Monday, 29 August 2011

Pandas... fashion icons or fashion victims?

A lot happened last week, people. Work was actually a bit more insane than I care to take it. Plus the coffee machine broke down (and don’t even get the started on the fact that we have just one coffee machine to caffeinate an office of over 500 people). It rained. I saw my lovely friend Kate. I saw my lovely boyfriend. I frequented a new frozen yoghurt establishment. I watched Twilight.

So, sure, not a week to rival the coast of North East America for newsworthiness (earthquake, hurricane, big love to all my friends in the yankee states). But an eventful week nonetheless. And throughout the week, I had more than an ordinary number of encounters with pandas.

Yes, pandas.

Of course at first it seemed like just a pleasant coincidence. I went to Zara to look at nice things and there was a T-shirt featuring a friendly looking panda smiling back at me. I liked it. Then, Accessorize sold me a ring that takes the form of a panda. It’s very beautiful, please see the picture below and I’m sure you will agree.

Paperchase has a new range called jpop and pandas feature extremely prominently. River Island have back in their woolly panda hats (I got one of these a couple of years ago and frankly was disappointed enough at the time that quite so many people were walking about wearing them. Two years later I really wish someone on the winter-wear team at River Island could stretch their imagination just a tad and come up with something new). Anyway, you can see why I was starting to feel like I was being followed by a mob of black-and-white, furry friends. Then on Thursday I picked up a particularly rubbish job at work and to say thanks the project manager running it gave me a packet of panda biscuits.

With panda faces on them. Look!

The world was trying to tell me something.

That’s why on Friday night while taking the train up to Scotland I found myself googling pandas rather than gorging on my new Gossip Girl box set (season 4 – a low point in every sense). Anyway. My panda research left me extremely emotional. Sure, I knew these guys were endangered, but I didn’t know there’s only 1,600 of them left. 1,600. There’s more people on your average Victoria Line tube train in the morning. And I'm quite sure the pandas have better manners and smell a lot better. 

Also, I’d always been led to believe that pandas are endangered because they’re too lazy to reproduce. Not a true story! There’s several factors contributing to their dwindling numbers.

As I watched youtube of the gorgeous things running around, playing with trees, and doing the things that pandas do, I wanted to cuddle one. But I also felt so sad. And so guilty. I mean, if I can’t resist buying clothes with pandas on them, shouldn’t I be doing something to make sure the species doesn’t disappear altogether? If my life was in danger and people were walking around wearing T-shirts with my face on them without giving a second thought to my wellbeing… I’d be furious.

Which is why I am now the proud sponsor of a gang of giant pandas. Just go to if you’d care to join me. No pressure, I know there are plenty of good causes out there that need our support. But I feel like this weekend I got to know pandas a little better, and I can now choose panda fashions while feeling that I’ve taken responsible action to make sure they’re around for a while.

Because a world without pandas just doesn’t sound like somewhere I want to live. 

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