed out on friendship and personal growth. Reflecting on this, I decided two of my focus area goals in 2016 would be:

Develop my spiritual understanding and knowledge

Strengthen my family relationships and friendships

I chose these goals because they’re two areas I tend to neglect. I enjoy spending time by myself with my head stuck in something fascinating. Yet doing this too much means when I need to tap into that inner strength or external social circle, it’s not there.

These goals aren’t SMART and they’ve got nothing to do with work, but they will have a huge impact on my ability to achieve my other, professionally-focused goals and on my overall quality of life.

Setting focus area goals across all parts of your life, and giving them equal priority, is an important way to gain balance, replenish your energy and enjoy the complete goal-getting process.


Give yourself a head start with simple tasks

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Twitter 6 - Eleanor Snare

Setting goals using the SMART method can be limiting, but breaking down goals into simple, SMART-style tasks can be incredibly useful; the same University of Scranton research I mentioned at the start also found people who planned steps to achieving their goals were 10 times more likely to succeed.

I used this method last year, where I broke down each of my SMART-articulated goals into SMART tasks. Because the goals were a like a tick-list to start with, I found that I wasn’t excited by completing the tasks – I was a bit bored.

I also forgot to make all of my tasks completely SMART. More like SMAR.

I missed out the ‘time bound’ aspect because it can be hard to judge when you’ll be able to do something, or how long it might take. Because none of the tasks had time limits, I felt no urgency to do them while at the same time freaking out that I needed to do them now.

While I was achieving things by ticking tasks off, I never felt like I was achieving them.

From this experience, once I’d set my focus area goals for 2016 I created a series of simple SMART tasks which focused closely on the T and were designed to give me a head start on achieving my goal.

I set three SMART tasks for something which I could do…

  • That day
  • That week
  • That month
  • That quarter
  • That year

…which would help me achieve my goal.

I found this process really helpful: I was brainstorming ways to fulfil my goals which I could use later on in the year, plus that day I did three things to help me get a head start on each of my big goals!

Taking a focus area goal and breaking into simple, SMART tasks is a useful way to get a head start on goals which can feel particularly nebulous in January – like setting small milestones for the rest of the year.


Reflect on your goals every day

Rethink Your 2016 Goals - Twitter 7 - Eleanor Snare

When we’re setting goals for work or education, they tend to be quite far apart; three months is maybe the minimum gap for a PDP meeting. That means we return to our goals to reflect on them only four times in a year.

In 2015, I was reflecting in a similar pattern on my goals. I returned to them to reflect when there was a big change, or I had a spare half day.

Because they were so specific, so tick-listy and a little bit boring, I didn’t want to reflect on them too closely, so I often skipped it completely.

The result was that I didn’t really experience any joy in working on my goals, or any pride when I had hit small targets. It was only at the end of the year, when I was considering goals for 2016, that I finally saw what I had achieved and fully reflected on what I had been doing.

This year, my aim is to reflect on my goals – along with all elements of my life – on a daily basis through reflective writing. Plus, my focus area goals and simple SMART tasks are in a document I look at least three times a week.

By doing this, I’m regularly thinking about what I’m enjoying, what’s not working and what small milestones I’m passing, making the whole process of achieving the goal much more pleasurable.


My goals for 2015 were exactly what I needed that year to help me manage my work.

But what I learnt from them has helped me to create goals for 2016 which I actually want to achieve – and I feel like I am achieving them in a small way each day.

Here are the five ways to do the same:

  1. Switch to focus area goals
  2. Use inspirational, value-driven language
  3. Make equal-priority goals across each part of your life
  4. Get a head start with simple SMART tasks
  5. Reflect on your goals every day

To help you rethink your 2016 goals, I’ve created a free workbook to print out and fill in. It takes you step-by-step through each of the things I’ve learnt, plus gives you plenty of inspiration for setting goals.

Get the workbook on reconsidering your 2016 goals and making them more enjoyable right here.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear about your goals for this year and your progress – let me know in the comments or drop me a line: