Loading...

Follow My Good Emporium on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

It’s all the rage – taking a break from social media, getting a digital detox. And I can attest to why it’s so popular.

In January, we moved house, district, jobs and schools. It was a massive, exciting, back-breaking move. I also started a new full-time job as a communication and brand champion for public transport in Dunedin, where me moved. A lot of change, all for the positive.

In the thick of it, I didn’t have time for anything ‘social’, but when I finally did, I elected not to rush back to my computer. I decided I would just focus on being present, and after work switching the PC off, putting the phone away unless needed for life admin. Of course I kept in touch with friends and family through direct email or messenger or whatsapp, but I uninstalled instagram, and stopped Facebook notifications, and simply didn’t open them.

It was bliss. Bliss because I was just in the moment. I’m not a huge social media follower or poster, so this wasn’t as dramatic a move as it is for some, but it was deliberate. Being present even when there’s ‘nothing to do’ really pushed me to do more meaningful things like read books more, for example. It highlighted what is and isn’t important to me, and what commitments I can make to social media that are within my character.

Some tips about taking a social media holiday:
  • Everyone is different. Some people find social media sharing therapeutic, while others, like me, find it a chore at times (especially if related to business). If you’re the latter, take time out before social media is no longer enjoyable.
  • I didn’t let people know I was having time out, because it was only around a month. If you’re a regular poster, it might be worthwhile letting people know.
  • For me, this was more about being present in the moment, and not filling in gaps looking at my phone.
  • I didn’t set out to do this. When I realised I hadn’t posted for ages, or scrolled through FB or Inst, I decided to keep not posting and avoid looking.
  • I found I played more toys with my son, breathed the sea in more, and called people more – when you’re not always seeing what people are up to, you feel the need to call and properly catch up!!
  • I can also see now how much time we (everyone) spends on their phone – missing out on the direct connections between life, instead of via a phone.
Moving house…

As to the move, well here we are in the wonderful great small city of Dunedin, where the beautiful, white beach with it’s perfect surf waves and sunny promenade is 20 minutes from the centre of town, with its university, public art gallery, civic centre, cathedral, and as it happens my job working at the regional council. I feel particularly proud and joyful that I have a rewarding role that encourages travelling by public transport, which is one of the most sustainable social, economic and environmental solutions for this city, and our planet.

We’re a little bit in love with where we’ve ended up, and it has made me realise how much I love the ocean and the sound of waves crashing in the distance.

I’m also looking forward to immersing myself into the local fashion scene too, already knowing a few influential and active people around here, including Senorita AweSUMO, who also runs Stitch Kitchen.

And this week, Dunedin ID Fashion Week has started, and I’m looking forward to seeing what that has to offer. Looks like the perfect opportunity to get back on the social media horse.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As I write this it’s bucketing down with rain, and yesterday it was snowing. I can’t say that is entirely normal for this time of year, but then New Zealand wouldn’t be the only country experiencing the anomalies of climate change. Give it a few days, and spring will be back!!

As we’re on the eve of summer, I have been thinking about my bathing suit/swimming costume/togs (whatever your preferred name is) and bikini.

I love swimming. I love the water. My bikini is about 12 years old, and my one-piece swimsuit even older – circa 2005. They both do the trick, but I’m not sure I’m still into bikinis, and my swimsuit is a sports one, and not really something for the beach. Even though we’re only heading to the seaside in the New Year, the summer swim collections are out so I want to share these with you. The good news is that there are a few sustainable ones to chose from from fair Aotearoa.

Here’s New Zealand’s top five sustainable swimwear options Kowtow

The usual Kowtow credentials stack up.

Each piece is made from Econyl®, a regenerated nylon manufactured in Italy. Econyl® consists of pre and post-consumer nylon waste material including fishing nets, discarded carpets, plastic components and fabrics scraps. Kowtow have recycled 120kg of discarded nylon to make durable and environmentally friendly swimwear.

You can return your Kowtow swimwear in store too.

Love this piece!

Nisa

They of the underwear brand that employs ex-refugees in Wellington has launched swimwear. They’ve used deadstock fabric, meaning that Nisa bought fabric that was left over from massive industrial production (usually from other swimwear brands) that was destined for landfill.

I really like what Elisha Watson, the founder, says here of starting swimwear: “Swimwear fabric is crazily slippery, and so much more difficult to cut and sew than cotton! I now have a much greater appreciation for why swimwear costs so much: it is a lined garment, meaning from a sewing perspective it is two garments sewn together to make one final piece; you need so many fiddly bits and piece – I had to scour the whole of New Zealand to buy the last pieces of rubber elastic that were certain widths; and it takes a long, long time to sew.

“Going to some shops now and seeing swimwear for $20 blows my mind – how is it possible?”

Aurai Swim

I discovered this brand through NZ Fashion Week, as it showed in the first ever sustainable catwalk as part of the show this year.

The business is based in Auckland, while collections are handmade at a small family-owned atelier in the founder – Natalia’s – hometown in southern Brazil, where she locally sources most of the materials. They too use ECONYL® nylon waste, as well as in the SS19 collection, AMNI SOUL ECO®, a Brazilian-made polyamide with n that accelerates biodegradation in the anaerobic environment, common in most landfills. Both fabrics are OEKO TEX certified,  i.e., zero harmful substances are used in their manufacturing.

NOT ONLY THAT, but you can filter the shopping range to be mastectomy friendly, biodegradable or even according to how much coverage you want. I like that kind of thoughtfulness!

Thunderpants

Our other favourite underwear brand that is known for making great undies that last forever and hold things in place comfortably!!

They are pioneers in the New Zealand sustainable fashion world and the NZ-made model, and their swimwear also gets great reviews.

I love this combo. YAY!

WE-AR

Ethical yoga and activewear, now swimwear.

I’m excited about this too. Each piece is made in Bali at WE-AR’s B-CORP certified production house to the highest ethical standards. And it suits a bigger busted person too, which I’m very grateful for.

OK, I said a one-piece but this is pretty cool too!

Across the ditch

I like to support close to home, but if that doesn’t work out, I look to my neighbour Australia, where the culture is similar and the airmiles much shorter.

Salt Gypsy and Vegethreads are my top picks.

Happy Summer, and happy swimming!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

What an amazing few weeks are behind me.

I was able to share the sustainable fashion message at three different opportunities, the Great Glenorchy Getaway hosted by Camp Glenorchy  (which I incidentally recently wrote an article about) and at the One Summit Festival of Sustainability held in Queenstown and Wanaka.

The highlight was co-hosting the One Summit Fashion Revolution talk with the talented and inspiring personal stylist Trudie Millar at ‘home’ in Queenstown, to an audience of around 50 engaged and enthusiastic guests.

Our talk was, I think, unique because it was a collaboration of two very different experiences and knowledge bases. Trudie is a personal stylist, who has become interested through her love of vintage and pre-loved clothing in the sustainable fashion model and circular thinking. I, myself, am a journalist and academic with a particular interest in sustainable fashion, and I might say now – it turns out – a bit of an expert. But I certainly couldn’t give you tips on how to style yourself!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are my 9 top tips/learnings from the talk.

  1. Sustainable fashion is growing and there are loads of cool Kiwi brands to shape your style with.
  2. It isn’t more expensive if you change the consumption model – buy quality over quantity, chose according to your style, think longevity…
  3. Certified organic cotton is awesome – It’s ethically made, environmentally sound and great for the budget because it lasts and looks/feels great for much longer.
  4. Capsule wardrobes are great to hone your style, minimise early morning ‘what to wear’ conundrums, and give yourself the space to see creativity. That’s a combined Fred/Trudie tip!!
  5. A long sleeved denim shirt makes a great jacket, says Trudie. It’s true! I’ve used that tip already. A long wrap dress or short dress makes a great kimono!! Genius!
  6. Colours are key to making your outfit pop. Trudie really educated the audience on colour palattes and not being scared of colour or pattern.
  7. Quality over quantity is the top tip. Want to consume less but look great, then quality clothing is a great investment, we both say.
  8. Love the clothes you have, and love other people’s too!! Pre-loved clothing is such a simple solution to buying less and more at the same time. It prevents landfill waste, is unique to you, and costs less.
  9. We all clothe ourselves, so let’s take a moment to think about who made those clothes, what they’re made of, and what we like about them.

The fashion show was great, and an absolute highlight was Peri Drysdale, founder of Untouched World, talking about the brand journey and being a female Kiwi trying to make it on the world fashion stage in the 80s and 90s, when ‘sustainable fashion’ wasn’t really a thing. Incredible!! I’m looking forward to writing more about Peri.

ReCreate, Thunderpants, Duffle & Co also came on board for the fashion show and give-aways at both Sherwood and Lakes Wanaka Centre, the two venues.

It was fun, inspiring and a truly beautiful thing to share the message. Trudie and I had a final message that’ll I’ll share now. Small change is all that’s needed. Small changes encourage more small change which becomes big change. It’s the ripple effect. Something small can become huge.

…Go and make ripples…
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

By now you’ll know I like to hang on to things. Why? Because I hate throwing things away that I know will go to landfill and just clutter up the beautiful world we live in, even before any horrible emissions are released through some process of non-bio degradation. But also, it’s my way of resisting this throwaway culture and showing those around me that you can in fact keep on keeping on with old stuff.

So, I hang on to things for as long as I can. If it’s broken, I’ll fix it or have someone else fix it. I treat all my clothes and personal items with as much care as a working mother to a teen and toddler can be!

But when my trusty second-hand backpack (already featuring a few quick fixes) was mauled to near oblivion by our sausage dog, Walter, I had to admit defeat. Besides you could practically see through the bottom. It was, quite literally, a dog’s breakfast.

So, after trying to resurrect it unsuccessfully, and having had no luck in finding the perfect pack in the local charity shops, I’ve decided see what ethical, sustainable long-lasting backpacks are out there.

The criteria – It should fit a laptop, my lunch box/bag, a diary, two phones, possibly a wetbag (for toddler accidents) ready to go, and water bottle. I love local or close to local too so probably prefer Kiwi and Aussie faves. Also, my husband should feel comfortable wearing it too.

One: The Beekeeper Parade backpack $$
I discovered this Aus brand a few years ago. I just love the story and the colours. They use upcycled high quality discarded fabrics, that they turn into beautiful, functional bright bags, including backpacks, weekenders, and accessories.

They also run BabyTree Projects, a charity the founder and his sister founded together to fight for children’s rights and to bring quality education to children in rural Cambodia, where they are originally from.

Don’t know if hubby will wear this one, but there are plenty of other options.

TWO: Kathmandu day packs $$
These New Zealand pioneers of outdoor sports gear have really lifted their game in the last few years around environmental responsibility (tip for Kathmandu – don’t put these gems of info under the banner corporate responsibility. It’s an outdated term that people don’t seek for when wanting to know your ethical and sustainable credentials).

Anyway…They partner with conservation organisations and initiatives to reduce and mitigate waste and fibre microbeads. They use responsibly grown cotton and wool, down, plus recycled cotton and polyester.

Kathmandu also score well for worker’s rights through the Baptist World Aid report/Tearfund Ethical Report, which is heavily focussed on ethics in the manufacture supply chain.

I like this one above because it’s a tote too, or this one because hubby can use it too! Both use recycled materials. Apparently 17 bottles can go into a backpack!! Brilliant! They have 3,900,000 plastic bottles upcycled across their product range.

THREE: Kånken backpack by Fjällräven $$$
I’ve gone off shore for this one with a Swedish outdoor clothing company.

Like Kathmandu’s packs, these are are made from polyester recycled from 11 plastic bottles. They are dyed with SpinDye technology that uses less water, energy, and chemicals in production.

It looks like the right size and what I love – it has a removable seat pad! I really like the colours too, and I know it’s a sturdy brand. It is a little bit more pricy though than the packs already mentioned.

FOUR: Smateria – Kiwi brand, made in Cambodia $
I know Smateria for its hand bags. Although it’s not really my style, the COMMA backpack has caught my eye, and I like their ethics.

Great functionality with options – roll it up, side pocket for a smaller device – and the sturdy, slimline design with padded straps.

Smateria bags are Italian-designed and handmade by Cambodian artisans using repurposed materials such as netting, vinyl and leather, and recycled plastic shopping bags.

The price is good too!

Let’s get onto the pretty ones!!

FIVE: Duffle & Co. $$$$
I like that this Bradley Backpack from Duffle & Co. is a bit smarter looking than just functional, however I couldn’t take it hiking, and it’s leather, and I generally reserve leather for shoes only.

But I want to share about Duffle & Co, because they are a very cool Kiwi brand doing great things. They are transparent about suppliers who are small craft businesses, are ethical and support Kiwi charities including KiwiHarvest (rescuing good food before it goes to waste and giving it to Kiwis in need) and Million Metres (working with community groups and landowners to raise enough funds to replant one million metres of waterway with native plants and trees).

They also create accessories in pinatex (that pineapple leather that’s so cool!) and canvas.

SIX: Matt & Nat from Australia $$

The flip side to leather!

Matt & Natt is ideal for vegans. I was a vegan once, a long time ago, and so I empathise and can’t help taking notice of vegan products. Matt & Nat are well established and their style is smart.

The backpacks are beautiful – look at this one!

Some also double as handbags, and when zipped down fold open to fit a small laptop.

Conclusion

The old me would have bought three from this list, but nowadays it’s all about being minimal and smart about choices. It’s a very tough choice between Beekeper Backpacks – price, story, fun limited edition designs – and Kathmandu – longevity. Both points for style and sustainability, although Beekeper is a sustainable/ethical brand first, whereas Kathmandu is an outdoor brand becoming more sustainable, and I often prefer to support those who have gone out on a limb to be good from the start.

What do you think?

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Last year, Plastic Free July really inspired me. I took on the challenge to try to make some positive, life-long changes around our plastic use as a family, and me personally with regard cosmetics.

The month is about refusing single-use plastic during July. You can join the challenge and read more here. But for me, it’s more than that. It’s a reminder to try a bit harder at every point that plastic enters our lives.

Refusing single use plastic is already part of our regime, although we’re not always successful! I’m definitely of the mindset that we should refuse before we recycle. Recycling is not enough. We need to cut the consumption.

The effort we made last year paid off, with lasting changes. I am particularly proud of my bathroom cabinet’s dwindling plastic, as you can read about in this blog.

But, I look at the mountain of plastic we create each week – I know our molehill pales in comparison to some mountains – and it still feels like a poor effort.

Not inspired…

2018 Plastic Free July is just making me feel like I’ve hit a wall. I like to make lasting change – not just for a month – and it just feels like there aren’t any I can make this time round, not without making me a little doolally.

I have a lot of respect for the people boasting about their accomplishments on Plastic Free July blogs, posts and tips on social media – I’m sure I have been that person, maybe I’m even being that person – but this month it’s more discouraging than encouraging.

I have a toddler, a teenager, a demanding sausage dog, two chickens (yup – they’re new acquisitions and WE LOVE THEM!!), and a hubby that travels a lot. I work 20 hours, and freelance write and provide PR consultation for an additional 10-20 hours a week, so my day fills up fast.

Soaking oats for milk (we actually buy an organic milk in a carton but the almond milk is tetrapak), making my own washing powder (I bought all the ingredients once and never got to it), or my own pasta are all just too hard. Our free range chicken is plastic fantastic, wrapped in clingwrap in a plastic tray (recyclable yes) with two moisture absorbent pillows! I’m not going to kill Mango and Butter, our chickens, to avoid the supermarket plastic. I still get plastic from the take away because although they will re-use containers – we’ve asked – the whole point of take-aways is that I can dash in and out, without having to take the toddler out.

(A quick note about the above – not wanting to use plastic containers has actually made us dine in more often, which has been great in forcing us to stop and spend time together).

If I can’t make any more changes this month, I propose the following…

I’d like to propose that Plastic Free July is not only about eliminating single use or even recyclable plastic from your life, but about lobbying to get businesses to do it for you. They’ll have more time than I do, I’m pretty sure!!!

Not only that, but use the month to investigate who your local sustainability groups are that will do that for you. I am a member of Sustainable Queenstown that have pioneered sustainable efforts locally from stopping single use shopping bags, getting soft plastic recycling stations, and launching an initiative to re-use stainless steel plates at local events, instead of paper plates that still end up on landfill.

If you don’t know who your local group is – find out, see if you can volunteer, support, lend a hand or just pass on the message through social media.

Or don’t. Sometimes it’s just not the right time or place, and if you want to make your Plastic Free July any other month, or wait until next year, that’s also fine.

PS – that isn’t me in the picture. It’s a brand image from Plastic Free July.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I generally stick to fashion, but sometimes something comes along that deserves a mention. How about an accommodation provider so eco-friendly, it is likely to be New Zealand’s greenest!?

Camp Glenorchy, made up of seven cabins and two bunk houses plus communcal spaces, is about 40 minutes’ drive from my house here in Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island. It is part of The Headwaters, that along side Camp Glenorchy, includes Woolly’s Campground and Mrs Woolly’s General Store, for those who know it.

Over the last two years, Camp Glenorchy has been built by local architects and engineers to meet the world’s toughest eco building standards, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) guidelines. The guidelines are an aspirational set of global guidelines that dictate energy efficient design and construction, sourcing and use of healthy, non-toxic materials and local products.

When I say eco, I mean it. Camp Glenorchy has smart lighting, energy-efficient building designs and highly-efficient heat systems to reduce energy demand, getting almost $4 worth of energy for every $1 spent running it. This is true commitment to achieving Net Zero energy use!

Composting toilets are expected to save about 300,000 litres of water per year, and LED lighting is so efficient the lighting load for each three-bedroom cabin is equivalent to a single 200-watt light bulb.

It’s also home to the South Island’s largest solar garden and three constructed wetlands to collect and process all wastewater onsite, giving clean water for the irrigation of native plant landscaping.

When I say friendly, I mean that too. The seven cabins, two bunk houses and communal indoor and outdoor meeting facilities and inter-connecting spaces located in the small rural town of Glenorchy, have been created by local artists, architects and designers, with a focus on comfort, connection and learning.

Wood is from recycled and reclaimed materials from old South Island woolsheds as well as demolished buildings that fell in the Christchurch earthquakes.

Artistic features including stone mosaic walkways, hand-carved signage, structures made from re-used vintage timber and the massive Scheelite Campfire Shelter have been commissioned from Glenorchy artists.

Founders Paul and Debbi Brainerd, American philanthropists who have previously established environmentally-sensitive, community-based education projects in North America, want Camp Glenorchy to be a living laboratory, where visitors can view in real life how a Living Building operates. Sharing their knowledge is pretty friendly, I reckon.

But they also want guests to be attracted to the ambience and communal feel, as opposed to just viewing it as a place to sleep, eat, or even as a laboratory.

Debbi says the aim of Camp Glenorchy was to inspire and educate visitors about sustainable tourism. But to successfully attract visitors, the views were not enough, Camp Glenorchy had to be welcoming too. That’s the friendly part, again.

“I was inspired by local landscapes and artists to help create a welcoming environment that brings heart and soul to the project,” she says.

“We’ve tried to create an experience at Camp Glenorchy that integrates the latest technology, while also delivering a warm, friendly experience to our guests.”

The cabins are charming and well-appointed. The décor features strandboard interior walls created from wood that would normally be wasted in a mill, as well as wool and metals, including re-purposed copper. These natural materials soften and conceal the technology. Accents of confident colour, for example rusty-orange and watermelon, and local artworks personalise the spaces. Yes, there are composting toilets, solar tube lighting, fresh air transfer units and modest windows – to maximise heat efficiency – but these blend seamlessly and odour-free into a well-presented interior design that is inviting and comfortable.

Paradise! Just what ‘camping’ ought to be!

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The recent Spinoff expose that WORLD, one of New Zealand’s most iconic, avant-garde designer brands, sell Made-In-NZ labelled cotton T-shirts made in Bangladesh, is just an extreme example of the rampant greenwashing in New Zealand fashion.

They have been lying to us. And they are not the only ones.

Like many nationals, Kiwis are fiercely supportive of locally-made products. They want to support the local economy. However, people I have spoken to who want to buy sustainably also believe that NZ-made is the safe choice, because surely, we think, if it’s made in New Zealand it’ll be fair trade and safe to our local ecology.

But that’s simply not possible when it comes to cotton. No new cotton clothing is made entirely in New Zealand. That’s right. Nothing! New Zealand does not farm cotton, organic or otherwise. Nor do we have cotton mills.

We do have garment manufacturing businesses however, so cotton t-shirts can be constructed in New Zealand from imported goods (or of course upcycled from deadstock or old stock).

Supporting the local economy is great, but unfortunately the sentiment is a little late when it comes to fashion. When Kiwi consumers (and the most Western consumers) decided they preferred to buy cheaper, faster, want-it-now fashion, many local brands sought a more competitive model, manufacturing outside of New Zealand.

When these brands went overseas, a lot of local garment production talent stopped too. Industrial machinery was sold, or is by now outmoded.

Bravo to those that continue to manufacture here, by the way, like KILT clothing and Thunderpants!!!

For many years, iconic Kiwi brands that were once made in NZ, continued to trade on the general consumer perception that they were locally made. Slowly, over the years the wording has evolved to be accurate and on the right side of Commerce Commission regulations. Of course, in WORLD’s case they didn’t even bother with that. Not really. The neck tags state fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande (Made in New Zealand), yet the actual care label states where it is made.

What’s worse is that Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet (she’s was made a dame for services to fashion!!), founder of WORLD, denies misleading the public, calling them stupid for thinking the tag represents the entire garment, and that cotton t-shirts cannot be made in NZ. Her further defence is the tag – the carboard printed tag – was made locally. I mean.. WHAT!? Serious!!

And worse still is that she has been outspoken about the ‘slave labour’ other brands use. Wow, what a hypocrite.

Here’s the full story. It’s been going off across local media today, and I’m actually pleased that finally the Kiwi public at large will become a bit more savvy. More so, I am proud that they have taken issue with this! Good on us for caring!

The other problem with greenwashing is that Kiwi brands aren’t transparent about their garment supply and manufacture. Claire Hart from Tearfund, that publishes the ethical fashion report, lamented the lack of supply chain transparency in NZ in a recent interview – hmm, now it makes more sense! Of course! They don’t want us to know it’s made overseas.

Iconic street wear brands like Huffer and Federation are two prime examples. Do they know who is making our clothes? Do children sew the Huffer Puffer jackets that are so well-known and loved in New Zealand? We don’t know. They don’t share their supplier information.

There is a likelihood that garment makers in Bangladesh, China and elsewhere who are creating some of our Kiwi faves may earn too little to ever get out of poverty and debt,  who may be exposed to insecure work and sexual harrasment as well as unsafe conditions, like those that worked in Rana Plaza, the garment factory that collapsed five years ago killing more than a thousand workers.

Furthermore, WORLD, Huffer, Federation plus more charge as if the clothes really were made here where manufacturing costs are higher (because we pay fairly over here, and invest in infrastructure).

It’s a slap on both cheeks – Neither locally-made, nor with any ethics.

Kiwi brands that use overseas suppliers who are ethical, and/or use organic cotton grown elsewhere, and that truthfully state as much, may not even get a look in when well-meaning, proud Kiwis want to support “NZ-made”, or long-standing Kiwi labels first.

Retail NZ general manager of public affairs, Greg Harford, said in this article that, “If your product is not manufactured here or substantially manufactured here you can’t apply a New Zealand made tag to it.”

Perhaps, like a jar of ready-made sauce that I buy in the supermarket, cotton clothing labels should state: “Made in New Zealand from imported goods”.

What do you think?

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
My Good Emporium by Mygoodemporium - 7M ago

Get involved this week for Fashion Revolution Week (24-29 April). What is it? Why bother? How do I do it? Answers to those questions below, plus links to resources and quick clicks to lend your voice in the socialsphere.

There are loads of ways that you can be part of the revolution to change the fashion industry to one that is fair and transparent, empowering even. You can…

  1. Ask your favourite brand who made their clothes – well, your clothes really – using #whomademyclothes ….Simple, really. They may respond, they may ignore you (that would be telling, don’t you think?), they may direct you to a page on their website. Whatever response you get, you have been one of many voices putting pressure on brands by asking that question. The more we ask, the more they hear.
  2. Get social – here is a link to tweet, instagram or direct an email to a brand with that question #whomademyclothes?
  3. Take a selfie showing the label of your clothing and tagging the brand with the question #whomademyclothes?
  4. Or maybe you know who did – in that case, share that with your followers.  There are plenty of good brands out there to shower with praise.
  5. Try an #haulternative – Not buying new clothing for a period of time, and share your journey
  6. Or research – go online, use the GoodonYou app, check out the Ethical Fashion Guide and get to know who made your clothes. If you are left wanting, refer to point 1!

You can find these resources and more at https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/

So what’s it all about?

Fashion Revolution is a global organization that works year-round across a number of platforms and via events, and with other businesses and people, to change the way we consume fashion, the way the industry supply chain works, and create a “fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry.”

The main calendar campaign is Fashion Revolution Week – also known as the #whomademyclothes campaign – which started a year after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed. In this horrific disaster, more than 1000 garment workers, mainly female, were killed and many more injured in unsafe factories making clothes for well-known Western brands, for example Zara.

This revolution is really growing momentum, and during Fashion Revolution Week all of us in the sustainable fashion advocacy world encourage millions of consumers to ask brands ‘Who made my clothes?’. This is an awareness-raising event of global proportions designed to put pressure on big brands that really aren’t doing enough to improve the unethical fast fashion supply chain.

When you ask that question – who made my clothes? – you’re not looking for literal names and surnames (although wouldn’t that be amazing, and actually brands like ReCreate do know the names of the people that sew their clothes), but that fashion brands are transparent about their supply chain. They should know and publish the names of the factories they use to make their clothes, so that groups like Fashion Revolution and Tearfund can share that information.  As Tearfund note in the recent release of their 2018 Tearfund Ethical Fashion Report, supply chains can be huge and complicated. “A t-shirt could be made from cotton grown in India, spun and dyed in China, made into fabric in Pakistan, and sewn into a shirt in Bangladesh. Along the way, brands can easily lose track of who’s actually making their clothes and the conditions in which they are being made.”

To join the movement, support it or just find out a little more, follow Fashion Revolution on twitterfacebook and instagram or check out the New Zealand page. There are some great resources, tips and information sheets too.

Some more stats
  • Increasingly, the world’s population is clothed by workers in the Asia-Pacific. Across the region, in low and middle-income countries, 43 million people work in factories to produce garments, textiles, and footwear.
  • By far the majority are women between 18 and 35, earning a wage so low that they, and their families, are trapped in poverty. They often suffer physical, sexual and mental abuse, unsafe factories (read further about Rana Plaza), overtime with little to no security of consistent work and income.
  • The average monthly income of a Bangladeshi garment worker, for example, is $60.
  • Child labour, particularly in the production of raw materials like cotton, remains prevalent in fashion supply chains. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates 18 million victims may exist. Among the large cotton producing nations, Australia is one of only a few exceptions to this trend (and they’re just over the ditch! Woohooo!!)

(Stats provided by Ethical Fashion Guide, Fashion Revolution and other researched sources)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

When fast fashion industry’s manufacturing practices are likened to trafficking and modern slavery, it feels like it’s time for a change, don’t you think?

Tearfund, a development organisation, is trying to do just that. Its second annual Ethical Fashion Guide (in collaboration with Baptist World Australia) – hot off the press – rates fashion brands that retail in New Zealand/Australia according to transparency and labour rights. In other words, do these brands know that during the making of their garments, workers got a living wage, children weren’t employed, no one was forced into labour, plus a few other criteria.

What I really like about this report, is that it holds brands to account, and reveals to us, the consumer, which labels are the most and least ethical. It’s not just about the grade – Tearfund works with brands to help them trace and improve their supply chain to make real change. 

I took the opportunity to talk to Tearfund Ethical Fashion Report Project Manager Claire Hart about the organisation’s work in combating exploitation in fashion, and how the New Zealand fashion industry is faring in this space.

This is what she had to say….

“When fashion brands hide where their clothes are made, consumers lack the necessary information to know who made the piece of clothing they are buying and in what conditions.

As Claire says, customers want to know now, more than ever, about the origin and production of the products they purchase, clothing included.

“I know I do on a personal level,” she says.

One brand that has fully traced and published its supplier list is Kiwi company Common Good/Liminal Apparel.

Claire applauds them, but says this is not the norm. “Kiwi labels, especially, are not very good at being transparent in this way.

“The good news is that a number of New Zealand brands have made progress tracing deeper into their supply chains and are checking what’s happening at the facilities they locate.  Brands are then able to resolve issues which leads to improved conditions for workers.”

“We usually find that brands that are proud of their ethical credentials are keen to participate,” she says.

“Others that know they can do better, seek our support and guidance to become socially and ethically more responsible.

“The more we push for transparency through our work and the publication of the guide, the more businesses acknowledge they have a responsibility, and the more they feel pressure to change.

“At the end of the day, we want to see fashion be a change for good, and provide a stable, safe and fair income for millions of people,” says Claire.

“What’s amazing about this project is that by changing the model, the industry as a whole, we can make a difference to thousands of workers at a time.”

Reports like The Ethical Fashion report, and off the back of that, our NZ-specific Tearfund Ethical Fashion Guide Aotearoa, and the work Claire and her team do, not only amplify consumer pressure, but they play an important role in changing the way fashion businesses take responsibility for how our clothes are made.

Check out the stats to see where and how businesses are getting better.

How it works

Developed in conjunction with Baptist Aid Australia, 114 companies representing 407 brands that trade in the Australasian region have been considered.

The report grades labels from A to F, best to worst, looking at worker empowerment – ie does a company pay a living wage; supplier auditing – ie conducting worker interviews; knowing suppliers – do they truly know all the companies contracted and sub-contracted to produce their garments; and what policies they have in place that govern human rights. Company’s labour ethics are assessed at three critical stages of the supply chain – raw materials, inputs production and final stage production.

More than 13,000 Kiwis downloaded last year’s report.

I should also note that there are many amazing sustainable brands that can trace from crop to customer – like our very own ReCreate, but the report targets mainly ‘shopping mall’ , well-known brands. 

A few interesting stats
  • Of the 114 companies assessed, 18 received an A and above grade.
  • Last year only three Kiwi brands achieved an A and above result, but this year the number totals five, including Kowtow, Freeset, Common Good/ Liminal Apparel, Kathmandu and Ice Breaker.
  • Each year new brands are selected for inclusion in the report. Sometimes though, brands choose not to participate in this process.  When this happens, the report reflects a grade based on information that is publicly available.
  • In 2018, six more New Zealand labels have been added to the report including Barkers, Ruby, Postie, K&K, T&T and Trelise Cooper. Those last three were the lowest graded New Zealand brands, all of which did not participate in the research.
  • The percentage of companies publishing full direct supplier lists has increased from 26% to 34% in the last year alone for the full Australasian report. Since 2013, when the first report was released, one third of companies assessed are publishing supplier lists. Looks like consumer and watchdog pressure works!! 
  • Tracing of raw materials and worker empowerment still remains the most significant challenges for fashion, it seems. Just 7% of companies know where all their raw materials, such as cotton, come from. And the median grade for Worker Empowerment is D–.
  • Increasingly, the world’s population is clothed by workers in the Asia-Pacific. Across the region, in low and middle-income countries, 43 million people work in factories to produce garments, textiles, and footwear.
  • By far the majority are women between 18 and 35, earning a wage so low that they, and their families, are trapped in poverty. They often suffer physical, sexual and mental abuse, unsafe factories (read further about Rana Plaza), overtime with little to no security of consistent work and income.
  • The average monthly income of a Bangladeshi garment worker, for example, is $60.
  • Child labour, particularly in the production of raw materials like cotton, remains prevalent in fashion supply chains. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates 18 million victims may exist. Among the large cotton producing nations, Australia is one of only a few exceptions to this trend (and they’re just over the ditch! Woohooo!!)
Five years on from Rana

The 2018 report comes five years after The Rana Plaza tragedy,  when a Bangladeshi garment making factory collapsed, killing more than 1100 workers as they were making clothes for well-known Western fashion brands. These garment factory workers endured 12 to 14 hour days without breaks in unsafe buildings. Shocking as the images were – including the one featured in this blog – as they were broadcast to the world, these sorts of conditions persist.

The future

I was very excited to hear that the report will look at the environmental impact of fashion.

Says Claire: “We acknowledge that the fashion industry has a huge environmental impact.  We will be asking brands to report on the use of sustainable fibres, water, waste waste and chemical use and management, greenhouse gas emissions and end of life for garments.”

I, for one, am excited about that. 

(Stats provided by Ethical Fashion Guide, Fashion Revolution and other researched sources)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview