Posted on 10th Sep 2019
On my search for ethical and sustainable brands, I came across Adorned and instantly fell in love. The Bohemian-style brand makes clothing and jewellery from fairtrade, ethical, and recycled materials – from door frames to cushion covers. They began upcycling pieces they found in charity shops and now ship worldwide.
Their pieces are very much inspired by Bohemian and Asian styles. They make an array of things, from dresses and tops to knitwear and brass chimes. (I’m going to put a few of my favourite pieces below this post – I’ve linked them too if you want to check them out).
What I also love about Adorned is their product descriptions. A little goes a long way and adding how you can style each item in multiple ways is a detail that I think is so cute. Seeing how you can dress each item up or down means that you don’t have to buy another outfit for a fancy event; you can re-wear your Adorned piece!
The fight against unsustainable fashion is only growing and becoming stronger. It’s exciting to see brands like this priding themselves on creating ethical, fairtrade, and sustainable pieces.
Go check them out and follow them on Instagram @adorned_uk
Posted on 9th Sep 2019
We are 9 days into September, and Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember is in full swing. I first heard of this campaign at Glastonbury. We were approached by a couple of women who were promoting the campaign, and we got chatting with them all about ethical and sustainable fashion. Time has flown by and we’re already over a week into the campaign, and I’ve loved looking at the hashtag on Instagram to see what people have done in support of it.
Oxfam launched this campaign to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of fast fashion. Shopping second hand for 30 days gives clothes a longer life and can make for a fun DIY project – thrift and upcycle! Not only do you get the satisfaction of shopping sustainably, but if you upload your second-hand buys using the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, you could win one of their weekly prizes.
One thing I love and definitely need to do more of is thrifting. When I was scrolling through Instagram earlier, I came across this post by Fashion Revolution (who you should all follow btw):
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At Fashion Revolution, we want to help unpack some key concepts of a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. We'll be sharing a series of definitions in collaboration with expert instagram dictionary-ist @entrylevelactivist to spread the knowledge. Throughout the series, we'll feature some of the most inspiring thought leaders in our community. First up, @entrylevelactivist, herself: 🛒👕 THRIFT ♻️💵 “Thrift is the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. "Although 'thrifting' (buying used clothes at a low price) is an ever-growing part of conscious fashion, the word isn't exclusive to shopping alone. Originating from the Old Norse word for success(!), thriftiness can be defined as the opposite of being wasteful – regardless of resource. “While the environmental benefits of buying used clothing are becoming ever more apparent, many people worldwide have no choice but to thrift for their garments. Choosing to buy used is a privilege and this #SecondHandSeptember, let's consider our conscious consumption choices in a global context" – @entrylevelactivist #FashionRevolution #WhoMadeMyClothes
Not only does thrifting save you money but it saves clothes that were destined for landfill. Thrifting can uncover some absolute gems – I bought two of my favourite jackets from thrift shops and they are perfect for an autumn/winter night clubbing. I also give old clothes that I no longer wear or that don’t fit me anymore to charity shops. I think it’s a great alternative if you don’t think they suitable to sell.
This #SecondHandSeptember, I’m planning on not buying any clothes, shoes, or accessories at all. But, if I’m craving a shopping trip, I’ll be popping into my local charity and thrift shops to see if I can find any treasures.
Posted on 6th Sep 2019
With London Fashion Week (LFW) just around the corner, the conversation regarding sustainability is begging to be discussed. It isn’t shocking that fashion shows aren’t very sustainable, but in today’s climate, the sustainability of fashion week needs to be talked about. Emily Farra recently wrote an article for VOGUE about the Carbon Footprint of a Fashion Show. Unsurprisingly, no one knows the answer. Farra raises the perfectly justified question ‘does that run counter to the strides they’re making everywhere else?’
