Sunday 29 June 1997
Kathryn Rignall, Cheshire
Nothing is too dull, especially when it is as important an issue as this. The answer, in short, is to ask. One can't really expect the poor old shop assistant to be up on this, but if you shop somewhere regularly you can write to them. This will be good for two reasons: it will give you an answer, and it will make them think. I asked M&S what their policy was and they said this: "Marks & Spencer sources over 75 per cent of its merchandise from the UK, almost pounds 5.4 billion of British-made goods. Of the remaining 25 per cent, the major source is western Europe. A small proportion comes from developing countries. When sourcing overseas, it is our practice to use existing UK suppliers to manage the process. Their long-standing relationship with Marks & Spencer means that they are well aware of the code of conduct we require relating to factory standards, merchandise quality, sound human relations and high environmental standards. In addition, we have a team of technologists who spend a significant proportion of their time visiting factories both in the UK and overseas. A large part of their role is to check that the standards in these factories are being maintained to high levels. We treat, and always have treated these issues very seriously and they are under regular review." The Office of Fair Trade in London knew no way of advising consumers on this subject, ditto your local council trading standards office. Traidcraft, however, were extremely helpful. They are involved in an initiative called "Labour Behind The Label", which aims to raise consumer awareness about this issue, (0161 247 1760). Another useful contact is the Oxfam information team (01865 313600). They are involved in the UK version of an international "clean clothes" campaign. Hope this helps and thanks to Imogen for all the sterling work she did while I soaked my poor swollen feet in a bucket.
Do you know where I could buy those expandable nylon string bags that are so popular in France? My house is being taken over by supermarket carrier bags - please help. (I'll be doing a shopping trip to London next month - I doubt if they're available nearer to me.) Thanking you in anticipation.
Ms F Langdon, Watford
I couldn't find nylon ones, but much prettier and more eco-friendly are cotton string bags, which are available from the Conran Shop (0171 589 7401) for pounds 3.95 - in red, yellow, blue, black and natural. If you don't travel to London they can send it to you (pay by credit card, p&p extra).
I am having a few problems finding American-type "skate gear" and was hoping you could help. I am a 16-year-old girl and a size 6-8. I live in Preston but will travel to Manchester or nearby, I will also be visiting London sometime in the summer. I would be so grateful if you could inform me of stockists in these areas, as I desperately need some new clothes for summer, and college in September. Pleeease help!
Suzanne Marsden, Bamber Bridge, Preston
Exit (Unit 1, Affleck's Arcade, Manchester, 0161 832 4028) stocks "hardcore" skate labels, straight from America including E America and DC. They stock X-Girl, which is exclusively for girls, (T-shirts cost around pounds 27.95), and Holmes, Suchi and Lush, which are available in girls' sizes (small is probably about an 8-10). In London, the place to go is Slam City Skates (16 Neal's Yard, London WC2, 0171 240 0928), which stocks Stussy, Volcon, X-Girl, Holmes and Lush for girls. They do a mail-order service, if you know exactly what you want, and you'll also need your ma or pa's credit card (yeah!!). Before I get complaining letters: I am aware that these are big prices for a teenager, but skate gear is expensive. Okay?
You are all so bloody fantastic! Mrs J Lockwood of London wrote in to say that Sarah V's gusset can breathe easy (22 June)! Thank goodness, Woman In Mind (01204 525115) make all sorts of hosiery ("Ventights"; "Open Crotch Tights"), to ensure that there's a supply of fresh air to your holey of holies.
On 15 June, I correctly told you all about 'hide away', a company that does hand-made leather goods. Last week, however, I made a howling error and mentioned them in the same breath as Vegetarian Shoes (a company that makes non-leather shoes) and 'hide away' are very cross, because their "time has been wasted by people who are under the misapprehension that we make man-made or plant-material sandals and then they in turn are disappointed because they can't get what they want." Quite. So, I am happy to set the record straight here.
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Fifty years of David Bowie's hairstyles in one animated gif
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
British Breakfast Awards 2015: London restaurant wins prize for inventive take on the Full English
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...