Sustainable News Nr. 2

Plastic

Plastic Waste Set To Beat Price As UK Shoppers’ Top Concern – Study – It’s great to see how consumer mindset is changing and the price isn’t always the number 1 priority.

But What Happens If You Use Up All The Plastic? – The short answer is that’s not going to happen.

Even Insects Are Carrying Around Microplastics – It is not surprising how widespread it is, but it is still quite terrifying!

This Fungus Could Be The Answer To The Plastic Waste Crisis – Hurray! Why aren’t they researching it more?

Are Biodegradable Plastics The Solution To Our Plastic Obsession? – Muccycloud dives into this question and explains what biodegradable plastics actually are.

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Groceries

Slavery In The Chocolate Industry – Explains what many big chocolate corporations don’t want to tell you and why we should check more strictly on what chocolate we buy.

FoodShot Global Looking To Fund Innovators Taking ‘Moonshot For Better Food’ – I wish this kind of collaboration at this level would be done across other industries as well.

Fashion

Leading Bangladeshi Textile Mill Regrets Going Green – Apparently, some customers are not prepared to pay even one cent more for buying green clothes.

Rethinking the Business of Fashion – 12 start-ups that are in an acceleration programme supported by the Fashion for Good-Plug.

Lenzing’s EUR 26 Million Sustainable Nonwovens Fibre Facility – Finally nonwoven that is not an oil-based fibre!!

New Plant-based Shoes From Vivobarefoot – Interesting innovation.

Francesco Carrozzini’s X-Ray Fashion: Seeing Through A Toxic Industry – What if all the consumers would be able to feel how people making our clothes feel, would they shop for fast fashion then?

Grow Your Own Vegan Handbag! The Marvel of Mushroom Leather – I can’t wait for this to become more mainstream, it sounds fantastic!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Recycling

How One E-Waste Recycler Uses Education To Incentivise The Right Behaviours – And more information on e-waste recycling.

Social

What Is Going On In Yemen – Fran writes about a crisis that is less talked on the news but which requires our attention.

50 Girls Hospitalised After FGM In Burkina Faso, Dozens Arrested In Crackdown – Even though Burkina Faso has illegalised FGM the culture is still so ingrained in the practice that the nation has difficulty ending it.

Gender Inequality Is Bad For Men’s Health – It does make sense.

This Incredible Former Child Bride Persuaded Her Country To Ban Child Marriage – So inspiring!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Other

California Mandates 2 Largest Pension Funds Factor Climate Risk Into Investment – Excellent, all the banks should be doing that though.

Can China Become Powerhouse In Green Manufacturing? – A very interesting question that leaves us to wait for the future to see if it will.

What Are The Most Effective Water Pollution Solutions – an Excellent guide on what should be done about water pollution.

These Giant Towers Could Clean Toxic Smog In The Wolrd’s Most Polluted Megacity – Air cleaning towers that are self-sustaining, what a great idea, however, I hope they will also consider working on lowering the emission they are releasing in those megacities as well.

 

What news have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

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Doing Small Changes Won’t Save The Planet – But It’s a Start

In the world of environmentalism and sustainability, I come across slightly contradictive articles all the time. Most of the articles, blog posts, podcasts etc. are about how we can make changes to be more sustainable, how little or big things we can do, some even guilting us into changing our behaviour. The slightly contradictive articles are a minority but they appear regularly and they question the little changes that we are making and criticise how those won’t save the Earth. I am sure you’ve all read those articles. One of the latest ones that I read was in the Guardian where Monbiot wrote that “We Won’t Save The Earth With a Better Kind Disposable Cup”. So who is right? Is it the articles who encourage people to consider the changes they are making or is it articles who question the better you are doing and rather pushes us to challenge the power or wants all of us to change how we live?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start - byLiiL

In my opinion, both are correct. That is true if the only thing we are doing is changing to a better disposable cup, or just change worse material to a slightly better one it will not save the planet. However, not changing the bad materials at all is also not an option nor is stopping consumption altogether.

