Fashion resale has become a big thing over the last year or so and is a good sustainable option. In fact the second -hand clothing market is predicted to grow faster than new sales. I have been buying second-hand clothes and selling my old things for a while now, so thought I could pass on some tips to you.
There are so many platforms online where you can sell your clothes now. Depop is a great app you can have on your phone to buy and sell and is my favourite. eBay is an old trusted platform, Vestaire Collective is for designer goods and there is also Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, ThredUP and Poshmark, to name but a few. Choose the platform where the person who is most likely to buy your clothes from will be looking. If you're not sure, then where would you be most likely to buy from? For example Depop has a younger audience than eBay and Facebook and Vestaire Collective is for the wealthier customers. There are also some brands like John Lewis, Levi's and Patagonia that now take back their clothes giving you a discount or payment and they will resell them. This is something we have in mind for Boy Wonder in the future.
First of all make sure that the garments are clean and ironed. Nobody is going to want to buy a crumpled old thing from the bottom of your laundry basket. It's probably worth even fixing any repairs too. It is also much nicer for the buyer when they receive it when it's nice and clean and ready to wear. You will get better feedback too which is important to build trust if want to sell anything again.
The key thing if you are selling online are the photos. There is nothing more off putting than a terrible photo. Most mobile phones these days have really good cameras, so there is no need to worry about expensive kit. You will need somewhere that has good, preferably natural light, but not so bright that it throws strong shadows. You may be able to brighten them up a little on your phone afterwards if necessary and crop out anything you don't want on the image. It always look better to show garments being worn as they look very different on the hanger. Most people don't have a great imagination and if they can't imagine how good it could look on them then they won't wear it! Try also to have a plain background behind the wearer, that won't distract too much from what you are trying to show. Photograph key details too, especially any branding if it's premium or designer to show authenticity. Be honest about any imperfections and show them too, as you don't want unhappy buyers. The more photos you have to show the garment off the better.
Pricing is a tricky one and will depend on the platform you are selling on. eBay is an auction site, so maybe start at the very least you are willing to accept and you can always relist with a lower price if it doesn't sell. Depop is not an auction site, so it's worth doing a bit of research to see what prices other people are selling similar things at. Consider how much you would be willing to pay for something similar if you were a buyer. Items that are brand new, have never been worn and still have the price tags on you can obviously charge more for, but you will not get the retail price back. It's important to check as well how much a platform will charge you for selling with them as they vary from a 10-25% commission.
Describe the item well and make sure you include all the key information honestly. Most sites will require you state size, colour and brand at the very least, but an indicator of quality is also really helpful. Other useful things to mention maybe the fabric, washing information or even for strange sizes some dimensions too.
I have sometimes also included images for how to style the garment or links to fashion bloggers reviews. Buyers love to see if something is a bloggers favourite so include it in the headline too.
When it comes to adding on postage and packaging be honest and only cover your costs. High postage is off putting and most people would rather wait longer than pay more. You can weigh your item on home scales along with the mailing bag and then check out the royal mail's website to find out how much you are likely to pay. If you are sending multiple or heavy items it might be worth comparing costs with a courier company instead. Try to be quick in dispatching the goods after someone has paid and let them know it has been sent. It's always safer to send something with a signature on delivery and with enough insurance to cover it as there are rogue buyers out there who will say they haven't received it. Send the tracking number to the buyer too and an estimated date of delivery.
Answer any questions that prospective buyers may have quickly and clearly otherwise they will go elsewhere. If there are any problems with the sale or afterwards deal with them as soon as possible and in a polite manner. Problems can happen to anyone and if its at your end being honest and upfront with an apology will go a long way. Remember to rate your buyer afterwards and give feedback and ask them to do the same. That way you can build your reputation as a seller and hopefully have customers returning to you.
This is stating the obvious, but don't try to sell winter coats in the summer and vice versa. But, also consider scheduling the item to start when people are most likely to be on the internet browsing for stuff. I often start eBay items on a Sunday afternoon as people often are free then. With auctions you also have to consider ending them at a time when people will be able to bid. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to bid on some old jumper! Another thing to consider with timing is what time of the month you are trying to sell in. Near the end of the month a lot of people won't have much disposable income to spare, but after payday they are more likely to part with their cash.
Realising the potential of your unwanted clothes can be quite lucrative but also they are then going to live a second life with someone else which is better for the planet. Hopefully these tips will help you od just that.
#resalefashion #secondhandfashion #consignmentfashion
We have all felt the lure of that shiny new thing and most of us will have enjoyed a shopping spree in our time. In our western culture of mass consumption, we are constantly surrounded by advertising, in mass and social media; TV, films, billboards and magazines portraying aspirational lifestyles. All these seductively persuade us into thinking we need to buy more stuff. But does this really make us happy? And are we now beginning to confuse our wants over our needs?
As social beings we are heavily influenced by our families, friends and environment often leading us to feel we need to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ with a fear that if we don’t we are in some way not good enough. This constant push to have more, bigger and better drives consumer debt and means we work ever harder and longer to…
“Buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”[I]
Many people within this economic model are often so time poor due to long working hours that they spoil their kids with stuff out of guilt over not spending time with them. I know I have and I worry about what affect this will have in the long run because we know innately that kids want our love not our money.
In these grave times of climate emergency and ecological breakdown we really need to start challenging this idea of consumerism. The capitalist model of endless growth which is fed by our consumption is literally killing the planet and ourselves, yet we seem powerless to stop ourselves like moths to a flame. Our wardrobes get more crammed, our landfill sites get ever fuller and our purses ever more depleted.
However, more and more research shows that less is definitely better and proves, what we all know deep down, that material wealth does not make you happier…
“The bulk of the evidence seems to contradict the consumption-happiness relationship”[ii]
And in fact…
“Being dissatisfied with what you have, and making a point of acquiring more, is the quickest way to dissatisfaction in life”[iii]
The Happy Planet Index goes some way to prove this. It found that Costa Rica has the highest level of happiness while having just one quarter of the GDP per capita than the richest countries. So what is it that is making them happier than others?
Although there is evidence that some level of wealth and material goods do add to our happiness in terms of being able to cover our basic needs we derive most of our happiness from other sources.[iv]
“People who live a life of intrinsic motivation are much happier than those who live a life dominated by extrinsic motivation”[v]
Intrinsic motivation means finding happiness within yourself, through self-acceptance, affiliation and community, whereas extrinsically motivated people seek happiness through appearance, social popularity and financial gain.
