If you’d told me a year ago that I’d have been a vegetarian (who eats fish) passionate about ethically sourced & recycled goods then, frankly, I’d of been pretty freaked out.

As a meat loving, planet wasting 40 year old, I would have rated eating lashings of meat, buying cheap clothes and driving gas guzzling sports cars as some of my favourite things… now one of those is still a source of joy.

Isn’t it great when you start noticing things you've never seen? You know, you might be looking at buying a certain make of car and suddenly you notice how many of them are around. New knowledge of optional extras, colour choices and models all contribute to this new awareness of what was already there.

A T-Shirt for only 85p - How is that possible?

When developing Cup of Tee I noticed t-shirts in a whole new way. Despite owning dozens of t-shirts it was only when I started exploring selling shirts that I realised I was opening a door to a whole new world. A world where a fully-finished 100% cotton tee could be bought (even in small quantities) for only 85 pence.

85p after what that physical product had gone through - the distributor has had their cut, the delivery around the world, the purchase of the cotton, the weaving, the design, the dye, oh and of course the workers and all this is with WRAP certification... how is that possible?

Wow. As a consumer it’s kinda thrilling – it makes clothing disposable – you can wear it once cos it’s cheaper to buy a new one than wash it! Wonderful. Amazing. Cool.

"it’s cheaper to buy a new one than wash it"

But the 41 year old me has stopped to think a little. Suddenly, I only want to buy clothes that have a real value. I want to know about the supply chain. I want the clothes I am seen in, clothes that make part of my identity, to be profitable for everyone in the production chain - and also the planet. I want to think there is some respect for the growth of future cotton. That wool is sourced without sheep being left bleeding and bruised. And mainly that the skilled workforce are treated with proper, First World, respect.

To make a Cup of Tee, well, you could buy a cup for around £1.50, put an 85p shirt in it and sell it for £5 - but please don’t give one to me!

We work with brands like Salvage Fashion 100% recycled T-Shirts made from organic cotton and recycled bottles, produced under Fair-Wear guidelines which I believe actually do mean something. Additionally the Fair Wage products are also fantastic as a portion of the money goes direct to the workers. 

"a reassuring cost to us and not to our world"

So, these products have a reassuring cost to us and not to our world. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe it’s just a phase, but, like spotting a car you’re thinking of buying, spotting cheap clothes with a hidden price sadly becomes something you see everywhere.