I was working with the Fashion Revolution team at London College of Fashion. I really needed a swimsuit for a trip to the Bahamas and heard that AURIA swimsuits were for sale at the EMG Progressive Fashion Concept Store in Beak Street, Soho, just a few blocks away.  I found the perfect swimsuit!  As it’s Fashion Revolution Week, I, of course had to ask the question #whomademyclothes?IMG_0095

 

AURIA’s swimsuits are made from Econyl.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 17.18.30

According to their website ‘the innovative ECONYL® Regeneration System is based on sustainable chemistry. With this process, the nylon contained in waste, such as carpets, clothing and fishing nets, is transformed back into raw material without any loss of quality.

fishing nets
And here are the people who made my swimsuit …

Paolo here in the #ECONYL plant? He prepares nets for regeneration
This is Paolo in the ECONYL plant He prepares nets for  regeneration

this is Ivo with some nets to be turned into #ECONYL yarn

This is Ivo with some nets to be turned into ECONYL yarn

Jan with some carpet fluff, the upper part of old carpets that we regenerate into #ECONYL yarn

Jan with some carpet fluff, the upper part of old carpets that is regenerated into ECONYL yarn

Denis & Mladen they are at the very beginning of the#ECONYL regeneration process

Denis & Mladen they are at the very beginning of the ECONYL regeneration process

Jozica works in the chemical lab. She checks the #waste material that will become #ECONYL yarn

Jozica works in the chemical lab. She checks the waste material that will become ECONYL yarn

Mirko keeps an eye on the spinning to get the best quality #ECONYL regenerated yarn in Slovenia

Mirko keeps an eye on the spinning to get the best quality ECONYL regenerated yarn in Slovenia

You can find Boro always around our bobbins of #ECONYL regenerated yarn to check quality!

You can always find Boro around the bobbins of ECONYL regenerated yarn to check quality

Bobbins of our #ECONYL regenerated yarn wouldn't get to our clients if it wasn't for Muamer

Bobbins of ECONYL regenerated yarn wouldn’t get to clients if it wasn’t for Muamer

And all of this recycled fibre then gets made into gorgeous AURIA swimsuits

I’m really happy to see that ECONYL is able to answer the question #whomademyclothes and show me the faces of everyone who has helped to make the fibre for my new swimsuit #imadeyourclothes

Cotton is one of the world’s dirtiest crops.

When you pick up a cotton T-shirt on the High Street, and only wear it a couple of times, do you ever stop to think about the impact which the water used for that garment has had on the local environnment? Probably not. Your average cotton T-Shirt has comsumed a staggering 2700 litres of water on its journey from the cotton field to the shop where you bought it.

“The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, causing human misery, enormous cost of life and gigantic environmental devastation” Katharine Hamnett

The World Bank estimates that around 20% of industrial water pollution in the world comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles. The textile industry is second only to agriculture as the biggest global polluter of clean water.

The water needed to grow cotton threatens precious water resources for local people. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world, home to millions of fish and surrounded by fishing communities. Now covers only 10% of its former surface area and holds less than 10% of the volume of water it held in the 1970s. Why? Demand for cotton.

NASA made the shock announcement that a large area of the Aral Sea had completely dried up. Beyond the loss of fresh water and their livelihoods, local communities are also suffering from carcinogenic dust from the lake bed being blown into their villages.  As we are talking about water, I won’t even start on the forced labour of thousands of people sent to work to pick cotton every harvest by the Uzbeki authorities.

Source: USGS/NASA

Source: USGS/NASA

According to Frances Corner in her book Why Fashion Matters, if we all extended the lifecycle of our cotton garments by 9 months, this could reduce the water footprint of our clothing by 30%. Surely 9 months isn’t too much to ask?