The minimalist movement is a good example of people choosing to live their lives with less and have found happiness and satisfaction from it.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”[vi]
I suspect too, that the current interest in decluttering experts such as Marie Kondo shows that actually we do want to be free of our excessive consumptions and actually crave a more frugal existence. So maybe there is hope for us if we can chnage our mindsets in that way?
If we start first with our fashion consumption then hopefully the rest will follow. So why not join in #secondhandseptember by buying everything second-hand this month?
#lessismore #slowfashion #ownlessdomore
Slowly Does It
The 4 R's of Eco Fashion
Donating or Dumping?
My Wardrobe Audit
Ok, so let's first talk about what fast fashion is. Fast fashion is when clothing is produced quickly and cheaply, often being able to have new designs in store just weeks after being designed. The business model is based on high volume and turnover of stock.
The main problem with the fast fashion industry is the sheer volume of clothing it produces - 1 billion garments annually! Sophisticated marketing and the high turnover of stock drives consumers on to the next trend in order to buy ever more. Considering that fast fashion is predicted toincrease 60% by the year 2030 this is not sustainable when we all need to be buying less (of everything) to save our planet. The truth is we don't actually need any more clothes at all, we have more than enough to go round already, but fast fashion taps in to the desire for the new 'must have' and the affordable 'don't miss it' offer.
Aside from a few small conscious ranges, most fast fashion garments are made with synthetic fabrics which are responsible for 0.6 – 1.7 million tons of microfibres end up in the ocean every year. We all know from The Blue Planet II what the impact of plastics is on our sea life, but the fibres also end up in our drinking water and in our food as they do not biodegrade like natural fibres. The fast fashion industry is also responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater. The dwindling resources on our planet cannot sustain such turnover of 'stuff' driven by company policies based on growth and expansion; new stores, emerging markets, ever more lines. The industry emits1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year which is about 5% of global emissions - more than air travel and international shippingemissions combined. Much of this will come from the thousands of fashion miles that are incurred when the products travel across the world to get to our stores.
Most fast fashion (97%) is produced in far off countries which have extremely low wages. Low price fashion often means unethical practices and little transparency. The prices we pay in a fast fashion store do not reflect the true cost of what someone should have been paid, nor the resources used and the environmental damage done. Large fast fashion brands have incredible power, which puts pressure on developing countries to provide goods at rock bottom prices and cut corners on health and safety in order to keep the orders coming in. The speed of production can also lead to long working hours and extreme pressure to hit impossible deadlines. The Rana Plaza tragedy is a prime example of this.
Some fast fashion brands have sustainability schemes such as H&M's 'Closed loop' and ''recycling' schemes. However, with current technologies, it would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in 48 hours. It is also unclear about how much of these unwanted garments actually get recycled or reused. This seems to be a marketing idea rather than a solution, as it still takes energy and resources to recycle. What happens to what cannot be recycled? The worry here is that so much low grade fast fashion is going out to African countries that their local textiles industries are collapsing. Clothing recycling as with household recycling makes us believe that it's ok to keep consuming at the rate we are without considering it's impact.
The Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry had one main conclusion and that is we need to value our clothes. And high street and fast fashion does not necessarily mean low quality if you choose good pieces that are classic and look after them. However, the majority of fast fashion is not designed for longevity which is one of the principles of circular fashion.
So, I don't believe that fast fashion can be sustainable because of all these issues. Can the big fast fashion brands change their way of working and become more sustainable? Maybe, but I doubt they would want to jeopardise their bottom line. So don't be fooled by clever initiatives and green-washing or that at least they are trying. There are so many other ethical and sustainable brands that deserve our attention that are doing so much more.
#fastfashion #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion
6 Fashion Brands to avoid
Top 5 Ethical Kids Brands
5 Most Ethical High Street Fashion Brands
Since doing the Who Made my Clothes course last year in association with Fashion Revolution, I have become very curious about the journeys that our clothes make. Take the average cheap cotton t-shirt for example; where did it come from, where did it go to and who did it meet along the way? I took up this tale again in the recent course I did and wanted to explore it further with you here.
The protagonist of this tale is the t-shirt itself, which starts it's life in the cotton fields. Up to 99% of the world’s cotton farmers are from developing countries[i]. The majority of cheap conventional cotton (not organic) is grown in the cotton belt of India[ii]. The 3 largest producing states being Gujurat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Forced and child labour is sadly very common in the cotton industry and India has the highest number of child workers in the world.[iii] You can read more about the children our t-shirt would meet in previous blog posts here and here.
As cotton is traded many times before reaching the factory, tracing where it was grown and picked is incredibly difficult. This is why most UK retailers cannot say whether child labour has been used in their supply chain or not. Furthermore, as conventional cotton uses 24% of global pesticides, 11% of all insecticides and seven out of the 15 most deadly carcinogens known to man it is highly damaging to these cotton workers.[iv]
After harvesting the cotton bales are transported to processors where it is washed and dried in a gin machine that separates the fibre from seeds and chaff. After this the cotton fibres are carded, combed and blended, often at another factory, before being spun. The cotton yarn can then be knitted into fabric which at this stage is rough and grey looking[v]. The next processing stage involves treatment with heat and chemicals until it looks as we see it in the shops, soft and white. Up to 2,700 litres of water[vi] are used to produce the cotton to make this t-shirt as well as up to 250ml of toxic and hazardous chemicals. Read more on this here.
The sewing facility is often in another country. China is currently the largest garment producer in the world[vii], however Bangladesh has the lowest wages at about $65 or £40[viii] a month. As our protagonist is a cheap one, it’s safe to say it probably came from here. At this stage our t-shirt has now travelled over 3190 miles at least, not counting the distance from field to factory and the haulage route before being shipped to the garment factory. Here, the cotton cloth will be cut, stitched and finally pressed until it is the t-shirt we would recognise. You can read more about the people our t-shirt would meet in Bangladesh in a previous blog post here.
Now our t-shirt travels the last part of it's journey as it is shipped to the UK, travelling over 10486 miles by sea. If the major cargo ports[ix] were used in each country on the journey then our t-shirt will have travelled well over 14,000 miles in total to reach its final destination of London, England. As it has travelled halfway around the world it will have met many people along the way. Cotton growers and pickers, processing factory workers, haulage drivers, shipping container staff, machinists and finishers and the retail staff who sell the t-shirt to us. Some of these people are the poorest in the world and their hard labour enables us to buy that t-shirt for very little.
