Sustainable Reading Nr.4

Fashion

Fast Fashion Is Harming The Planet, MPs Say – Although it is great to see that the government is taking this issue seriously, I find it slightly funny that MPs are saying this now, when it’s been talked about for years and only with the pressure from consumers are MPs even talking about it. However, to those who have been saying that “it is not illegal” there will hopefully soon be a different tone. However, MP asking the biggest fast fashion polluters for advice how to change this can’t be the only option, they should be asking leading sustainable fashion researchers and academics as well as well known ethical fashion companies who are actually creating the innovative solutions. Whereas it is obvious that MPs are looking to keep the capital fast fashion brands bring to the country and provide a pr bandaid to quite the consumers.

Please Stop Clearing Out Your Wardrobe In The Name Of Sustainability – Ethical Unicorn puts it very clearly how clearing out wardrobe isn’t sustainable and what other options there are. I enjoyed reading about how capsule wardrobes came to be and what they actually are meant to be, and how she explained clearing out masquerading as sustainable. I thought her idea of selling your old clothes interesting, as most influencers I’ve followed over the years in Finland do exactly this. They sell their own clothes to their followers who are more than happy to give the clothes a new home. This should definitely be mainstream!

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Sew Be It: The New Eco-Fashion Brand That Helps You Make Your Own Clothes – This brand has taken slow fashion to another level with letting customers sew their garments and make sure they fit them. They have made easier to follow patterns and sewing instructions, on top of sourcing them suitable fabrics. They are working on closing the loop and try to take into consideration the impact they might affect. I would like to see more of brands that operate like this!

H&M Ranked As Number One User Of Sustainable Cotton – Article by the apparel resources discusses how H&M and many other fast fashion companies are using the better materials, however, it doesn’t explicitly explain what sustainable materials. It is great to hear that these companies are trying to clean up their supply chain at least a little bit, on the other hand, it is not surprising they are the biggest uses due to the volume of clothing they produce. They could also consider paying more for their labour.

Fighting Fast Fashion: The Rise Of Ethical Consumerism – The article discusses very well about lack of education and what we can do.

PLEASE Stop Saying Fashion Is The 2nd Most Polluting Industry After Oil – article by Alden Wicker from Ecocult which delves into how difficult it is to tell how polluting fashion industry actually is, and why it is harmful to say it is when there is no data to back up the claim.

Fast Fashion Means Charity Shops Are Getting Too Many Clothes, Head Of Select Committee Says – This is no news, but it is good that it is put out there for the wider public to read about. However, I am not sure how this article will help the shopping at the moment. We should be recycling our garments, but on a bigger scale, it is not feasible at the moment and with the popularity of Depop and other similar stores I do not see many high-quality garments ending up in charity shops, but rather only poor quality garments that can be worn only a few times. Primark saying that they will start a take-back programme where they will be reused by overseas charities just sounds like a money making ploy where they are trying to look good by moving their used poor quality garments out of the UK landfills to other countries landfills. It is great that the poor quality manufacturing companies are getting questioned though and I hope this will be more prevalent this year!

Success Is Sustainable For Designer Turning Waste Into Fashion Statement – A great example of how designers can lead a change in their own label, but also in the industry – Christopher Raeburn.

Consumers Want More Transparency And Action From Fashion Brands – This is not surprising, but I am happy to see how many people are becoming aware of the issues and rooting for the change. This surely is due to the amazing work Fashion Revolution has done!

Why Ethical And Sustainable Jewelry Matters – I am happy to see that more articles are coming out on this topic. It’s been a year since I wrote about this topic and since then have seen so many other articles popping out!

China Experiments With Longer Weekend To Boost Shopping – There are many thoughts when I first read the headline, many positive ones and too many negative ones. Excellent that people are getting longer weekends, it’s time they can spend on hobbies, being with their family or of course shopping. However, the fact that they want retailers to stay open later means that there are employees who will have to work those hours. Increasing the economic wealth of an area is great, however, should it be done at the expense of our environment?

With Its Anti-Fur Fight Gaining Progress, PETA Sets Its Sights On Wool – I am not sure if this is a good thing or not? I am aware that PETA wants to stop the use of wool, which is a great sustainable fibre to use in clothing with its great properties and many possibilities. However, I do agree that the industry should be more regulated to end the cruelty for animals.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Social

British Doctors May Soon Prescribe Art, Music, Dance, Singing Lessons – “We’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration,” I am so happy to hear this and am excited to see this starting to roll around in the UK. Although, I do not understand why I read about this first in a US publication rather than a UK one.

London Welcomes It’s First Ever Zero-Waste Vegan Christmas Market – It is great to hear that there are markets that combat the Christmas waste problem.

British Schoolgirl ‘Scared’ To Go To School On Her Period After Teacher’s Wouldn’t Let Her Use The Loo – Reading the article I feel there is part of the story missing, nevertheless, it is incredible that this still happens in the UK!

Scotland Is The First Country To Offer Free Sanitary Products To All Students – Excellent follow up on the previous article, but still raises questions how in some parts of the country the issues might be addressed better than in other parts.

The Army Is Donating Ration Packs To Help Feed Hungry People In The UK – It is heartbreaking that this is still such a big problem in the UK and only raises a question how big of a problem it must be in countries that are not as wealthy as the UK or in refugee camps.

Sustainable News of July 2018 - byLiiL

Climate Change

Grounded: Reframing How I Cover Climate Change By Igniting Enchantment – Holly puts it very eloquently that we need to change the way we talk about climate change.

It Seems So Good… But Here Is Why Solar Power From Space Is A Bad Idea – A very interesting article on technological advances that could happen but also the problems with them.

100% Palm Oil Free Beauty Brands We Love – Although this article delves into beauty brands it also talks about the use of Palm oil in beauty, how the current big beauty brands use it and how it is greenwashed.

How Coral Bleaching Is Changing Marine Life Behaviour – Due to climate change and the change of pH in the oceans the corals are bleaching more often than before. The bleaching has, of course, affected other marine animals and the data is here.

Plastic Pollution

Calls To Fit All Washing Machines With Microfibre Filters – Yes! And how has this call not been made before and how come I only hear it for the UK and not for other countries? This should’ve been done ages ago and hurriedly!

Waste

How Companies Are Innovating Food Waste Solutions – So inspiring!

 

What were the interesting articles you read lately?

With love,

Lii

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Why Do We Expect To Buy Cheap Fashion

It is a question that makes me think almost more than any other. I expect it, even though I am trying to be a more ethical shopper. Everybody I know expects it or at least say they can’t afford to buy anything more expensive than the regular high street items. I did research into this topic and I’ve read books on it and it still baffles me, but I’ve found few points that seem to pop up with most people. I know that this is a generalisation and you might not expect fashion to be cheap or you expect it for a different reason, but I hope it might make you think about it anyway.

Used To It

We are used to buying cheap fashion. We are not used to fashion lasting us long neither in quality or style preference, and we are not prepared to pay more money for something that isn’t lasting.

We Want To Get Money’s Worth

We want to get as much for our money every month and do not see fashion as an investment piece. Unfortunately, I see this problem with many other things in life as well. Fashion used to be an investment, or rather not disposable. Garments used to cost a lot of money and people took care of their garments so they would last. Now we want new clothes for different social occasions, we want to eat and party out, we want to go to the movies and possibly buy a present for somebody. Instead of saving to buy a garment that will last years, we buy the one that was suitable enough with a great price for this month.

It is the standard we expect

It is the standardised price. I am not saying it is the standard, but rather we all have in our minds a price that we are not willing to go over in each item. With technology we expect a higher price than with fashion, nevertheless, it costing just a fragment of the selling price for the company to produce. But technology is not quite as disposable as fashion is. We do not realise that we are not paying for the item to last, but rather support the unsustainable practice of sweatshop labour and profit for the high street brands.