Changing the consumer behaviour doesn’t happen in an instant, it takes years if not decades and when the popular media continues to promote a certain lifestyle it gets more difficult to change that. Government legislations against harmful products to us and the environment would help, however, they do not move swiftly either and only seem to make legislations when there is a public outcry on a topic such as microplastics. However, the government seems to only put on a patch on the problem, rather than fix the underlying issue to quiet the population and to change this the population needs to be educated on the underlying issue. This all definitely needs to be done, but it sounds like a lot of work which will take a lot of time, doesn’t it?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

While we wait for it to happen if we do not make changes and innovate better materials we have not made the world any better, but have probably created a lot more waste. When I think about a disposable cup that is made out of plastic and ends up polluting our oceans I would much rather use a disposable cup that biodegrades, even if slowly, however as at the moment there are many innovations coming up to make our current system better and more environmentally friendly, we have the possibility to look into what would be the best option.

One great example of a better product is the Nespresso compatible coffee capsules by Percol. I’ve always felt any Nespresso machine represents the opposite of environmentalism because of the capsules it uses that are fairly wasteful, however, the Percol coffee capsules are compostable and the coffee is Soil Association organic. Also, although I think we should all carry a reusable cup with us, it is not always feasible and therefore The petition to change the disposable cups into better disposable cups is definitely worth signing for those moments that somebody just has to take the disposable cup, but I wish there was another petition to the government to set up waste systems to easier dispose of those biodegradable or compostable disposable cups and another that would start proper education systems to schools and to adults about the change that we need to make to save the Earth.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

Educating people rather than guilting them will help them make decisions on their own and will provide a more worthwhile movement with real change. Guilting people into changing their behaviour doesn’t help, and studies have shown that they can even harm the movement. Writing about consumers doing wrong when they want a better alternative only makes them confused if they are not already familiar with the topic and might make them give up on even trying to be more ethical or requesting change from brands or the government.

By doing small changes and noticing that it works can move people into making bigger changes and to changing attitudes. Let’s not scare them off that path and rather support them with the journey. Make the small changes, such as having a less bad material and promote education on environmental problems and challenging the power and the decision makers. That is how we are going to change the planet.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

What do you think about making small changes or challenging the power?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable reading No.1

Let’s experiment with posting these weekly, at least when I have the time to do so.

5 Articles for Sustainabiltiy, Charity and Body Confidence - byLiiL

Social

Maybe Your Sleep Problem Isn’t A Problem – Not really from last week, but I thought it was important and interesting. When reading the article and knowing how important sleep is for people I started wondering if the daily schedule of 9-5 is completely wrong and should we have a more relaxed daily schedule in general? I know I can’t handle 9-5 as I feel my brain going to mush, which is part of the reason why I prefer being self-employed.

Living Close To Urban Green Spaces Is Associated With A Decreased Risk Of Breast Cancer – All urban cities should be full of parks and green spaces with all the benefits the research is telling us they provide, so why aren’t they?

Research Identifies All The Different Ways The Sea Supports Human Wellbeing – There is definitely more than we might first think of.

These South African Women Are Using Menstruation Cups To Change The World – And just another proof that when women decide to do something and make others lives better they will succeed!

Migrant Children Could Be Detained Indefinitely Under Trump Administrations’ New Proposal – And they blame it on somebody else of course.

Indonesian Restaurant Law Bans Women and Men Eating Together – Really? This sounds like the government doesn’t trust their citizens nor lets them choose for themselves how well they follow their religion.

Nearly 4 Million Children In the UK Are ‘Too Poor’ To Have A Healthy Diet – A sad reality of food poverty in the UK and I think the government should think what to do about this for a better future for the children when they grow up.

UK Ban On Nuisance Calls From Claims Companies Comes Into Force – About time. These cold calls are not only using energy unnecessarily and disturbing people as well as making it difficult for people to recognise when they are scammed. But where are the instructions on how to put this into practice?

Chief Rabbi Calls On Jewish Schools To Tackle Homophobia – It is great to hear that the heads of religious groups understand that children need to be supported no matter what their sexuality is or what they like.

5 Articles for Sustainabiltiy, Charity and Body Confidence - byLiiL

Fashion

What It’s Really Like Making Locally – In Finland, locally made and locally sourced clothing is what the consumers are often looking for. Why are we not looking for that everywhere?

Burberry Says It Will No Longer Incinerate Stock – a Great example for the other brands.

 

Ocean

Water Water Everywhere – Clear explanation on how and why water is scarce on our planet and how we could manage it.

Pros and Cons Of Hydropower – Even more sustainable options can have cons.

Norway Pledges To Divest From Ocean-Polluting Companies With $1Trillion Fund – Hurray, I hope to see this from more countries!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Entertainment - byLiiL

Environment

Environmentally Friendly Farming Practices Used By Nearly One-Third Of World’s Farms – And they are being productive, so why isn’t the rest of the farming changing to this practice as well?

Bio-Based Plastics Can Reduce Waste – If We Invest In Both Making And Getting Rid Of Them – And that is what we should be thinking of.

Ditch The Almond Milk: Why Everything You Know About Sustainable Eating Is Probably Wrong – The sustainable choices you thought you made but weren’t necessarily that sustainable.

 

With love,

Lii

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands

Although I follow several sustainable fashion brands from all them I think handbags are my favourite thing to follow and dream about and I only hope to earn more money so I can afford all my sustainable bag dreams. Here are some of my favourite ones.

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Elvis and Kresse

This is an absolute wonderful brand which doesn’t stop to amaze me with their design aesthetics. More interestingly the brand has an amazing story behind it. Since 2005 started rescuing end of life fire hoses to provide the materials with a second lease of life and in 2017 they partnered up with Burberry to reuse their leather scraps. In other words, Elvis and Kresse only use materials that were heading for the landfill!

If this didn’t sound amazing enough they are a certified B Corporation and a social enterprise that donates a whopping 50% of their profits to charities among them Fire Fighters Charity. The company tries to be sustainable in every way from running on renewable energy to using rescued materials for their packaging. In addition, they are open and transparent and host workshops in their studio in Kent.

Every time I see one of their bags on Instagram I wish I had it, unfortunately for me, they are a luxury brand with prices ranging from £20 for keyfob to £350 for a duffel bag. I can’t yet afford but at least I can dream of one and one day I get my own Elvis and Kresse bag!

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Eve and Andis

A second brand whose bags I cannot stop admiring on Instagram. Eve and Adis make beautiful bags and other accessories from innovative and eco-friendly materials such as cork, pinatex and eco leather. Pinatex is a material made out of pineapple leaves, cork is a highly renewable material grown in Portugal, and the Eco Leather they get from bio-farm in Germany and it is vegetable tanned without any chemicals. All of their timeless pieces are handmade either in their studio in the south of Germany or in a family owned factory in Spain.

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Mollum Vellum

Mollum Vellum is an artisan leather brand from London. They specialise in traditional craftsmanship with traditional tools, which is inspired by the Japanese style leather work. They source their vegetable tanned leather with sustainability in mind from UK and Italy and every piece is handcrafted by them in their studio. Their brand is the model for minimalist and slow design, with all of their timeless pieces.

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Maravillas Bags

Is a Spanish brand of vegetable tanned leather and Pinatex bags which is popular due to their bright colours and innovative designs. Maravillas is based in Mallorca where all of their bags are made in the studio with the help of local craftsmen, or in the local trusted factories. They source their vegetable tanned leather from Spanish trusted tanneries. They rejoice in minimalist style and slow fashion principles, whilst using traditional craftsmanship.

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Marina Kleist

Marina Kleist is a cork bag designer based in Hague, Netherlands. Their beautiful colourful cork bags are a great alternative to any leather bag, as they are Peta approved vegan. They use French know how to create all of their pieces in their studio with natural materials that are organic and eco-friendly. The materials are either Oeko-Tex or GOTS certified and I already have several of them on my wishlist!

My 6 Favourite Sustainable Bag Brands - byLiiL

Matt and Nat

This Canadian brand is already world renown for their Peta approved vegan bangs and linings made out of plastic bottles. They are working on making their materials and factories as sustainable as possible and diligently visit the factories in China to ensure high standards and close relationships. They support the dress for success charity. Matt and Nat is definitely one of the front-runners for Vegan handbags and they show it in every aspect of running their business from their HQ being cruelty-free to encouraging their employees to volunteer.

 

What are your favourite sustainable bag brands?

With love,

Lii

 

Sustainable News of August 2018

Climate Change

Earth At Risk Of Entering ‘Hot House’ State From Which There Is No Return, Scientists Warn – One of the possible futures for our planet if we are not rapidly doing something to prevent it.

