While we all think of ways to keep the kids amused as well as stay in contact with the outside world how about trying to combine the two? After seeing the drawings of rainbows done by Italian children during lockdown I was inspired to think of creative ways to use these spaces in our communities. So here are a few ideas that are as yet untested, but could maybe work with a few adjustments depending on the layout of your street & type of housing. If your household has binoculars these could come in useful or otherwise look at your neighbours windows when you take some daily exercise. For most of these ideas you would need to set up some sort of street communication through WhatsApp, Facebook, Next-door or similar to play together.
Each day a different household could draw a picture to represent either a film, book or song for the other side of the street to guess and put it up in their window. Take it in turns and alternate between each side of the street each day. The drawing can have the theme written at the top, but should not otherwise have any letters, numbers or symbols. At the end of the week or allowed time, the side of the street with the most pictures guessed right wins.
Each household takes turns to choose a word and draw the hangman that they out in their window. Maybe start one end of the street and alternate between sides each day. The chosen word is represented with dashes for each letter. Anyone on the street who can see the household drawing can suggest letters for the mystery word. If the letter is correct the drawing household puts it into the space it appears. If it is wrong the first part of the hangman is drawn. The others on the street must guess the word before the hangman is fully drawn because of wrong letters guessed.
This one has to be done from the confines of your house rather than when passing by outside for it to work better. A house at one end of the street (no. 1) chooses a phrase and writes large enough to read and places in a visible window. The house opposite (no. 2) has to write what they think they can read and write that on paper and place in their window. The next house opposite them (no. 3) then does the same. By the time it gets to the end of street it will hopefully be beyond recognition to the starting phrase and hilariously funny.
Take a word, scramble it up and write it out in large letters to put up in a window. The first neighbour to guess what it is wins. Take it in turns and increase the length of the words to increase the difficulty.
Take in turns to draw up a 4 x 4 grid of randomly chosen letters. You could pick these out of a bag of scrabble letters or from a real boggle game if that helps. Put up the grid in a window and make sure it is large enough for all to read it. Set a time period for people to view it from 10 minutes to an hour or more if necessary. Houses that can see the boggle grid must come up with as many words from the grid as they can. The letters must connect to form the word and not repeat and no plurals, abbreviation or slang allowed. To simplify the point scoring award a point for each letter each word contains. The household with the highest scores wins the round. Take turns and alternate the side of the street so that different houses get the chance to see the boggle grid.
Choose a daily theme and get the kids to set their imaginations free! Encourage use of different media; paints, pastels, collage etc. and the bigger the better. Place them proudly in upstairs windows for all to see. Then each household on the street could vote on a winner and a chocolate prize could be awarded.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other well known games or activities that could be adapted in a similar way so let me know if you think of any more. I hope you will all try some and get playing with your neighbours to help strengthen your community and get through these hard times.
#lockdowngames #coronvirus #covid19
How to Survive Lockdown with Kids
Hello dear readers,
As my son and I go into self isolation due to my son's medical risk, I thought it might be useful to share with others my ideas on how to cope with it. As a widow and a home worker I am used to spending long periods on my own, so am maybe more well equipped than others to cope, and some of these strategies have been key to me surviving the dark times after my husband's death. Keeping the kids amused in different ways rather than just the telly should help maintain a happy (isolated) household (although TV is still definitely essential!)
This is so important, because as parents we put our kids needs before our own, but if we burn out we will be no good to anyone. Make sure you have some space & time to yourself each day doing something that helps you to unwind, switch off or escape. Having a relaxing bath, doing some meditation, getting lots of sleep, reading a good book, and maybe putting ear plugs in to block out everything else for a few minutes will go a long way in keeping you sane. Dads may want to escape to their 'man cave' or shed perhaps for a bit of time out.
Books, magazines & comics.
You can access your library online and download e-books, e-magazines, e-comics and digital audiobooks onto phones and tablets. E-books can also be downloaded from Amazon onto Kindles. Download digital audiobooks onto your phone or an old handset and kids will happily listen with headphones giving you precious peace and quiet!