This week, Greenpeace released a new Detox Catwalk video. At the same time, they released new rankings to show which companies really are detoxing their supply chains and which ones are greenwashing or taking no responsibility for their toxic trail. See the rankings here

 

On Thursday, the Oceana Junior Ocean Council Fashions for the Future event took place at Phillips Auction House in Berkeley Square, London. Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Since 2001 Oceana has protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean, including innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. Find out more about Oceana here


Oceana finale

 

CEO of Oceana, Andrew Sharpless, said:

“If you care about biodiversity, save the oceans.
If you care about climate change, save the oceans.
If you care about jobs for coastal communities, save the oceans.
If you care about human health, save the oceans.
This is the single thing we can do to make a difference for the future”

Marlene Birger dress, worn by Sienna Somers photograph by Paul Pickard

At last Fashion Revolution Week (18th-24th April) has dawned upon us once again, trying to mend the broken links in the supply chain and helping us to fall in love with our clothes once again. In an era dominated by fast-paced, emotionless fashion, we need to take a step back, slow down and learn to appreciate the garments.

This year, Fashion Revolution is asking us to write a Love Story on a favourite item, the journeys you’ve shared with it and why you love it. My love story is based around my year 11 prom dress.

I had already looked everywhere: vintage fairs, ebay, high street but this dress was elusive and my search was endless. It had to be special.  I bought a reserve prom dress at a vintage fair for £20, which I have worn several times since, but I knew it wasn’t the one.

During a trip to London Fashion Weekend, in September 2011, I found what I thought was the dress. I tried it on. It was long, it was silk, it was gorgeous colours of the sunset, it was perfect. It was ripped. This wasn’t just an easy-to-mend rip due to the delicate nature of the material and the voluminosity of the skirt. The whole waistband would have to be removed and remade.  Then to my dismay, the price was significantly higher than I initially thought due to my misreading of the product code as the price! So I decided, with considerable reluctance, to walk away.

But this dress didn’t walk away from me. I obsessively googled the Marygold dress. I tried to find one so many times online. I phoned Malene Birger. I visited the shop. I came to the conclusion that the dress was very limited edition. I sadly moved on.

My mother always used to visit Clerkenwell Vintage Fair when she was showing at London Fashion Week as the two always coincided. In the middle of February 2012 my mother found the dress. It was the very same dress, bought by Miniola Vintage at London Fashion Weekend, mended by her, and for sale on her stand at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair.

After school one day, my mum surprised me with the dress.

The dress was greatly admired at the prom.

I treasure the dress and long for another opportunity to show it off…

Wearing one of the prom dresses I bought at Clerkenwell in 2012. Photograph by Paul Pickard

Wearing the dress. Photograph by Paul Pickard

#Secondhandfirst Week  was launched by the fashion reuse charity TRAID to celebrate the power of second-hand to change the world by keeping the resources we already have in use for longer. This year, it runs from 23 – 28 November.

Take TRAID’s #SECONDHANDFIRST Pledge and let them know what percentage of your wardrobe you will commit to sourcing second-hand, rather than buying new. Tweet your progress to @traid #secondhandfirst

Susie Lau of Style Bubble has taken TRAID’s Pledge in support of #Secondhandfirst Week, will you?

celine bags susiebubbleweb

 

canada goose This year I took part in Fashion Revolution’s #haulternative – a new way of refreshing your wardrobe without having to buy new. You can see many of my great secondhand finds in this video. If you would like to make your own #haulternative video to show off the great #secondhandfirst finds you have made, there is now a brilliant guide to the Haulternative available to download on the Fashion Revolution website: http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/


One of my best charity shop finds of recent months has to be this pair of gold Valentino trousers for just £10 in our local cancer research shop.

IMG_7843

TRAID charity shops, and many of its partners in London, across the UK and globally, are hosting a week of events and actions designed to connect you to the huge environmental and social benefits of second-hand and to encourage you to buy less new. Over-consumption is having a seriously negative environmental impact on the planet, while exploitative labour and unsafe working conditions are commonplace in our supply chains. This insatiable demand on rapidly diminishing resources, like land and water, simply cannot continue. Sourcing more of our clothes and other goods second-hand reduces consumption, our use of scarce resources, waste and carbon emissions. At the same time, we extend the life-cycle of wearable clothes and other material objects while sourcing things in more interesting and socially beneficial ways like swapping, lending and making.

Susie Bubble crocheting rachel_manns_HTHTxFRD15_lowres_75

Events and ways to take part include:

  • Late night charity shopping will help you to rebalance your wardrobe way from buying new to second-hand
  • TRAIDTALKS with author and design activist Professor Kate Fletcher on how we use our clothes
  • Spoken word performances from poet and rapper Potent Whisper, Sabrina Mahfouz and other guests
  • Plastic Seconds Jewellery Workshop transforming unrecyclable plastics into art objects led by Maria Papadimitriou
  • Screen printing with reclaimed garments with Peckham’s Captured in the Rye
  • Discover the lost art of darning at repair workshops run by TRAID and Fabrications
  • Global film screenings of the documentary ‘Udita’ by documentary makers Rainbow Collective on Bangladeshi women workers in the garment industry
  • A ‘river of waste’ art installation at Hornsey Town Hall and much more.

collage_shf

This year, #Secondhandfirst Week coincides with Black Friday, a day of price cuts by major retailers on items like TV’s, furniture and clothes designed to create a frenzy of consumption that has seen fights, crushes and huge queues over discounted goods. Black Friday is an uncritical celebration of materialism without regards for its impacts on people and planet. #Secondhandfirst Week provides a counterpoint to this orgy of consumption and aims to increase society’s appetite for second-hand as a viable alternative to buying new.

Maria Chenoweth Casey, TRAID’s Chief Executive and a passionate proponent of second-hand said, “#Secondhandfirst is more than a week, it’s a philosophy that celebrates and recognises the power of reusing clothes – and other resources – to improve our world, and, it’s a practical way of immediately adopting a more sustainable way of living.”

Susie Bubble rachel_manns_HTHTxFRD15_lowres_61

The benefits of dramatically increasing our use of second-hand goods also includes a social and cultural dimension that has the potential to transform us from individual consumers into collective citizens connected to communities and people rather than material objects, and that loosens the grip of advertising and corporations on shaping our style and identity.

Fittingly, #Secondhandfirst Week ends on Sunday November 29th the day of the global People’s Climate March in London. This march aims to break last year’s record for the largest climate change mobilisation in history, and TRAID will be making a banner from second-hand textiles and invites everyone to march with them to stop climate change.

Image credits: Traid and Fashion Revolution

With UK shoppers throwing away enough clothing to fill Wembley Stadium each year, our attitude towards fashion needs to change.  Fast fashion means that we can buy what we want and discard it with equal abandon.  New collections come and go so quickly that I don’t have time to fall in love with a beautiful piece of clothing, save up for it, and then cherish it. By the time I have earned enough money, it will be long gone from the rails.

 watch movie Smurfs: The Lost Village now

haulternative

 watch movie Smurfs: The Lost Village now

Buying vintage fashion, I can own beautiful quality, timeless pieces which come with ready-made authenticity, whatever decade happens to be on trend.  I also never have to worry about meeting anyone else wearing the same outfit!

My Haulternative for Fashion Revolution Day is different to a traditional haul. I want to demonstrate that vintage fashion really can provide a viable alternative, not just to the High Street but to Designer fashion as well.  From my floor-length, gold Gucci dress worn 20 years ago on Blind Date, to my denim Burberry jacket picked up from a stand at Glastonbury, here is my vintage #haulternative.

To see more of my fabulous vintage finds, from £10 gold Valentino trousers to red Sergio Tacchini Tennis shorts for a quid, check out my previous blog on Preloved Clothing.

Vintage clothing comes with a ready-made story attached. I wonder who has worn it and where it has travelled. Fashion Revolution Day, on the 24th of April, wants you to think about the story behind your clothes, and ask brands and retailers #WhoMadeMyClothes?

“Be curious, find out, do something.
Become a part of the solution.
You can help to change the world, one outfit at a time”

On 24th of April, I will be supporting Fashion Revolution Day. If you want to join in too, watch my short video to find out how.

 watch movie Smurfs: The Lost Village now

 watch movie Smurfs: The Lost Village now

emma watson