5 Greenwashing Campaigns Trying to Fool You

Friday, 23 July 2021

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Greenwashing is everywhere in the fashion industry. Well, every industry. But fashion is a particular offender. The entire business model of fast fashion is inherently unsustainable, based on the exploitation of poor women in previously colonised countries and of the environment. To continue to appeal to their consumer bases in a time of ever-worsening climate crisis, damaging brands resort to greenwashing. I briefly touched on this in a previous blog post (and will go into it in more detail in a future post) but for those of you who don’t know, greenwashing is essentially a brand lying about their ethics, spending more money on the marketing of their ‘sustainable image’ than making their brand actually sustainable. This is often a focus on ‘organic’ materials while completely leaving out the working conditions of the people (mostly women) who make their clothes. 

 

Greenwashing can be difficult to see through especially now that some of the brands have had many years of practise and have literally billions of pounds to pour into this façade. Hopefully this post will help you out at least a little bit! I’ve left out the OG Fashion Greenwashers, H&M (with their ironically named Conscious Collection) as this is a brand who are regularly called out for their greenwashing, but it’s important that we remember that so many other brands are guilty of this too. Although, still, f*ck H&M.


For credits of image used in title, see images used separately below


1. George Cares


Reader, George does not in fact ‘care’. They really, genuinely, do not care. About you, about their workers, or about the environment. 

 

The ‘George Cares’ campaign doesn’t have any specific products attached to it, and is more of a general overview of how George wants to be perceived. Their website has a few flashy pictures and information about various initiatives they’re a part of, including some things which are undeniably good – like the phasing out of sandblasting, boycott of Uzbek cotton over child labour, and zero tolerance policy on incineration. However, they do not provide enough detail for us to know the accuracy of these statements. Their supply chain must be massive, and they need to be able to tell us every aspect of it. Similarly, other bits of information mentioned on this website, that they clear want us to congratulate and clap them on the back for, are things that really are a bit average and frankly not good enough. For instance, the discuss how they are ‘committed to ensuring all our own-brand clothing and soft home textile products will be responsibly sourced’ and that they ‘are committed to sourcing 100% of our polyester with a minimum of 30% recycled content by 2025’. The final sentence I’ve cited here particularly doesn’t really make any sense. The ‘100%’ in this sentence seems a bit useless if you ask me. What they seem to be saying is that in the next 3.5 years between now and 2025 they only aim to have a third of their polyester as recycled material. A material that is made from fossil fuels and which they acknowledge is harming the planet in many ways including microfibers. A lot of fancy wording and pictures but they’re not telling us anything of substance. Similarly, there is nothing in this particular statement, supposedly on their commitment to responsible sourcing, that mentions the workers within their supply chain. 

 

Elsewhere on their website, they highlight Salvation Army as one of their charity partners. On the surface this may seem good, but Salvation Army have had many reported incidents of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people seeking to access their services. Again, I will ask, who exactly does George care about?  

 

George has been ASDA’s own fashion brand since 1990, and was the first supermarket clothing brand. ASDA in turn is owned by the American corporation Walmart, having been bought out in 1999. Walmart, apparently ‘the world’s biggest retailer’ is notorious for its horrifying ethics. From bribery, slavery, and prison labour (see Ava DuVerney’s 13th for more on this last one), Walmart has seen them all. It always seems like the more I look the more the Walmart ethics spiral continues. Perhaps unsurprisingly given their reputation, Walmart were one of the main names who came up in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013. This factory collapse killed +1,334 people (most of them women), injured over 2,000 more and left over 800 children orphaned. It is the worst industrial disaster in the fashion industry’s history and was completely preventable. With such an exploitative history, who could be surprised that Walmart received 16/100 points by Remake in their Brand Directory. 

 

 In 2020, Walmart sold part of their shares in ASDA so they no longer have majority ownership, but still maintain significant shares and profit greatly from George and ASDA products more generally. George is by no means ethical.