Films & TV
Why not have a movie night? Dig out an old favourite DVD, stream or download one from the internet or order for delivery online. Get out the popcorn out and cuddle up - bliss! You could even host a watch party with Netflix or do your own by choosing to watch a film simultaneously with someone else you know. Parents can look forward to an evening treat of a boxset binge after the kids are in bed.
Board games and card games area great way to bring the family together for a bit of fun. There are also some online table games you can play with friends. Video games with online multi-player options are great for older kids so they can still play with their friends. Sticking to a screen time limit is good and this may be helped by pre-arranging a 'digital playtime' with their friends, which you may need to help with unless they have their own phones.
Combating boredom while being stuck inside for long periods of time will help reduce tensions. We use a family time jar with different activities in to be picked out a random when the dreaded words 'I'm bored' get uttered. There are so many things you could put in here from treasure hunts, hide and seek, colouring, jigsaws and crafting. Setting aside a regular time slot for playing with your kids, perhaps when you would usually home after work, will help give a structure to the days. There are more ideas here.
Phone or video calling friends and family regularly and not relying on just social media will help us feel connected to the real world. Kids might want to chat to friends too or maybe email each other like pen-pals. If you live close enough to your neighbours to see their windows your kids could create a game involving poster messages or similar putting their inventiveness to the test. For people's birthdays you could make cards together and photo, scan or post them (in a remote post box) or even sing a song and video it to send to them instead.
If you have a garden, getting outside as much as you can will help boost vitamin D levels and prevent cabin fever. If the weather is good try a lawn picnic, camping, den building or an assault course. Get the kids involved with planting spring bulbs and watching them grow will give you joy during the hard times in the coming months. A walk in a remote or un-busy place should be fairly safe too, if you keep your distance from other people or go out at night. A drive just to escape the house could also help and cycling and jogging would be low risk too if you avoid contact. Take the time to appreciate the peace and quiet on our streets, less pollution and listen to the birds sing. Remember to get everyone to wash hands their hands when they are back inside though as the virus can stay on hard surfaces for some time.
Why not take a virtual tour of a museum from the safety of self isolation? 12 famous museums have virtual tours including the British Museum, the Guggenheim and Musee D'Orsay and they are free too!
Getting regular exercise will really help you not only stay well and fight off any infection, but keep your spirits up due to the endorphins released. Yoga can be particularly beneficial as it is also calming. I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne which is available free to watch on YouTube. Here are some other online suggestions. Keep the kids active too to burn off all the pent up energy from being stuck inside with 'PE with Joe' on YouTube.
Food & drink
Frozen and tinned fruit and veg will provide you with you with much needed nutrients if you can't get out to stock up on fresh food. Eating healthily and avoiding too much alcohol will keep your immune system strong, but a glass or two of wine at the weekend could be a good way to mark time and have something to look forward to. Why not try baking bread or cakes with the kids too? If you have to go out for supplies try to use small local businesses as many of these will struggle to stay afloat and there will most likely be less people in them than the big supermarkets, but use masks and gloves where possible and wash or sanitize hands as soon as you get home.
If you end up doing everything for everyone resentment and tension will soon build up, so it might be an idea to divide up the chores and work as a family team. Kids learn good life skills and responsibility too from doing chores, so get them involved with clearing away meals, cooking, laundry and looking after pets.
This is an emergency situation, so although it's tempting try not to bury your head in work. It will be important for kids to know that you are there for them and you will get through it together. They will need to be able to spend time with you so they can express their worries and feel reassured. It's a good opportunity to slow down, rethink your priorities and consider your work/life balance. Setting specific times to work, in a separate room if possible, will let kids know when they can have family time and when to leave you alone.
Schools may well at some point set up online classrooms or homework, but there are also other ways to keep them learning. Some schools have subscriptions to apps like Times Table Rockstars and Reading Eggs and there are many maths websites, free scholastic and Twinkl learning resources and educational TV programmes like Horrible Histories and Number Jacks. Why not also engage in some other skills by teaching or learning together things like knitting or cooking? You can also download language and learning apps like Duolingo onto phones or laptops. You could also learn something yourself through an online short course with FutureLearn.