In July, the Swedish Fashion Council cancelled Stockholm Fashion week in order to explore and discover more sustainable alternatives. Fashion week is a time for new and upcoming brands to showcase their work. But as the next generation of Fashion designers, it is integral that these brands work toward a more sustainable and ethical future for fashion. It isn’t a light decision to cancel fashion week and relaunch, but it is one that has attracted a lot of media attention and sparked a discussion about the sustainability of fashion week across the globe.
We can also see changes being made to fashion week a bit closer to home. This year, Prince Charles has collaborated with Vin+Omi in their upcoming collection made from nettles grown in Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate. It is exciting that a member of the Royal Family has taken time to enter the conversation regarding sustainable fashion and even partner up with such a successful duo to create a sustainable collection.
In other news, Extinction Rebellion called for LFW to be scrapped. They are correct in stating that fashion week is unsustainable, promoting fast fashion to consumers. However, perhaps we should take a leaf out of Sweden’s book and search for more sustainable alternatives for our future fashion weeks. Yes, fashion week does promote fast fashion, but there are also upcoming brands that promote ethical and sustainable products. LFW can be used to promote alternatives rather than fast fashion. It does sound virtually impossible, but in the future, I believe that fashion week will begin to pride itself on ethical and sustainable alternatives.
There is hope for the future of fashion week and the industry in general. It’s interesting to see people talking about LFW and sustainability, and companies are searching for new ways to present a more eco-friendly fashion show. I am excited to see what this year’s LFW has in store in terms of ethical and sustainable fashion. I do think more can be done to make LFW more sustainable, but maybe this year we will see more brands and shows that are exactly that. Hopefully, the conversation surrounding this grows as the event comes closer.
Posted on 1st Aug 2019
WEARETALA is a sustainable fashion brand launched in 2019 by Youtuber and Businesswoman Grace Beverley. Grace is known for her lifestyle videos on YouTube and her vegan lifestyle has certainly been translated into her new business. Despite only being launched in April, the popularity for the activewear has been astounding. With a launch that had 10,000 orders in 30 minutes, TALA is quickly becoming one of the biggest online activewear brands out there.
What stands out to me about TALA is that it is 100% sustainable, ethical and has placed itself in the fast-fashion market – a big risk. Grace uploaded an Instagram yesterday announcing their biggest relaunch yet – 25,000 items – and she gave an insight into just how hard being a sustainable brand is in today’s industry of fast fashion:
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our biggest restock ever. tomorrow. 1pm BST. @wearetala [👇🏼update] the months since TALA launched have been the most challenging, insightful, stressful, rewarding of my life. we had more growing pains than any of us could’ve imagined, even our most experienced staff. it turns out that launching a sustainable, ethical, on trend start-up in a fast fashion, low price industry with 100x more demand than we could ever afford to meet is, um, close to impossible? we’ve done our utmost to ensure that we get there, to demonstrate to the industry that we can place ethics over wanting everything here + now for unsustainably low prices, in a world where we prefer to harm people we can’t see so that we can pay less + buy more. we’ve changed fulfilment centres (unheard of whilst operating, due to moving and relogging every one of thousands of stock items, changing all staff + essentially grinding to a very high pressure halt for better future operations), we changed entire customer service teams, we’ve hired countless staff members from start to management level + we’re not done yet. we CHOSE to place ourselves in a fast fashion industry to give people the option of engaging in the fashion industry without compromising ethics, sustainability or style. we CHOSE to market ourselves like fast fashion activewear, to attract demand, hoping that if you present people great quality, ethical pieces at the same price as their other options, the alternative wouldn’t bear considering – WHY would you purchase fast fashion: items made in sweatshops, causing huge pollution when for the same price you could avoid the above? we often feel that in a fast fashion industry we are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, but that’s okay. we know that it’s the hole that needs to change, + with your help we are changing it. having over 25K items in one drop is HUGE for us, not to mention an enormous investment. to put it in perspective, it costs us close to what you pay per item to produce so …. issa lot and it’s TERRIFYING, especially with all our new teams and processes, but we’re so excited SEE YOU THERE MY BABIES 🤩🤪💦
The brand markets cleverly, using tactics that fast fashion brands use in order to create a big demand. Their Instagram is aesthetic and prides itself on inclusivity, drawing in a wide target market. The marketing also feels quite intimate, with clips inside the factory, showing each step in their production process. From the old t-shirts and fabrics, we see the being shredded, upcycled into new, flattering, and quality clothing. The clothes are made from old plastic bottles and factory offcuts but what I find most innovative is that the consumers can send their old clothes to TALA to be made into new garments. I’m going to link Grace’s video all about the sustainability below because it is a very interesting watch.