Rising Heat Will Cost The Poorest Countries Billions Of Dollars A Year – Heath exhaustion doesn’t happen to only us living in Europe or the US where we are not used to such warm temperatures, it also happens to those who are used to them.

Hotter Climate Means Hungrier Insects Will Munch Millions More Tons Of Crops By 2050 – The one thing we didn’t even think about climate change.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Social

New Passport Checks For Families Are Sexist, Backward Step – In a modern world where we think we are moving forward with feminist issues we stumble upon new ones when legislations fight other crimes.

Why The World Needs More Female Leaders In Health Care – Whilst they occupy the most roles in health care females only have a small portion of leadership roles.

Reversing Burundi’s Pregnant Schoolgirl Ban Is Not Enough, Activists Say – Although a great start as the girls will have greater potential to earn a better living for their families in the future, it is still not concentrating on sexual exploitation.

Diversity In Sustainability – Addie writes with great enthusiasm and good points why sustainability should matter to everybody, not only white women.

This 9-Year-Old South African Author Has a Message We All Need To Hear – It’s so inspiring to see young children to take such initiative and show their enthusiasm to learning and bettering themselves as well as others lives!

Fake Foods Are Threatening South Africa’s Most Vulnerable People – Yes you read it correctly, fake foods or counterfeit foods are allegedly being sold around South Africa to the poorest population with serious health implications.

How Bikes Helped Cut Malaria Deaths by 96% in This Zambia District – As simple a thing as bikes can help poor nations and communities to get access to health and other services.

Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Intelligence, Study Finds – So we should probably do something about it.

 

Plastic

Iceland Is The First UK Supermarket To Sell Plastic Free Chewing Gum – And by this, they do not mean the packaging but the actual gum that you chew. Who would’ve thought that it is even legal to have petroleum-based substances in our consumables? Now you definitely don’t want to swallow it.

Decomposing Plastic Revealed As Hidden Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – It shouldn’t come as a surprise.

UK Plastic Pact Is Central To Forming A Circular Economy – In the mids of all the plastic fears this article tells about a pragmatic approach to tackle the plastic problem. Although, it discusses the circular approach it still doesn’t pinpoint how customers will be involved in it, or how they will make sure no toxic chemicals will be left in the recycled plastics.

This Is The Single Greatest Cause Of Ocean Trash – Lately, we have been hearing about cigarette buts and there is a reason behind it. Maybe it would be time to regulate this.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Recycling

Down With Upcycling? – With so many companies using waste products to make new products are they just using new sources of materials or are they thinking of the whole lifecycle of the product until the end?

 

Food

EU Households Waste Over 17 Billion Kg Of Fresh Fruit And Vegetables a Year – That is an astounding number and we all should start checking whether we actually eat all of the fruit and veg in our households.

Glyphosate Found In Breakfast Cereal In the US – Also found in the UK (especially in bread) as farmers keep using the pesticide before harvest so it is more likely to stay in our food. Buy organic to keep away from the carcinogen and if you want to help affect change in this in the UK you can donate money to Soil Association.

 

Fashion

France Is About To Ban Stores From Throwing Away Unsold Clothing – The idea is that the stores could give the clothes to charities and although this would be a great idea, I don’t think the volume of clothing that would go to charities would do good for either of the industries, I can almost see history repeating what happened to fashion outlets. It is important to do something about the volume of clothing that is thrown away by retailers and brands, but I am not sure if gifting them to charities is the way to go forward.

Why This Factory Is Making Its Factory Wages Public – An excellent initiative that will hopefully be shared by many other brands and bring even more visibility to this problem. Although, I don’t think it should only be factory workers wages, everybody in the company and the supply chain to provide a proper comparison.

Everlane Is Launching ‘Clean Silk’ In a Move Toward Greater Sustainability – The company’s plans are great and I am impressed with how they are reducing harmful chemicals from the production, however, not sure why there was no talk about using peace silk, only organic, which would’ve made the silk even more sustainable.

Shoppers Are Buying Clothes Just For The Instagram Pic, And Then Returning Them – This article talks about a deep-rooted problem in the fashion industry to which Instagram, OOTD and a new outfit for each pic are a fuel. If clothes can be even more disposable than before how can we ever change the fashion industry?

Adidas Launches FW’18 Collection Made Of Recycled Polyester, Organic Cotton – It’s great to hear that the brand is making changes to their ranges, however, this range is designed by Stella McCartney, I would like to see them changing completely to more sustainable materials!

Stella McCartney Evasive On Unsold Stock Issue – For a company that supports sustainability I am surprised and saddened that it is not more transparent on their own supply chains.

Sustainable News of August 2018 - byLiiL

Ecosystems

Effects of Overfishing On Ocean Health – This describes very well the different problems overfishing has on marine life and it’s ecosystems.

Why Are Elephants Important To African Ecosystem – Although I’ve always thought they are important I never quite knew how important they are! Let’s save them all!

Climate Change’s Latest Casualty: Cute, Tiny Puffin – Unfortunately with the ocean animals are finding it harder to find their food and have to travel longer to get to their source of nutrition.

Scientists Just Discovered A Coral Reef Off The Coast of South Carolina – And it needs to be protected against oil and gas industry!

Top Performing Microbes Could Be Key To Sustainable Agriculture – Taking an example from nature at it’s best!

 

I think I might need to start doing these weekly as there are so many links to go through. What do you think weekly or monthly?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of August 2018

Visit to the Purple Cat Cafe – Purple cat cafe is the first cat cafe in Glasgow and it is an experience worth going to… especially if you like cats. To get in you should book a time slot, as they book full really quickly, we were lucky that we got the last spot left right at the time when we showed up. Although they serve food and drinks which are tasty and offer vegetarian as well as vegan options, the main attraction there is, of course, the cats, which there is around a dozen. All the cats are friendly although don’t always want people touching them, however, if you offer them a treat they just might pay more attention to you. What I really enjoyed about the experience though was the atmosphere. I felt relaxed looking at what the cats were up to. Climbing their trees as they were able to go all around the cafe including nearly the ceiling where they had a shelf and a little nook to sleep in. We got a spot next to a sleeping fur baby, who didn’t wake up to anything but looked like an angel whilst sleeping, until it was time for the treats to which he woke in a second and happily came to collect his treats. I definitely recommend visiting this place and spending some quality time watching the feline’s life.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

European Championship 2018 in Glasgow – I really wanted to go and see one of the events, but didn’t really have time for it, however, on one Saturday whilst being out and about in the city centre I realised the cycling was on. It was at the same time exciting as it was a bit annoying. Half of the city was fenced and to get to the other side of the road, which usually took you less than a minute, now took you around a couple of blocks and then through the very crowded little passing spot. However, this is not a usual occurrence in Glasgow, so I decided to enjoy the exciting atmosphere of the city and clapped alongside to encourage the cyclists. Funnily enough, two German cyclers had time to chat with each other while doing the race.

Local Heroes – Made In Glasgow – An amazing showcase of design in Glasgow that was up for the duration of the European Championships. We got gifted a limited edition print by Emer Tumilty and saw some great new designers who I hadn’t even heard about. Scotland is truly full of great and innovative designers!

Trying Out Malaysian Food – I’ve never before tried Malaysian food but when my friend came back from her holiday and suggested a dinner to catch up a restaurant close by came to my mind and we decided to catch up there. The food was very tasty, although mine was so spicy I don’t remember ever eating as spicy food, except that one time when we cooked with singapore spice set and put too much of it into our food. Unfortunately, the restaurant was trying to be too fancy that we felt being pestered by the waiters too much and the atmosphere a bit pretentious. Nevertheless, the evening with friends was lovely and a breath of fresh air!

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

New Plants – If I see a plant that I fall in love with it I have to get it. So in August, I added two new plants to the collection: a cute new succulent and a gorgeous Calathea. I really need more space for plants in my house though!

Green Eco Box – That I received in August was truly a joy and I loved getting to know the company well and the beautiful products! If you want to read more about it check it here.

Bear and the Nightingale – I just finished this beautiful, magical book that questioned the relationship between church and old beliefs, and a woman’s place in a man’s world. I loved it!!

Void – The only thing I went to see during the Edinburgh Fringe was a show called Void which was essentially a dance performance showing a woman who was due to a highway accident been thrown into an area not suitable for people and from where it doesn’t seem that she could get away. The performance was very moving and I especially liked the performer, Mele Broomes, who was brilliant. The whole thing worked together well and left me moved and thinking.

My Ninja – The cat in the pictures who likes attention so much that she decided as soon as I started to take pictures that she needs to be in them.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

Reading

14 Badass Women – An article introducing you to 14 badass women who paved the way for other women, for equality and who showed that women really can do what men can. Very inspiring!

How To Get Your Message Across To Companies About Using Less Plastic – This excellent post by From Scratch provides you with real tips and steps you can take to affect change. Very inspiring and you can take action instantly!

It’s Not Waste Until It’s Wasted – This post put waste into a new perspective. Very interesting!

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

Support

Buy a Bag To Support Sustainable Education – Bag For Change helps to support educational projects with waste, recycling, composting and energy.

 

Watch

Safe – I finally watched Safe on Netflix and couldn’t stop watching, it was really thrilling!

Sharp Objects – Another really thrilling tv show and watching it and seeing the human relationships that are not healthy opens your eyes to the world and to your own world. It makes you appreciate what you have with your own family.

Happy Favourites of August 2018 - byLiiL

What were the happy things that happened to you in August?

With love,

Lii

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us?

Whenever I find a new fashion brand or a shop I am always excited by the imagery and marketing message they are telling me. It is obvious the modern successful brands are good at providing a persuading brand image. They get me wanting a new piece of clothing or buy into their message and it is only after the sustainable fashion movement became a driving force that we’ve learned how the fashion industry works and what we are supposed to be looking for when choosing a new product or a brand to by into. But how available is the information to the general consumer? Not very, as many companies rather through around green buzzwords rather than back them up. In the last 5 days, I’ve stumbled upon 3 new brands which sounded interesting and I had to message all 3 of them questioning the information missing from their sites and confirm whether they are as sustainable as they claim to be.

It is difficult to know what happens behind closed doors and many companies like to hide things that we consumers wouldn’t like to see or we might stop buying from those brands.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

ANIMAL CRUELTY

The public outcry after we saw the tortured angora bunnies in a Chinese factory. Did those companies really not know what was happening to those animals, or were they hiding this from their consumers? Animal cruelty still happens throughout the fashion supply chains.

Leather is a very much unregulated trade, unlike fur, because the consumer presumption is that leather is always a by-product. It is often not so, especially if it’s something else than cow leather. Animals might’ve been kept in poor conditions. Fur on the other hand, due to consumer outcry, is strictly regulated even more so than wool industry. Wool, which is one of the greatest fibres can be cruel to animals. The animals can be kept poorly and shearing them is not always stress-free. In addition, some of the sheep have been bred to provide certain wool for the consumers use.

Look for brands that are selling cruelty-free products, who talk about how they treat their animals. The smaller the brand the better, as with big quantities they don’t have the time to take care of their animals.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

TOXIC CLOTHING

Do you know if your clothes are good for the environment or to you? There is a lot of information about how the production of clothes in many cases is dangerous to the labour and how the factories pollute the surrounding waters and the environment. Companies and factories have tried to keep this a secret, but the truth has come out. However, what is less talked about but as relevant is how the toxins might still be in the clothes we wear every day on our skin. You wouldn’t put toxic beauty products on your skin so how is clothing different? It is not.

When attending a talk in Berlin during a green fashion week about innovative textiles I heard a woman ask why aren’t we just coming up with a new textile which is originally good for us rather than incorporating good ingredients into textiles that are not so great?

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

I hadn’t before this thought about how toxic our clothes could be to us and it horrifies me know the way we think about fashion. I’ve come across many young women who want to find fashion that is brightly coloured, sequined, tight, different and CHEAP. Cheap clothing comes from Asian factories which do not have as stringent laws against chemicals as in Europe. The bright colours so sought for are the result of chemicals added to the die. And to transport these clothes without mould and wrinkles into our stores they are sprayed with chemicals. Manmade fibres are made with petrol based fibres that are full of chemicals and cotton is grown with pesticides. All these chemicals still exist in our clothes when we wear them and through friction and heat, they get absorbed by our skin.

We want these clothes and the companies hide these facts from us. In Europe, the law only requires companies to tell what fibres the clothes are made from, not what chemicals were used to make them. However, those chemicals can affect skin irritations, allergies and other more problematic health conditions. Some chemicals often found in our clothes: pesticides, insecticides, formaldehyde, flame retardants, other carcinogens and lead.

Read more about toxicity in clothes from Leotie Lovely, World Threads Traveler, Mochni and Eluxe. In fashion look for brands that produce clothing with toxic free dies and garments made closer to home require fewer chemicals to travel with.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

WASTE

It is widely known that the clothing we throw away becomes waste, but as recently reported to surprised and outraged consumers, companies burn the clothes they have produced too much off. It was Burberry that was under fire lately, but Burberry is only one of the many many big fashion corporations that do this. And it is not only clothes but fabrics and materials as well. When interning for a fashion company even I saw it and couldn’t fathom the waste of all the beautiful fabrics that many of us interns could’ve used on our Uni courses. And this is not talking about the waste that accumulated from designing (all the paper and energy), sampling (fabric cut offs, sample garments) and the production (fabric cut offs, thread etc.). And although that is the waste the company accumulated, you are paying for the waste. The garments are priced to cover for the waste materials as well.

Look for small brands that make fashion in small batches. This reduces the waste they create and supports their trade.

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

SALE IS ONLY AN ILLUSION

It should be a common knowledge by now that outlet’s do not really sell designer clothing, but rather poorer quality clothing that they can attach a designer label on. The fact that the design labels have agreed to this is astounding, as those clothes still represent the brand even with the poorer quality.

However, what is not as commonly known are the discounts in stores. They claim to be to sell off the rest of the stock before the next season’s clothing and where that might’ve been the original reason and still one of the reasons, the bigger reason is consumers want the discounted items and wait for it. When much of the stock is sold at the discounted price the original price is steeper so that the stockholders will still get their share from the sales.

Support small brands that might not do so many sales, but who also rarely overprice their products. The customer service you get from them is also priceless!

What Are Fashion Companies Hiding From Us? - byLiiL

CONTRADICTION TO MARKETING MESSAGE (OR GREENWASHING)

  • Using sustainability as a marketing tactic to sell products.
  • Companies providing a good message, but not doing the work behind the message.
  • Marketing a new innovation but not telling the whole truth.

Fashion companies are very skilled at branding and marketing an image that consumers want to see. That image sells, but only few will look behind the image to see whether the message is true to the core. Since sustainability and ethical fashion has become somewhat of a trend movement many companies have seen the potential to make money out of this by either selling a message that they are doing their bit for the fight (and really are not) or selling products with positive messages about saving the planet or feminism, with products that are more harmful for both. Beyonce’s Ivy Park line has been under scrutiny for promoting empowered women, but seemingly not empowering the women who made the clothes. SZA promotes sustainability and dumping plastic on clothes that are made by Champion, a company not so sustainable or one producing without plastic. Even though the proceeds go to fund the charities fighting for these problems the merchandise should not add to the problem. And then there are the feminist t-shirts that are made by women who are definitely not empowered.

Then there is the other side where small companies are trying to innovate something new and promote themselves tot he bigger audience with their innovation but leaving out information. I have been so excited to hear about fashion made out of waste products such as milk, apple waste, banana, lotus flower and seaweed. All renewable and sustainable options, however, not all are what they are marketing. Fabric made out of seaweed only actually has 4% of seaweed and the rest is cellulose, lyocell. However, at least Seacell does provide this information when looking for their specs, whereas other companies don’t. Bags cannot be made 100% out of apple waste, they need a binding agent, however, we do not read about that even though the company claims to be transparent.

Look for the information the companies tell you and question it. Ask them questions about their products and depending on their answers you can see how open they are about their products or whether they still want to hide something.

 

Ethical and Sustainable fashion is not all about making the world a better place. It is also about making better decisions for yourself and your health.

 

Unfortunately, companies are not happy to reveal information that is not entirely positive and often we might be sold something that isn’t entirely true. We can’t always blame the faces for what fashion industry is like, however, if we all question how the clothes are made, who made them and what chemicals were used to make them we might see change. Remember to share your findings with others, but to also be kind to those brands who are striving and working to be better. It is time for the fashion brands to stop hiding behind the closed doors!

Pictures by Godisable Jacob.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Let me know in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii