[Article Round Up] The Indian Goddess: The Embodiment Of Female Empowerment #womenempowerment #genderequality #Hinduism

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sherina-rathor/the-indian-goddess-the-em_b_14653002.html

“Hilary Clinton recently expressed her feelings that she ‘remain[s] convinced that the future is female.’ Yes, it’s wonderful that Ms. Clinton is hopeful that the twenty-first century and beyond will be female and great, but isn’t this hopefulness a slight dampener as there is still a clear underlying tone that, maybe we’re still living in a society that fails to see the greatness of a woman’s power and intelligence? Are we still, I hasten to say, of the perception that women are not quite there yet to stand side by side with men, and that women have had the wool pulled over their eyes for the last century? Interestingly enough Hinduism has prized women since its inception with numerous female goddesses that embody power to its very core.

The Hindu religion is the oldest living religion today; around five thousand years old. It revered animals and humans respectively and even more so, women. Goddesses were worshipped just as much as gods and they were endowed with some of the most prominent powers and energies. Consider how progressive this really was given the time; a time when it was men that represented the powers of the universe.

Three of the most worshipped female deities of Hinduism are: Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and fortune; Kali the goddess that destroys evil forces and Durga the goddess and mother of the universe. Even today, Hindus around the world carry out powerful pujas (prayers) for all three. I have a strong faith in all three and this faith gives me the confidence and drive to work hard; the positive energies to remove all evils around me and the appreciation of the world around me. It is my admiration of what these three goddesses embody that gives me the strength to take on each day with happiness, ambition, passion, positivity and being proud of being a woman. Even if you’re not a believer, you can appreciate just how amazing these female deities are; they can hold their own in a universe that is unavoidably incomprehensible, they do so much good and wield so much power that you can only be in awe of them. Even if you’re not a believer you can try to identify with their traits and powers and wield these yourself. By us women echoing their very nature, we can ensure that we break those metaphorical glass ceilings and achieve anything and everything.

While Clinton and many prominent females today have rallied women around the globe to project their voices and be heard, remember that the images and scriptures of the Hindu goddesses, have actually been doing this for centuries. We’ve been celebrating the power, intelligence and sanctity of women for so long, it’s only natural and inherent to us. That’s not to say that culturally, things have changed these very ideas and notions, but women are strong enough today as they were centuries ago to demonstrate their extraordinary abilities.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voting with your Dollar #consciousconsumerism #ethicalfashion #fashion

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

A common theme we have talked about in this blog is the concept of using purchasing power to make an impact – this is the basis of ethical fashion. Consumers – the ultimate users of fashion goods – have the ability to stand for what they believe in simply by how they spend.

We are witnessing a brilliant example of this concept in the current situation the Ivanka Trump brand finds itself in. With well-known retailers such as Nordstrom and TJ Maxx choosing to drop Ivanka Trump’s line, perhaps the popular vote is finding a new way to express itself. Per an article in The Wall Street Journal, sales of the fashion line declined 32% at Nordstrom in its last fiscal year, despite the fact that the chain’s overall sales rose. It was this sharp decline that resulted in Nordstrom dropping the line. Other stores such as Neiman Marcus, Sears and Kmart have also followed suit.

While the debate rages on in regards to the ethics of White House officials blatantly advocating for the commercial line and the overall motivations behind the decisions to drop the line itself, this is very obviously a conscious consumerism decision.

It is very powerful to see the impact that Tweets, hashtags and the fashionista dollar can have on commerce and society. I, for one, hope that trend continues…

[Article Round Up] Pokémon Go the unlikeliest champion of sustainability at Davos 2017 #sustainability #Mobilegaming

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Read more: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/play/pokemon-go-davos-2017

“Pokémon may not be as popular as it was when it launched last year, but there is no denying it has become an icon in the popularity of mobile gaming, quickly becoming the most downloaded app of all time.

Now in 2017, its developer Niantic is asking users in the Swiss city of Davos to turn their attention from chasing Pokémon to understanding the major inequalities in the world.

s part of a new collaboration between Niantic, The Pokémon Company and the charity Project Everyone, 17 new PokéStops – places where you obtain valuable in-game items – have cropped up around Davos.

These 17 PokéStops coincide with the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development that were agreed upon by 193 world leaders in 2015.

These goals include: no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and affordable energy.

In addition to these new PokéStops, the Congress Centre – where much of the forum is being held – will be turned into a Pokémon Gym.

At these points in the game, a player would train their creatures to perform or battle it out with other human players. The centre will act as a place to train, in between trying to solve some of the world’s most pressing questions.

Finally, as part of the agreement, from spring of this year, additional in-game content will become available to continue to promote the importance of the Global Goals campaign organised by Project Everyone.”

Davos 2017: Sustainability on the Agenda #sustainability #Davos2017

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From January 20-23, global leaders, CEOS, governments and senior UN officials will gather in a small mountain town in Switzerland for the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF). In Davos, these leaders will debate and address the questions and challenges our world faces.

One area where we are keen to see progress is the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs are a set of 17 aspirational and global goals:

sdgs

Source: World Economic Forum

Ahead of their meeting, the WEF released their global risks report, compiling the views of 750 experts,. Within this report, it is documented that climate change and the potential for extreme weather events are among some of the world’s biggest threats.

Unsurprisingly, there will be a session at Davos that will be focused on how public-private partnerships will be able to push the agenda around the SDGs forward. As global economic growth permanently slows down, the conversation around the global economy will also be a key factor in determining how we will be able to achieve the commitments made through the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

So while the obvious topics focused around Trump, Brexit and China will dominate the media headlines, we will be eagerly awaiting to hear more about what comes out from this topic at Davos.

 

2017: International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development #Sustainability #Tourism

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable.  As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.”
 United Nations Secretary-General, Banki-moon
  World Tourism Day Message, 2015

The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, with the aim of encouraging changes “in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs”. This includes the following 5 areas:

(1)        Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

(2)        Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

(3)        Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

(4)        Cultural values, diversity and heritage

(5)        Mutual understanding, peace and security.

This is an exciting step in the direction towards global sustainability, as tourism dollars account for so much of global spending. By supporting local artisans and considering the impact our consumer behaviours have on the areas we visit, we can have a dramatic impact on the world around us.

Do a quick google search on sustainable tourism and you will find tons of good material to help you plan your next trip. As you travel, be sure to take in the local artisanal work and appreciate all that the unique cultures around the world have to offer!

Cheers to 2017 and to the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development!

To learn more, go to: http://www2.unwto.org/tourism4development2017

 

Mindfulness: The Art of Being Aware #awareness#mindfulness #fashion #ethicalfashion #environment

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

mind·ful·ness (ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/) noun. 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; Their mindfulness of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment made them think twice about purchasing fast fashion garments.

To be mindful is to be fully aware of what is happening around you – a true challenge in our digital, touch-screen, high-frequency, instant response-based world. Our mind is focused on dozens of things at once, our bodies stressed by the challenges of daily life, our life comprised of multi-tasking and achieving our goals. To counteract this, a common meditation technique is to practice mindfulness – “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” (According to mindful.org).

The idea is based on Buddhist philosophy and religion, where mindfulness is an approach to work towards the state of Enlightenment.

Why be mindful? It is said to reduce stress, fight depression (increase positive emotions), increase focus and train our brain in areas that impact learning, memory, emotion regulation, empathy. The impacts of this include making the practitioner able to perform tasks better, while helping them better understand both themselves and those around them. Many studies have even reported physical health benefits (i.e. boosting immune systems), in addition to those related to mental health. It is a simple and often quick way (your meditation need only be a few minutes a day) to give some pause to our constantly fluctuating day.

As LifeHacker.com puts it, “Mindfulness is both a practice and a state of mind (for lack of a better word).” This means it can be practiced anywhere (seated, walking standing, moving, during yoga or other exercise and even lying down) and at any point in the day. Per mindful.org: “Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.

It’s a way of living.” That being said, a quick Google search helps identify many websites with recommended techniques on how to engage in mindfulness. There are even apps that send you reminders, such as Breathe on the Apple Watch that enables users to stop and focus on breathing and mindfulness.

If mindfulness is both a practice AND a state of mind – a way of living – then perhaps it is a mindset we can embed into other aspects of our life, such as how we decide what we wear. “The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something” very much applies to the decision that is made when one choose to buy ethical fashion. By being mindful enough to realize the impact that our garments and accessories have on the planet and on the producers of these items, we are applying this concept. This means reading labels, researching companies and methods of production and choosing to care for the well-being of those involved in the making of our fashion.

When we ask “Who made your clothes?” we are being conscious.

This concept is nothing new. Fashion and consciousness have been integrated for millennia –

  • the gradually shortening of skirt hems was women being mindful of what long skirts meant on their place in society,
  • the impeccable discipline around an army uniform is a soldiers method of inspiring focus and awareness,
  • the wearing of a hijab is a conscious way of an individual practicing their religion.

Fashion is closely tied to the collective consciousness of our society and each time society realizes something needs to change or evolve – fashion either leads or closely follows. As Luciana Zegheanu points out in an editorial piece on notjustalabel.com “Fashion itself is a reflection of social, economic, political and cultural changes. It expresses modernity, symbolising the spirit of the times.”