The thoughtfulness of TALA is what really appeals to me; from the 100% recycled plastic packaging and embroidered washing instructions, to the plantable tag made from hemp twine; every step is ethical and sustainable….and it is affordable. The prices match other activewear brands, so why not shop somewhere that sells clothes at the same price whilst also helping the environment?
TALA uses Q-Nova, a sustainable nylon, made with the aim to reduce CO2 and water consumption. Q-Nova is lightweight and breathable, making it a perfect fabric for activewear. Working with innovative companies like Q-Nova means that TALA is a brand that is the first of its kind. With diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability at its core, there is no shopping guilt when buying the products. I’m eager to see what the brand releases in the future.
Posted on 31st Jul 2019
Today I received the September Issue of VOGUE, guest-edited by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Over the past week or so, there has been a lot of talk about this guest-edit and what it will entail. Before I even get to the magazine itself, I received the magazine in a new packaging that is eco-friendly and made from 100% compostable materials.
So, let’s get to the magazine itself. The cover itself is stunning, with panels of inspiring women who are today’s ‘Forces for Change.’ On the cover, you will see the likes of Greta Thunberg, Jameela Jamil, and Gemma Chan among other inspiring women. But, you will also see yourself – a reflective panel showing that YOU can be a force for change in today’s society. Before I even opened the magazine, I was confronted with a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and beautiful cover.
What I’ve noticed over the past few months in each issue, is the ever-increasing discussion about ethical and sustainable fashion. In the editor and guest-editor letters, you can see the thought and process behind this issue, from Edward and Meghan’s first coffee to Meghan’s interview with Michelle Obama. Ellie Pithers writes an interesting edit about labels that are producing environmentally-conscious clothing. She includes this particular quote by Amy Powney:
‘Sustainability is about asking questions. The necessary information is out there – you just need to unearth it.’
Sustainability is about following the process and discovering innovative ways to make the production conscious of the environment so that it is not at risk. Pither makes it clear that no label can claim to be 100% sustainable, but making changes is a big step forward.
Edward and Meghan have created a magical issue full of talented individuals and brands that are taking steps toward sustainability. This new issue is daring, innovative and is indeed a force for change.
Posted on 18th Jul 2019
Fashion influencers are changing the way the industry operates. Social media has become the main way to influence and promote products, but it is constantly evolving and brands have to keep up with the ever-changing strategies.
Social media has become the main way for Fast Fashion brands to promote their products, and this is because of its large audience but also the convenience – consumers can easily use social media to browse as well as buy. With online promotion comes the rise of Fashion Influencer Marketing. This strategy uses celebrities and popular accounts to promote their products. This not only engages with a wider audience but uses influencer-follower engagement to promote and sell their products.
This is a successful promotion technique but it can be dangerous in promoting products that are detrimental to the environment, to thousands of people. Fast Fashion and its effect on the environment is being discussed more; however, this isn’t stopping its popularity. Influencers need to be more careful in which brands they choose to promote, and perhaps use their platform to tell their followers about the dangers of Fast Fashion, as well as promoting sustainability.
As more and more brands are including more sustainable products, the fight against Fast Fashion is getting stronger. But, there is still a numb side to social media in which some influencers do not understand or know the effects of what they promote. Lucy Siegle’s article for The Guardian provides an interesting insight into how influencers can be educated about Fast Fashion and their consumption of such products, therefore combatting Fast Fashion instead of promoting it.