Extra Value

When we pay “extra” price for any item we expect it to offer more for us; either a perfect fit or a superior quality. For people to use more money on fashion (or anything else) we require more value.

Lifestyle

In today’s world, we are not used to people making clothes themselves. We are at awe if somebody can make a garment themselves, although there was a time when women were expected to know how to make garments, or we do not believe they can make the garments well. Today we don’t see those who make the garments, we can just expect them to be in the stores. Today consumers expect that shops will answer their every need and want in an instant and those shops that do will succeed. Media from fashion magazines to blockbuster movies makes us want the image and the lifestyle of those incredible women with their incredible bodies and beautiful fashion items. Department stores and high-street fashion houses offer us the fashion items for cheap to achieve the feeling of that lifestyle and our peers offer us the agreeable response when we buy new stuff all the time.

What Value Does Fashion Bring?

The value fashion brings to one’s life is fleeting. It is the experience and thrill of finding a new item that fits into the person’s lifestyle at a bargain price. Once home, if the fashion item is still favourable, it is the experience of flaunting the fashion item in front of friends and family and getting those few compliments. It is the feeling of being trendy and wearing the image of yourself that you are dreaming of. And in most cases that is it. The garment will be forgotten when new ones arrive. It is rare when I hear people talking excitedly about a fashion item that they’ve had for months (or years) unless it is an expensive designer bag/shoes. It is rare for people to have staple pieces of fashion in their wardrobes that they feel good for more than a couple wears.

I’ve heard many people say that they can’t afford to spend £/$100 on a pair of jeans and quite frankly neither can I, but then again I can spend £40 on a pair of jeans once a year or spend more on a pair that is good quality with proper durable fiber and it might last me a lifetime. I am no longer happy to pay for high street retailers profits without getting much in return. I do see that the standard price of fashion is not at a correct point because I know what goes into really making fashion and it can’t be achieved with as low a price as the high street. For me, quality and ethics are a value when I buy fashion and when I buy it I do expect it to last me long if it doesn’t I know to question the brand that sold it to me.

Pictures are from this Pinterest board.

 

Why do you expect fashion to be cheap and what are you paying for then?

With love,

Lii

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Sustainable or ethical fashion terminology can often be quite confusing. You check a website and they use a bunch of words that sound like it’s a good thing, but you are not actually sure what you are supporting there. So I decided to share few of the words here. Many of them might be familiar to you, but hopefully, some that might help you when trying to shop sustainably!

Alteration – Altering a garment to make it fit better. Sometimes this term means a place where you can get your garment altered or fixed.

Artisan – Tradition craft and ancient techniques of craft work, very skilled usually made by hand and also usually culturally based.

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology - byLiiL

Ethical Fashion – Often considered as the term to describe fashion with human rights connection, however, it can mean anything including animal welfare and the environment. This is a confusing term and can mean different things to different people.

Carbon Footprint – The amount of carbon dioxide emitted through daily actions into the atmosphere.

Carbon Neutral – No carbon emission.

Circular Economy – System to minimise waste and regenerating energy through closed-loop systems.

Closed-Loop System – A system which consistently reuses its waste, therefore, doesn’t discharge any waste.

Cradle-to-Cradle – Essentially close to the circular economy and closed-loop system, but cradle-to-cradle is a school of thought which builds on the effective design of ingredients that last and can be reused and are safe for human consumption and the environment.

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Fair Trade – A mark/brand for products that have been produced in fair ways; paying a minimum living wage or higher, healthy working conditions and training for employees. It is also considered an organised social movement to help battle the sweatshops.

Fast-Fashion – The mass production of garments/accessories/shoes for the high-street stores. These are produced as quickly as possible (some even in two weeks) and as cheaply as possible. Often inspired or copied by the designers or independent companies and in general are of lower quality (in material as well as make).

Natural Fibres – Fibres of plant or animal sources such as cotton, linen, wool etc.

