It’s time to pay attention

My dearest readers,

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This is a water supply. I love clothing, I love expressing myself visually, but when I think of the long term implications my consumption has, I know we have to change the way we think about it. Bored Panda released a visual photo essay about the pollution in china and it’s horrifying! Quite frankly this isn’t just about the physical toll our consumption takes on the environment, it’s also about the impact it has on the people who work and live in these conditions.

My good friend send me this article Bloggers sent to work in Cambodian Sweatshops, that links to the videos so you can watch the online reality show that is attached to the break down of this 17 year old blogger. There is a concept that my students and I discuss when we talk about the ethics of outsourcing that I think many of us overlook. The notion that because we are advanced as a culture that we have tied up all the loose ends of the highlighted issues of children in sweatshops, or the deaths of hundreds of women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The reality is these atrocities are happening today, they happen everywhere. Even with the green movement there is not enough  being done to make our clothes more ethical or sustainable. I feel the only way we change this is by knowledge and discussion.

I,  just like you, love new clothing, I love to buy new stuff to put in my closet, I love to look my best and I have an unnatural obsession for looking my best. However, there is no handbag in the world that is worth the loss of human life or the degradation of others or the places they live. I think of it this way. I love clothing and I love new designs and the innovation and creativity that is associated with the fashion industry, but if we don’t make severe cuts and changes in the selections and mass productions associated with this industry we may not get to look forward to many more Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. Why? Because we are going to eventually run out or ruin farmable land for all of that cotton for all of those t-shirts and jeans we love so much. It already depletes soil nutrients that could be used for growing food. And not to be too dramatic, but when we’re all dying of cancer from the amount of caustic chemicals we have put in to our water supply from pesticide run off for those crops and the chemical dyes we use to give them colors, I wonder if we’ll regret the damage we have done.

I’m not saying that first thing tomorrow you should throw out all of your unethically sourced clothes or that we all have deep pockets that allow us to buy 100% organic 100% sustainable 100% ethically sourced clothing. However, we all can start in acknowledging the problems and start facilitating discussions on how to make a difference. It’s time to start paying attention.

My partner and I have started this journey in baby steps by shopping the majority of our clothing through second hand clothing stores. While these present their own challenges and are dependent on a primary market to create the clothing that supply these stores, they do allow us to keep a large quantity of textiles out of landfills and keep those garments worn until the end of their intended life cycles. I think of it as starting in a place of waste not want not. I am also saying it is time to be more choosy in your wardrobe decisions and start finding your own answers about your consumables. Companies want you to buy their product, they don’t want you to know hundreds of 15 year old girls were killed in a factory fire that made those goods.

I also give this piece of advice, support your local economies, buy local and buy less. For those of you interested I’ve been reading this fantastic book Wear No EvilShe has some pretty hard hitting facts about our clothing and so far some pretty sound advice on how she changed her own consumption.

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I don’t think that any one person has all of the answers, or that any one person is 100% unbiased and accurate when it comes to discussing how we use, waste or manufacture. However, it starts with educating yourself and researching the things that important to you. For me, I would like to see us continue to have fashion weeks, and have new an innovative fashion ideas. In order to do this in the long term, we have to change. It’s lovely to look good, it’s awesome to accept yourself for who you are, but it’s amazing to be aware enough to take care of your surroundings.

Some food for thought my lovely fashionistas!

Yours,

❤ Evelynlouise

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Make your holiday greener

To my dearest readers,

I hope that you had a lovely holiday this past week and you enjoyed time with family and friends. I also hope some of you took the donation challenge and called up your local shelters. Many people think that organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army just provide for these organizations, and the truth is, they are fueled on donations like any other not for profit. So keep your fellow humans in mind this season.

I have been trying to articulate some very interesting buzz that’s been circulating around the fashion world for going on several decades. Mostly it’s the part of me who is very entrepreneurial in spirit, but a conservator at heart. For those of you who have been following along, fashion and positive body image are two topics very near and dear to my heart. However, the third topic which gets my blood boiling when it comes to fashion is its environmental foot print.

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We cannot think about Christmas in the U.S. without associating it with the task of doing some shopping for our friends, loved ones, and co-workers. I think that we would all love to live in a world where we didn’t have to worry about natural habitats getting destroyed, or running out of natural supplies, or having the ability to grow all of the plants that we need to continue to live on this planet of ours. But the truth is, this just isn’t a reality. People have to become activists for their cause. It doesn’t always mean you stand in front of a political building with a sign, but it does mean that you inform yourself and you inform others. Where am I going with this?

