[Article Round Up] White-Washed Runways: The Effects of Racism in the Fashion Industry #fashion #ethicalfashion #fastfashion #Runwaymodels #Racism

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From: http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/is-racism-stifling-creativity-in-the-fashion-industry

Vogue Runway

image: Vogue Runway

“We’ve already got a black girl,” “It’s not our creative vision,” “Our customer isn’t ready yet.” These are the excuses we hear time and time again to explain the lack of models of color in the fashion industry. In fact, the more you talk to people in our profession about this, the more you realize that these statements are tired, unimaginative and backwards; things this industry supposedly detests…

… In the 1990’s we saw a rise in multiracial adverts, with adverts by CK One and United Colors of Benetton going down in history as some of the most iconic adverts of all time. Why have we gone backwards when we know how well the embrace of diversity can work?  While it’s unlikely that any fashion company would be brave enough to hold their hands up and admit their oversight on this issue, it’s important that we recognize that none of us are exempt from preconceptions, stereotypes and discrimination. And in a creative industry, that’s meant to be pushing boundaries, these stereotypes only stifle us.  

Concluding The Fashion Debates, Furlong was asked “Is the fashion industry racist?” to which he answered, “Yes, but no more than the rest of society.”

 

Old-School Recycling: A Lesson and a Warning #sustainable #recycled #ecolifestyle #repurpose #reuse

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In India, it is not uncommon to see old fabrics repurposed to provide different uses throughout their life. From shirt, to pillowcase, to bag, to rag – one garment can serve many functions. This method of reusing and recycling fabrics is driven by economic need and has organically evolved into a sustainable recycling model. However, this organic model is more institutionalized and organized then we think, particularly when it comes to the Chindi trade.

An age-old tradition in India, led by the Waghris, a nomadic community of India, the Chindi (rag) trade is an intens bute informal second-hand recycling system. This practice has occurred in India for over 150 years and consists of the Waghris travelling through neighbourhoods and markets bartering old clothes for new utensils from households in cities across India. Through this practice, the Waghri’s are able to provide affordable used clothing to India’s poor, while ensuring old clothes don’t end up in landfills.

lrgRUG-DOM-3X5-MCL-4 P1

Chindi rug made by combining scarps of many different types of fabrics, including cotton, silk, and wool.

However, in return, these nomads face a constant struggle when it comes to sustainably operating their practices as their urban markets are never considered when it comes to urban planning and beautification, poor economic returns, discrimination and no recognition for the work they do to support communities and the environment.

Moreover, due to a lack of investable capital, there second-hand trade is completely off-the-map when it comes to the international market. What, in theory, is an innovative method to deal with urban recycling needs and provide affordable second-hand clothes to India’s poor, is reduced to stigmatized and dying profession.

This practice is a lesson in the fact that communities around the world have acknowledge the need to reuse and repurpose items for centuries. However, it is also warning that if we do not cherish and support these practices, they will remain invisible, marginalized and unaccounted for.

A Quick Overview of Slow Fashion #Ethicalfashion #Fashion #Slowfashion #Eco #Environment

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In a world of instant messaging, instant delivery and instant shopping, slow fashion is a direct contradiction of our desire for more, faster and cheaper. While, slow fashion has tremendous benefits for our planet and for the lives of the people that produce our garments and accessories, the concept of slow fashion has implications that go far deeper into the world of fashion.
 
scarveIf we look back at the history of fashion, prior to the popularity of mass-produced ready-to-wear pieces, fashion was about the designer and the producer – the artists that painstakingly created products of quality and care. To embrace the slow fashion movement is to proclaim a desire for quality instead of quantity, to focus on colours, textures, and designs and to not only embrace the piece but the story behind the piece, as well. To embrace the slow fashion movement is to recall the days of the couturier, the garment maker, the artist – the individuals that truly formulated what we know as fashion and style today. 
 
Slow fashion is not just a rejection of fast fashion for the sake of a better planet but an acceptance of the idea that we, like our the fashionista’s before us, can take a few ordinary garments and accessories and turn them into extraordinary outfits that exude quality, beauty and consciousness.

[Article Round Up] Analysis: Fast fashion comes at a steep price for the environment #ethicalfashion #environment #fastfashion

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Written by Michael Shank, adjunct assistant professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and Maxine Bédat, CEO and co-founder of Zady for MSNBC

“There are few industries fickler than fashion, changing annually and swapping seasonally. The good news is that fashion can, in theory, change more quickly than the energy or agricultural industries, for example. And when it comes to tackling climate change, agility and the ability to rapidly retool practices will be essential attributes of the most resilient and sustainable industries.

This is how Emma Watson’s recent take on waste — she appeared at a red carpet New York City gala wearing a dress made entirely of trash — could herald a new trend for fashion. Or at least, it should, because we’re rapidly approaching “peak stuff” with bursting consumer closets that are unsustainable by any measure.

Most clothes are worn, on average, only seven times before they’re discarded, forcing an astonishing150 billion new clothing items to be made annually. Thank “fast fashion,” a business model based on the fabrication of hyper trends and clothing that doesn’t last for consumers to accumulate. But given limited natural resources and the urgent need to protect what remains from further apparel-driven pollution, the cutting edge in fashion will soon need to trend and tack towards something more people- and planet-friendly.

Getting clothing cheap enough for the fashion industry’s disposable model has required massive amounts of cheap material and cheap labor — both of which came with devastatingly high and unaccounted-for costs.

First, the push for low prices led to cheap material. Polyester is the worst: It’s a plastic made from fossil fuels and found in 50 percent of all clothing. It’s enormously energy intensive and doesn’t bio-degrade, making for a catastrophic carbon and environmental footprint. In outsourcing production, a process greased by decades of trade deals, we simultaneously outsourced pollution to countries with even dirtier power grids. Now, 10 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint comes from the apparel industry, and apparel is the second largest polluter of fresh water globally. These are devastating stats, and we’re wearing them on our sleeves.

Second, the push for low prices also led to cheap labor. The apparel industry’s race for the cheapest inputs relied on laborers at the very lowest end of the wage spectrum in countries with few protections for workers. While the industry has created jobs and lifted some people out of poverty, the hard truth remains that low wages, forced labor, unhealthy and dangerous working conditions, and child labor are now rampant throughout apparel supply chains. Children are working in appalling conditions that amount to modern day slavery.

The good news is that consumers are reaching their limit with all of this. And there’s a realization in the post-Paris climate world and in the U.N.’s recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals that we must put an end to polluting factors and worker abuse. Even the Vatican is connecting the dots between the apparel industry’s modern day slavery and climate change. To ignore any of this is to remain regressively retro.

While we still have a broken apparel industry, we do have a consumer base that is hungry for change, which is why Emma Watson’s trash stunt got so much traction on social and traditional media. People want something better, they want something different and they want it to be sustainable. They don’t want what they wear to worsen the planet or people’s lives. This means that all of us have an opportunity — an opportunity to create a different future.

All across the fashion ecosystem, we’ll need progressive leadership and a willingness by multilateral institutions, from the United Nations to the World Bank, to make the connection between apparel and the environment and economic development. The connections are obvious. Thus, we can no longer ignore the final (fashion) frontier in our efforts to clean up the planet and our dirty practices. The U.N.’s newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, for example, are all about social inclusion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability — three pillars that aren’t, at present, at the epicenter of the apparel industry.

That must change. And it’ll require some new patterns by non-apparel types. Journalists exposing the adverse social-environmental impacts of apparel production, guiding readers towards possible solutions and avoiding “greenwashing.” Brands adopting sustainable practices, from design through production, within their own businesses. Influencers, some of today’s best storytellers, showcasing the beauty and benefits of living simply. Educational institutions teaching the next generation the skills needed to identify industry-specific problems in fashion and improve its sustainability.

We can do this. It does mean that we’ll need more Watson-type moments when people break the red carpet mold to speak out for the planet and for people’s livelihood. But Watson is not alone. Nor are we. It’s time to start wearing a different world.”

One Woman’s Pleasure is Another’s Pain #ethicalfashion #fashion #fastfashion #sustainablefashion

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We’re featuring a guest blog from a blogger, Dr. Surbhi Shrivastava, in New Delhi who provides a glimpse of fast fashion in India! Dr. Surbhi Shrivastava is a dentist-activist currently working  with an NGO based in Delhi, India on Public Health Rights and Accountability. A lover of street shopping, she attempts to bring social justice to the world of fashion and help its people live with dignity.

 

This is a shout-out to the likes of girls like me.

We love clothes, and unabashedly so. We feel a rush when we don a new outfit and make it our own. But what’s even better is that while your clothes are turning heads, what’s running through yours is that “I can’t believe I got this for Rs.150 ($2.30)! That costs lesser than my lunch.”

In Delhi, when Rs.150 and clothes feature in the same sentence, that sentence usually ends in Sarojini Nagar. If you’re a street-stuff buff, then you could probably make that happen even in GK or Khan Market. And they never disappoint. But are cheap, pretty things found exclusively on the streets? Or do retail stores now offer both, pocket-friendly clothes and the brand name? The policy at work here is that of fast fashion.

SN Market

Fast fashion is a breakthrough that rapidly puts designer pieces from the runway at the feet of the middle-class aficionados. One would then wonder how something as coveted as catwalk items became common items. Is it a step towards an egalitarian world or is it just not the big picture?

The banal truth is that the developing world is home to all the manufacturing units of the retailers and employs almost 2.8 million women. This wouldn’t be of concern if it meant employment and a good wage for them. Except that, it is far from it. These women are overworked, ill-treated, insufficiently paid and even abused because there is a mass-production deadline to be met before the next trend makes its appearance. So while we no longer have to pay an arm and a leg to look fashionable, these women still do, and quite literally. We become partners in crime, unaware the entire time.

One must then think that when the clothes are being sold at low prices, the companies must be cruising towards a loss. But the truth is the exact opposite where the owners of these brands are ‘among the top 10 richest people in the world’ and earn in figures that are alien to the common man. It’s a classic case of bourgeois vs. proletarian.

Another feather in the cap of fast fashion is that the rate at which new items are produced is in line with the rate at which consumers discard the old ones. Since there is a new collection before you could blink, a lot of these clothes are worn a bare minimum number of times before they head for the landfills. That’s an ecological concern that gets overlooked because fashion is believed to be trivial and frivolous when the industry is actually the second largest polluter, after oil.

With this bitter truth becoming more blatant, people are taking notice. Activist Livia Firth has been pushing the envelope by devising green outfits and spearheading the #30wears campaign, to endorse responsible fashion. It is important to realise that fashion fuelled by another person’s blood and sweat is no fun at all. This does not translate into boycotting these stores because let’s face it, the reason they sell so many is that we throw away those many and the cycle continues. For the sake of our planet and its people, there needs to be more commitment to the closet.

So then what’s the ask?
The ask is that we enjoy clothes. We make a million memories in them. We fight with our siblings for stealing them. We pass them on to little cousins. We make lehengas out of saris. We marvel at the capris we fit in from eight years ago (only a blessed few). When we have had our fill, we give them to someone less fortunate, only to make new memories in. But we don’t throw them away. Because let’s not forget, we love clothes.

Seasonality – does it matter? #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainablity

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As spring rolls around, we have been thinking about what a season really means for the socially-conscious world of fashion. With pre-seasons becoming an increasingly common addition to the typical Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collection cycles, the efficient management of scarce resources becomes a greater challenge.

Our view is that by reducing the number of collections and focusing more on designs with longevity, versatility and timeless appeal, fashionistas will be able to repurpose the same designs for longer periods of time. This would create less material waste and an increased focus on the actual value of fashion.

Of course the idea comes with its own share or criticisms. The first of which is the concern that a decreased number of collections annually will lead to decreased profits for designers. The second is the view that sustainability isn’t always on trend, a view found by recent studies. Therefore, the change of mentality around seasonality will not be an easy journey.

On one hand, designers must ensure they are producing items that have longevity and can withstand the test of time both due to design and quality, which would justify a higher price point. On the other hand, consumers must realize the value of eco-concious and sustainable materials that are made of good quality materials. This understanding will take a lot of designers pursuing this creative vision and a lot of consumers accepting it as the new norm.

Our collections are strongly designed around the theme of longevity, with quality made pieces that can transform from day-to-night, winter-to-summer and everything in between.

Until we see the minimization of seasonality on the run way, there is plenty consumers and designers can do to drive toward this movement. Designers can use materials and designs that are versatile and long-lasting. Consumers can purchase from designers who abide by these principles and ensure they take care of their garments and accessories in a manner that maximizes their life. In a recent blog and in blogs to come, we will highlight the proper way to take care of your jewellery and garments to protect them against the test of time.

Talk is Cheap when your Clothing is #whomademyclothes! #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainability #environment

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On April 18, H&M kicked off a major project intended to collect 1,000 tons of used clothes, called World Recycle Week. This event coincides with Fashion Revolution Week.

H&M has tried to be a front-runner in the sustainable fashion space through its Conscious collection, ad campaigns and garment collection program, offering discounts to those who donate their old clothes at its stores. While some have lauded the company’s efforts, which have outpaced other similar fashion brands, critics question whether these efforts are enough to combat the company’s fast fashion mainstream offerings or whether they are just greenwashing.

Lucy Siegle, a journalist at The Guardian pointed out that based on the use of current technology, it would likely take H&M up to 12 years to use just 1,000 tons of clothing waste, a volume of clothing it products it regularly produces in under a week. Kirsten Brodde of Greenpeace has pointed out that of the 1,000 tons of clothing to be collected, a very small portion can actually be used as recycled fibres. Meanwhile had the company offered garment repair services, they may have had a larger impact.

However, the question is whether a different type of program would have the same sort of large scale marketing and sales impact for H&M. For example, the garment collection voucher program, which offers a discount for customers turning in clothing, encourages new purchases while still fitting into H&M’s green agenda.

The issue lies within H&M’s business model itself: you can’t produce massive amounts of fast fashion and grow the amount of stores you have, while attempting to reduce your environmental footprint.

While H&M is a front-runner in the space, it still has a long way to go towards meeting the image it is trying to create. Efforts such as a contest it held last year to encourage innovative ideas for garment recycling and increasing sustainably sourced materials across its clothing lines are only the tip of the ice burg. However, they are nowhere close to combating the unsafe conditions H&M puts workers in around the world. Incremental change is good, however for a company as large as H&M it is not enough. During Fashion Revolution Week, we must continue to put pressure on brands such as H&M to help turn their words into actions and behaviours.

Ask Brands #WhoMadeMyClothes during the 3rd Annual Fashion Revolution Week 2016 #ethicalfashion #fashion

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Fashion-Revolution_Africa_Fashion

Fashion Revolution Week 2016 will take place from April 18th to 24th. The campaign started in 2014 as a one-day event that resulted from the demand for a more ethical fashion industry on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factor collapse in Bangladesh. Now it has expanded into a week-long series of events across 84 countries.

Consumers will demand transparency and raise awareness of exploitation in the fashion industry by posting on social media using the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes. Companies will be invited to share the faces and stories of the farmers, makers and producers involved in their supply chain through the hashtag #IMadeYourClothes.

Other features of the campaign, include:

  • A Transparency Index assessing 40 of the top selling global and national brands in the United Kingdom
  • Daily themes such as: “Let’s be Transparent: Looking at how brands are performing with supply chain transparency” and “How To Be a Fashion Revolutionary”

While, “Who Made My Clothes?” may seem like a straightforward question, Orsola de Castro, Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution reported that “The Behind the Barcode Fashion Report published last year found that 48% of brands hadn’t traced the factories where their garments were made, 75% didn’t know where their fabrics came from and 91% didn’t know where the raw materials came from.”  Fashion Revolution Week 2016 aims to “directly challenge every stakeholder in the fashion supply chain – retailers, brands, factories and private label manufacturers, to start to tackle exploitation in the industry by demonstrating transparency”.

Costume Jewellery – How to protect your favorite Jewellery pieces! #jewellerycare #fashionjewellery #ethicalfashion #fashion #jewellery

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Jewellery is an accessory that can transform a boring outfit in to a stylish look and a casual outfit in to a formal look. Costume jewellery is a wonderful choice because of its affordability and availability in a versatile styles.

The most important rule to protect your costume jewellery is to avoid contact with water, moisturizer, hairspray, perfume, makeup or any other harsh chemicals. Jewellery should be always be the last on & first off. Our skin can also transfer moisture, oil or acid on to the jewellery, so it’s always a good habit to wipe jewellery with a dry and soft cloth after every use. Time to time you’ll also need to do a more thorough cleaning of your jewellery pieces.

How to take care of your Wood and Bone Jewellery

Wood jewellery can be damaged with exposure to water, moisture, or dust. You can use a non-abrasive microfiber cloth like the Blitz Wood Polishing Cloth to wipe down the surface of your wood jewellery. This cloth treated with carnauba and beeswax made for delicate surfaces such as musical instruments and is safe for use on wood jewellery. Bone jewellery should be cleaned with a soft dry cloth.

How to take care of your Glass Jewellery

Glass beads become dull over time particularly when worn against the skin or left open. The most cleaning common solution is to use a household glass cleaner with a soft absorbent cloth. You can also use rubbing alcohol or mild liquid dishwashing solution. After cleaning, make sure that all the beads and underlying thread are completely dry before you store your jewellery.

How to take care of your Leather Jewellery

Leather jewellery can be treated with shoe polish, cream or wax to condition the leather and reduce chances of it becoming stiff. Be sure to cover any decorative beads or stones before you start cleaning.

How to take care of your Plastic Jewellery

Plastic jewellery should be cleaned with water, a mild soap solution, soft cloths or sponges. Avoid using harsh cleaners that can damage the surface of plastic jewellery.

How to take care of your Paper Jewellery

Paper jewellery is 100% handmade using sophisticated craftsmanship by artisans. These jewellery pieces are typically eco-friendly. There is no protective coating found on such pieces to prevent water and tear protection so such jewellery must be cared for appropriately. Dry dust can be wiped off with a soft cotton cloth.

Don’t coat your Jewellery

Avoid coating jewellery in any kind of protectant or finish as it can end up damaging the original finish. Some cheaper quality jewellery can turn your skin green; this is a chemical reaction due to a combination of the metal and the acids in your skin. Some people use clear nail polish on the back of such Jewellery to prevent this. However, to avoid this, the best option is to buy fewer but good quality metal jewellery pieces.

Whatever method you choose to use for your jewellery cleaning, first try it in a small area to make sure it is suitable for your jewellery piece.

Always Bag it up

To prevent your jewellery from tangling and getting tarnished or damaged from the elements, store in boxes, wrap in anti-tarnish paper and keep in soft jewellery pouches or use Ziplock bags to reduce exposure to air, that causes oxidation.

And finally, consider buying ethically-made costume jewellery

There are a growing number of ethical fashion designers who are creating jewellery in an ethical manner and/or using eco-friendly and recycled materials. Though these pieces are not as low cost as what is found in fast fashion retailers, if you care for your pieces in the appropriate way, your ethically-made jewellery will last you for years to come.

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Costume Jewellery – How to protect your favorite Metal Jewellery! #ethicalfashion #fashion #jewellerycare #costumejewellery #metaljewellery #fashionjewellery

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Jewellery is an accessory that can transform a boring outfit in to a stylish look and a casual outfit in to a formal look. Costume jewellery is a wonderful choice because of its affordability and availability in a versatile styles.

The most important rule to protect your costume jewellery is to avoid contact with water, moisturizer, hairspray, perfume, makeup or any other harsh chemicals. Jewellery should be always be the last on & first off. Our skin can also transfer moisture, oil or acid on to the jewellery, so it’s always a good habit to wipe jewellery with a dry and soft cloth after every use. Time to time you’ll also need to do a more thorough cleaning of your jewellery pieces.

Even with regular care, metal jewellery can tarnish due to the oxidation or due to the exposure to moisture and oils from your skin. You can buff off minor tarnish to bring back the shine but buffing heavy tarnish may actually damage the plating on your piece. It is important to use the right techniques and cleaning solutions. There are several homemade and environmentally-friendly techniques available to clean various type of jewellery. Here are some of our favorites:

How to clean Brass Jewellery

To clean brass jewellery, dip a soft cloth into a little lemon juice and rub onto the piece in a gentle circular motion. The acidic solution will remove dirt and tarnish, and add some shine to your brass jewellery pieces. Be sure to remove the lemon juice with a damp cloth since allowing the juice to sit on brass too long can actually damage it. Then dry with a soft cloth!

How to clean Copper Jewellery

Lemon juice is a great solution to clean copper jewellery. Take enough lemon juice to cover the surface of your piece and mix with a tablespoon of salt. Soak the piece for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the amount of tarnish on the piece. The solution will remove dirt and tarnish, and your copper jewellery will look shiny again. Make sure to remove all the acidic lemon juice from the jewellery to protect it from damaging, by rinsing and dry with a soft cloth.

How to clean Silver Jewellery

The purity of the metal, determines how quickly it will tarnish, which is why .925 sterling silver jewellery needs some extra care. Polishing your silver works well when there is minor tarnish or to clean oxidized silver. Always use a microfiber, lint-free flannel, or other soft nonabrasive cloth to polish your pieces as silver can scratch easily. When polishing, use long back-and-forth motions that mirror the grain of the silver. Avoid rubbing in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver.

For heavier tarnish, try warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap. If that doesn’t do it, make a paste of baking soda and water and use a clean soft cloth to apply a pea-sized amount to the silver and polish, then wash under running warm water, and dry with a clean cloth. For even more intense cleaning, try using baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and boiling water. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, dull side facing down and place the silver pieces on it. Pour boiling water over the pieces until they are fully covered and then add 2 tbsp. each of baking soda and salt and stir the solution to allow the baking soda to dissolve completely. The chemical reaction of this combination will transfer the tarnish to the foil, and in 5 to 10 minutes the tarnish should disappear.

Interestingly, the best way to prevent tarnish on silver jewellery is to wear your jewellery often. The oils in your skin will actually help “clean” the silver and keep it looking shiny!

Don’t coat your Jewellery

Avoid coating jewellery in any kind of protectant or finish as it can end up damaging the original finish. Some cheaper quality jewellery can turn your skin green; this is a chemical reaction due to a combination of the metal and the acids in your skin. Some people use clear nail polish on the back of such Jewellery to prevent this. However, to avoid this, the best option is to buy fewer but good quality metal jewellery pieces.

Whatever method you choose to use for your jewellery cleaning, first try it in a small area to make sure it is suitable for your jewellery piece.

Always Bag it up

To prevent your jewellery from tangling and getting tarnished or damaged from the elements, store in boxes, wrap in anti-tarnish paper and keep in soft jewellery pouches or use Ziplock bags to reduce exposure to air, that causes oxidation.

And finally, consider buying ethically-made costume jewellery

There are a growing number of ethical fashion designers who are creating jewellery in an ethical manner and/or using eco-friendly and recycled materials. Though these pieces are not as low cost as what is found in fast fashion retailers, if you care for your pieces in the appropriate way, your ethically-made jewellery will last you for years to come.

Infographic

 

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