Therefore, I propose that ethically conscious-fashion is a way to practice mindfulness. It is a chance for us to stop in the moment and understand that what we do – from how we breathe to what we wear – has an impact on ourselves and on those around us. It is a chance for us to emphasize and make decisions that align with our values. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction), has said “The real meditation is how you live your life.”

Reflections on 2016 #NewYear2017 #Ethicalfashion #Socent #Fashion #Sustainable #shopethical

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And we’re back! Apologies for the lack of blog posts over the last few weeks – we were recharging, spending time with loved ones and friends and preparing for an exciting new year. 2016 has been a year of change (both good and bad). We have seen some dark times globally, as well as some bright spots. The ethical fashion movement has continue to grow as awareness has continue to expand. Sadly, so has the detrimental impact that human actions have had on the planet and on our societies.

More than ever, 2017 is a year for us to continue our push forward to empower those that feel helpless in the face of calamity, to find opportunities to do little things that will have a big positive impact on the world and appreciate the beauty in the diversity of cultures, arts and ideas that come from all corners of our planet.

1. Learn about how the products you purchase are sourced

2. Consider buying sustainable fashion products that are made with eco-friendly materials, made under fair-trade conditions, or both

3. Stay fashionable: Look out for some interesting reports on 2017 fashion trends

4. Wear eco-friendly fabrics and ethically made accessories

5. Follow us on Twitter (@enablechange) and subscribe to our blog to get regular update on ethical fashion and gifts

6. Share the sustainable fashion movement with your friends buying ethically made and eco-friendly gifts for them and shopping for ethically made fashion

Wishing you and your loved ones the best of luck in achieving your goals this year. Here’s to a year of joy, success, peace, social consciousness and sustainability!

Before the Flood: A Powerful Movie with a Powerful Message on Climate Change #environment #Climatechange #sustainability

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Join Leonardo DiCaprio as he explores the topic of climate change, and discovers what must be done today to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.
 
It is up to all of us.
 
Consume Differently
What you buy
What you eat
How you get your Power

[Article Round Up] Fast Fashion: Can It Be Sustainable? #fastfashion #ethicalfashion #sustainable #environment #fairtrade #fashion

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/tamsin-lejeune/sustainable-fashion_b_12136862.html? By Tamsin Lejeune CEO of Mysource.io – transforming the fashion industry for the better

n-asian-skirt-628x314

Mlenny Photography via Getty Images

In the last 50 years, the way we produce and consume fashion has dramatically changed. Fast fashion retailers have made the case that they have democratised the fashion experience – no longer reserved for the elite, fashion is available and accessible to all. Everyone can afford to wear the latest trends, and to regularly experience the short-lived high of a new fashion purchase, and the pleasure of wearing something new.

For large fashion retailers “fashion democracy” has happily coincided with burgeoning sales, revenues, and profits. This has become the model that dominates High Streets, certainly in the UK and the US, and increasingly elsewhere. On the surface it seems to suit everyone – certainly those who have buying power and thus influence in a market-driven business model.

A Divided Industry

In my ten years of growing the Ethical Fashion Forum, I have seen a movement gather pace against fast fashion as the status quo. This has coincided, particularly in the last 5 years, with several of the most established High St retailers outwardly and publicly committing to sustainability targets and goals, and investing in innovation to solve sustainability challenges.

Especially for independent brands for whom sustainability is part of their DNA, this development is an uneasy one. Competition with the High St, and consumer perceptions of what fashion “should” cost, are already probably the biggest challenges they face. Now they face competition on their sustainability values too – from companies with the ability to allocate, in relative terms, enormous budgets towards the communication of their sustainability commitments.

In many ways, we have reached a stand-off between these two fashion industry camps – a stand-off that drives heated debate in every fashion industry forum, and much frustration. Yet, the challenges of sustainability are common to all of us, to every fashion consumer and to every business owner. Fast fashion is not going any where fast, so how can we unite the most creative minds of this industry, the pioneering thinkers and actors, towards positive solutions that unite rather than divide us?

I recently had the opportunity to join the brilliant Catarina Midby, Sustainability Manager at H&M, for a discussion on fast fashion on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. It inspired me to write this article – sharing my latest thinking on fast fashion from the unique position that the Ethical Fashion Forum has given me, as the “eyes and ears” of our industry.

What Is “Fast Fashion”?

Initially “fast fashion” was about increasing the speed of production, reducing the time it takes to go from fashion design to final product on shelves. Rather than two collections annually, this made it possible to have new product in store in multiple drops throughout the year. The ultimate goal being to sell more product and decrease the trend cycle – and to have something new that consumers need to get in their wardrobes every few weeks in order to be in line with latest trends.

