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A letter from Sophie

Hey guys!

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And the first month of the year is over. This month I have felt so motivated to work on my New Year Resolutions and have done at least 1 and 1/4th. The first one I’ve ticked off is made my travel photo album. I picked some pictures out from each trip of places that I had a memory attached to it or were linked to some significant even/thoughts. I printed them off and have filled half my album. Which only means more trips to fill in the rest!

These pictures were from my last trip to Europe in late 2015. Here are their links incase you’ve missed it.

Czech Republic:

Austria:

Spain:

France:

UK:

In other news, I came across this article on Fast Fashion Problems which was written by Alden Wicker and her blog is here. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her blog which had many thoughtful articles to keep pondering over, check it out if it’s a topic you’re interested in or if you just want to see!

See you at the end of February!

-S.

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Blogmas Day 5! 🎄

December is a busy month with all those Christmas parties to attend so I thought I would do this blog early on. Today we are talking about decluttering.

I’m very much into the out with the old and in with the new at this time of the year. What better way to start a new year more refreshed and bright-eyed to start a new year than to get cleaning.

THE book that has been getting plenty of mentions this year is Marie Kondo’s ” The Life Changing Magic of Tidying”. In this book, Marie talks about only keeping things that ‘bring you joy’. This includes books, clothes and furniture. The secret to this tidying up method is to hold the object in your hands. Since reading this book months ago, I have been slowly chipping away in my wardrobe which is the main area where I tend to hoard and keep pieces of clothing despite not wearing them for years “just incase”. It also reminded me to try and live clutter-free, which is something I have my sights on. I have also been going through my shelves and have thrown out (recycled) some old school reports (that was time from another universe!), am planning on donating some old books that don’t bring me joy and never really have and getting rid of paper.

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If this sounds like you, MAYBE this is the time to set aside 1 day or 1/2 a day and to go through your things and either donate, sell, recycle or throw out some of things that don’t bring you joy.

Check out my tag ‘consumerism’ if you would to read abit more about this topic from my blog.

Happy cleaning!

-S.

The Ethical Fashion Journey

I blog a lot about ethical fashion and sustainable fashion but how much do I actually know about this topic?

I’d say maybe 20% if that? Ignorance is bliss until you decide that you want to know more. I’m not an avid fashion trend follower nor a 2nd hand shopper. I just bought when I either needed something or absolutely must have that deer cardigan. As time has gone on, I have grown out of a few items or they’ve been worn to death that they were either see-through or could’ve been used as rags. I find shopping arduous. I never seem to find the perfect fit or things that I like that I want so it was only up to very recently, maybe past 2 years, that I’ve sat down and thought about clothing.

We all start at this point of something triggering yourself to do something. So I started paying attention to articles, brands and youtube videos that explored this whole topic of which I knew nothing about. Ethical/sustainable fashion is not mainstream. Let’s face it, if I asked you for names of 5 companies that produce sustainable ethical clothing could you tell me? I can’t even tell myself. So I’d like to share some brands that I’ve come across on my journey into ethical fashion .

So far, I have got People Tree founded by Safia Minney. Made Jewellery . Australian brand Gorman. Australian adventure store Patagonia. Clog shoes brand Swedish Hasbeens.

Which brands do you know? Let me know because I’d love to discover more.

-S.

2 Euro T-shirt: Social Experiment

I know this youtube clip came out ages ago (about 2 months ago!) and I had seen it in passing probably when I was on the train so didn’t click on the link (high data rates but that’s another story) and had recently remembered to watch the clip. It was part of fashion revolution this year, a vending machine selling t-shirts was set up in a public space and the public were giving the chance to buy these 2 Euro shirts after watching a small clip about how the shirts were made. They could then choose whether or not they still wanted to buy the t-shirt.

People cannot act on what they don’t know so it was a great initiative which was short and straight to the point. Ah, I love it when there are these social experiments around.

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog now here are some handy links:

This is what fashion revolution is about. My post this on fashion revolution day. And the True Cost documentary trailer and my review of it here.

Keep at it kids,

-S.

Review: True Cost Documentary

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A few nights ago, I went to the local premiere screening of the True Cost documentary. This documentary takes us on a journey back to the roots of how our fast fashion clothing is made and the conditions that they’re made under. It highlights the disparity between the amount we pay for the clothing and the true cost of what it takes to make the garment. Much of which is not priced. The documentary asks questions such as what price do we put on polluting the environment, what price do we put on workers who go into work everyday in unsafe working conditions and what price do we put on our personal involvement in all this? A $10 t-shirt does not put a price on any of this. Neither could a $100 t-shirt. This is why this documentary is so powerful, it addresses a hole in our consuming society.

Producer Andrew Morgan also shows the other side, the arguments for sweatshops and how developing countries and people working in these sweatshops need these jobs. And they do. I think it’s a well rounded film that doesn’t just say you should stop buying this and buy that because X is bad. It takes you through why X is bad and what effect it’s having. From the cotton farmers, the role of big seed and fertiliser corporations, the factory workers and their families/communities, their bosses, their Government, major designers and brands, celebrities, popular culture, store customers and finally fashion waste disposal are all featured in this documentary and are all nicely linked. It’s a huge industry and one that is currently having an enormous impact on your lives as you read this, my life as I write this and the lives of everyone mentioned above. It’s an industry that needs to be changed and it needs to change now.