2. Recycled by Pretty Little Thing

 

We know that simply recycling, while good, will not solve the climate crisis. Instead, we need a circular economy which reduce waste and keeps materials in use. What we do not need is the ridiculously high rates of consumption encouraged by brands like PLT with their 99% off sales as we saw near the end of 2020. This range comprises of only 250 items, whereas on their ‘New In’ page, PLT lists over 2089 items. You read that right, 2089 ITEMS! That means that their recycled range is less than 10% of their ‘New In’ items, and even less of their overall stock. Come on PLT, we can see past your lies. 

 

Pretty Little Thing are owned by Boohoo, a company that is probably number one on my hit list. Boohoo may be a relatively newer brand compared to some high street shops, but they are one of the absolute worst when it comes to workers’ rights and their environmental impact. Boohoo have had multiple ‘exposes’ relating to their maltreatment of workers and are now notorious for their unethical practices and environmental harm. One of the most recent exposes came in June 2020 after the organisation Labour Behind the Label (the UK’s branch of the Clean Clothes Campaign) published a report on Boohoo’s actions during the first stages of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, it was not good. 

 

This report is damning in so many ways. The main takeaway though is that Boohoo were forcing potentially thousands of garment workers to go into unsafe factories to work throughout the first (and probably second) lockdown. In my opinion, they are responsible for Leicester being the first area in the UK to go into a lockdown. That’s not confirmed by anyone, but again, that’s just my personal opinion. In addition to this, these workers were paid an average of £3.50/hour, with that average dropping to as low as £1.50 for migrant workers. Boohoo source 80% of their stock from factories in Leicester, an area where they account for an estimated 80% of all factories in the city. During the pandemic they increased their factory use from an estimated 60-70%. In garment terms, they dominate the city’s industry. That’s a lot of power. There’s a lot in that report that simply won’t fit in a blog post. I highly encourage you to give it a read. 

 

Additionally, PLT also have a gender pay gap of 29%. For context, the average gender pay gap in the UK is 17%. This pay gap only accounts for the workers in their head offices, rather than their whole supply chain. Can you imagine how high that would be if everyone contributing to PLT’s clothes was counted in that statistic?!

 

As a general summary of all this exploitation, Boohoo (and from them PLT and other subsidiary companies such as Nasty Gal, MissPap, Karen Millen, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, etc. as well) received 3/100 points from Remake – there’s no way they can claim that’s good. 

 

Recently, PLT and Boohoo in general has amped up their greenwashing efforts, with outrageous posts from Nasty Gal and Boohoo coming out in the past few weeks. We see behind the façade Boohoo!


Image source


3. Primark Cares


Do you remember a few months ago when Laura Whitmore shared that Instagram post about how Primark were actually really ethical and cared about the environment? Yep, everything in that post wasn’t true, and the announcement of her new title as Primark Cares Ambassador kicked off this smokescreen of a campaign. While her claims that ‘Sustainability should be accessible to all!’ is absolutely correct, providing Primark as the solution to this problem is more than misguided (and they’re not the solution either! See what I did there? Ah I make myself laugh…).

 

Primark were one of the brands who were most associated with the Rana Plaza disaster. They have also been associated with many other workers’ rights incidents and haven’t shown signs of wanting to make meaningful change in their supply chains. After the Rana Plaza factory collapse, Primark became one of the signatories of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which made basic health and safety measures legally-binding. The Accord is due to expire on 31 August, nearly a mont’s time, and Primark have not yet committed to renewing the Accord. As I just mentioned, the Accord ensures the basic necessities to keep garment workers in Bangladesh alive. In order to back up any kind of claim that they ‘care’, Primark must commit to renewing the Accord. 

 

At the beginning of 2021, a military coup occurred in Myanmar, and there has since been a string of continuing violence, with garment workers at the frontlines of resistance. Garment workers in the country directly called for brands to boycott the state in a stand against the new regime, calling to sacrifice their own jobs for their cause. In March 2021 it was reported that one of Primark’s supplying factories in Myanmar had locked their workers inside the factory to prevent them from taking part in the protests against the regime.  

 

In Remake’s Brand Directory, Primark scores 25/100. While better than brands like PLT, George and Urban Outfitters, the bar is hardly particularly high. If we took these brands as the unethical standard for other brands to be compared to, the bar would barely exist. 

 

And what is it with brands using the word ‘Cares’ in their campaigns? Stop, we know you really don’t give a shit! It just seems patronising to me…


Image source

4. Urban Renewal


Brands like Urban Outfitters and Free People (which are both owned by the same parent company, URBN) may seem like they’re a bit hippy, a bit edgy, and up to date with popular progressive ideologies, and yet they are a brand who crop up time and time again when it comes to ethics scandals and seem to have no inclination to do anything about them.

 

Not only have they still not paid their garment workers for orders placed at the beginning of the pandemic over 16 months ago, but they also have a history of cultural appropriation (for instance when they were sued by the Navajo Nation for using their cultural symbols) and their CEO Richard Haynes has donated thousands to a homophobic and anti-abortion Senator. In the Remake Brand Directory, they scored a measly 3 points out of a potential 100, putting them on par with the likes of Pretty Little Thing. That is simply not acceptable. With all this happening in their supply chain they have the gall to call themselves sustainable. Where exactly is the ‘Renewal’ in Urban and its sister companies? 

 

Urban Renewal currently comprises of 659 products. This is compared to 2946 items in their Women’s section and 1427 products in the Men’s section. That’s nearly 22% of the overall women’s section and 46% of the men’s. Urban, why not make it 100%?

 

Similarly, when you look at the fabrics of all of these products, Urban give the description of ‘100% Vintage Fibres’. This incredibly vague description makes it difficult for anyone wanting to be able to care for their clothes properly. It says to hand-wash but even then, we know the washing advice on a level probably and they’d probably be fine to go through a washing machine if done properly, especially if we know what the damn material is! The whole point in sustainability and of clothing ‘renewal’ is to extend the life of a garment so that the impact of its creation is reduced and the work of the person who made it is valued. Its life will not be extended for very long if its owner cannot care for it correctly. 


Image source


5. Everlane

 

Yes, I do mean their entire brand not one specific campaign. Don’t get me wrong, Everlane are really not as bad as the other brands on this list (they are marked 45/100 by Remake), but just because they’re a bit more ethical doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held to account. In fact, if they claim to be one of the good guys, I think they should be monitored more closely so that they don’t succumb to the lures of fast fashion. If companies are calling themselves one of the good ones, we need to know that they actually are just that. Remake and other organisations highlight how the brand aren’t doing enough, especially when they market themselves as an ethical and sustainable frontrunner. In an article published in December 2020, Remake marked Everlane as one of fashion’s worst greenwashers. Yikes, that’s a title you do not want. 

 

In the pandemic, not only were they one of the brands consistently targeted by the #PayUp campaign, they have also had many union issues relating to lay-offs and union-busting. Their laid-off workers were even supported by Bernie Sanders. Everlane’s main issues is workers’ rights. They have a lot about ‘sustainable’ materials on their website but go into very little detail on their workers. We need to know what their working conditions are like, exactly how much they’re paid, and if they get things like maternity and sick leave. Until all of those details and more are provided, Everlane cannot claim ‘Radical Transparency’.


Image source



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If you liked this post you might like: 5 Easy Ways You Can Support Garment Workers

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What To Do With Your Old Clothes

Friday, 16 July 2021

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In the UK, we throw away a million tonnes of textiles every year. That’s the highest rate per person in Europe, and a whole lot of wasted fabric (especially if the clothes are made of some form of plastic aka oil), energy, and labour. Clearly, we not only need to talk about where we get our clothes, but also what we do with them once we’ve finished with them. And it’s not as simple as chucking it at a charity shop and hoping for the best. 



Wash and potentially repair it


Before you give your clothes to anyone to use again, make sure they’re in good condition, or at least a condition that you would be happy to get a secondhand item. That means no stains, doesn’t smell, and actually wearable. Remember, you’re extending its life not chucking it out, even if you’re giving it to someone else. Everyone deserves to wear clothes that don’t smell like someone else has just gone a run wearing them.