There are always jobs that we never get round to as we are so busy, so why not take the opportunity and tidy that cupboard, sort out that paperwork or write that email to an old friend. It will give you a sense of much needed purpose & achievement as well as being able to tick something off that never-ending 'to do' list.
If any of you are ill then quarantine should be set up in a isolated room and the patient should use a separate bathroom and towels if possible. Keep well people out of the room and wash hands for 20 seconds whenever you have been in it to prevent spreading the virus. Use a mask, apron and gloves if you have them and get the patient to 'catch it kill it bin it' with coughs and sneezes. Use separate crockery and cutlery, keep their fluids up and use paracetamol rather than ibuprofen based medicated to bring down the fever. Once they are well and after 7 days they can come out of quarantine and you will need to do a deep clean. Wash bed linen with laundry cleanser or at a high temperature and wipe sides down with a sanitising spray or wipes containing 60% alcohol.
Helping each other by supporting those in our communities will be how we get through this - together. Set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group for your street so people can check on elderly, vulnerable or isolated neighbours, leave provisions outside their door or just be there for a chat on the phone. Be grateful and thankful to those on the front line and doing the jobs that keep the country going, such as bin men and posties etc. Donate to homeless charities and food banks, as the most vulnerable people in our societies will be the ones most affected.
Having been through bereavement, I know this is the most important thing of all. Talk to each other and listen to your kids. Get them to write or draw about their worries. Keep the news away from them as much as you can and switch off yourself from it too when it gets too much. If someone you know gets ill or dies, be honest about it and try not to panic. There are professional services out there with free support too. Draw pictures or write letters and photograph and email or WhatsApp them to sick friends and relatives. Give yourself to time and space to grieve, even if you don't lose loved ones, as we will all be surrounded by death and be traumatised by it to some extent. It's normal to feel angry, sad and scared. Express those feelings in a safe way while also trying to remember good things. Be silly, listen to your favourite music and have a dance with your kids. Make the most of your time together as none of us know when it could be cut short.
I hope these help you all over the this difficult time. Please pass on any other ideas as I would love to hear them.
Stay well everyone.
#coronavirus #selfisolation #covid19
Window Games for Lockdown
Since seeing the shocking footage of plastic in our oceans in Blue Planet II, we have all become much aware of the problems of recycling. Consuming less stuff is always the better option over recycling more, but recycling well rather than increasing landfill also needs to be done until we have a more circular system.
With this in mind I did a little research and discovered lots of things that I hadn’t realised could be recycled. The Terracycle website has a whole lot of recycling options. Hopefully these will help you to cut down on your household waste too.
Always check on the packaging to see as it will often say if it can be recycled, for instance most poly bag type packaging like bread bags can be recycled at large supermarkets along with shopping bags.
There are of course lots of things that you can't recycle, but it might be worth mentioning some of these as some were a surprise to me: shiny paper receipts, toilet roll tubes, brightly dyed paper, napkins and paper towels, cotton wool, pizza boxes, shredded paper, post-it notes, tissues. However, items that are biodegradable on this list can be composted instead.
Let me know if you come across any other unusual or handy things that can be recycled so I can add them to the list.
#zerowaste #recycling #lowimpactliving
Happy New You!
Zero Waste Update
Discovery Knitting knit the jersey and loopback with certified organic yarn for our t-shirts and sweatshirts and are based in South Wigston, Leicestershire just over 20 miles from our office. They knit high quality knit fabrics for fashion designers in the UK and across the world including organic and merino wool.
They are a first generation family run business with mum, dad and daughter all working in the business. They have a proud heritage of manufacturing dedicated British knitted fabrics since 1986 and employ seven full-time staff. They supply to Garbstore, Margaux Lonnberg, Nigel Cabourn and Private White VC as well as some other very well-known designer names.
