I’m not much of a campaign type. In today’s post I’m thinking about whether and how campaigns can help establish healthy/ ethical habits.
Slowing The Breakneck Speed
Of Fast Fashion
On April 24th 2016, another instalment of the Fashion Revolution day took place – globally. This time, the Fashion Revolution day became Fashion Revolution week which made for way more impact on social media. The eponymous UK-based non-profit is possibly most known for their social media hashtag #whomademyclothes with which consumers can tag their favourite brands to raise awareness for the dark, hazardous side of fast fashion – or support their eco-fair favourites. One could argue that it might be just as, if not more efficient to simply stop buying fast fashion, you know, cold turkey, bam, you can’t have my money until you’re eco-fair, but most people seem to a) be more likely to tweet and gram instead – or b) fear the extra cost of slow, eco-fair fashion. And the Fashion Revolution folks know it:
We’re not asking people to boycott their favourite stores, we need to change the fashion industry from within. By asking the brands and retailers where we like to shop Who Made My Clothes? we can put pressure on them to be more transparent about their supply chains.”
– Carry Somers, Fashion Revolution founder
It does make sense. All of us in the green scene hope that one day conventional will equal eco-fair and healthy. But how do you change an industry that’s so huge? Fashion Revolution doesn’t rely on social media campaigns only. (BTW, eco-fair brands use the hashtag #imadeyourclothes. This move allows ethical brands to gain more visibility and prove they’re serious about the eco-fair element.) Beyond social media campaigning and production of videos like the “2-Euro-T-Shirt Experiment”, Fashion Revolution do the much-needed lobby work and release sustainability white papers and brand transparency assessments (teaming up with UK’s Ethical Consumer – you can download the latest Transparency Index here). But if you thought that the Transparency Index is your shopping guide to ethical fashion, no. It’s the evaluation of 40 widely available “conventional” brands:
Ours is not an endorsement but an illustration of what is in the public domain and what the brands voluntarily provided via a questionnaire. We live at a time where there are many fashion contradictions, and some of the greatest offenders are also some of the greater investors in sustainable solutions.”
– Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution Co-Founder
All fair and good, but the question remains: can you build a habit by following any of the campaigns by Fashion Revolution? Well, if you do it for the likes, then no. If you continue questioning and calling out brands, retailers online and offline, demanding transparency and improvement, then YES. Asking questions is the single best way to obtain any info 😉 and to make decisions. Asking questions in fact is so powerful, the unethical multinationals should have long tried to lobby it into illegality! 😛
To add a personal touch to the topic, here’s a very brief recap of my slow fashion beliefs or, more so, philosophy:
We don’t need a dozen shirts each couple of weeks;
choosing quality before quantity pays off way more;
get informed before you buy;
switching to eco-fair fashion is neither complicated nor luxurious in 2016;
eco-fair fashion doesn’t stop at your wardrobe (think accessories, jewels, cleaners, shipping etc.).
Also, let me bust a myth here. To build a solid eco-fair fashion wardrobe, you don’t need to be a millionaire, nor a stylist. Here are some of my tips (and I’ll share some more in an upcoming wardrobe planning app review):
How to green your wardrobe “without breaking the bank”:
1. Have a look at what you own. First, put everything you own, every piece of garment, every bag and each pair of shoes into one awkward pile in your living room. Do the walk of shame in front of your family that are tired to hear your “I’ve got nothing to wear!” cries. Wallow in this shame. Take in their jokes (at your expense). This is where the detox starts. Wipe clean your wardrobe, obvisously, with eco-friendly detergents 😉
2. Honestly evaluate what suits you best, for any situation, leisure, home wear, business, party – go with your real life situations, not with those seen on tv. We all have styles, shapes, patterns, textures and colours that flatter our natural beauty – and those we look really bad and awkward wearing. If you’re honest, you’ll know.
3. Reaccess your belongings applying your “suits me/ doesn’t suit me” scheme.
4. Reaccess what suits you by applying the quality scheme.
5. Create your favourite looks and outfits that work “out of the box”. Be bold, divert, play! You will find that you don’t need the latest rag to look your best (the proverbial millian dollars), and that you can save a helluva time if you plan your outfits in advance. I know several people who have developed something like a very personal “uniform” they sport – and look fantastic everyday!
But if you fancy some more advice and entertainment in terms of slow fashion, I’m happy to redirect you to a very recent interview for the Outsider Fashion blog in which I discuss eco-fair fashion tips & tricks and show several simple but really cool outfits put together using eco-fair brands and vintage pieces.
It’s well worth a read!
Save the Earth
I presume that the Earth Day, launched back in 1970 does not need as much introduction or explaining, but those of you who need some background information find all you want to know in the independent Earth Day wikipedia article, together with the listing of all relevant links.
For me, saying no to conflict palm oil, eating a veg(an) diet, living and consuming consciously is already a good way to celebrate Earth Day – everyday.
My blogger friend D.A. Wolf has put together an excellent selection of blog posts that’s very helpful for anyone who needs environmentalist ideas beyond the Earth Week, here are some of my favourites:
– Ready, Set, Recycle: Recycling Tips and Resources
– For Earth Week and Beyond: 12 Changeable Habits to Help the Environment
– Fridge Pass or Fridge FAIL: Are You Wasting Food?
In fact, even outside the green bubble of likeminded ethical individuals, I see a lot of growing concern and awareness both on the side of companies and consumers, in particular here in Germany and in most parts of Northern/ Western Europe. Here and even in Russia, long known for blatantly bitter eco-ignorance, companies and consumers embrace bio-degradable packaging, support recycling schemes, report and avoid non-ecological practices. People realise more and more, and with growing urgency, that by bringing back holistic thinking, healthy habits and doing less of what they are sold through advertising, they improve their and their families’ health, not “only” the planet’s. Be it reducing food waste or accepting “ugly foods”, asking for/ offering plastic-free shopping bags or trying out veg(an) foods, most Europeans and a growing number of North Americans are eco-savvy.
I hear that it’s much more challenging still to be an environmentalist in South America, in China, in India.
As always, I believe that all change starts with one courageous individual. With YOU. You may be the boss of a multinational corporation or a consumer who asks questions, you may be a celebrity or an emerging artist, a grandmother or a grandson – but it’s you that starts the global change, it’s you who connects with likemindedness out there!
My personal belief is that the age of social media makes visible how many people share the vision of a healthy, peaceful, inspired, fair-minded and meaningful world. Some twenty years ago you used to sit in your room and think you’re a loner and lunatic, peer pressure and cynical hedonism being the hot shit and all, but today it’s a tiny bit easier to be bold.
I know from our discussions here on the blog or on social media, as well as from your emails that many of you have fantastic ideas of how to make your life and the life of your families and communities better. You send me stories of hope, and sometimes of exhausting work leading nowhere. Maybe it’s time to share those stories with a larger audience? For nothing is more valuable than a network when building healthy habits for a wonderful, eco-ethical business and life.
And now I listen to you, my lovely Adventurers.