Category: News

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES ‘AVANT GARBAGE’ BY YMKE JANSEN

Fast forward to the Wunderwerk high summer ’17 collection – we love the photography series ‘avant garbage’ by photographer Ymke Jansen. ⠀

Jansen wanted to put sustainable fashion in the spotlight and shot a series for the American online magazine promo mag news, featuring the Wunderwerk High summer 17 collection.

‘My latest shoot was about something that I find very important; world pollution. I used pieces of garbage in some of the pictures and for the clothing I only worked with sustainable brands from small sustainable shops in Amsterdam. I want to make people think about the pollution in this world and change the way we care for our world. I also wanted to give some attention to the sustainable brands that really have the most beautiful pieces.’

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WANT TO SAVE THE PLANET THIS YEAR? START WITH YOUR WARDROBE

This article first appeared on Huffington Post. 

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Decoding Sustainable Fashion – What Does it Mean to You?

It can be daunting to know where to start when it comes to making more sustainable fashion choices. And in case you’re about to write this article off as frivolous, let me quickly tell you why this is such an important topic.

Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, next to oil. Worse, the working conditions for many have been likened to modern slavery, and the lack of regulation when it comes to environmental responsibility is frightening.

After grappling with this issue over the past few months, I’ve come to adopt a mishmash of values I believe to culminate in a holistic way.

I’ll admit, it’s not perfect, and what I was really hoping for when I started this journey, was a quick-step guide.

I wanted a surefire way to know I wasn’t contributing to unjust, unfair and unethical labour practices, and I wanted to know my fashion choices weren’t directly affecting the environment or harming animals too.

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. The more I learned, the more confused I became.

When I started to reject leather, I quickly learned vegan alternatives can be highly toxic. As I started to become a more conscious consumer, I also started to question whether I should be rejecting my consumption habits entirely? (Answer: Yes)

But where did this leave me? While I wanted to stop buying all together, I couldn’t. Or I wouldn’t. So what I did, was work to understand a range of issues and find my own set of values to guide me.

What have I learned?

1) Buy less. Buy better. Recycle. Reuse. Yes, the real answer to sustainable fashion is glaringly obvious.

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Image Credit: Liz Ciokajlo

2) When you buy, choose natural fibres. That’s cotton, linen, wool, silk, hemp, or cashmere. Synthetic fabrics, or “plastic fabric” include polyester, rayon, modal, spandex and nylon. Not only do synthetic fibers require much higher energy use and crude oil, they’re toxic. Natural fibers also just feel better. Not to mention, because they’re plant materials, they decompose quickly while synthetic fibers – essentially plastic – do not.

3) Choose organic cotton – important for you, the environment, and workers. There are endless resources online making this case, but all you need to know is that conventional, cotton farms erode soil, waste water, use tons of energy and are incredibly toxic. If that’s not enough, you can read why non-organic cotton farms are directly linked to the high suicide rate of farmers in India.

4) It’s sometimes OK to use the “30 Wear Rule.” Ever so occasionally, I do buy fast fashion. I know! Terrible! Guilty! But I believe sustainability is also about wearability, and there’s no point buying something “good” that you’ll never wear. So, when I do, I always subscribe to Livia Firth’s “30 Wear Rule.” That means I commit to wearing a product at least 30 times and fight the trend towards “throwaway fashion.”

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Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

5) Embrace minimalism. It’s widely accepted that focussing on less, having less, and embracing less, gives you more. I recently watched the documentary “The Minimalists” and this made so much sense to me. In fashion, many are embracing this and promoting the “capsule” wardrobe. The focus here is on longevity, style, and quality – all good things to guide you.

6) Support brands that embrace sustainability at their core. While many major brands are making a move towards adopting more sustainable practices, and should be applauded for doing so, I like to support smaller brands driven by sustainable values. I’ve become familiar with a few such as as People Tree and Patagonia and I support outlets that curate these brands, and others, so I know who to trust. My favourites are Charlie + Mary, and Well Made Clothes.

Sustainable fashion is a term that means different things to different people. Progress is slow. And nobody knows this more than the team at Fashion Revolution, a global movement which campaigns for transparency in the supply chain following the tragic Rana Plaza collapse in 2013.

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However, while the issues are widespread, and the solutions complex, I think we can celebrate the fact that the tide is turning, and brands, as well as consumers, are changing their ways.

Knowing where to start can be daunting, but starting is an important step. 

[Image Source: Fashion Revolution]

WHY THE STAKES FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN FASHION JUST GOT HIGHER

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Anyone working on environmental issues has been watching the results of the Presidential election closely.

Trump is a known climate change denier who’s not only promised to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, arguably our greatest hope at mitigating the effects of global warming, but has also called climate change a hoax, threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, and committed to pushing for oil pipelines and other controversial energy infrastructure.

Who then, if not government, should we be looking to to protect environmental interests? And what does this mean for sustainable fashion?

The past few weeks have seen an interesting range of responses from brands and business leaders within the sector who, consciously or not, have got caught up in politics.

There was the PR crisis of New Balance following a single quote of endorsement by its VP of public affairs who said “with President-elect Trump, we believe things are going to move in the right direction” with regards to the TPP.

Last week, Patagonia announced it will donate 100% of its global sales from Black Friday to environmental causes in the face of Trump’s belief that “climate change is a myth”, and Designer Sophie Theallet, who’s previously dressed Michelle Obama, publicly refused to style the next first lady. She said:

“Despite the fact that it’s not wise to get involved in politics…the rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by [Trump] are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”

Sitting on the fence is no longer an option when it comes to environmental issues.

As Scott Nadler in his post Corporate Sustainability Under Trump explains, “we now know government isn’t going to ride in and save us on climate change.”

“Government isn’t going to set the standards or raise the bar. And for those of us in business, that means it’s on us.”

It’s an interesting time for the sector as pressure for businesses to take ever-increasing environmental responsibility mounts.

This is not only coming from NGOs, but also consumers whose growing awareness is being seeded by documentaries such as True Cost, and grassroots movements such as Fashion Revolution.

While there have been a range of new initiatives to support more environmental-friendly fashion production in recent years, the election of Trump seems to hint at a shift to undermine this effort.

If we’re to see this trend continue, businesses, more than ever, will need to go beyond minimum — legal — regulations and instead, take the lead.

And it will be brave individuals within business and brands, as we’ve seen demonstrated by Sophie Theallet and Patagonia, who will continue to move this agenda forward.

Image: Tim Walker for Vogue