The 90 day challenge!

I was so inspired by the 365 Day Personal Challenge by Christina Dean, Founder of Redress Asia, it had inspired me to attempt this challenge myself.  I initially stumbled across the challenge via Eco-Vintage blog, written by Katie Thomas who herself have some very inspirational posts.  One of the things I have loved during my research into sustainable and ethical clothing is finding these great bloggers and sites that support this movement also, who inspire me even more on a day to day basis.

However, back to my 90 day challenge…I knew, and anyone who knows me would also have an inkling, that this would be an extremely difficult challenge for me.  I am after all a self confessed shopaholic, the proper kind,  however on a mission to reduce my slavery footprint.   After watching the video almost over a week ago however, I still had the message firmly impressed on my mind.

The solution?  I am embarking on a 90 day challenge.  This personal mission is to not shop for 90 days.  The rules: I wear what I have in my wardrobe and can only purchase from second hand stores if necessary. The reason: To reduce my consumption, recycle my current resources and promote sustainable practices through purchasing already manufactured clothes.

I will keep you posted on my progress…this will NO doubt, be one of the biggest challenges for me however I am committed to doing this.

Fast Facts

Approximately 500,000 tons or 1 billion items of clothing are sent to landfill each year – that’s 114,000 per hour and an average of 16 items per year per person. Source: http://www.treehugger.com

Another great initiative

http://prexamples.com/2012/04/ms-and-oxfam-collaborate-to-launch-shwopping-campaign/

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/marks-spencer-shwopping-camapign.html

Ethical Fashion for the Australian Green Goddess: Book Review

1475849_10151783883746921_1695758926_nI recently stumbled across this pocket sized bible of Ethical Fashion and wished I had found this sooner. 

The authors of this book, Helen Coates and Jenny Leach, have put a lot of effort into creating a handy, user friendly and practical guide to ‘Ethical Fashion’. This handy directory, chronicles 100’s and 100’s of ethical and sustainable fashion brands, locations and stockists.  It also covers fast facts and tips, raising awareness of the ethical issues surrounding clothing manufacturing and commending the brands that are produced without exploiting the environment, animals and humans.

For example, did you know that the processing of a typical piece of cotton clothing has undergone chemical treatment amounting to a third of it’s weight worth of pesticides, bleaches, chemical fertilisers and other poisons.  This processing is so harmful to both humans and the environment due to the fact that these fertilisers and chemicals run into streams and oceans killing natural wildlife and thousands of workers (mostly in developing nations rife with poor human rights and working conditions) die annually due to chemical poisoning.  This fact definitely made me think twice about purchasing a cotton t-shirt in the future.

I am definitely not here to preach…only share the information I have found.  The issues and resolution for ethical fashion is a slow moving wheel, involving many moving parts in the process. And I am not naïve to think that due to me not buying a cotton t-shirt, I am solving this problem.  However I do believe raising awareness will improve this issue.  In time, by letting the huge retailers out there know that consumers are becoming more and more aware of these issues, it will lead to, even force, brands to pay attention and start focusing on ethical KPI’s.  Consumers will soon demand this as part of the brand offering. Just like when health conscious individuals and trends eventually forced food giants like McDonalds and KFC to focus on healthier alternatives (brands that people said would never cater to that market segment), clothing brands will soon not be able to ignore the voice of their consumers screaming out to produce ethically sustainable fashion.

I know one of the biggest challenges I faced when it came to finding ethically sourced brands, was time and access to information.  I started contacting all the key brands that I purchased from and found that it was a very slow and ambiguous process to finding out information regarding ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘who’ produced their products.  Not too mention, and let’s face it, buying ethically sourced products can be expensive and time consuming.  However, this little book has made it so much easier for me to commit to buying ethical products when and where I can.  It resources a large directory of local brands I had no idea about…that were only a short drive or fingertips away (all hail online shopping).

I recommend a copy for anyone out there who is keen to build their awareness on these issues and also have a quick reference guide to their surrounding ethical traders.

Where you can purchase your copy:

http://www.onyamagazine.com/giveaways/ethical-fashion-for-the-australian-green-goddess-giveaway/