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”

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

This week I made a video about How to Join the Fashion Revolution.

To demonstrate how to take a selfie showing your label, I wore my favourite T-Shirt with the slogan WE ARE THE SEA.

received_10204262302139512

 

And then I started wondering:

Who made the T-Shirt I was wearing in the video? Where was the cotton grown?  Where was it printed?

 

 

So, I decided to contact the brand, We are Islanders, and ask them #WhoMadeMyClothes?

This is the fantastic reply which I have just received from Erin at We Are Islanders:

“Hi Sienna, thanks for asking! Your We Are The Sea t-shirt is from Continental Clothing’s Earth Positive Apparel collection, meaning it is 100% organic with 90% reduced CO2.

The production of this t-shirt has been audited by the Fair Wear Foundation before being hand-printed by the We Are Islanders team in a Dublin print collective.”

 

We are Islanders 1

 

We Are Islanders also sent me some photos of them screenprinting T-Shirts like the one I wore, so now I really do know Who Made My T-shirt!

 

We Are Islanders 2

 

IMG_0987

I have never once considered myself a plus-sized model, yet I don’t fit the mould of the willowy size 6 models. However, a flow of normal-sized models are beginning to sweep the fashion industry.

 

Sienna Somers, savvy student

Sienna Somers, photographed by Dave Purgas

The French Parliament have proposed a legislation to set a minimum weight for any model working in France, whether it be catwalk, editorial or high fashion. Models would be required to have a healthy BMI, which is considered above 18. The average model is 5 foot 9 and would have to weigh around 125 pounds, whilst the current average weight for a model is between 90-120 pounds. Employers would be required to ask models for proof of healthy BMI, both before and after a model is employed. Regular weight checks with agencies and employers would be enforced and violators could face a fine of up to 75,000 euros and six months in prison.

This legislation aims to reduce the glorification of too-thin women, in the hope to combat anorexia. It is estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, a number which is ever increasing.

Plus sized models have been taking the modelling industry by storm in the last year, with Ashley Graham being the first plus-sized model to ever be published in Sports Illustrated.

 

sports illustrated, ashley grahamdownload Names on the Cup 2017 movie

 

Whilst the rise of plus sized models is a fantastic thing, it also raises some other issues, nowadays, anyone who doesn’t conform to the thin model ideals are automatically filed under the plus-sized model category. I consider myself one of the individuals stuck in this nameless limbo. Normal-sized model Myla Dalbesio, a healthy sized 10 was recently cast in a Calvin Klein‘s “Perfectly Fit” campaign and discusses size in an interview as part of the What’s Underneath project.

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If the french legislation is successful, this could revolutionise the fashion industry and the models of the future. Most of the ‘it girls’ of the last 20 years have been under the healthy BMI; Kate Moss- 16, Cara Delevigne- 16, Jordan Dunn-15, Miranda Kerr-16, Rosie Huntington-Whitely-17. These faces may stop becoming regulars at Paris Fashion Week. Hopefully this will encourage healthy sized people to pursue modelling and change the modelling industry.

 

Thought that London Fashion Week was only for fashion buyers and press? Think again. There are plenty of events happening all over London throughout that week which are open to the public.  Even better, most of them are free!

Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief is back!

I was fortunate enough to attend Fashion for Relief Haiti at London Fashion Week in 2010 in my then role as a DFID Youth Reporter. I was only 14! Here I am on my way to the show snapped by icône du jour

sienna-full-e1289679522437

Photo credit: icône du jour

At the time I commented:

I loved Fashion for Relief in aid of Haiti as I think it was great for the fashion industry. With celebrities from Ronnie Corbett to Kate Moss modelling, it not only shows that everyone can help make a difference but demonstrates that any sized person can walk down the runway. I went to this show at LFW last week as a youth reporter for DFID and I sat 3 rows back from the front where I had an amazing view of the fabulous designs of Alexander McQueen’s blue mini dresses worn my Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Pixie Geldof. I am sure that Lee McQueen would like to have known that the last piece he created was sold in a very good cause.

 

Now Naomi is back! This time she is raising money to aid the fight against Ebola.  Following the same format as before, she asks her friends to donate some amazing designer clothes, and they then model them on the catwalk and hopefully raise a great deal of money.

Photo credit: Westfield Centre

Photo credit: Westfield Centre

The Fashion For Relief show will kick off London Fashion Week and takes place at Somerset House on Thursday 19 February at 8pm. A limited amount of tickets will be made available to the public this year and are priced from £50 via Ticketmaster

International Fashion Showcase

 

The International Fashion Showcase is a festival of emerging designers from around the world, organised by the British Council and the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week in collaboration with London embassies and cultural institutes.  The event provides a  showcase for their countries’ most exciting designers and reflects their culture. I have attended some of the shows over the past few years and it is a fascinating glimpse into contemporary designers from around the world, often rooted in designs and techniques which reflect their traditional culture and heritage.

Maxhosa by Laduma, South Africa

Maxhosa by Laduma, South Africa

In previous years, the International Fashion Showcase could be seen in various embassies around the capital, but this year there is just one venue, Brewer Street Car Park, from n 20-24 February 2015. The event is free of charge and, with 130 designers from almost 30 countries, it is the largest public fashion exhibition of its kind.

International Fashion Showcase Events & Talks

 

You can also attend a programme of talks and events both before and during the showcase, including a designer mentoring programme facilitated by London College of Fashion.

16 FEBRUARY

PRIVATE VIEW: STYLE SHARING
16 February, 18:30-20:30
Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Private view of Style Sharing, an exhibition exploring the symbiotic
relationship with Korean and British style.
RSVP: Jeyun Moon jy.moon@kccuk.org.uk

17 FEBRUARY

ANOTHER AUSTRIA: NARRATIVE THREADS
17 February, 19.00-21.00
Austrian Cultural Forum London, 28 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PQ
Live reading combined with a fashion performance of the exhibition texts, featuring
some of the designers and writers.
RSVP Vanessa Fewster office@acflondon.org

18 FEBRUARY

PRIVATE VIEW: CRASH POP
18 February, 18:30-20:30
Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Japan’s hottest designers come crashing into London – find out what inspires
them in contemporary Japan at the private view.
Invite only. For queries please contact: info@ld.mofa.go.jp

19 FEBRUARY

CH TALENTS: VISIONARIES: PRIVATE VIEW
18:30-20:30
Display Gallery, 26 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2AQ
Join us for the inauguration of the CH talents: Visionaries Exhibition. The garments designed by students from HEAD Genève and the Institute of Fashion Design, Basel will be presented on live models throughout the run of the exhibition.
RSVP: lon.events@eda.admin.ch

20 FEBRUARY

TANZANIA PRIVATE VIEW: SERENGETI SIRENS
13:00-15:00
3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS
A reception to celebrate Serengeti Sirens the Tanzanian International Fashion
Showcase putting spotlight on the designers and sponsors, and meeting the
press. A talk from the Patron Mrs Joyce Kallaghe (spouse of the Tanzanian High
Commissioner).
Invite only.

ART FASHION – RECONSTRUCTION 2 – THE ACADEMY’S LABYRINTHS
15.30 – 17.30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
A presentation introducing the Georgian exhibition Art Fashion – Reconstruction
2 – Academy’s labyrinths. The talk will explore the concept behind the exhibition,
the Reconstruction of the historic building – Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, an architectural monument of cultural heritage for Georgia. Open to the public,
RSVP essential.
RSVP: maya.kipiani@art.edu.ge

PRIVATE VIEW: IN THE FOLD
18:30-20:30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Launch event for Ireland’s International Fashion Showcase entry presented by
Irish Design 2015 in collaboration with fashion exhibition partner Kildare Village.
Invite Only
RSVP: ifs2015@irishdesign2015.ie

PRIVATE VIEW: UNTAMED SKIN: THE ROMANIAN BLOUSE
19:30-21:30
Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave
Square, London. SW1X 8PH.
Exhibition Launch party
RSVP: Gabriela Mocan gabriela.mocan@icr-london.co.uk

21 FEBRUARY

REFASHIONING ARCHIVES
13.00-14.00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street,
London. W1F 0LA
A panel discussion exploring what the archive means in contemporary fashion
both as an inspiration for designers and as a way for museums to connect with the industry today.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

THE ART OF CRAFT WORKSHOP
14:00-16:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London. W1F 0LA
Create your own accessory with Czech designers. No prior experience is needed
and all materials and guidance will be provided. Open to the public, booking
required.
RSVP: info@czechcentre.org.uk

GIVING LIGHT: MEET THE DESIGNERS
16:00-17:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
An opportunity to meet the Bilbao International Art & Fashion designers
showcased in Spain’s exhibition ‘Giving Light’ and learn about their work and
Bilbao as a creative city.
RSVP: Aina Pomar – colaboradores.apc@maec.es or Rocío Sánchez -bilbaoartandfashion@bilboost.com by 17 February

ONCE UPON A TIME:PRIVATE VIEW
18:30-20:30
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London. W1F 0LA
A Private View in the presence of all participating designers, featuring a live
music performance by Stepan Ruzicka and his band. With cocktails, Czech beer and
refreshments.
RSVP: info@czechcentre.org.uk

23 FEBRUARY

FASHION WITHOUT BOUNDARIES
23 February, 17.00 – 18.00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street,
London W1F 0LA
London fashion thrives on the convergence of cultures, this panel discussion will
celebrate the influence of international fashion on the capital and explores how the city can continue to welcome international emerging talents.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

PRIVATE VIEW: FRAMEWORK
23 February, 19:00-21:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Private view of the Colombian International Fashion Showcase ‘Framework’.
To register your interest email: events@colombianembassy.co.uk

24 FEBRUARY

HIJAB STYLING WORKSHOP WITH DIAN PELANGI
14:00-15:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA
Indonesian fashion designer Dian Pelangi will host a Hijab Styling Workshop
showing her unique style for this traditional headwear.
RSVP: n.watson@fashion.arts.ac.uk

FASHION IN RESIDENCE
17:00-18:00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street, London W1F 0LA

Holly Jayne Smith, the winner of the British Council’s inaugural Graduate Fashion Week International Residency Award, will present her capsule collection, inspired her month-long residency at the Casa Moda Academy in Morocco. Holly will discuss her experience working overseas, her perceptions of the Moroccan fashion scene and the importance of cultural exchange in design in conversation with Martyn Roberts, Director of Graduate Fashion Week.
RSVP: rsvp.showcase@britishcouncil.org

CANADA HOUSE PRESENTS THOMAS TAIT
18:00 – 20:00
Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London. WC2N 5NJ
Winner of the first LVMH Young Designers Prize in 2014, Montreal-born Thomas Tait on structure, fluidity and his unique readyto-wear collection.
RSVP: Attendance strictly by invitation only. To register your interest email
programmes.london@international.gc.ca

19 MARCH

TORY TURK IN CONVERSATION WITH ROK HWANG
19.00
Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Rok Hwang – the designer behind the freshly launched rokh label – talks to ‘Style Sharing’ exhibition curator Tory Turk about living, and setting up a
fashion label, in London, in a film made by British filmmaker Eoin Glaister.

Clerkenwell vintage fair 

 

To celebrate London Fashion Week, Clerkenwell Vintage Fair  brings you The Vintage Collections on Sunday 15 February. £4 entry (£2 with NUS card)

You will find key iconic looks from different eras and can shop for pieces which don’t just hark back to a particular era, but are actually part of it.

Fashion editors, designers from London Fashion Week (my mother always attends), celebrity stylists and models return every season to source rare pieces, as well as getting inspiration for next season’s collection.

I have bought many of my favourite pieces at the fair, including both of my school prom dresses. For my Sixth Form Prom I bought an amazing gold Gucci long dress which was worn 25 years ago on the TV show Blind Date with Cilla Black.  And I actually bought it from the lady who wore it on the show!

My gold Gucci dress. Photo credit: Paul Pickard

My gold Gucci dress. Photo credit: Paul Pickard

 

Fashion at MeLondon

 

Presented in partnership with Felicities,  FASHIONatMELONDON has a host of events including catwalk shows, presentations, live photo-shoots and film making, installations in the Marconi Lounge and a MEdia Lounge every afternoon during London Fashion Week in the Radio Roof Top Bar.

London Fashion Weekend

 

With a blend of established and emerging designers, London Fashion Weekend is a great opportunity to shop the season’s (or last seasons as is often the case) key pieces direct from the designers.  I have attended several times and always find some bargains. Like a giant sample sale, but with a catwalk schedule.

For all you Savvy shoppers reading this, use the Promotional Code FIRSTNIGHT to receive 25% off all tickets apart from the Luxe ticket on Thursday 26 February. Offer includes a free glass of Prosecco.

26 February – 1 March. Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA  (map and times)

Photo: London Fashion Weekend

Photo: London Fashion Weekend