This went hand in hand with reduced prices; it is psychologically easier to make a purchase at a lower price point. There is evidence that consumers will spend more over a year with regular low cost “fashion fixes” than on more exclusive pieces that they fall in love with and will treasure. With a higher cost item, it is so much easier to see what is going out of the bank. In addition, there is that trait many of us have of feeling guilty about indulging – spending on ourselves (or at least, admitting to it). As a result, we’ve developed a “bargain boast” culture – where we boast about how great a bargain we got, and how little we paid. Bargains make it feel okay to buy a new dress (or 3…) every week, if each one only cost £24.99. (or £4.99…)

Now fast fashion is less about fast production – regular drops, rather than seasonal collections have become the standard on the High St – and more about sales – how much product can be shifted, and how quickly. Shifting product quickly means producing a lot of stuff at as low a price as possible, which puts pressure on suppliers to make huge volumes at a low price to tight deadlines. That pressure caused Rana Plaza in 2013.

Sustainable Fast Fashion

At the Ethical Fashion Forum, we define sustainable fashion as an approach to fashion that maximises benefits to people, and minimises impact on the environment.

Can fast fashion be sustainable? At the Ethical Fashion Forum, we define sustainable fashion as an approach to fashion that maximises benefits to people, and minimises impact on the environment.

We believe that the social and environmental aspects of sustainability are inherently linked; one does not come without the other.

Let’s start with the environment. The single most effective thing we could do tomorrow to reduce the impact of the fashion industry on the environment would be to buy a lot less. Every garment has an environmental footprint at every stage in its production. That is why there is an inherent contradiction between the fast fashion business model – a model driven by selling lots of stuff fast – and the concept of environmental sustainability.

I’ve seen as much passion and dedication from individuals working within fast fashion retailers, championing more sustainable practices, as amongst smaller business pioneers. The difference being that the fast fashion insiders have, in many ways, a tougher challenge because the commercial drivers of the businesses they work within are in conflict with reducing environmental impact. For me, this conflict represents the heart of the problem we need to address as an industry – it is the “elephant in the room”. It cannot be resolved by any business working alone, and it will not be resolved through stand-off. If all parties truly acknowledge this elephant in the room, here lies an opportunity for constructive debate.

When it comes to benefits to people, the case for fast fashion is easier to defend. Take Bangladesh as an example – a primary production hub for fast fashion retailers globally. In the last 30 years we have seen huge gains, especially for women in Bangladesh, who have been able to exit a cycle of poverty for themselves and their families, largely through the mass manufacture of clothing. By 2013 about 4 million people, mostly women, worked in Bangladesh’s $19 billion-a-year, export-oriented, ready-made garment (RMG) industry. Several pioneering fast fashion retailers have developed exemplary initiatives in their supply chains to improve working conditions, support communities, and empower their workers, in Bangladesh and beyond.

Despite this, from the observer standpoint, we see more column inches and campaign focus from large retailers on the environmental message, even though there is an inherent contradiction in it. I see great value in more promotional space being given by large retailers to the benefits to people through more sustainable and conscious fashion.

Quality of Life, Fulfilling Work, and Society Values

Historically, the production of textiles and clothes has been highly creative, highly skilled, and offered opportunities for fulfilling and meaningful work.

   ‘Maximising benefits to people’ through sustainable fashion business has strategic implications that go beyond whether a factory is clean and safe, and even whether workers are paid a living wage.

From the silk route in China to the sought-after textiles and embroidery of Thailand, Indonesia, and India, for thousands of years this industry and its products have inspired wonder and driven global trade. The process of consuming textiles and fashion, right into the 1960s and 70s, was also a creative one – people would often sew their own clothes, or pay a seamstress to create something unique to them that would be treasured and passed on (supplying the growing market for vintage fashion today).

In contrast, the majority of work in garment factories supplying fast fashion retailers is repetitive, tedious, low-skilled, and the opposite of fulfilling.

The process of buying fashion consumes hundreds of hours, and often, most Saturdays (and Sundays) especially for teenagers and young people, wherever they have disposable income and access to a High St (or computer). All this, so we can have wardrobes full of cheap clothes, most of which ends in landfill? If we were to step back and strategically plan our industry to maximise benefits for people on both sides of the supply chain, I am sure we would come up with something very different.

Fast Fashion Culture

Shifting a lot of fashion product fast – and making high margins as a result – means it makes sense to invest a lot of money in advertising, which pervades every part of our media from print, to billboard, TV, and alongside everything we browse online. As members of a consumer society, we are presented with two big messages: what we need to aspire to look like, and that we can all afford to do so. So go shopping!

As the mother of two girls I see the effects of this first hand. At 9 years old my daughter is already concerned about body image; despite her perfect proportions, she does not conform with what she is told to aspire to. Already, her thoughts are occupied with what she could and should wear, with when she can next go shopping. She has brilliant intelligence and spirit, and her creativity from the age of 9 could be addressing much more fulfilling and meaningful tasks than what to wear.

We as a society – and as a business community – can change this.

Is Closed Loop The Antidote to Fast Fashion?

Closed Loop – or a “circular production model” – is an exciting and innovative concept, and one which illustrates the opportunities for collaboration between small and larger business in the fashion sector. A circular production model means that the end product is entirely recycled and transformed back into the original fibres and other components so that it can be recreated again, as good as new. The vision of a circular model is that it will be almost entirely zero waste, massively reducing the environmental footprint of a mass production model.

Can a circular model then “fix” the environmental challenges with fast fashion – the elephant in the room – and let us get on with business as usual? There is no question that this is a fundamental component to a more sustainable industry. However, I would argue that this is not an antidote. A circular model, within a fast fashion context, addresses the symptoms of the problem – waste and burgeoning energy consumption – rather than the cause (our addiction to buying and selling vast quantities of low cost products).

Circular Fashion, launched by Swedish Consultancy firm Green Strategy, sets out an excellent synopsis of Key Principles associated with a Circular Fashion Model. At the top of this list are “Design with a Purpose” and “Design for Longevity” – both principles which do not sit easily with our low-cost, fashion-fix culture.

Positive Steps Towards A More Sustainable Industry

I’ve sat through countless industry events and round tables where the challenges of our industry are discussed. In the last 5 years, the “elephant in the room” is being increasingly exposed. However, I am sure that if you have been to an industry forum on fashion and sustainability, you will share my frustration. There is far more discussion of problems than focus on solutions.

Yet, it is the solutions that need the full focus of the great thinkers in our industry – from both sides of the fast fashion divide. If we are to address the root of the problems with our industry – and go beyond treating the symptoms – we need to see more New Leadership.

John Kenneth Galbraith defined great leadership as “The willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.” If Climate change is the greatest anxiety of our time, confronting it will require a radical change in the way we produce and consume fashion.

Doing Fast Fashion Better

We have seen leadership amongst fast fashion retailers which can, and is, significantly increasing benefits to people and reducing impact on the environment. Doing fast fashion better is a fundamental first step towards change.

I see 4 ways in which meaningful impact can be achieved:

1. Acknowledging The Elephant in The Room

I have been a part of too many industry forums where percentage reduction in water or energy use are discussed in the same breath as expansion plans to open 3 new stores during the same period – and increase production and sales to match. A combined strategy which results in a considerably increased environmental footprint overall, rendering the percentage reductions almost pointless. For me, doing fast fashion better means sharing the full picture – evaluating sustainability proposals, and planning and reporting on impact in the context of a growth model. It’s time to stop ignoring the elephant.

2. Operating in 3 Dimensions

Too often, professionals within fashion businesses are incentivised against improving social or environmental standards. Their commercial Key Performance Indicators are in opposition to the recommendations of the CSR department and CSR does not have representation at board level. Wherever we see sustainability targets being taken seriously in High Street Fashion, sustainability management sits alongside financial management and this approach filters across the business so that each department is empowered rather than being frustrated by its impact targets. (Hats off to H&M on this point). I would like to see this leadership and commitment strengthened through more fashion businesses following the leadership of Patagonia and registering as B Corporations. The B Corp movement can and will move our industry towards a 3-Dimensional model (We’re talking to you, H&M and Kering!).

3. Following Circular Fashion Principles

www.circularfashion.com/key-principles
Say no more.

4. Sharing and Building Social Impact

From an observer’s perspective, we hear more about the environmental initiatives of large fashion retailers, even though this doesn’t sit easily within a fast fashion model. I would like to see and hear much more from leading retailers on what fashion, made well, can do for people behind the product. I would like to see more real commitment to paying living wages and empowering workers. I would like to see advertising budgets raising awareness about the value of skills and craftsmanship, and how consumers can positively influence the well-being of the people behind fashion by buying well.

 

 

How to Engage with Ethical Fashion | Clara Vuletich | #TEDxSydney #ethicalfashion #sustainable #fashion

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What do you know about the clothes in your wardrobe? About the clothes that you’re wearing right now? Clara Vuletich works with some of the biggest brands in the world to help them ask the right questions about where the clothes that we wear come from.

%d bloggers like this: