Futures Before Fashions

… green is the new black …

Archive for the category “Caring Companies”

9 Reasons to shop second hand – True Activist

True Activist promote the second hand clothing lifestyle

A good friend recently came across this great article on a site called True Activist about why it is a good thing to shop second hand.. and it sums up perfectly why I have taken on this challenge, and why you should consider making more sensible choices too.. check it out.

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Why don’t we care about Bangladesh?

No doubt by now everyone has heard about the frequent fires, collapses and explosions in Bangladesh garment factories which have killed thousands over recent months. In the factory collapse alone back on 24th April, 1127 people were killed just a day after workers were protesting the unsafe conditions and raising the alarm about cracks appearing in the building. As they were still clearing that site, on May 9th over 900 more Bangladeshi workers were killed when a fire broke out in their knitwear garment factory.

We all saw the images and talked about how horrific it was. We all heard the big labels named. Walmart. GAP. Uniqlo. Benetton. Joe Fresh. Primark. H&M. Zara. Marks and Spencer. Mango. And then…. The people, outraged and appalled by what they had seen appeared to do what? Nothing. I walked past Primark on Oxford Street recently and it was, as usual, jam packed. People flooded out the doors with smiles, and why wouldn’t they be? They had a huge (Eco-friendly) paper bag full of bargains to see them through (at least until the next trend hits the shelves).

I wondered why it was that the same people I can imagine standing around the water cooler sadly comparing stories they had seen on TV about the factory tragedies with colleagues, seem unable to take back control of their spending behaviour to actually attempt to have some meaningful impact on this world. Are those bargains really so great that we can turn a blind eye to what we know to be the tragic realities of fast fashion? What will it take for people to make a change?

Having been to Bangladesh in 2001 and seeing how hard life is for many many thousands of people doing what they can to get by, I know it is simply not an option for those luck enough to have a source of income to decide to leave because their workplace in unsafe, or to strike because they have unsuitable working conditions. I saw children working making bricks, carrying heavy bricks all day in the heat to make what may be the only income for their household.

So… life there is pretty rough for the vast majority. Add to that the impact of climate change on the region and it really does appear as though there is a value statement being made about Bangladesh and its people. We can’t see them. Not our problem? Of course, no one in their right mind would admit thinking this but what other conclusions can be drawn from our apathy and continued care-less choices…

I recently came across an article with Dame Vivienne Westwood, who is a supporter of the Environmental Justice Foundation – a not for profit organisation working to protect the environment and defend human rights. The have made this small film interviewing one of Bangladesh’s climate refugees. Watch it. You have seen the images of the factory conditions where your clothes are made. If that didn’t cause you to stop and think twice about the source of your clothing purchases… Maybe this will?

Traid & Traid Remade

Traid & Traid Remade

If you have not wandered into a Traid store yet, do it now! Traid is an organisation which collects unwanted clothing from across the UK for reuse and sale at their charity shops across the country.

By doing this, they are minimising waste, their carbon footprint and consumption, and funds raised by Traid contributes to projects in developing countries to fight global poverty, exploitation and environmental damage caused by the textile and fashion industries.

Traid have their very own fashion label, too, which launched in 2002. TRAIDremade design and produce upcycled clothing for women and men using second hand textiles that would otherwise be thrown away.

When you buy TRAIDremade, you are helping to protect the environment by reducing landfill and supporting international development projects to fight poverty – to which all of the profits are directed.

Each TraidRemade items is unique, and is sustainably remade by hand the TraidRemade workshop in Brighton. TRAIDremade designers work exclusively with old clothes and textiles donated to TRAID to create wearable, original items that no-one else will have, and which you will not find on the High Street.

Traid also have a collection service, so if you have a bag of clothes you no long need, consider giving them a call to collect it.. Or pop it in one of their collection bins around the UK. It will free up space in your wardrobe for all the new things you will buy in their stores!

Buy TRAIDremade at their online store http://www.traidremade.com, or at TRAID Camden, TRAID Hammersmith and TRAID Shepherd’s Bush.

Off The Rails – Upcycled Fashion Show

On the weekend I went to see a fashion show of up-cycled garments young people from Islington made as part of an initiative to educate them on climate change and sustainable fashion. This was the culmination of a 6 month project – developed by Islington’s The Zone Youth Project – where the young people involved learnt how to use sewing machines to make new items from old clothes and fabric, including bags, t-shirts and clothing.

The young people are part of Climate Change Youth Ambassadors (CCYA) programme which aims to teach them about climate change, engage with their local communities and work to reduce London’s carbon footprint. One of the aims of the fashion project was to address the negative impact on the environment of buying new clothes produced on the other side of the world and enable positive behaviour change.

This was a fantastic event, and it was so great to see young people getting involved with the project, and to have the chance to show off their skills at such a well supported event.

I wanted to blog about this event in the hope that these young people might be an inspiration for other young people and young people’s services when considering funding for local initiatives and events. Young people are too often the focus of bad press in London, and I hope my film goes some way to showing what young people are capable of when they have the support and resources to reach their potential.

It is fantastic to know that, when young people like this are our future, they are already getting involved in doing their part to think about climate change, and the impact of their actions on our planet… Oh – and does anyone know where I can buy one of those t-shirts?

To become a climate change youth ambassador in London – click here 

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Learn about Looptworks

Was just on the internet doing some research and happened to come across this company in Portland, Oregon (US) which was founded in 2009.

This company repurposes abandoned materials into meaningful, long-lasting and limited-edition products from pre-consumer excess… with the aim of ridding the world of waste while and inspiring a generation to reduce their impact on the planet.

The issue of textile waste at the pre-consumer end of things was not something I had considered when I started out on this challenge… my focus was squarely with the consumer patterns and waste at the end of a garments life.

Their website reports “Every week, one factory can dispose of about 60,000 pounds of textile waste that goes into landfills. That’s roughly equivalent to 113 Baby Grand Pianos!”. It had not ever occurred to me that factories could be discarding so much, when although the fabric may not be what was requested, it is perfectly good quality textile which could be used in another way (Upcycled).

Discovering this site has made me realise exactly how little I know and how inspirational and innovative people can be when motivated. If you have some time, check out this short video.

You will also find a link to their website on my links page.

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