Well recently I read this fantastically informative article about the impact of our fas fashion consumption on second hand markets. The numbers are just staggering, and to be honest after researching similar topics not even 5 years ago, the number just continue to grow.  We create 25 billion pounds of new clothing a year in the U.S. 85% of which ends up in a land fill at the end of it’s cycle. This is bad kids. Why? Because most of the clothing made today is made of materials that don’t biodegrade easily. The following is a pie chart provided by EPA estimates of what ends up in a landfill. According to the math above 21 billion pounds of the above new textiles will be added to landfills and according to the chart below that’s only a small slice of what’s ending up in the garbage.

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You may be asking, what being environmental conscious has to do with when and where you are going to find the latest and greatest in plus sized dresses for next spring. The real issue is, if we don’t slow down with our consumption of clothing, one day we literally will have nothing left to consume. You can forget about shopping for this season’s latest boots and you will find yourselves at the mercy of whatever second hand markets exist, until every last piece of clothing has to be scrapped together.

I don’t bring this up so close to the holiday season to bring you down for going out and enjoying some shopping. However, I think it’s time to have some real talks about the things we are buying. I am just as guilty as all of you for purchasing things I don’t need. But as this holiday approaches and you start purging your house to make room for all your new Christmas goodies, not to mention the increase in trash you are going to have from the increased foot traffic in your home, here are my

Top 5 requests for a less ecologically impacted christmas:

  1. recycle everything you possibly can: paper, boxes, textiles, cans, paper plates, etc. Say no to styrofoam and remember those extra bags of trash you pitch at the holidays have to go somewhere.
  2. Look at purchasing quality clothing that will fall apart. Have a love affair with your clothing, love it until you’ve attached the last button you can sew on to it, love it until it falls off your person and then? recycle it.
  3. Try to shop local, support your local artisans, by supporting local businesses, you are decreasing the amount of carbon emissions used to ship goods and products to your door. You are also stimulating local economies which bring direct benefits to you and your community.
  4.  Keep an eye out for trends that are just going in the garbage in 3 months. Stop buying it! If everyone stops buying it and pushes for more sustainable products, retailers and creators will have to adapt. You control the market with your money. It doesn’t work with out millions of us and the dollars we put towards the products we buy.
  5. Tell your friends. Remind them about how they have a say in these crazy fashion cycles.

Here’s another individuals take on how to recycle your textiles, they have some pretty good tips. I don’t want you to feel bad about enjoying clothing, but I do want you to think about where it’s coming from and how we all are guilty of over consuming. Happy Shopping!

Hope to see you next week!

❤ Evelynlouise.

An Alternative to Shopping

A weird caveat to the typical holiday shopping crusade, I’ve been turning my own attentions at this time of year to finding ways to purchase meaningful gifts for friends and family for the up and coming holiday seasons. While this shopping craze is in no way related to a fashion blog, and you are probably pondering what soap box I am about to stand on, I simply have an interesting look at the consumption and our views of it in the fashion world. As you know from my entry on the LBD: Uniform Project entry and my ode to more sustainable wardrobes I am a big proponent of lightening our ecological foot print when it comes to fashion. Instead of entering a tirade about the horrendous amounts of things we don’t need that we purchase anyway at this time of year I instead turned to the veritable cornucopia that is the internet to provide me some alternative thoughts. I ended up finding an artist named Sarah Lazarovic, who recently released a book called A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy about her year not shopping for anything.

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I am looking forward to picking up my own copy. I read this article about the artist and her endeavors and particularly for whom she wrote the book:

This is what happens when you don’t shop for a year.

The article particularly got me thinking about the things we buy, and more specifically why do put so much emphasis on always having new clothing? You can be a fantastically wells dressed person and never spend a cent at a new retail store. However, the point that the author seems to make that I am particularly fond of, is that you don’t need clothes to define who you are. My lovely curvaceous readers, remember that no pair of pants is going to make you love your butt, you have to love it before you put pants on it.

So to kick off this holiday season I impart to you a new thought, maybe a challenge for the up coming year to consider why you buy what you do, and what it means to shop with a more conscious effort.

I hope you at least find it interesting!
❤ Evelynlouise