I hope you all enjoyed my previous piece on Period Poverty. As previously mentioned, this was for a new monthly feature for Aspire Magazine. Whether you want to guest write or just offer inspiration, we'd love to hear from you if there's a topic close to your heart you'd like to see featured! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our February issue, I collaborated with local lifestyle blogger Scarlett Shearwood to bring you a fantastic piece on Sustainable Fashion. Follow us on Instagram and let us know what you think! (@deedaggett | @budgetbeautyqueens)
What In The World...
By Scarlett Shearwood & Danielle Daggett.
Welcome to What In The World - a new, regular feature where we step out of our local comfort zone and look at the bigger picture; focusing on hot topics and worldwide issues. This month, the spotlight is on ‘Ethical and Sustainable Fashion’, and I’ve collaborated with guest writer Scarlett Shearwood, who works at From The Source in Skipton and runs lifestyle blog www.budgetbeautyqueens.co.uk
It’s 2019, and nobody wants to see unnecessary waste. We separate out our recyclables, hand-down old school uniforms and take pre-loved clothing to charity shops. As consumers, we are trying to do our part for the planet, and many retailers are now realising they need to wake up and do their bit, too.
Sustainable fashion is a catch-all term to describe clothing that has been created in an environmentally conscious manner. This usually means the fabric fibres have been grown without pesticides and in ways that don’t pollute the planet – think organic cotton and linen. Beyond fabric, it encompasses an ethos that focusses on garment production, looking at ways to limit the amount of water used, cut carbon emissions, and ensure workers are not exploited. In this sense, it’s not just about the products, but the entire lifecycle of the garment.
Why does this matter? It is estimated that one cotton t-shirt can take 2700 litres of water to produce – five times the amount we are told to drink in a year! A single washing machine cycle can release 700,000 microfibres from synthetic fabrics, which in turn can wind up in our rivers and seas. But perhaps most shocking is the human cost of our throwaway fashion culture.
In 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka collapsed, claiming 1134 lives. This shone a light on the horrific working conditions experienced by garment workers overseas, at the behest of some big-name British brands.
Six years later, we have to ask ourselves what has changed. We see £2 t-shirts managing to make headlines. Equally concerning, a report by environmental thinktank Wrap (wrap.org.uk) found that because more fashion is being produced, processed, and purchased, clothing’s carbon footprint had actually increased by 2017.
While many labels are evolving to cater to the needs of the eco-conscious consumers, the secret to sustainable clothes shopping isn’t just about choosing particular brands. Buy less, buy better, buy second-hand, buy sustainable – review your entire attitude towards clothing consumption.
Many great initiatives can give you a helping hand on the way. Leeds Community Clothes Exchange (leedscommunityclothesexchange.com) hosts regular events where you can swap your wearable cast-offs for fresh apparel. Apps, such as Good on You (goodonyou.eco), assist you in making conscious choices by ranking well-known brands on both their environmental and ethical sensibilities.
Never underestimate the impact of collective action. Big brands are listening and the future of the planet is in our hands.
Eager to learn more? We recommend watching The True Cost (Netflix) and Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (BBC iPlayer).