Most of us have heard of 'fast fashion' where clothing brands can get their designs from a sketch to the store in super quick time, often just weeks. Zara, H&M & Primark are well known purveyors of this philosophy. Ultra cheap garments are churned out on a massive scale that suggests a disposability to the shopper as they have to buy into the next trend that's on the hangers. The low price tags of these clothes can be very seductive (and I am not immune myself) but I'm sure we all know that these come at a cost somewhere else down the line.
The 'slow fashion' movement has arisen as a reaction to this and espouses a 'buy less' buy better' attitude to fashion. It asks that the consumer be more conscious when buying that 'must have' item that they can live without. It demonstrates that the fashion industry need not be the second most polluting in the world nor synonymous with textile waste mountains, child labour and appalling work conditions. We are becoming more aware everyday of our impact on the planet and that mass consumption of everything including fashion is not only unsustainable but also not fair on the developing countries who manufacture these products that we veraciously gobble up.
The principles of slow fashion include creating beautiful garments that are made to last and are not 'on trend' so will not seem out of date next season. These will demand higher price tags due to the sustainable materials used and the fair wages paid. They will also tell a real story that will engage the buyer in a way that cheap fashion can never do. Recycling, reusing/vintage garment, upcycling, customisation and clothes swopping all fit the slow fashion bill.
Boy Wonder sees slow fashion as the future and will be a vocal advocate of it. I like a bargain as much as anyone so I am also personally challenging my fast fashion addiction too. What do you think? Could you implement some slow fashion ideas into your wardrobe?
#SlowFashion #ConsciousConsumption #SustainableFashion
While we have seen for some years now the use of recycled plastic bottles into fleeces there are some other amazing innovations happening that are pushing the boundaries of textiles. As textile manufacturing and garment product is such a dirty, polluting business many clever eco-minded people have been working on different ways to make the next generation of textiles. Many of these have been created from weird and wonderful things you would never imagine wearing.
Fancy wearing some tea or coffee? Well, an eco-milk fibre has been produced by a micro-biology student, Anke Domaske. Qmilch is made from the protein from sour milk which is similar to silk, yet far less expensive. Recycled coffee beans have been transformed into performance fabrics by high tech sports company Virus. A similar product is already being used by big names like North Face, Puma and Timberland. And fermented tea has been made into a vegetable leather called Kombucha by fashion designer Suzanne Lee. While they are not strictly edible (I know but the title sounded good!) these scientific developments could become very important as the need to become sustainable is more widely accepted.
There are many other designers looking at similar innovative ideas. Irene Marie-Selig was recently awarded the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion for her Amadou mushroom skin, which is another cruelty free alternative to leather. Mushroom is now being looked at to create other products such as takeaway coffee cups and even surfboards!
Bamboo is another material that I believe we will start to see much more of in our clothes (ok, we don't eat it but pandas do!) It is anti-bacterial, highly absorbent and needs far less water than cotton during farming.
#TextileInnovation #SustainableFashion #EdibleClothes
Following on from my last post I thought it would interesting to look at our laundry and how washing and drying our clothes impacts on the environment. Ok, so in a garment's lifecycle 75-80% of its environmental impact comes after its bought from washing and drying. That is massive in comparison to the energy it takes to manufacture the garments themselves. That's why it's so important that we all learn to be greener with our laundry. Not only will we help to save energy but also our own time and money too!
Reports by Proctor and M&S show that 90% of the energy used comes from heating the water alone. 13,500 gallons of water are consumed by the average household for about 400 loads of laundry. That's sounds staggering but to put it into some sort of visual perspective imagine it like this; a washing machine lasts about 11 years and the water used in that time would provide drinking water for 6 people for a lifetime or fill 3 swimming pools!
Here are some helpful tips:
1) Using a washing machine with a high energy rating means it will be more efficient.
2) We all know that running a tumble dryer is expensive and energy munching but did you know that a if you use a dryer 200 times a year you will use half a tonne of CO2? Hanging them out to dry will mean the clothes last longer as there is less wear and tear and you get the exercise too!
3) This is a no brainer, but wear your clothes more than once! Garments such as jeans and knitwear will benefit from being washed far less as they fade and bobble with over washing. You consume up to five times less energy by wearing your jeans at least three times. And, of course, always run a full load to maximise the energy usage.
4) Use ecologically sound detergents. Not only are there hidden nasties in our clothes from manufacture but then we put more on them when we wash them. These chemicals can easily effect young skins and then go into the water systems damaging wildlife. Bio-degradable products that are phosphate free are the way to go. Concentrated detergents have a much smaller carbon footprint too due to less packaging & shipping. You could even replace your fabric softener with a cup of white vinegar to save money and the planet. Our grandparents used many non-toxic stain removing and bleaching tricks with common kitchen cupboard items and to great effect. These can be easily found on the net if you are interested.
5) We are all being told to wash at a lower temperature these days and it really does make a big difference. Washing at 30 degrees uses 40% less electricity. It will reduce colour loss and fabric damage too. However I must add that towels, bedding and underwear should be washed at a higher temperature to remove bacteria.
While I am a big advocate of washing less already even I will adopt more of these tips. I hope they can help you too :-)
Our kids are precious, beautiful beings right? (well most of the time!) and we want them to stay that way don't we?
Well I was rather horrified after reading about Greenpeace's report on the various dangerous substances found in kids clothes. Garments from twelve major brands including Burberry, Gap and Disney were tested and found to contain high levels of nasty chemicals. 82 garments were tested in total from luxury brands down to budget fashion and all were found to contain something hazardous. A printed Primark children's t-shirt contained 11% phthalates which are known hormone distrupters. These exceeded limits on childcare products set by the European Union. Another hormone disruptor PFOA (Perflouroctonoic Acid) was found in in an Adidas swimsuit in higher levels than was permitted by its own restricted substance list. Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) which are in widespread use within the textile industry were found in at least one article from each brand. American Apparel, Disney & C&A had significantly high levels of this particular nasty.
So what's wrong with these weird toxins with unpronounceable names? Our children are especially susceptible to effects of chemicals so in my opinion they have no place in childrenswear. The workers who produce these garments are also highly exposed to any effects of such chemicals as is any wildlife that comes in to contact with these chemicals after they are released into waterways and even when we wash these toxic clothes. They effect our immune, reproductive and hormonal systems and have been known to give male fish female characteristics! Scary stuff :-(
But to end on a good note, there ARE thoughtful and sustainable producers of kids clothes, of which Boy Wonder will be one and they do not use such horrible nasties.
#ToxicMonsters #Greenpeace #SustainableFashion
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