We've all heard of food miles, but maybe we should start thinking about fashion miles too. Buying locally made goods, including fashion, means you can lower your carbon footprint and often the provenance is clearer too. Ethical manufacturers in the UK look after their workers and keep British craftsmanship and skills alive.
The Terrific T-shirt
Wake Up To Child Labour
Who made my Jeans pt2
#fashionmiles #ethicalfashion #fashionfootprint
As part of the online Fashion and Sustainability course, created by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Kering, that I have just completed, we had to develop our own fashion manifesto and action statement. These are a great way to demonstrate our values, vision and commitments as a sustainable business so thought it would be good to share them with you here. Would love to hear your thoughts on this and hopefully it might inspire you to create a manifesto or statement of your own x
#fashionmanifesto #sustainablefashion #fashionforchange
As an assignment for the Fashion & Sustainability course I am currently doing through FutureLearn, we have been asked to undertake a wardrobe audit. Doing an exercise like this, like a food or money diary, can really make you stop and think about your consumption habits. I decided to share the findings with you to get you to think about just how many clothes you have. I expect it's more than you think!
I have never had a lot of money to spend on clothes, so I was amazed to find that I have over 100 garments in my two wardrobes (spring/summer and autumn/winter) and a nearly another 100 garments in my chest of drawers and coat hooks. This includes nightwear, sportswear and swimwear, but not underwear, shoes or accessories such as scarves etc.
My excuse is that I am fashion designer, so I am naturally a hoarder of clothes! My oldest garment is actually only 14 years old, this is due to the fact I have moved around a lot, so would often give lots to charity while packing to move. Just imagine how many I would have had if I still had those! I still sometimes wish I had kept some of those older items as fashion is cyclical and so some would have come back into fashion.
As I work from home, the clothes I wear the majority of the time are pretty casual; jeans and a jumper (of which I have 18!) mostly. Generally, when I get something new I will wear it all the time and then get bored of it, so most casual stuff gets a lot of wear. At a guess, only about a ¼ of my wardrobe has been worn in the last 6 months. Some items were gifts, some were work samples, some were passed on to me and a couple were my late husband’s that I like to wear to remind me of him. Most of my clothes are from the high street and a lot from fast fashion brands so not of great quality unfortunately.
Sadly, I do have 5 items that have never been worn. Most of these are new, so I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them yet, but the others I shall endeavor to sell and learn from my mistakes! (I have to confess that I already have a pile of clothes to sell that I haven't included in these numbers, oops!) I have always passed on unwanted clothes to charity, clothing banks, store recycling schemes or onto family. I would never put clothing in the waste bin, but I am aware that recycling is not the solution.
I have a big thing for dresses and have over 40 of them, and most of them are summery ones, so in the British climate they don't get out much! I also have 10 coats, and 8 jackets which seems like a lot, but most have particular functions and get worn a lot in our weather (excuses, excuses!). I only have 6 pairs of jeans which is below the average, and in fact I mostly wear one pair nearly all the time! These ethical jeans are the most expensive garment I own, yet cost per wear would be very low. I have 23 casual tops/t-shirts in my drawers (a lot of which seem to be striped) and I also have 25 going out/dressier tops too, so I will have to cut down on those!
I was surprised by how many items I estimate that I have only worn once or twice; 51 garments which is about a ¼ of all my clothes! These are mainly dressier items worn to weddings, funerals or for going out. These seem to be the majority of what I have in my wardrobes, so I am looking at selling on some items on Depop. Some things I am considering adapting in some way to make them more likely to be worn. I have already done this with several items by dying, shortening or changing the fit.
Since the start of 2017 I took up the idea of slow fashion after blogging about it for some time. This meant being really conscious about what I am buying and I can see that has had a big effect. I have mainly bought second hand garments, a couple of high street essentials and a couple of ethical brand items in that time. In comparison to the previous year the number of garments I bought last year has halved as did the amount spent.
I love the idea of having a minimalist capsule wardrobe of classic styles, which is effortlessly stylish and means you don't have to spend ages deciding what to wear. However, as a fashion designer I really need more variety than this. That said, I am trying to buy more classic items now and stay away from trends as these can look outdated very quickly.
The item that holds the most emotional value for me is probably a green floral dress that I bought when we lived in Sweden. I have a particular memory of wearing it to the Midsommar celebrations and dancing around the maypole with my late husband and our son. I have worn it many times since and always makes me feel great and reminds me of happy times.
In the last few years I have been using the Stylebook app on my phone to help organise my wardrobe and plan outfits. You take or download a picture of the garment and input all its details. It will then give you stats on how often you wear them, how many you have, cost per wear, outfit suggestions and what is most and least worn and much more. It also helps me to see what I need to complete outfits and so extend a garment’s wearability, rather than just impulse buying stuff that won’t get worn.
I would like to go into more detail on my wardrobe audit at some point (when I have more time) to see where most of the items are made and what fabrics they mainly are. This would give me a better idea of the social and environmental impact that my clothes shopping has had.
Is your wardrobe bursting at seams like mine? Could you become a more conscious fashion shopper too? Let me know what you think x
#wardrobeaudit #slowfashion #consciousconsumption
Since I have become a more ethical fashion consumer I have begun to realise that, the second-hand, pre-loved or vintage market has so much to offer. Not only are you saving clothes from landfill, you are more likely to get something original that no one else is wearing and if it’s from a charity shop you are helping the needy too – triple win! However, charity shops and the like can be quite overwhelming, so here is some handy advice and tips for how to get the best out of your experience.
There are many places to purchase second-hand fashion, but be aware that vintage and retro sites and stores will be pricier than auction, online sites or charity shops. Many of these have online shops too now like Oxfam, so check them out first to see what to expect. Local charity shops will have lower prices than larger national charities and look out for their sales too. You could get friendly with the staff and they may let you know when the next sale will start. Locations for charity shops can be an important factor too as a more affluent area will mean better quality and more expensive pieces.
Often people get rid of excess wardrobe pieces when the seasons change, so this can be a good time to shop, especially spring. However, try out charity shops regularly as you never know when good stock is going to be donated. You will soon be able to spot something you like the look of quickly.
Start with knowing your preferred decade, or if you follow trends what decade or pieces that are trending right now. (Vintage is classed as 1970s and earlier and retro is 80s & 90s). Most clothing pre-1960 will be tailored and made to a much higher standard than post 1960s. Lots of synthetics also came in in the 1960s & 1970s, which are not great against the skin, so always feel the texture. Good quality will show in the feel of the fabric too, so will often come from higher end pieces and bear in mind that natural materials tend to last longer.
· Take a list to find what you need rather than browsing.
· Take your own bags, hand sanitizer or wipes.
· Always try it on, as sizing has changed a lot over the years and will often be much smaller than you think or may even have shrunk. Or take a tape measure and know your measurements or hold it up to your hips or shoulders. Most charity shops will accept returns but check first.
· Have a budget and ask for a discount if buying more than one item.
· Wear something that’s easy to change in and out of or wear something that you want to find a matching item for.
· Check for; bobbles, cracking, pulling, fading or stains that can’t be covered, dyed or washed out easily. If you find such faults that can’t easily be fixed you should leave it.
· Check for missing buttons and that zips work, these can be replaced if necessary but may get you a discount if spotted.
· Check for moth, beetle and other insect damage. You don’t want to infect your own wardrobe.
· Check the labels: I have spotted a Dolce & Gabanna jacket for sale on my local high street which disappeared from the window display very quickly! Vintage stores will know what they are doing much more so you are less likely to spot a designer piece for next to nothing but they will still cost you much less than new.
· Look out for timeless classics that are versatile and durable and keep your eyes peeled for that amazing buy.
· Feel the quality, as they are older pieces you need to make sure they still have plenty of wear in them and aren’t going to fall apart as soon as you get them.
· Get good quality as there is no point in buying something that wouldn’t have been much less new.
· Be patient, it can take time to find something you like.
· Keep an open mind, as it may be a lovely item that just needs a hem taking up and shoulder pads can be removed.
· Use your imagination! It won’t look as good as it would styled on a trendy model with the latest accessories.
· Embrace smelly, it can be washed!
· Don’t buy things that are too small and hope to lose weight to get into them, be realistic that they probably won’t get worn.
· Remember to look at other sections. There are often some great belts or oversized knitwear in the men’s section, vintage jewellery and also coats.
· Give them a good wash when you get home or spray dry clean items with vodka to get rid of any nasties before wearing.
Other places to look at are; Ebay, Vinted, Depop and Clothes Shack, Facebook selling groups, Instagram influencers pre-loved pages, dress agencies and car boot sales for kids clothes. There is a list of links below to get you started and my Pinterest board might help too.
bang bang berwick street
#secondhandclothes #vintagefashion #preloved
GUEST WRITTEN BY SHEILA WILKS
Since very young I have always sewed in some form or other. I also enjoy talking with others and have been part of a women's group for thirty years. So, when someone mentioned to me a project run by Oxfam in central Brighton, that consisted of a group of (women) volunteers getting together on a Monday evening to sew and generally play around with donated clothes, I decided to investigate.
In the basement of an Oxfam shop are several 'mountains' of plastic sacks filled with donated items. Spare a thought for the volunteers whose job it is to sort through these. There is a long bench to work at and two sewing machines, bought by Oxfam for the project. Spilling off the shelves are baskets and tins of motifs, lace, buttons and selections of more unusual pieces of material.
On a Monday evening our project co-ordinator has already sorted, or had given to her by shop staff, items that need either repairing or altering in some way to make them more likely to sell. Brighton, having both a large student population and “arty' reputation, has a long history of selling vintage and second hand clothes. I still remember, in my first year as a student here in the 1970s, daringly buying a second hand, sapphire blue velvet waistcoat and matching flared skirt with velvet insets. Bees knees!
The project is a form of heaven for those who love fabrics and enjoy chatting, whilst sewing and drinking tea. Some of the volunteers have brilliant ideas for how to jazz up a dull jacket or dress. It could mean taking a patch from a T-shirt and sewing it onto the back or front of an item. Shirts can be converted into skirts. Long tops can be cut down into mini ones, have lace added or a series or buttons. You can be as imaginative as you want, though it pays to keep an eye on fashions/trends in the local main outlets.
The project has it's own label 'Better the Devil you sew' that is sewn into an item that has been adapted (see photo).
I find the work satisfying on so many levels:
- it feels good to support Oxfam
- I support the idea of recycling cloth and clothing, that otherwise might be thrown away into the huge mountains of clothes waste (I know some goes abroad but there are issues then about the local manufacturers losing out when clothes are exported to developing countries)
- I learn new skills and practice old ones
- I meet other women who share an interest in material and dressmaking
So, check out your local Oxfam and, if you enjoy sewing, talk to them. You don't know where it might lead.
#fashioncustomisation #oxfamfashion #upcycledfashion
It’s that time of year when we look back and reflect on the previous year and think ahead to the new one. For many of us, after the indulgences of the festive period, that often means setting ourselves stringent resolutions which often don’t last. Are resolutions not the right solution then? Changing the way we live in the longer term is possibly more sustainable if done in small, considered steps.
Last New Year I embarked on three changes in my life all based on becoming a more ethical consumer. The major one was the start of my own slow fashion journey, which I’m happy to say I have done pretty well with. I have spent less, been more thoughtful with what I have bought and my purchases have been second hand and from two ethical brands; People Tree and Hiut Denim. I did buy one item from the high street (after much exhausting of other options) and I know I will get the very most out of them. I will admit though, that it was quite tempting after Christmas to see lots of lovely things for sale but I didn’t miss the Boxing Day sales madness!
Secondly, after living on a tight budget for some years I had being buying cheap toiletries and cosmetics but I wanted to switch to only buying cruelty free products. Through this I have discovered some exciting cosmetics brands including Arbonne and Barefaced Beauty and gone back to some old favourites such as Neal’s Yard and Weleda. They don’t always have to be expensive either as UK supermarket own brands are also cruelty free. I have listed these any many more on my Pinterest board.
Lastly I did Veganuary too, which at first seemed quite hard. Already being a vegetarian I was interested in the ethical and environmental benefits to veganism and throughout the year discovered more about its health benefits too. I managed to maintain a mainly vegan diet throughout the year, apart from my Achilles heel, cheese! So this year I have decided to ditch the cheese wherever possible. I have been excited to find this year that there seem to be more vegan options available when out and about. And of course the more it gets requested, the more it will be catered for. Here are some of the recipes I will be trying out.