See if a family member or friend likes it


We have all complimented a friend or family member on an item of clothing they’re wearing. If not, then you’re just miserable. Check with your friends and family (those who are the same size as the garment or garments you no longer wear) and see if it’s something they would like to try. I have several t-shirts that my brother grew out of and they are some of my favourite comfy clothes. Ad hey there’s really nothing complicated about a traditional hand-me-down. They’re a staple for a reason. 


Upload to a resale app to sell on to another person


There are so many resale apps clothing resale apps now, it’s hard keep track. There are your classics, like eBay and Depop, as well as Vestiaire Collective (for more designer and luxury items), Poshmark, and, my personal favourite, Vinted. I will have undoubtedly missed off a few but you get the gist on this one and I feel like you end up gravitating to one particular app in the end based on personal preference. As I’ve just mentioned, I personally really like Vinted, for a variety of reasons I will delve into in a later post, but to be honest, it probably depends what you’re looking for too. 

 

The thing I like about resale apps is that they are quick to use, both buying and listing your items to sell, and can be done anywhere with an internet connection. A lot easier than trawling through every charity shop in town. They also guarantee that the garment is going directly to another person to wear, rather than waiting on a charity shop floor of months on end or shipped off overseas to be sold in a market where sales aren’t guaranteed, and potentially (this is a huge potentially) ending up in landfill. 


Upload to a renting app to share with other people


If it’s an item you don’t wear much but do still love and can’t bear to get rid of, or don’t have the occasion to wear a lot, then peer-to-peer renting might be a good option for you! I’m not 100% sure on every app or rental service that does this, but I know that By Rotation has clothing rentals available both from brands themselves and every day consumers. Maybe not one for when you just want those clothes out of your wardrobe, but for some items this might work well for you. 


By Rotation app home screen


Visit an in-person clothes swap to exchange it for something new


These can happen again! Hopefully… The rules are simple: bring at least one item of clothing with you, and leave with a different one. It’s a cheap and guilt-free way to switch up your wardrobe! Google to see what events are happening in your local area (currently Covid-dependent). They could be held by specific groups in hired out spaces, or even in local cafes, community centres and student spaces. One great example if the Southampton Clothes Swap which happens on a regular basis. 

 

Like many of the other options in this post, clothes swaps are a great way of guaranteeing your garment gets a new owner straight away (unless someone doesn’t pick it, which in that case, take it home and either try at another swap or try another avenue). 


Check any social media groups you’re involved in for online clothes swaps


Like in-person swaps but more flexible with time and location, and Covid-safe! I’m part of Leena Norms’ patreon-only Facebook group which has a separate clothes swap spin-off group, but there are lots of other sharing groups as well, whether locally based or connected by another means, you’ll be able to find someone who wants to swap with you!


Donate to a local charity, shelter or organisation

 

You can bet there are loads of local organisations doing amazing things that will more than happily take your clothes and pass them on to people who will cherish them. Example charities include refugee support organisations (such as Give Your Best and North East Solidarity and Teaching), women’s refuges, homeless shelters, nationwide organisations like Smalls for All, or even food banks. If you are able to contact them beforehand, do, and see what clothes they’re in need for or if they even have the capacity to take on donations. Same rules apply, especially if the clothes are going to someone vulnerable, make sure they’re clean, stain-free and in decent condition to wear. 


Upcycle it!


This does require a bit of craftiness, time, and patience, which I for one know I have limited capacities for, but if you’re determined to make something or have those capacities, why not make your old clothes into something new? It could be something like jazzing up a jacket or trousers with some embroidery, changing the length, or even turning it into something completely different! Which option you choose will depend on your skill and experience, and this may be particularly good for clothes that aren’t in as wearable condition. I’m not particularly good at things like this but I do want to learn a few of the basics (and catching up on old series of the Great British Sewing Bee has certainly helped with that!). But this is no something I think I will ever be amazing at. I just want to learn how to repair and sew something very basic. 

 

Like renting, this option may not be for you if you just want that item out of your wardrobe, and there can be a bit of a pressure sometimes to be incredibly crafty and never want to get rid of anything, but that’s totally unrealistic for a lot of people, even if it is a cool skill to have. 


Donate to a local charity shop


If you’ve tried your best to get your garment straight to a new owner, charity shops are the answer. The same rules apply to every other option on this: make sure your clothes are clean and wearable. Charity shops are flooded with clothes that they are simply unable to sell because they have stains or are virtually in pieces. Remember the phrase ‘donate not dispose’. 

 

The reason why I put charity shops as the last option is that they are already overwhelmed with items that simply won’t sell. In fact, only about 10% of charity shop donations actually get sold. That’s a lot of clothes that don’t get sold and are instead being incinerated, thrown in landfill or shipped overseas to either be sold or   If you have them near you and have the time, do try to support your local charity shops. They’ve had a rough time of it over the past 18 months with the pandemic (for more on that I’d recommend listening to this episode of Common Threads podcast), but still bare in mind the normal behaviours of slow fashion such as asking yourself questions such as:

 

Will I wear this item at least 30 (or 50) times?

Can I make several different outfits with this item by pairing it with other clothes I already own?

 

Moving away from fast fashion to secondhand but still buying at the same high rates is still unsustainable and has negative impacts in different ways, so treat any clothes you’re looking to buy the same!




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If you liked this post you might like: 5 Practises to Implement Into Your Self-Care

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Sustainable vs Ethical | Slow Fashion Simplified #1

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

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CW: brief mention of gender-based violence, rape, and murder


Welcome to a new series on Another Ranting Reader! I have a couple of other blog series in the works so keep your eye out for those, but first, let me introduce you to Slow Fashion Simplified. This series aims to deconstruct terms relating to the fashion industry that often may seem confusing or are used a lot without real consideration for what they actually mean. I’m going to try to publish one instalment of this series every month (emphasis on try, they may be slightly more irregular than planned), and I’ll be focusing on a wide range of terms and issues, including greenwashing, union-busting, circularity, outsourcing, and the Garment Worker Protector Act (also known as SB62). Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the posts in this series and if there’s anything you want to learn more about in the fashion industry, let me know! 



But first, we’re talking about what we mean by ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ fashion. 

 

These terms are often a lot by a wide variety of brands, organisations, and individuals, but while we’re using them we need to delve into what they actually mean and we mean when we use them. 

 

‘Sustainable fashion’ is used to focus on materials and processes’ impact on the environment (including dyes, pollution and the growth of raw materials). ‘Ethical fashion’ is mostly be used to refer to workers’ rights, for example, living wages, working conditions, maternity leave and sick pay. 

 

However, to me and many others in slow fashion spaces, for fashion to be sustainable, it has to be sustainable for the people who at all levels of the supply chain, and for something to be ethical, it must have ethical treatment of the environment. Like any binary, using these terms in such a separate way misses out a whole lot of nuance and complexities and doesn’t show how people and planet are truly interlinked. This is what is so frustrating about massive brands like H&M claiming to be ‘sustainable’ and yet not doing enough to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in their supply chains (demonstrated in their lack of action after the rape and murder of 21-year-old garment worker, Jeyasre Kathiravel) and are not committing to renewing the Bangladesh Accord, a legally-binding Accord requiring basic levels of health and safety. You simply cannot be sustainable if your workers are not protected and empowered.

 

Even in purely environmental terms, brands such as H&M who boast about their extended use of organic cotton (despite this only counting for a minimal amount of their entire production) but are still producing at rates that are ridiculously high and completely unnecessary.  Even organic cotton, often hailed as an incredible sustainable material, still has a significant environmental impact (mostly relating to water) and manufacturers need to ensure they are thinking critically about their use of it and if it is the best option. In a recent Remake Community Call, Nat Kelley highlighted how cotton farms are being created in areas where it really isn’t suited to the local environment. Nat particularly highlighted how more and more cotton is being grown in places like Australia, where the plant isn’t indigenous and which already have a history droughts and low-rainfall, which is further exacerbated by cotton’s heavy water usage. Don’t get me wrong, using organic cotton instead of inorganic cotton is certainly better for planet as it reduces water and chemical usage, and also reduces the harmful impact of a wide variety chemicals on the workers who farm it. Clothes brands and manufacturers need to think beyond one ‘fix-all’ fabric to ensure that their materials are adapted not only for the function of the garment they are creating, but also for the benefit of the environment where their clothes are produced. 

