Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Twenty Seven



Welcome Back Everyone.
There are only a few more days of Sustainable September so I am making sure this counts. Yesterdays blog post (for today) was all about making some reusable swaps like saying no to disposable razors in favour of reusable Safety Razors. There are so many awesome ideas for yesterday and I am sure there will be people telling me that there are more that could be done too. I welcome those challenges.

Today's blog post idea (for tomorrow) is a big one... so I hope I do it justice. It is all about Slow vs Fast Fashion.

Sustainable September Day Twenty Seven: Give Fast Fashion the flick.

Lets start by explaining what Fast Fashion is... before we talk about what we can do about it.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion is simply the high speed turnover of clothing so that when you buy a "Trendy" item it will be out of fashion by the time you wear it. In the past, in my grandmothers era, there were two seasons of clothing to buy for: the warm season and the cold season. Then there were four seasons of clothing: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Now Fast Fashion is generating 52 Seasons of clothing every year...One for every week of the year (some brands are going even faster than that).

When I worked for an Australian fashion brand, ten years ago, we would receive new shipments of clothing every week. Each week there was something new to entice people in. What I witnessed then was that any of the old stock that had been reduced to clear (but hadn't sold) had the tags removed (identifying labels for the brand) and then it was either thrown in the bin or donated to charity. There was a lot of waste. A LOT! But I didn't think much of it at the time. I wasn't aware then of how fast fashion worked. I wasn't aware about how bad it was for the environment to make these items. I didn't realise how bad it was for the planet as a whole when it came to disposing of these items, nor for the workers who make these items AND also how bad it is for our wallets (that is a conversation for another time).
If you shop Fast Fashion now and still have nothing to wear then check out this video on Fast Fashion
Here are some quick Fast Fashion Facts...

The War on Waste Australian TV show did an amazing job of showing off the impact of fast fashion. If you aren't in Australia you won't be able to watch the episodes. But there are a lot of other amazing documentaries and programs that show you what the Fast Fashion Industry is all about.

So how about you check out this Video from TED talk.
The key points of this TED Talk is that 10% of the worlds carbon footprint is coming from the Fashion industry. The fashion industry is the Second Highest polluting industry behind only the oil industry. 4 Billion Pounds of textiles end up in land fill every year. Polyester is made from micro-plastics which means that every piece of polyester that has ever been made still exists, even if it has been thrown into landfill.

There are so many other challenging facts about Fast Fashion. If you want to learn more about Fast Fashion and the implication it has for our planet and all those who live here... check out the documentary called "The True Cost". It is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and to download on your computer. It is really worth a watch.

After you watch the implications of the Fast Fashion industry you have to ask yourself... What can we do about it? And it is a very good question.

Be Kind, Choose Slow Fashion, Choose Fair Trade (Ethical brands), Buy Second hand or Vintage, and Upcycle. I won't cover all of this here because it is a massive task, however, I will look at a few of these points.

Firstly, for a kindness advocate I had to look at the importance of Kindness in my consumption of fashion. I don't just mean Eco-kindness either, oh no, this is kindness to fellow human beings all over the planet. There are many people who work to make our clothing. In many countries these people are living in poverty and do not earn a decent wage for what they make. This is something that I have started paying more and more attention to over the years. I want to make sure that the people who make my clothing are in safe living and working conditions are not subject to slave labour and have enough food to eat and water to drink.

Sometimes this means that I have to pay a few more dollars for the clothing I buy. Those extra dollars buy me peace of mind.

I have a few different Apps to help me make conscious choices about where I want to spend my money. The one I have used the most is an app Called "Shop Ethical" (Available on Apple and Android). Another I use is called "Good on you"(Also available on Apple and Android). I have these apps available on my iPhone at the touch of a button. For more Ethical Apps check out this link to an article on Ethica.

To continue making a different and steer away from Fast Fashion there is now a movement toward slow fashion.

Slow Fashion - What does it even mean?

Slow Fashion means being deliberate with your money. Every dollar you spend is basically a vote toward the future you want to create. Spending money on fast fashion, means you are voting for the continuing ethics and attitudes behind it. Spending money on ethical, fair trade, vegan (cruelty-free), environmentally friendly brands, you are voting for those types of businesses and products you want to continue. Changing your focus from consuming, to making the world a better place with your purchases, is a type of conscious kindness that we need more of. It ultimately affect us all.

I used to find shopping fun. I used to go to cheap stores and buy a bunch of sale items. I would spend about $20 to $50 every week on fast fashion. But now I am more conscious of what I buy, where and from who. I make sure that the money I spend, when I do actually spend money on clothing, is going to support the type of industry that I want to have.

One of my most recent Purchases was two pairs of jeans from JeansWest over 3 months ago. One is skinny blue jeans and the other is straight leg black jeans. They cost me $99 for the two pairs. This is more than I would have bough for jeans in the past but already they have well and truly earned their keep. As they are so well made they will last a lot longer too.

When I went to purchase my jeans I checked on my Shop Ethical App and discovered JeansWest were good when it came to their ethical wages & conditions for workers. They have started working on reducing environmental impacts too.

I also saw that they have a return and repair shop when I bought them (in Sydney), so I can get them repaired if, say, a button goes on my jeans. I have worn them almost everyday for the last 3 months and they are amazing. I know that they have a long way to go, but I chose them deliberately for their clothes and because I really needed to get some jeans.

Note: I had purchased some JeansWest jeans second hand (from Ebay) a while ago but they didn't fit. So I opted for convenience. At the shop I could try the jeans on so I knew they would fit me AND last a while. Next time, I might go in and try on jeans in a range of styles to see what i like and what suits me best. Then I can look for the right size and style second hand on eBay. It just takes a bit more time to figure it out, so I admit I went for the easy option with this purchase.

Choosing Fair Trade is linked to all of these. I have talked about Fair Trade on this blog before so I won't go too far into it. Here is an Inforgraphic to explain it to those who might have missed my previous blogs.

What I will say is making choices that are going to help not only your hip pocket but help those who are making and growing the ingredients/products you buy, is a start.

The Sustainable September idea for tomorrow is to say NO to fast fashion. This can be hard at first. So here are 10 Fashion Tips to help you give fast fashion the flick.

So check out this video below for more inspiration:

Did you know: There are companies around the world who are taking up Sustainability and Zero Waste practices in the world. There is even a design award that promotes and encourages Zero Waste and Environmentally Sustainable Practices. You can check out more info from this link...Video: Eco Chic Designing Award - Cutting Waste out of Fashion.

ACTIVITY: Do not buy any new clothes for a week. Instead take the time to research what you really need. Check out tomorrows blog for ideas about how to figure out what you REALLY need, when it comes to clothing.

I hope this post doesn't overwhelm too much. I did my best to keep it short and sweet. However there is just so much information about fast fashion and its impact on our environment.

Sending love to you all,
Daena x

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