This year I am adding a couple more life changes that I have been investigating for some time. Firstly, after watching Blue Planet 2 I felt even more motivated to reduce my own plastic and household waste. The Zero Waste movement is gaining momentum right now but I do feel the name is not especially helpful as it is unachievable. However, it will mean changing the way I shop, especially for food due to the packaging and avoiding disposable plastics. I have compiled a Pinterest board on ideas to help any of you who are interested in joining me in this.
Secondly, having a more non-toxic home will also help with reducing waste. Our grandmothers would have been very familiar with using household ingredients such as lemons and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning. Nowadays, we are exposed a multitude of different chemicals that help us clean our home but are also very harmful to our health. I want to go back to using some of those old fashioned recipes to reduce my toxic footprint and also save money. Why not give some a go yourself with some ideas from my Pinterest board?
I would love to hear about what ethical life changes you are making in 2018. Happy New Year!
#slowfashion #crueltyfree #veganuary #zerowaste #nontoxic
A great way to embrace slow fashion is to buy less and of better quality. So how can we do this I hear you ask? Ok readers, so here is the low down on how to assess garment quality.
The first thing to do would be to feel the fabric, does it feel good? How thick is it? Does it wrinkle easily? Does any stretch return to normal properly? Then look at the fabric composition on the wash care label. Natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wool and silk will last longer and wear better on the whole than synthetics which tend to pill and fade. Even fabric with a high percentage of natural fibres such as 60% or more will ensure the garment lasts longer and better.
When trying the garment on does it fit well and not feel like there has been any scrimping on fabric which affects the fit? Do the seams sit smooth and straight and does the fabric hang well? If the garment has been well cut it should sit nicely on the body without it pulling anywhere. The grain of the fabric should be straight unless it’s cut on the bias- meaning that it shouldn’t look wonky or wrinkled in the wrong areas. Also if the print matches at the seams, then more care has been taken over the garment. For children’s clothes also look for more length in the body, arms and legs to allow for growth spurts.
The quicker garments can be made the less they will cost so cutting corners on construction is a common in fast fashion production. Most are not meant to last more than a few washes to encourage us to go out and buy more.
So next, turn the garment inside out and have a good look. Pull lightly at a seam on both sides and check for strong stitching and that there are no wonky lines, snags, puckering, gaps or loose threads. Even and generous seam allowance is another good indicator, as is a good hem allowance of at least 1 ½ inches to allow for letting down. Make sure there are no raw edges and look at how the seams are finished. They should at the very least be overlocked which is where there are thread loops around the raw edges of the fabric. High quality items however would have French, flat felled or bound seams. Here either the seams are turned in on themselves so you cannot see the cut edge of the fabric or covered (bound) with another fabric making them stronger and more attractive.
Look at the stitching to see if there are any broken stitches or clumping, this is an indication that the sewing machine tension was wrong so the garment will not be as durable. The more stitches there are and closer together the better especially for finer fabrics. Are there reinforcements such as bar tacking or top stitching where needed for extra strength? The finer details of a garment such as whether it has lining or not and how well the corners and points are finished are another giveaway. Collar points and cuff corners for example should have had the seam allowance trimmed so there are no lumps and bumps.
Metal zips will always last longer than plastic ones and are less likely to misalign. Are the buttons good quality and sewn on well? Do the buttonholes have tight stitching and a neat slot? Lastly is a spare button or thread provided? This is a great clue that the garment is meant to be looked after and loved.
A final suggestion is to go and look at some high end designer clothing. Of course we can’t all afford to buy such luxury goods but try some on and you will be able to feel the difference. It will then be easier to spot good quality. Great bargains on designer pieces can always be nabbed on online auctions & in second hand shops if you are willing to have a good hunt around.
#GarmentQuality #SlowFashion #ExpertAdvice
One area in sustainable fashion that is much talked about is zero waste. 15-20% of fabric gets wasted and discarded due the expense of recycling scraps, according to fashion industry experts. Lay-planning systems such as Gerber have been around for a while and use computers to work out the best way to lay the fabrics out on the cloth prior to cutting. This clever optimisation still doesn’t totally eradicate waste however and therefore some fashion designers are now challenging themselves to leave nothing on the cutting room floor.
Although inspiring, designing the whole garment around the idea of zero waste is time consuming and highly skilled so therefore won’t affect mainstream fashion in a big way. This is one reason why I don’t believe that the zero waste initiative should be a focus nor is really achievable or sustainable. Most designers could probably improve on waste reduction, but it doesn't seem sustainable to use up all the fabric to avoid waste but rather to use less of it in the first place. Any scrap that is left can always be utilised elsewhere anyway, such as shirt waste for pocket bags, or at the very least recycled for insulation or some such. So why waste (sorry, excuse the pun!) so much time on it?
The issue of cutting room scrap fabric really pales into insignificance in comparison to the 600 million garments that fashion giants like H&M sell every year all over the world. This is driving the 2.5 billion pounds of clothing that ends up in landfill every year because customers now see fashion as disposable. Sustainable fashion needs as many champions as possible to try to combat this so any disruption or innovation to the standard models of working is a good thing. But surely prevention is better than cure? So wouldn’t encouraging people to reduce their consumption of clothes and make better choices about what they do buy have a far bigger impact?
The concept of a circular economy does incorporate the idea of waste reduction but also challenges us to rethink our mentality on waste, like Will.i.am says “it’s not waste until you waste it”. The circular concept is what slow fashion is all about and offers real hope for the future of the industry and the planet. It involves designing fashion with longevity, repair, recycling and also biodegradability in mind. Furthermore, by creating a high quality garment to enable multiple users to wear it, via swapping, renting or second hand sales, thereby extending it’s lifecycle as much as possible. Minimal waste in the design process becomes part of using less resources in the whole of the lifecycle and trying to close the circular loop.
What circular fashion ideas inspire you the most? We would love to hear from you x
Making Fashion Circular
#ZeroWaste #CircularFashion #SlowFashion
As the Boy Wonder is getting older (he is now 7 and a half, I don't quite know how that happened!) and more exposed to the wider world around him I begin to consider how much to make him aware of. As a mother my instinct would often be to protect him from the nastier side of life, but having lost his dad at a young age I know this isn't realistic. With so many terror attacks happening all around us these days, I imagine many of us are struggling to know what to tell our kids in order to explain such things while not frightening them. I have the same quandary in some ways with what I tell my son about fast fashion and my work in fighting against it.
Many of us mums have probably said to our kids when they won't eat their dinner that there are starving children in Africa, but how much of that can they really understand? I know I didn't when my mum said it to me as a kid and I would tell her to post it to them! So, maybe that distance and separation will help me to protect him a little from the worst horrors of my industry, but it could also make it very unreal to him.
Having been brought up a vegetarian the Boy Wonder is maybe more aware than some on ethics in regard to animals so maybe this is a start. As a middle class, white boy growing up in the western world I want him to be fully aware of his privilege and to know there are many others less fortunate. Therefore, I believe that openness and honesty is the only way to stimulate empathy and understanding in him while maybe steering clear of the more gruesome and complicated areas.
So, how could I explore ethical fashion and yet engage my son? I have come up with a few ideas for this based on the Fashion Revolution course I recently did.
1) Be curious: Firstly kids are naturally curious, so getting them to investigate like a detective will become a fun task. Getting them to find out about their own clothes - maybe the ones they are wearing or a favourite of theirs? Looking at the labels to find out where they are made, and what they are made out of is a great start. Which country are most of their clothes made in? How many are made from polyester? Asking in shops where the clothes are made or whether they have organic cotton.
2) Find out: Then delving deeper into finding out who could have made them, what the countries are like where they live and where the raw materials come from. The difficult part is making it real to children, for example, finding out that a child the same age as them could have made their clothes makes more of a connection to them. What can they find out about the materials used and their impact? Researching, imagining and maybe drawing the journey their clothes have taken to get to them will make them aware of the resources and carbon footprint involved in the fashion industry. How many miles has it travelled? How many litres of water used in production? How much pesticides and their affect? Your local library, school and of course the internet will have all sorts of resources.
3) Do something: The concluding part could be to work out how to change the way you shop together for clothes. They could try out different ways to make our clothes last longer by repairing, revamping, reusing or swapping them with friends. Look at donating and also buying from second hand shops or finding out what clothes you can buy locally? Maybe even considering hiring clothes for a special occasion and explaining the reasons why all these things matter in relation to what you found in your investigations.
Obviously this has to be age appropriate and younger kids would need more hands on help with it. Don't forget to ask your kids their thoughts and ideas at every stage, you will often be surprised by their insight or practical ideas. By the age of 7 most kids already have a fixed idea of the world, however these ideas can be challenged and changed. So for me and the Boy Wonder that time is now!
#FashionRevolution #EthicalFashion #WonderKids
Wake up to Child Labour
Who Made my Jeans? Pt1
Who Made my Jeans? Pt2
Renting clothes is a great way to have a more sustainable wardrobe and reduce that fashion foot print and there are more brands around now who offer this.
It started off in the high end designer sector with companies like Rent the Runway and now Dream Wardrobe and Girl Meets Dress offering styles from over many designers including Roksanda Ilincic, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane. Why fork out hundreds of pounds for something you may wear only once and will then just take up space in your wardrobe? Some offer a free back up size in case it doesn't fit or a try on service and all have free returns. Sounds good doesn't it?
The rental concept could be a great antidote to a fast fashion addiction, enabling the buyer to regularly wear new styles without harming the planet at the same time. Le Tote offer high street brands and even style your look for you. Some hotels in Europe and the US now offer clothing rental to guests allowing them to pay on check out thus allowing for less suitcases needing to be sat on to fit in all those sensational holiday outfits!
This idea is now moving into children's clothing with websites like Rainey's Closet doing a similar thing but with less expensive girlswear brands that you can hire for a specific time period - perfect for a wedding or party. Rentals are insured for that disaster moment too and there is no need to wash them either (always an added bonus for busy mums!)
As all mums will know having a baby is an expensive business. There is so much stuff you need and we all want the best for our little bundles of joy. Vigga is a Dutch brand who have been working with my old friend Ellen MacArthur on their circular concept babywear. Parents pay a subscription and receive a bag with a range of eco-friendly clothes made by the company themselves which are then updated as the little one grows. The same clothes are then worn by other babies and toddlers (after washing and repairing of course!) creating far less waste and energy to create more new garments.
I did come across several other, now defunct, kids clothing rental sites which makes me wonder if the demand for this is not quite there yet. What do you think about the idea of renting clothes? Does it work better for women's clothes than kids? Would you consider it for yourself or your kids? Would love to know your thoughts x
#ClothingRental #Vigga #EllenMacArther
As I am finalising my designs and collection range ideas I am starting to make decisions on not only how the collection should look and what garments it needs, but also how it will work for the customer (mums) and the consumer (boys).
The look of the collection has evolved (very!) slowly from my design research and mood ideas through to the fabrics I have sourced. I deliberately want the colours to be quite bright to get away from the bland high street colours for boys of navy, brown and grey. The inspiration for the print work in this collection is my childhood. The prints encompass some of the fun, innocence and the nostalgia of childhood with a dash of British eccentricity.
That stage then lead into what types of garments would comprise the collection. The British element comes through again here with classic favourites such as the duffle coat and blazer but added in with that will also be some Scandinavian style knitwear, functional jeans and denim dungarees and quirky printed shirts and jerseywear. At the moment I have ten different shapes in mind with maybe some of those available in different prints and colours. However this is still work in progress and maybe I am setting myself an impossible task I don't know! It may be that I have to cut down the range to keep within budget and what I can realistically manage to achieve.
I want to create a kind of capsule style wardrobe with different garments working alongside each other. Mixing together some casual styles which are practical and comfortable with more formal ones will cover all the bases needed. My experience of being a mum and shopping for the Boy Wonder is that I have to go to different shops to find different types of garments that I like. So the idea of a one stop shop for everything you need appeals to me and hopefully will to others too. I know busy mums have so little time these days that anything that makes their life easier is a real winner. Quality, longevity and durability are designed into the garments which will mean less time spent shopping for new clothes too. I love the idea of being able to suggest outfit and styling ideas to get the very most out of the different garments and that works best with a capsule style collection.
The other main design decision is that it will be a trans-seasonal collection to fulfil my slow fashion ethos. This means that rather than doing the traditional spring/summer and autumn/winter collections I will only design one collection that will cover the whole year. In our mild UK climate this will work as most of our clothes can be worn throughout the year with less or more layers. Those items become more useful in our wardrobes, thereby shrinking our fashion footprint and reducing textile waste.
I am nearly at a stage now where I will be approaching manufacturers with my designs. This will be a massive step for me as at that point it will no longer be a concept but will start to become very real (eek!) Keep reading to find out what happens next!
#CapsuleCollection #Transseasonal #DesignDecisions
Denim is the obvious choice for boy's clothes as it is hardwearing, easy to wash, doesn't really need ironing and is inexpensive to buy. However, I am sorry to say folks that it is probably the worst fabric in terms of impact on the environmental and people. Standard denim production is a dirty business that consumes vast amounts of water and highly toxic chemicals. Treatments such as sand blasting are particularly noxious leading to lethal silicosis in many workers. On average in the UK we each own around seven pairs of jeans and each of those produces 915lbs of carbon dioxide during it's average lifespan of 4 years. If we all bought better denim and wore them longer just imagine how much carbon, water and nasty processes that would eradicate!
However, you will be pleased to know that there are some 'Slow Denim' brands out there who are working hard at sustainability and minimizing their environmental and ethical impact. Nudie and Mud Jeans, who I have mentioned before, both use organic cotton and have a repair and recycle ethos. There are plenty of others trying to clean up the image of denim who are worth a mention too, such as Tuffs, Blackhorse Lane Atelier and Story Mfg. A special mention goes to Monkee Genes as they are based near where I grew up! These brands employ a short supply chain and produce locally in order to guarantee standards and sustainability. Hiut Denim, based in Wales, make raw selvedge jeans which are traditionally worn in by the owner for a year before washing. Although this may seem extreme to the average consumer even high street stores including H&M and Topshop have seen success with their own selvedge ranges. Hiut's 'raw' denim has a fierce following and are a must have for denim aficionados. Fortunately many of us are willing to fork out more for premium denim jeans, especially with such ethical guarantees so there is hope for the denim sector as a whole to become kinder and greener.
Market leader Levis Strauss are also doing various innovative things within the industry too. Working with Aquafil they use nylon waste such as discarded fishing nets to create a new material that they now incorporate into their denim. Textile waste is also converted into renewable fibres that go into their new 511 jeans which are made using Levi's water<less method which uses 96% less water.
In terms of kids clothes, there aren't that many who do organic denim. Frugi and Mini Rodini were the main ones I could find. Hopefully as sustainability becomes a more accepted notion we will see more organic and slow denim become available in the sector.
Do you know of any other denim brands doing amazing things or have you tried any of the brands mentioned? I would love to hear what you think to help inform my own future denim purchasing.
#SlowDenim #Levis #HiutDenim
Sadly it seems to me that most things these days are not made to last. As a society now we have bought into the idea of upgrading and discarding when the latest model or newest trend comes out. In fact some products have in-built obsolescence (think most smart phones) so the manufacturers can get you to buy their latest version This really needs to change if we want to move to a sustainable circular economy - which basically means eradicating the whole idea of waste.
We can change this mind-set starting with our clothes. If we all looked after our clothes better, they would last longer and we wouldn't need to buy so many. A detailed survey has shown that most fashion purchases are only worn seven times, but if that garment's life is extended by nine months it's carbon, waste and water footprint would be reduced by around 20-30% each.
The first rule to ensuring a long life garment is to buy good quality pieces. Spend a bit more with a brand that is known for better quality and look for a heavier weight of fabric and better construction. Buying classic timeless pieces will also mean you are more likely to get more wear out of them too rather than them looking off trend in a matter of months.
How you wash your garment is a major factor in how long it will last. Washing too often, on a high temperature and spin and tumble drying will fade and damage fabrics very quickly. Look at the label and your machine instructions very carefully . Delicate items could even be hand washed and always wash dark colours inside out.
Many items of perfectly good clothing end up in landfill because they need very minor repairs. Repairing missing buttons and broken stitching is a very quick and simple task to do. In fact there are sew and repair groups popping up all over the place where you can learn some great skills to fix those beloved garments. If not there is likely to be a tailor or seamstress locally that for a small fee will be able to repair nearly anything. Some brands like Patagonia even offer their own repair service so are definitely worth considering. Another option if you have tears or holes is to add some embroidered patches to cover them up. You can get all sorts of fun designs now that will add extra personality to your clothes. Jeans can always be turned into shorts if they get torn knees too.
Many other clothing ends up being discarded due to staining. Have a handy box of stain removers that cover every stain type and treat stains immediately with cold water then they will be less likely to set. If you have a really bad stain you could always consider dying the garment another colour.
Dying faded garments is a very simple way to rejuvenate clothes. I have a pair of jeans that I have had so long and wear so often that I need to dye them for a second time. It's really quick to do in your washing machine and they look like new. Remember that most stitching is synthetic so that will stay the original colour and colour rules apply - a red dye onto an yellow fabric will go orange.
Storing clothes well is another way to look after them. Jumpers should be folded rather than hung as they will stretch out of shape. (Jumpers can be made to look smart again with the use of a pilling comb) Hang your tops after wearing them to air them out and get more use before they need washing. Never use those nasty wire hangers from the dry cleaners, good quality wood hangers won't stretch your clothes or poke through them! Fabrics need room to breath, so don't over fill your wardrobe space and then they will crease less too. And make sure the hanging space is cool and dry to prevent and mildew creeping in.
Finally, when the much loved item can no longer be saved you could consider recycling or upcycling it. Pop it in a textile donation bank and it may get a new lease of life as car insulation at the very worst. Upcycling an old jumper into a cushion or patch-working old shirts into a blanket are just a few ideas.
Check out my Pinterest board here for more hints and tips.
#GarmentCare #LovedClothesLast #SustainableFashion
As I have just returned from an exciting trip to Iceland I was inspired to write about their famous woolly export. As you may already know I am a self confessed scandi-phile having lived in Sweden so needed little excuse to find out about the different Nordic knitting styles.
The famous unspun wool sweaters that keep the Icelanders toasty through the winter are referred to as 'Lopapeysa' but the yoke pattern we love today actually only originated after WWII. Historically an Icelandic sweater would have a different pattern according to which village it came from in order to help identify fishermen drowned at sea.
The Faroe Islands consist of 18 tiny islands situated in the north Atlantic between Iceland and Norway which is populated by 45,000 people. Here they also use a thick, hairy wool for their traditional sweaters which notably coming to fame recently when worn by Sarah Lund, the detective in the Danish Crime thriller 'The Killing'
The traditional Norwegian 'Lusekofte' or 'Setesdalgenser' has a long history and apparently everyone in Norway at some time in their life has owned a 'Setesdal' They were working men's sweater's but are still considered now to be smart enough over a shirt and tie for business attire. The popularity of the 'Marius' sweater from Norway came later from a 1950's film about a handsome ski instructor who wore this said jumper designed by Unn Søiland Dale. Originally in the red white and blue of the Norwegian flag today it is one of Norway's most sold jumper patterns and is knitted in many different colour combinations.
Sweden has many traditional knitwear designs but the 'Gotland' jumper pattern is the most distinctive. The small Island of Gotland off the Swedish coast has a long knitting history dating back to at least the end of the 1600's.
Danish knitting began out as single colour garments until the navy and white 'Skrå-trøje' of Sejerø appeared at then end of the 1800's. This garment sports some of the snowflake patterns we all associate with Nordic knitwear today.
Of course we have our own amazing knitwear including the Irish Arran, the Gansey and in particular the 'Fair Isle' which originates from the place of the same name; the remotest Island in Scotland. The official versions that are hand knitted here by a dozen or so craft-knitters take about 100 hours to make. These are beautiful unique artisan products that will be treasured for a lifetime - perfect for the slow fashion philosophy I want to be inherent in the Boy Wonder brand. Due to viking invasions and early trading with Scandinavia knitting traditions would have been passed on to us Brits so we can see similarities within these different knits. This is something I would love to build on and develop within my collections. So watch this space for more woolly wonders!
#Knitwear #ScandiChic #Iceland
Now I am starting to source fabrics for the launch collection I am beginning to realise just how difficult this is. I want to use not only sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton or bamboo but also want the fabrics and components such as zips and buttons to be made in Britain. I can hopefully be more certain of the suppliers ethics and the product's provenance if I am sourcing from UK manufacturers. However I am making it doubly hard for myself in wanting both eco credentials and British made goods.
There seems to be very little organic cloth available in the UK at the moment but I am hoping this will increase over time. I have discovered Discovery Knitting (excuse the pun!) who knit GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic jerseys and are based near me. So that's my t-shirts and sweatshirts covered with very little fuel emissions at my end.
There is also the Organic Textile Company who are based in Wales and hold a varied range of fabrics from denim to cotton poplin for shirts. They buy in their fabrics from GOTS certified mills in India, Turkey and China, many of which are made on small hand looms in an artisanal way. The company return some of their profits to help the Indian weavers they work with and support local initiatives. I would rather use British made goods to create an authentically British product but I shall have to compromise on this until more becomes available.
Offset Warehouse have a variety of sustainable fabrics that are ethically sourced but none were suitable for what I needed.
Both these companies will not be able to cover all my fabric needs so I am also looking into a some British woollen weavers who are over 175 years old. It would be amazing to include this textile heritage into the collection, even though they don't stock organic products.
As for components and trims there are not many UK manufacturers left. I managed to find one button manufacturer Courtney & Co. who use corozo to make buttons. These are made from the nut of the Tagua tree from central America, which is a highly sustainable and eco-friendly material. However they only make one style of button and I will need more than that so again I will have to re-think my options until I can find other products.
So if anyone can recommend any UK textile mills making sustainable fabrics or UK manufacturers making eco friendly components please let me know :-)
#SustainableFashion #OrganicFabrics #MadeInBritain
Meet the Manufacturer
The Creative Process
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
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
I chose to look at the different clothing brands in my blog so far because they were each doing something to be sustainable. Some of them are not the most sustainable fashion brands there are but I was trying to look at ones who stock or make childrenswear.
The four R's of sustainable fashion are Repair; as evidenced by the Trouser brand HebTroCo, Recycle; as shown by Devon label Quba & Co., Re-sell which is utilised by M&S & Oxfam and lastly Reduce; which is shown by most of the brands mentioned in their efforts to reduce waste and carbon emissions. I also believe there should a fifth 'R' here which would be to Re-think. We all need to re-think our mass consumption of every type of product especially fashion. What's more there needs to be a total re-think in way we all live and work to have less impact on the planet.
Although I do think it's some progress that the brands I have talked about are doing something, is it enough? Should there be more thought about the longevity of the product? Should they be encouraging us as consumers to 'buy less, choose well, and wear more' as Vivienne Westwood once said?
Some other brands who have cleverly thought about some of these issues are Little Circle who buy back their garments after use, Mud Jeans (non childrenswear so only get a quick shout out!)who lease their Jeans to their customers and also Patagonia. The 4 R's stand central to Patagonia core values, so although they don't do kids clothes they deserve recognition. This is manifested by careful product design to ensure longevity & reduce waste, garment aftercare such as stain removal advice & free repair and recycling and reselling unwanted garments. I could write so much more about this inspiring company but maybe you should find out more yourself?
So to end I have to say If Patagonia can do all they do using the 4 R's and be profitable then why can't more brands? This is what drives and inspires me going forward to set up my boys clothes label. So watch this space!
#LittleCircle #PatagoniaClothing #MudJeans #SustainableFashion
After last week's post I got thinking about some of the amazing people that are making things in the UK right now so I wanted to give them a well earned shout out. Ok, they're not making childrenswear but these guys are leading the way, and bucking the trend whilst making it more possible for start ups like Boy Wonder to be taken seriously.
The first who are well worth a mention are two guys who set up a brand called HebTroCo to save manufacturing in their home town Hebden Bridge aka 'Trouser Town'. This quirky little town in Yorkshire used to make over 20,000 pairs of trousers a week. However the last factory was now only making 176 a week and was about to close so these guys came up with a plan. They designed some trousers (with a little help), crowdfunded the project and when they launched they sold 176 pairs in in just five hours, ten minutes!
They are now shipping hundreds of pairs a month all over the world. They make beautiful high specification moleskin and needlecord trousers using traditional manufacturing techniques. These trews are made to last a lifetime and promise to be the best pair of trousers you've ever had. Indeed they are guaranteed for just that, meaning that they repair and replace them if there are any faults or problems.
This is such an inspiring story and a sustainable model worth aspiring to. Here is their website if you want to check them out: http://hebtro.co/
#HebTroCo #SustainableFashion #UKManufacturing #MadeInBritain
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