If you get the chance to see this, I would encourage you to as it’s highly informative and there are many points that this documentary brings up that we should be thinking about, as an individual, a society, a country and as part of a global community.

-S.

The True Cost

Following on from Fashion Revolution (also previously blogged about here and here), The True Cost documentary takes us inside the fashion industry and reveals at what stake cheap and fast fashion is having on our world socially and environmentally. Judging from the trailer, it looks like it’ll be an informative session.

The documentary will be released world wide on the 29th May, so check around town to see if there’s one screening near you (click on the true cost documentary link above to find out about screening locations on their site).

-S.

Life Smartphone

I came across this hilarious short clip. I’m not sure who made it but it’s on youtube and is a gross but not so far off snapshot of our smartphone days. I can’t even remember the days of ordinary mobiles (I did start off on these ordinary mobiles) even though it wasn’t so long ago! It was actually only in the later stages of my Bachelor’s degree that I got my first smartphone.

In a world where it is increasingly hard to be disconnected from the online world, as work and now our social lives depend on the online interactions, this just serves as a friendly reminder that we need to look away from the screens. It’s something that I’m still finding hard to do (twitter break needed) and isn’t it weird that we are now having to force ourselves away from it? I find that I’m increasingly trying to find way to “escape” the modern world. The way our lives are headed doesn’t seem to help in any way at switching off and I think maybe this is a bad thing that will be lead to an increase in unhappiness. What do you think? Do you have strategies on how to disconnect from the world? Is it something that you’ve thought about doing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know!

-S.

#whomademyclothes

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Today is Fashion Revolution Day and marks the day that we, as consumers, demand more transparency in the fashion industry. In the wake of Rana Plaza (previously blogged about here), there is a call for change to ensure safe working conditions and treatment for everyone along the production line of our favourite fashion labels, which will lead to sustainable changes.

This year is the 2nd Fashion Revolution Day, so what have we achieved since? This report came out by Baptist World Aid featuring many popular stores in Australia and they’ve been ranked across 4 categories: Policies, Traceability & Transparency, Monitoring & Training and Workers Rights Grade with each company/brand receiving a score from A-F. The first report came out in 2013 and this year, 18 new companies representing over 91 brands have been added to the report. That’s a total of 219 brands this year compared to 128 in 2013. The good news is that since the 2013 report, many companies have started to change their transparency. The cessation of child labour in Uzbekistan and increase of minimum wage of 75% in Bangladesh (although still the lowest in the world) are pointed out as some of the positive changes that have since occurred.

What is interesting in the report is how much change has occurred and how well companies are ranking at the Cut-Make level compared to the collection of Raw Materials (aside from ethical fashion brands). This highlights the point that for the fashion industry to become more sustainable, change also needs to happen at the bottom of the level. How are these materials grown? What is the impact of fertilizers and harvesting on the environment and human health? What are the working conditions and treatment of those employed at this level and the use of child labourers? These are still some of the issues that remain unanswered in majority of the companies in this report.

Why is it so important that we keep asking questions? It’s the recognition that these conditions that fashion is made under cannot last and is not sustainable enough to last because of seasonal changes in trends and fast fashion. It’s the recognition that workers across any industry should have equal rights and working conditions-conditions where they are safe and healthy. It’s the recognition that consumers have buying power and choice and we can use these towards what we care about. It’s the recognition that everyone in the fashion industry- from designers, companies, makers, purchases- are all tied together.

Who made your clothes? Who made my clothes?

-S.

Plastic Free July Recap

During the last month, I hopped onto the Plastic Free July cause to see how much single use plastic I could refuse.

So how did it go?
It went well. I did forget my cloth bag a handful of times (I think 2 or 3 times) and I was unsuccessful at finding a reusable coffee mug. But I started bringing my mug to the coffee stall instead (also helps when they’re located in the building) and have my steel tin can as a water bottle again. I declined a plastic bag (because I knew they wouldn’t have a paper one & I can only remember this because it happend last week) and carried my item in my bag instead.

What did I learn?
That EVERYTHING comes in plastic. Plastic takeaway containers, things I want to eat and use come in plastic packaging, earbud things, toothpaste is packaged in it and I came across a business that charges you more to dine in (take-away came with plastic everything and a plastic bag!).

Where do I go from here?
Ridding plastic from the world won’t be happening anytime soon because it’s so engrained (argh!)! But it made me more aware of its presence and my usage. Reducing plastic bags has been on my NYresolutions but I think now it should also include other single use plastics. This is only a small change but business owners out there (cough) have a whole lot of power. Now I need to go write my letter of complaint to this business….

Everything starts with 1 small change right?

-S.

Arc de Triomphe of Waste

Arc de Triomphe- Waste from civilization Artist Markus Jeschaunig builds an Arc de Triomphe made of stale bread sourced from bakeries, supermarkets and waste bins.This art installation is a little stale itself (get it?) as it happend in 2012 in Graz, Austria. The inspiration for this work was part global consumption, food waste and figures […]