It will be a tough battle to win and it seems as though the brands aren’t going to stop any time soon. In February, Kim Kardashian uploaded this photo to Twitter, condemning Fast fashion brands that rip off designs and sell them cheaply:
Yes, most people can’t afford these products but it is to the detriment of the environment that these products are being remade and sold on Fast fashion sites. Not only does this technique rip off designers, but it destroys the environment in the process. We need more sustainable processes, more sustainable products, and we need to stop this trend of fast throwaway fashion.
I believe social media users and influencers need to be aware of what products are being promoted to them and whether these products are made sustainably. Fast Fashion brands will not stop on their own accord, so it is up to users and influencers to combat them. Buy less, promote sustainability, and think about what the clothes you are thinking of buying have done to the environment.
Posted on 10th Jul 2019
Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants and its uses include building materials, weed control, and even biofuels. But, what is the history of hemp and why is it so useful in the fashion industry?
Hemp was first spun into usable fibre over 10,000 years ago. It has been used for centuries because of its versatility. Pure hemp fabric is similar to linen so can be used to make a variety of clothing and accessories. The cultivation of hemp has been traced back to 5th Millennium BC and was used in pottery. The Chinese then used hemp in clothes and even to create the first paper. Due to the prohibition and the rise of the cotton industry, hemp became less popular. However, in today’s climate, hemp is making a comeback.
Not only is hemp incredibly versatile, but it is also recyclable, renewable, and reusable. It uses one third the amount of water that cotton uses but produces over two times the amount of fibre. It also needs no pesticides or herbicides, making it extremely sustainable. At ‘Thought‘ they pride themselves in their use of hemp. It takes a very short time to get from plant to fabric and can be made softer when blended with other fabrics. Not only is the production environmentally friendly, but the fabric dries very quickly, so there is no need to tumble dry it. There are more and more brands using hemp and other sustainable fabrics. We are heading in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Hemp was once the most used fabric in the fashion industry, but because of the creation of other fabrics, it was used less and less. But because of today’s climate, we need to use hemp more. Mainstream fashion brands have to get on board and incorporate hemp into their clothing to make an impact.
Posted on 25th Apr 2019
‘This is the turning point for plastic. To minimise waste and multiply the lives of our materials, we are moving towards circular systems of recycling and regeneration. One thing can become the next. The end can be the beginning.’ – Adidas.
Adidas’ ‘Futurecraft Loop’ trainer has been the talk of Twitter over the past few days. Their promotional video has gone viral across social media, but this isn’t the first time that Adidas has been eco-conscious in their creation of new pieces.
In 2015, the executive of ADIDAS, Eric Liedtke, decided to create a collection made from recycled plastic. Adidas Parley was a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an organisation battling against the environmental threats our oceans face. This line sparked a project by the company, eliminating new plastic and using recycled and sustainable materials in their products, with Liedtke stating that he wishes to ‘end the concept of waste entirely.’ This is the kind of talk we need to hear and the steps we need to take in order to make a change. The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global water waste, according to Edge Fashion Intelligence, with consumers throwing away 70 pounds each when it can be recycled. Consumers need to be made aware that their clothes can be recycled, and Adidas’ process of recycling the shoes themselves is genius. They have thought about every detail, even having the sole and upper fused together rather than glued. There’s more information about the shoe on their website, click here.
2015 was the hottest year on record, with droughts and heatwaves threatening not only our eco-system but us as well. Each year has only got hotter, and the effects have become clearer and more alarming. The innovation and creativity of Adidas’ 2015 campaign triggered them to change their production, creating a chain of sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Their fight to create a world with zero plastic waste is a fight we all need to be a part of. Adidas has taken the first step in a very long journey, but the creation of the ‘Futurecraft Loop’ is one that changes the fashion game.
I don’t only want to highlight the issues the fashion industry must fight against, but also put a spotlight on those that are taking steps to a more sustainable future. The promotional video with Willow Smith is another step to really engage with more than just their consumers but highlight to everyone that there are ways to consume fashion and be guilt-free. Like Willow says in the video, we have to open our eyes to the endless possibilities, creating a cycle that isn’t harmful to our planet. We have the power to do it, so let’s do it now.
‘The Future is about giving back.’
Posted on 17th Apr 2019
On the 5th February, Royal Holloway’s Fashion Society hosted ‘The Revolution Towards Recycled Fashion’ event. It was a huge success and something I am proud I was a part of. We wanted to do an event like this for a while, so to see it happen and be as successful as it was, was really exciting. The event included a catwalk and pop-up shop, so the audience had the opportunity to buy the clothes that were showcased in the catwalk. Any clothes that were not bought were donated to charity shops.
We started to collect donations from students and after the collection days, we had gathered A LOT of clothes to work with. We had our models, make-up artists, and hairstylists, but all we needed now were the outfits. We wanted our models to feel comfortable in what they were wearing, so we laid out the donated clothes and let their imagination put together the outfits. This creative process was a highlight for me, seeing these clothes given a new lease of life because of a group of young, imaginative students. To create a more sophisticated show, we chose to imitate the Vogue SS19 Trends. This made the creative process more challenging, but we succeeded in creating outfits that fitted these trends. I am so proud of everyone who took part in the whole process and I had so much fun promoting the event and modelling.
Thank you to the society’s we collaborated with and everyone who took part that made this event possible. I’m so glad all the work paid off and can’t wait to see what the Society gets up to after I graduate.
RHUL Fashion Society Instagram: @rhul_fashion
Posted on 16th Apr 2019
I think it is safe to say that we have all been in a situation where ‘retail therapy’ seems to be the only solution. Succumbing to sales and buying new clothes definitely makes you feel better…..but only for the short-term. It’s time to remove our rose-tinted lenses and be more sustainable.
‘Outfit repeating’. It’s a phrase we have all heard and probably all used, but what is so bad about it? I’ve certainly bought dresses for events in fear that people would realise if I re-wore an outfit. But, do people actually care? The simple answer is no. A recent study found that ‘33% of women – regardless of age – consider an outfit to be “old” after wearing it fewer than three times.’ This demand for new outfits for every occasion keeps fast fashion companies going. But, we must think about the bigger picture when shopping. Instead of adding to the stigma of the dreaded ‘outfit repeating,’ we should simply re-wear clothes, but style them differently. It is a simple change and does not feed into the fast fashion industry which ultimately destroys our environment.
Fashion trends are fast changing and they have been since the 19th-century. But with a better understanding of its effect on the environment, the industry needs to rethink trends. Monthly magazines show new and upcoming trends, but as quickly as trends come, they go. In my opinion, fashion is about expressing yourself as an individual, and you don’t have to keep up with these trends in order to achieve that. Express yourself with the clothes you have and be innovative. Upcycle your old clothes…there are plenty of YouTube channels that show you how to create ‘trendy’ pieces from the clothes you already own. I think that showing off clothes you have upcycled yourself is way cooler than constantly buying clothes to keep up with 5-minute trends.
Re-styling and upcycling are a couple of ways you can help be more sustainable. After accumulating a wardrobe that is way too big for one person, I had a clear out. I donated the clothes I no longer wear to charity shops and vintage stores as well as clothes donation boxes. Having a clear out doesn’t only make your space tidier, it also helps relieve stress and take some weight off. Push past the nostalgia and declutter your wardrobe and your mind!
Charity and vintage stores are becoming more mainstream and you can find some gems in there that people will definitely be jealous of. The Charity Retail Association has written 10 reasons why charity retail is the way forward. Not only does it promote re-use and recycling, but it also reduces landfill and in turn reduces CO2, making it environmentally friendly. Sustainable and cheap, what more could you want?
I’ve taken some steps to be more sustainable, but I still fall victim to sales. It’s a small step but if we all try to be more sustainable, we can make a bigger change. I’m hopeful for the industry as it looks like more steps are being taken to make fashion less ‘eco-unfriendly.’