Organic Cotton – Cotton grown without pesticides or modified seeds.

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Pesticides – Toxins used to kill pests that are harmful to plants and animals. Can cause irreversible damage to the animals (those who eat the animals) and the soil.

Petroleum-based fibres – Fibres that are made of petroleum-based chemicals (plastic). Is not environmentally friendly and can have possibly toxic fibres mixed within them. Polyester, polyurethane, nylon, acrylic.

Second-hand – Items that have previously been owned.

Slow Fashion – A social movement to combat fast-fashion and mass consumerism. Generally referring to buying less and smarter, such as buying timeless pieces that are of high-quality.

Supply Chain – A chain of processes and companies involved in manufacturing and distributing fashion or any other goods.

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Sustainable Fashion – A design philosophy that does not harm humans, animals or the environment, but rather is a process of creating goods indefinitely. At the moment this term is used quite loosely and can refer to designs that follow one or more various ethical/sustainable design principles; using recycled or organic fibres, not using animal products, using end-of-line fabrics and so on.

Sweatshop – A factory where working conditions can be dangerous and inhumane, often underpaid and overworked.

Transparency – Being transparent about the manufacturing of goods and the production processes, often means that these can be traceable. A movement battling sweatshop production and toxic release into the environment.

Upcycled – Used goods reused and made into something of higher value than it was.

Vegan-Fashion – Fashion that is made out of animal-friendly and cruelty-free materials. Although this sounds good, the problem often is that they use petroleum based fibres such as polyester, nylon and acrylic.

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Do you have terms that you would like to share or others that you would like an explanation to?

With love,

Lii

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing

Ready-to-made fashion sizes seem to baffle us all. We are frustrated when shopping for fashion and no wonder as we have to juggle between different sizes, as one doesn’t always seem to be the perfect one for us. We wonder whether we have gained weight or whether the company made a mistake when they made the garment. It seems to be impossible to find the perfect jeans and nothing fits perfectly. I’ve heard this all many times from friends and acquaintances, as well as reading from people’s blogs. People questioning why all of the brands don’t just use the same sizing so that it would be easier to shop for fashion. Unfortunately, I am not here to tell you how to find that right size, but rather explain why it is difficult to find your size and why you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about it.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

The current method of providing clothes with a size so that people would more easily recognise what garment is most suitable to them is quite new. It was during the industrialisation and the big boom of companies making ready-to-wear garments when they required a standardised size, before that women’s clothing was made as a made-to-measure by a seamstress or a couturier, or women sew their own garments themselves.

Making garments made-to-measure, although makes the garment to fit the wearer perfectly, is a slow process and is not suitable for the fast-fashion market (this might be changing now, but more about it later), which is why there is a size chart (or many) that groups certain measurement under one size.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

Women are obsessed with their clothing size and especially how small of a size they wear. I read an article where a stylist explained how her customers would refuse to take a bigger size that would fit them because they wanted to have the size small label. The fashion companies have recognised this and adapted accordingly with vanity sizing. You’ve probably heard that in her own time Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, but in today’s sizing, she would be a size 6. It’s because fashion companies want to make women feel better about themselves, but when each company decides the sizing on their own (and might have more than one chart within the range of garments they sell) it can be difficult to find one size that fits you.

 

The main reason, in my opinion, is that all of us are different shapes. It is rare that anybody can fit into a company’s size standard so that everything fits them perfectly, and if you are one of them then good for you! But the number of times I have been in the dressing room wondering why a garment fits perfectly on the butt but not on my waist and going smaller would be too tight. Or when I try a top which is perfect around my shoulders and arms but is bulging around my bust, but going a size bigger will look like a sack on me. This is why you can be the same size with your friend and not fit into same garments and look absolutely different in the same garments.

With standardised sizing garments are produced with specific measurements in mind, which is for a specific body type most often slim hourglass or rectangle. In which case, if you are any other body shape it might be difficult to find garments that will suit you well and enhance your appearance.