 

Similarly, the most environmentally friendly materials in the world will mean absolutely nothing if big brands don’t reduce their production rates. In their horrific documentary with Channel 4 last year, Missguided founder and CEO admitted that the brand listed over 3,500 new items a month, with over 50 per cent of their stock under one month old, and 90 per cent under three months old. Unsurprisingly, he also shared how in the past the brand had had issues with having too much leftover stock. With brands producing this number of new items, even if they try to use the best possible fabrics, they will still end up causing enormous harm to the planet and their workers. It is their business model which is fundamentally unsustainable and unethical. 

 

This is why, when discussing a more positive future of fashion, I prefer to use the term ‘slow fashion’ wherever possible. To me, this term encompasses the entire vision of ethical treatment of people and planet while also pushing back against capitalism’s demand for us to keep buying new items despite our complete lack of need for them. The terms ‘sustainable fashion’ and ‘ethical fashion’ still suggest newness, which is the opposite of what we need to be striving for in the middle of a climate emergency. They are still useful terms, don’t get me wrong, and often need their own contexts, such as when talking about the histories of specific garments or when relating to businesses producing new clothes. 




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If you liked this post you might like: 50 Questions to Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands

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June 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

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AD – PR product, some books mentioned in this post were sent to me by publishers. These are marked with **. A referral code is also used, which is marked with *.

I have actually had a lot of fun in June. Here’s hoping that continues this summer!



Favourite part?

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of friends actually in person this month! I’ve been trying to cram in seeing as many people as possible before a lot of my friends move away next month. It’s been great and I didn’t realise how much I missed seeing people in person until we were doing social things in person again. 

 

I’ve been for lots of great lunches, drinks, and barbecues – I even managed to get a barbecue to light properly and successfully cook, sauasages, tofu, and sausages on it. Genuinely proud of myself for that.


 

I competed an internship doing supply chain research this month with Goodstrangevibes, a small business who seek raise awareness around body positivity, mental health and LGBT+ issues through art. It’s been great working with them this month and putting a lot of what I talk/write about relating to fashion into practise. Please go check them about, and if you want to hear in more detail about what I’ve been doing for them, sign up to their upcoming newsletter!

 

I also applied for and was offered a place on a Master’s course! I’ll be doing a research Master’s in English Literature, looking at Golden Age British detective fiction. I am so excited!

 

Best read?

 

At the beginning of the month I read Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy and the first volume of Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. These were my priorities as I needed to get them back to my uni library by the middle of the month. I enjoyed them bot and am hoping to read the next two volumes of Aurora Floyd soon!

 

I then finished reading Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki, which was so interesting. One of the main messages of the book I would say is that so many issues relating to sexual and gender repression in many countries around the world are a result of colonisation.

 

I then read This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire for probably the fourth time. This is such a quick yet impactful read for me, and every time I read it I feel like I get something different from it. It’s like a comforting blanket in book form.

 

I also read How to Love Your Laundry by Patric Richardson with Karin B Miller**. Although I did have to remind myself a few times of the American-British translations of some of the things mentioned, this book

 

I have also started reading Sex & Rage by Eve Babitz** and A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister, both of which I’m really enjoying so far. 


 

Favourite listen?


I’ve not listened to much music this month, but I did have a throwback to 2012ish listening to Eliza Doolitte and Gabrielle Aplin while I’ve been working. 

 

Favourite watch?


I finished Bones, binged the second series of Feel Good in one night, rewatched the first four series of Doctor Who revival and am now rewatching New Girl! A lot of rewatching…

 

After getting into the latest series of the Great British Sewing Bee, I’ve started to catch up on the old series from the beginning. 


Picture credit


What did I learn?


That honest to god I need to learn to have for faith and confidence in myself. Easier said than done but I’m trying. 

 

What’s happening next month?


Seeing more of my family and friends, including my grandparents who I’ve not seen in-person in maybe two years now!

 

What’s been on my mind?


What the hell I’m doing in the next few months. Not that much specifically other than making sure I get some things done so I don’t have much to do in July!

 

Favourite post?

 

What Happens to Garment Workers If We Stop Buying Clothes? is my favourite post this month. I’ve not written a longer post like that in a while and it was great to do! I’ve got a lot of plans for my blog content coming up, including a few new series on deconstructing key terms relating to slow fashion, deep dives on mainstream brands, and features for small slow/ethical brands (let me know some cool brands you think deserve a feature, especially if they are BIPOC and/or LGBT+ owned). Watch this space! 


 

Biggest inspiration?


This is not an inspiration, but I feel good about my skin for maybe the first time in my life. Maybe it’s because I think I have a skin routine that works for me again for the first time ever. That’s thanks to a Superdrug cleanser I got last month that makes my skin feel incredible, and an SPF-moisturiser I’ve been using every morning. I also tried a few samples of products from Upcircle* from Demi Colleen's collaboration with them (the eye cream, toner and face moisturiser) and I’m hoping to get the toner and moisturiser in their full products soon (not the eye cream though, it was a bit more of a rogue one in the sample pack and made my skin react. Not here for that. The rest was great though!).


*this link is a referral link, which means that you get £10 off at Upcircle, and when you use that I get £10 off too.

Any other favourites?


This section isn’t food related for once! Although it easily could have been… My other favourite this month is my cropped black velvet jacket! I bought it on Depop several years ago, and mostly used it on nights out, but no more! That jacket is not just for nights out, even though it’s very convenient for them. I’m wearing it with more casual outfits, and I forgot how many outfits it goes with.



If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: May 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

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What Happens to Garment Workers if We Stop Buying Clothes?

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

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But what will happen to garment workers’ jobs if we all stop buying fast fashion? This is a question that gets asked time and time again to people in the slow fashion movement, often by people who are genuinely concerned and don’t want to perpetuate even further harm. However, the slow fashion movement is not just about boycotting fast fashion – it’s about building a better world founded on the principles of intersectional equality and anti-capitalism. It’s about uplifting the voices of garment workers rather than stopping the production of clothes altogether. 



There are so many ways to maintain and create jobs for garment workers whilst also slowing down production and improving workers’ rights. 

 

Garment workers are key to a circular economy. In this system, the materials and fabrics already in existence as part of garments would be reworked into new items or enhanced versions of their previous selves. The skills required to do this successfully are those owned by the millions of garment workers worldwide. Not only would this involve reworking old clothes, it would also mean a shift to a focus on repair and revival. One brand that is known for doing this well is Patagonia (I’m not linked with Patagonia in any way, they’re just a brand who are well known for being all round pretty good). Not only do they resell their secondhand items in their ‘Worn and Wear’ collection, they also run a repair system. You can simply bring an item into one of their shops or post it to their repair based in Reno, and they will return it to you all fixed! They also have tutorials for various kinds of self-repair on their website, if you want to give it a go yourself. In addition to these initiatives, in non-Covid times, Patagonia also run repair tours across the US, where they go to towns, set up for the day and repair people’s clothes. In a recent episode of Emily Stochl’s Pre-Loved Podcast, Patagonia’s Head of Secondhand Alex Kremer discussed these processes in more detail and the joy when he discussed the garment workers who go on tour with Patagonia was infectious. If you want to learn more about how it all works, I would highly recommend listening to that episode! Granted, Patagonia are based in USA and as far as I’m aware you can only take part in their repair scheme or tours if you’re also in the USA (or it will at least be much more difficult to take part if you live anywhere else), but their business model is something I would love to see replicated by brands across the globe. 