They use ribber, striper and French terry 3 thread machines and can produce 8,000 too 10,000 metres a week. Jacquard circular knitting machines are used for stripes, French terry and rib/interlocks and a range of Flatbed trim machines for Jacket and Polo shirt cuffing and collars. They have recently bought a Heritage British Blackburn 12 gauge Striper S/Jersey which is the original machine the England Rugby shirts were knitted on. Another new refurbished addition is a the only British built Camber heavy gauge French Terry Loopback machine outside of the USA to knit 550gsm soft handle, big loop sweat fabrics.
Discovery's ethos has always been, as much as commercially possible, to produce fabric sustainably with as low a carbon footprint as possible. They source the best organic GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)/natural yarns while also paying the living wage to their experienced, hard-working team of staff.
The Oeko tex pre dyed yarn is from a German yarn dyer who is the very best low impact dyer in Europe. All of Discovery's fabrics are scoured (washed) or dyed all within 10 miles of their Mill, so they have the lowest carbon footprint of any knitted fabric supplier in the UK. They also recycle 90% of all their waste produced and have an ongoing reduction energy program.
All UK dyers and finishers have had to be Azo free for over 15 years and are monitored by the British water companies every month. The UK have some of the best standards in Europe. Discovery's dyers and finishers are all using soft flow low water consumption jet dye machinery. Most of Europe has legislated to be Azo free and harmful chemical clear but Eastern Europe still has issues. China and the Far East are still far from transparent with harmful chemicals still being used.
As part of their energy reduction program Discovery plan to install Solar energy panels on the side of their warehouse. This power will charge their ongoing upgrade to a hybrid vehicle and power their finished fabric warehouse and offices with a view to being 90% fossil free within 5 years.
They are also upgrading all of their machine motor drives to invertors at a cost of £2000 each, which will reduce their energy consumption in the knitting mill by a further 30%. This is being funding this entirely themselves, which gives you an idea of their commitment to reducing the impact on the beautiful planet we are guest of.
We are very proud to be working them on our collection.
#meetthemaker #madeinbritain #ethicalfashion
Unfortunately since special occasions have become so commercialised they now have high environmental and social impacts. Life should definitely be celebrated, but the mass consumption we indulge in at these times cost us and our planet heavily. But it doesn’t need to be that way, we can rethink things that are much more special than the usual stuff in the shops…. Here are some ideas on how to avoid the excess waste and still enjoy this special day.
“A single red rose could have the same carbon emissions as four and a half kilos of bananas.”
Most cut flowers are grown abroad and so generate a lot of air miles as well as using excessive amounts of chemicals and water. Even those grown in the UK generally need energy guzzling, hot houses to grown in our mild climate. Seasonally, locally grown flowers are better, try Flowers from the Farm or ask at your local florists.
The excessive packaging and cellophane wrapping is also a problem with cut flowers, so do look out for those that use biodegradable versions. Arena Flowers are stated to be Britain’s most ethical while Appleyard Flowers are all British grown. Look out for Fairtrade or Florverde symbols or use the Ethical company index. Aldi, Asda, Co-op, M&S and Sainsburys all stock Fairtrade flowers. This guarantees decent working conditions and wages, women’s empowerment and community projects and investment.
Even better alternatives are to buy planted flowers instead from your local nursery, rather than a supermarket or big store or why not cut some from your own garden? You could buy some seeds or bulbs instead, along with a second-hand quirky container like a vintage mug or colander. Or best of all why not donate to the Woodland Trust, Trees For Life or the National Forest to plant a tree instead, helping to drawdown CO2 in the process.
Look out for ethical, organic, palm oil free or vegan brands that use recyclable & biodegradable packaging. Divine, Booja Booja, Seed & Bean, original beans, Eat your Hat from Traidcraft and Raw Halo are all recommended.
You could also buy handmade treats from a local chocolatier or deli and use a reusable container. You could even make your own, it is very easy and you can add in your favourite flavours from ginger to caramel. Silicone chocolate moulds are available from Lakeland or online if you want something fancy. But you could even use ice cube trays that you already have rather than buying more stuff.
Or do something different like bake some sweet goodies instead like heart shaped biscuits or some delicious gooey vegan chocolate cake.
If you have to buy a shop bought card then look out for recycled or seed paper cards and avoid glitter and cellophane wrappers If you have time then make a really special card yourself using recycled materials. . Try rifling through a junk or antique shop and you may find some lovely vintage cards or photographs you could use or remake. Other low impact options are sending an e-card with Paperless Post, Jib Jab or Open Me or why not write a love letter or poem instead?
Wining & Dining
There are more and more zero waste & vegan restaurants these days. Try using the Happy Cow app to find one near you. Avoid chains and use local family run restaurants that will appreciate your patronage much more. If not then look out for vegan options on the menu as these are a much greener and more ethical choice.
Better still cook a special romantic meal yourself. You don’t even need a cookbook as there are so many wonderful recipes online. Set the mood with some candles and music and enjoy the comfort (and peace and quiet) of your own home. Breakfast in bed for your loved one is the best valentine treat in my opinion, with freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, freshly squeezed OJ, homemade pancakes and lots of blueberries and maple syrup!
If you can’t resist getting a gift to show your love for your valentine then try to purchase thoughtfully. Buy something that is long lasting and good quality with strong ethical credentials. Please avoid plastic junk and foil balloons at all costs. With candles choose unscented natural ones from beeswax or soy, with lingerie choose ethical underwear like some listed here, with jewellery always purchase from a jeweller who is certified for sourcing precious metals and gemstones in an ecologically and responsible manner.
But why not do something nice for your loved one instead of consuming more stuff? Give them a back or foot massage, make a special meaningful playlist, run them a candlelit bath, offer to wash up for a week or take them to an art gallery. Creating a special memory or doing something you know they would really appreciate means so much more.
You could also donate to charity instead on your partners behalf. Try Oxfam, Unicef, Water Aid and Save the Children as they have some good donating options.
Do please spare a thought for those on their own on Valentine’s day. As a single, widowed mum myself I know how hard it can be to see other couples together on this love filled day as it is on many other special occasions. So, why not make a card or do something nice for a friend as well? I shall be buying myself a box of chocolates and remembering my wonderful late husband.
#greenvalentines #zerowaste #lowimpactliving
How to have a Green Easter
How to have a Green Halloween
How to have a Green Christmas
Zoe here from The Big Swap, I was glad to swap a few words as guest blogger in return for Ismay’s support at my zero waste event. My first encounter with Boy Wonder Brand was at a Nottingham board game café, when I interrupted a game on the neighbouring table to find out more about the cool fish and chip print sweater the young boy (Ismay’s son) was wearing. It wasn’t long after that, when I approached Ismay to say a few words about her ethical clothing range at The Big Toy Swap. An event designed to for help the average person take steps to becoming greener and recognising they have the power to make a difference.
I grew up in a ‘far left’ household as a happy child with 2 parents and brother, with all the things in place to appear a regular family. However, even as a young girl I had an inclination there was something unique about our home, but simply put it down to having creative parents, making a living through being artists. My family shared a car with two other families, often leaving no choice but to cycle everywhere. We minimised holidays and almost never did international trips, my first being a school exchange in my teens. Monthly dried food packages arrived to our house and were exchanged and shared accordingly. My parents never upgraded things for newer models simply because it was current or no longer complimented the interior of a room. Objects lasted and if they didn’t, they were fixed or repurposed. That was the 70’s and around the time of first environmental movements towards air pollution. It turns out my family was pretty green, led by conscious adults.
Like so many people today I have a boot in each camp, a desire to make changes for a better world, one less damaged by humanity and a passion to have lovely things and maintain a lifestyle I have worked hard for. More than anything, as a parent I want my behaviour and attitude to transcend the right message to my young family as the living earth faces crisis.
In 2018, UK consumers spent £370 million on toys and this is showing no signs of slowing down, which is bad news for the environment. A survey by the British Heart Foundation found that, on average, children in the UK have four toys they have never played with, in the same survey all parents admit to throwing broken or just unwanted toys away. A large number of toys are made from materials not accepted at recycling plants and it is estimated that 80% of plastic toys will end up in landfill.
The good news is that quality consumables like children’s toys and clothes are not designed for ‘single use’, however our children do grow out of things pretty fast. I have considered a number of ways in which a family can make changes and lower their environmental impact and an easy one is to pass pre-loved items on and get something in return. Most people I speak to are doing a good job at charity runs and hand-me-downs to younger siblings and friends, but we need to buy less to begin with and slow consumerism down. The fossil fuels used at manufacturing and shipment of toys and clothes is the initial villain and the biggest threat.
Swap culture is happening globally, only this week I read the glitterati have been encouraged to reuse dresses or swap for the BAFTA’s red carpet. The Big Swap events are designed for people wanting to make change, they are accessible and offer a pocket of sustainability closer to home.
Swapping not only keeps great items in circulation, giving them new life, they are a great way to save money. Swaps are the new guilt free way of shopping. With less waste and more money in your pocket it opens up more opportunity to make smarter investments in brands that are taking the eco stress out of purchasing. Choosing to buy less but from more ethical brands like the Boy Wonder brand, will ease your conscience and have a much more positive impact on the environment.
The Big Swap – reuse, rehome, relove. A little sustainability one swap at a time.
Happy New Year everyone!
This is Philippa again, guest blogging for Ismay while she has her Christmas break.
It’s that time of year to be thinking of New Year’s resolutions, what changes to make to your personal development or lifestyle or at least make some attempt to change something! I had a prompt recently from the Ethical Consumer asking what New Year’s resolutions I had in terms of saving people and the planet. I do have a few resolutions; one resolution is to phase out completely the use of plastic bags on a community allotment that I’m very involved with. Why use plastic bags? Well, we need something to carry home the vegetables that we’ve grown. Why not use cloth bags? Well, the vegetables certainly at this time of year tend to be caked in mud so we would need to wash the cloth bags every time we used them which given the volume of mud involved is not easily done! Why not wash the vegetables before taking them home? Well, the water on the allotments is currently switched off for winter and we probably won’t have water again until April. Why not use a box? Well, boxes that are easily washed tend to be plastic! And so, it goes on. I’m sure one day there will be a solution however it will probably take a while to get there. Clearly, we need to think about this problem a bit more.
If any of you need some inspiration in terms of wishing to make changes with your clothing habits, I wondered how many of you had heard of the Sustainable Clothing Goals? These goals are taken from two major reports, The Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing (1) and Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the United Kingdom. (2). I’ve put the goals from both reports together to make the following below. (The actual goals are in italics, I have then commented on them).
1. Buy Second-hand clothing where possible. Buying second-hand clothing prolongs the life of garments, giving them a new lease of life.
2. Buy fewer more durable garments. In contrast to fast fashion where cheap garments are often worn very little, then discarded, invest more in your wardrobe by buying fewer garments but ones that are of better quality so that the garments last for much longer.
3. Hire clothing that would otherwise not be worn to the end of their natural life. Many items of clothing, particularly occasion wear is bought for one event and often not used again. Perhaps think more about hiring an item rather than buying particularly for special occasions.
4. Wash clothes at lower temperature and using eco-detergents, hang-dry them and avoid ironing where possible. These three goals are all about saving energy as the care of clothing does take a phenomenal amount of energy during their lifetime. Washing at 30 degrees is also good for garments as it helps to retain the original colour for longer.
5. Buy clothing that is sustainable. “Sustainable clothing” is quite a large category which covers both the ethical treatment of clothing workers and clothes made from more environmentally-friendly materials such as organic natural fibres and recycled materials.
6. Repair or adapt clothing to prolong its life, and return/recycle it at the end of its life /when you no longer want it. Obviously the longer the clothes are kept the better, so looking after clothing and repairing when necessary can keep a garment in use. Adapting garments such as changing a pair of favourite jeans into a pair of shorts also prolong a garment’s life. When finished with a garment, there are different ways to recycle such as donating to a charity shop or selling a garment or passing on a garment to someone else. Repurposing can be a good idea too. I once heard of someone who took pairs of jeans that people no longer wanted and turned them into handbags.
I hope that this list gives you some inspiration for the coming year, the goals may look relatively straight forward but I know from research (and experience!) that life tends to be more complex. Just as my allotment example demonstrated a simple aim in practice turns out not to be so simple after all.
Whatever your new year resolutions are, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any thoughts about the sustainable clothing goals, I would be very interested and happy to hear them.
(1) Fisher, T. Cooper, T. Woodward, S. Hiller, A. Goworek, H. (2008) Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing: A report to the Department for Environment, London, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra.
(2) Allwood et al, (2006) Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom, Cambridge, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing
I’m a guest blogger today whilst Ismay enjoys a well-deserved Christmas break! My name is Philippa Crommentuijn-Marsh and I’m a researcher in the field of sustainable fashion. What interests me particularly are consumers and what they think about sustainability and whether their knowledge positively affects their clothing behaviour (or not!).
I did some research into this area a couple of years ago and discovered that generally there was low awareness about some of the major issues affecting the fashion industry. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the issue that people had most knowledge about was the exploitation of clothing workers in terms of low pay and bad working conditions. These are issues that have probably appeared the most in the media.
The least known issue was the diminishing Aral Sea. Have a look on Google Images and see how this inland sea has dramatically shrunk over the years, by over 80%, mainly due to water being diverted to irrigate the cotton crop. It’s a startling image and is a good demonstration of what environmental devastation the fashion industry can cause. Yet it seemed to be little known then. Given that this inland sea is in Uzbekistan I strongly suspect that a lot of people (including me) wouldn’t be able to find Uzbekistan easily on a map!
When events are happening far away in a country most people aren’t familiar with it is harder to find out what is happening. For the people taking part in the research when they heard more about the ethical and environmental costs of the fashion industry, there were some positive indications of potential behaviour change. Fast forward to today and since I completed my research there is noticeably much more information coming from the media about the fashion industry and sustainability.
Just last year I was pleased to see the Aral Sea being featured on the BBC programme Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (unfortunately the episode doesn’t seem to be available on the BBC anymore though you can watch a short clip showing the Aral Sea in its current state).(1) There have been more TV programmes highlighting the exploitation of garment workers throughout the world and almost every week there seems to be an article in the media about some aspect of sustainability.
Recently I noticed two sustainable issues affecting the current party season. Firstly, sequins, which were highlighted recently as being bad for the environment. They are mostly made out of plastic which don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years as well as containing microplastics which can harm aquatic life. Though there has been some encouraging progress towards producing more sustainable sequins this will take time. (2) Sequinned clothing is popular at this time of year for party outfits and according to a recent survey the average person will spend £73.90 on a Christmas outfit that for some people won’t be worn again. Within this season alone this adds up to £2.4 billion pounds on clothes that are hardly worn. (3) This may partially explain the overall UK spend in 2018 on clothing being a whopping £60.4 billion pounds. (Statista.com)
Apparently the spend on clothing is on an upward trajectory meaning that fast fashion is still hugely popular, and consumers don’t seem to be changing their behaviour despite the plethora of information about sustainability. If you are interested in dressing more sustainably, the charity Hubbub behind this research gives tips on how to dress for the party season (4) and the BBC have also recently produced an article on companies that offer clothing for hire which seems to be a growing area and becoming more popular (5). Will all this information and new fashion services change consumer behaviour? I look forward to finding out more!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our followers and supporters.
The campaign ended today 102% funded with a final total of £4,837 from 75 backers
Big thank you to everyone for all your pledges and support.
If anyone missed out on pre-ordering and still wants to, you can contact me as we are keeping the pre-order list open until the 6th January.
This is your last post from me from for while apart from a special one tomorrow.
Am now going to have a well earned break over the Christmas holidays and I can relax knowing that our little business is starting to grow ❤️
To those of you that backed us I will be in contact with you in the New Year with project updates.
Also, please sign up to our mailing list by clicking the button below to make sure you don't miss any of our exciting news.
#crowdfunding #kickstarter #brandlaunch
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