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

In the end, size is just a number that doesn’t really matter. It is for the fashion brands to help sell their clothes and for you to possibly have a clue of what size of a garment you should be looking for. It has changed through the ages because of cultural pressure and norm. Fortunately, there is now technology that can help you find garments that fit you from the existing ones or even order made-to-measure garments. The technology is still in its infancy, but I am sure will make a big difference to the fashion industry in just a few years. For now, I’ve found Post-Couture Collective to have a great start on this idea and TrueFit, which finds you garments from many top brands that will fit your measurements.

I don’t think a size label will ever be out of our lives, but I hope the innovations in technology in fashion will allow better fitting garments for us in the near future with less headache over finding them.

 

Do you have problems finding the perfectly fitting garment? What do you think would be a solution to this?

With love,

Lii

2016 Favourite Books

As I mentioned in my goals post I managed to finish 21 books in the year 2016. Although, there were a couple which I found a drag to read in general the books were interesting and they brought enjoyment into my daily life. I thought, I should mention my favourite ones to you if any of them would inspire you to read as well.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

I know Why The Caged Birds Fly – Maya Angelou

The first autobiography by Maya Angelou, where she tells the story of her childhood from a southern American state. How she was raised by her grandmother, how she missed and adored her mother, her relationship with her brother and how she found the world around her. Although, depressing at times, mostly I found the book intriguing and easy to read. It definitely made me want to read more of her books.

#Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso

I am sure everybody knows what this book is about. Half-motivation half autobiography I loved reading about Sophia’s life and how she came about creating such a successful fashion company. I was so motivated to do and work for my goals that I had problems sleeping. I am sure this won’t happen to many people, so those of you who are looking to be inspired with their goals I recommend this book.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

Silkworm – Robert Galbraith

Is the second book in the Cormoran Strike crime novels by J.K. Rowling pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I loved the first book, mainly because I love a good crime novel and because I love the way J.K. Rowling writes. She can really hold the reader in suspense and make a great twist in the end. Cormoran Strike novels are long, but they don’t feel that way. I read it in just a couple of days. Gruesome murder and a mystery to solve. So if you like J.K. Rowlings writing and crime novels I definitely recommend this one!

How To Make Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This book was recommended by one of my favourite bloggers so I decided to try it out. It is a self-help book, but the reason I liked it was the stories behind every ‘lesson’. Where Dale writes about what rules you should follow when conducting yourself with new people who you would like to make a good impression on, he writes with examples set by real people, mostly great previous leaders. While reading you think how each rule is kind of obvious, but it is he examples and the stories that really make you remember how you should conduct yourself in public. Definitely a good read!  I think this book would be of assistance to everybody. It is not a book about making close friendships, but really about how you should be thinking when communicating with other people so that they will want to hear more from you.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

Overdressed – Elizabeth L. Cline

I’ve told you about this book. It tells about the problems of fast-fashion to this world and especially to the people. If you want to read more of my thoughts on it, check out this post. Again, I think everybody should read this book. Not, because it is enjoyable, I mean it really is not, but because you will understand more about what you are buying.

Schoking Life Of Elsa Schiaparelli

This I have told you about as well. The autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli is not for fashion lovers only, but for those who want to read about a strong woman, who made a business success, who lived through the war and who seems to be in her own world. She has a unique view on how to do business and really, she is quite an inspiration to read as well!

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I do not understand how it took me such a long time to read this book. It could be that I wouldn’t have understood the message before, or maybe it would have opened my eyes much earlier. I don’t know. However, I think this was my favourite book of the year. It seemed absolutely surreal, it kept me guessing and wanting to read more and in the end, I was completely surprised. If I only remember one book from the year 2016, it is this. And it has inspired me to read more of Atwood’s books! Now I can’t wait until the tv-show will come out!

 

What books where your favourite last year?

With love,

Lii

4 Posts that make you think

You can’t buy your way to a better world – Interesting point of view. Makes a good point of how just changing what you buy is not enough, but it is the whole principle of fast-consumerism that needs to change.

The Future of Cities – This is actually a short youtube documentary/movie, which tells you in short how people are innovating better cities for our future.

4 posts that make you think - byLiiL

Top Tips to Ditch Fast-Fashion – If you have already decided that you want to stop buying fast-fashion and don’t know how to check this out. If you don’t know why you should do it check it out as well!

Confessions of a Meat-eating Vegan – The writer of this article, in my opinion, was brave! There are so many people shaming others who are not vegan or vegetarian, shaming different types of eating habits and in general being mean. Not too long ago I saw a youtube video of a woman telling why and how she started eating meat again and she so much hate from people who were, at least claming, to be vegan. I think it is important that people talk about food and what is good for different people. As she says, one thing might not be the right thing for everybody.

 

Have you read any other posts lately that have made you think? Share them with me in the comments section below!

With love,

Lii

Overdressed and the True cost -review

I mentioned ages ago, that I read the ‘Overdressed’ book and how excited I was about it. I also watched the documentary ‘True cost’, which I thought was an excellent addition to getting the whole picture of the issues in the fashion industry. Well, close to a whole. I am sure there are still many problems that have not yet come up to the public eye. First of what I would like to say is that if you like fashion and shopping for fashion, you should read and watch these. I think everybody should know the backgrounds of items they love so much. Not so that people would stop shopping, but so they would be shopping smartly, with intention and understanding. Also, I really think these two should be read/watched together. What one leaves out the other fills in.

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Overdressed: The Shockingly high cost of cheap fashion by Elizabeth L.Cline

This book goes through very well the insane mass consumption of fashion in the USA and the history of how they got to it. She is writing this from a USA point of view, however, I think it can be somewhat transferable to the European consumer as well. Elizabeth is not really blaming the consumer or the businesses for problems in the fashion industry but rather explains how the system is intricate and has so many layers it is difficult to tackle.

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Basically, she explains how fast-fashion is a horrible problem in many ways from exploiting labour to poor fitting fashion and masses of textile waste. Unlike articles about all these problems, however, she does explain what she thinks would help to slowly resolve at least some of these problems.

I was really interested in why there is no more support for small businesses and makers and why are the conditions in developing countries not improving in spite of all the media attention.

Elizabeth’s writing is very interesting, thorough and clear. I found it very easy to read although with somewhat mixed feelings. Where the book is interesting, it is also very sad and depressing and it made me feel a bit powerless, nevertheless of her tips. Although after reading it I felt this urge to do my part in moving towards slower fashion. The only thing I would have wished to have more in the book is the sustainability and other environmental issues, as she only scratches the surface on these issues and rather sticks with the labour issues.

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True cost movie (available on Netflix)

This movie does touch some of the issues mentioned in the book but concentrates more on the environmental problems, such as toxicity and erosion, which are usually overlooked in articles and in the media when talking about the problems in the fashion industry. I really liked how in depth they took this subject without blaming the consumer but exploring the wider implications. They questioned the economy and capitalism as a part of the driving forces in this problem, which rarely is mentioned and they talked about what we could do if we shopped sustainably and ethically.

The documentary was filmed well and Andrew Morgan has done a great job directing it. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, but also made me a bit depressed. The only thing I was wishing a bit more from the documentary was showing more the problems we have with the waste resulted from the fashion industry.

true cost

As a result of watching and reading these, I felt the need to do more and better and a little empowered to move in the right direction. Whereas previously I felt I didn’t have any options, now I feel I do. Yes, it is depressing but it is also so informative! There are so many companies and people who think they can get away with doing just about anything and this is one of the ways they can be exposed.

I definitely recommend checking out both of these and when you have please leave me a comment. I would love to discuss these issues further! And please let me know if this is something that you are interested in reading more about on my blog.

 

Pics from Take Part and Going Zero Waste. You can also read more about the topic from those resources.

 

With love,

Lii