 

While the focus in a circular economy should be on reusing and repairing, we will always need new clothes. Let’s be frank here, there are some items that we just shouldn’t buy secondhand. Name me one person who would happily wear secondhand underwear (also read as: socks and tights, and personally I wouldn’t want secondhand swimwear although I have seen some in charity shops.) It’s a no from me. So yes, garment workers will still have new things to make in addition to work on repairs and reusing old items.

 

While moving away from the fast fashion model, all aspects of the supply chain have to be considered and all aspects of the supply chain will benefit. Garment workers will be paid at least a living wage if not more (brands can certainly afford it, they have no excuse) and will be able to spend more time on one garment without the pressure to reach extremely high quotas every single day. This will not only be better for their physical health but also their mental health, as they will be able to eat properly, have time to sleep the hours and socialise with friends and family, and will be less likely to suffer abuse at the hands of supervisors who are in turn pressured by brands. A move away from harmful chemicals (like many dyes) and trend-based processes such as sandblasting (the literal blasting of sand particles onto denim to give jeans a ‘worn’ and bleached look) will be better for the health of garment workers, the environment, and consumers alike. Slow fashion is by no means passive, it is a holistic vision of a better fashion future, actively pushing for the increased welfare, wages and job security of garment workers, of better treatment of the planet, and of better relationship between us and the clothes we wear. It is not simply ‘not buying clothes’, it is pushing back against the capitalist system and demanding change.

 

As was noted in a recent Remake Community Call discussing the #NoNewClothes campaign, not buying clothes, or at least heavily reducing our consumption of them, is a way to free up our time (and our wallets) so that we as consumers and citizens can focus more on creating change by lobbying the brands who hold power within the supply chain. I know at least for me, slowing down my consumption has lifted some of the pressure I felt to keep up with trends and ‘fit in’, as well as a created a closer link with my own personal style and identity, and appreciation of the work of the people who made the clothes I love.

 

Degrowth in fashion is a good thing for everyone on all ends of the supply chain and brands need to be held to account and forced to slow down. And the supposed justification for fast fashion that it ‘provides jobs’ will never be valid so long as the jobs in question are highly exploitative and often amount to little more than slave labour. 



If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: 50 Questions to Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands

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Sustainable OOTD // Old Fast Fashion in Summer

Friday, 18 June 2021

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It's the summer we've all been waiting for (and not just because the new series of Love Island is about to start). With restrictions easing (at least in the UK) and in-person social events actually able to happen, old habits and anxieties creep in. We've hardly been seen by our friends, family, and just random strangers for the past few year, so obviously we're doing to want to look nice now that we're out and about again. I don't know about you, but I've seen so much talk of what everyone's going to here on their first night out after lockdown, and, unsurprisingly, many fast fashion brands jumping on this moment to market us our new post-lockdown look. All of those new outfits being marketed to us are completely unnecessary. Looking good and, more importantly, feeling good about ourselves does not require us to buy new things. Especially when those new outfits are produced in a system that damages the women who are at its core in addition to the environment. 

Instead of buying from brands who are encouraging you to buy new for the sake of newness, have a root around in your wardrobe and see what old garments you have that you absolutely love. Try making new outfits with what you already have and find joy in doing so! These items are ones I've had for ages, and I've worn this outfit a lot in the recent heatwave. Whenever the sun comes out, I love cracking out some old favourites and reminding myself why I love them. Here's to old clothes and saying no to the pressure of new!



Top - old fast fashion (H&M), had for at least 4 years but probably over 5
Skirt - old fast fashion (H&M), had for a long time, probably similar time to the top I'm wearing
Tote bag - merch of my uni's Feminist Society, had for about 6 months (made voluntarily with sustainable materials)
Necklace - from Women in Hebron, a Palestinian women's collective, bought about 18 months ago
Earrings - had for so long I can't remember, wear them all the time
Sunglasses - not so old, got from M&S about a month ago
Sandals - vegan Blowfish, bought in Schuh 2-3 years ago, can't remember exactly. If anyone has any tips on sustainable and ethical shoes please let me know, I don't buy them very often but it's an area I don't know much about.





If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa


If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable OOTD // May the Fourth Be With You




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