We are proud to be hosting a very special sold-out Q&A event with journalist and author Lauren Bravo on her new book Breaking Up with Fast Fashion this January in our Bristol and Brighton stores!
We spoke to Lauren about her latest book, vintage shopping and how she sees the future of sustainability.
The new decade is bringing exciting things for all of us, and our first big news of the year? We've just launched our brand new collaboration with Urban Outfitters!
This exclusive upcycled menswear collection is now available online and in their flagship stores in London (Oxford St & Shoreditch), Paris and Milan.
Every piece from our new collaboration is 100% recycled and 100% unique! We looked back at some key influences from the 90s skate scene to create the perfect collection. Our reworked collection stands alongside Urban Outfitters on-trend pieces, and their own upcycled Urban Renew collection, giving even more sustainable shopping choices!
Each vintage and second-hand item has been upcycled, recycled and recreated into an item bang on trend for this season, all with sustainability our key factor throughout! Because who doesn't love looking good AND reducing their carbon footprint?
With our Creative Director Steven Bethell saying "We're proud to continue to innovate and challenge ourselves in 2020, and we're thrilled to start the year in such an exciting project. As the original trailblazers in the vintage world, we are excited to work with more brands such as Urban Outfitters to become lead innovators of the circular economy".
Here's a look at our favourite pieces from this collection:
We couldn't be more excited about our new venture, following on from our recent innovative partnership with the Converse Renew 70 Denim Project, which recycled old denim provided by Beyond Retro into a classic denim Converse, changing the way we think about, and use, discard materials on a global scale.
Shop the full UO x BR collection online, or head into one of Urban Outfitters flagship stores!
Want to find out more about our upcycled LABEL collection? Read our full history here.
It may be the most wonderful time of the year but the sheer amount of waste that occurs every festive season isn’t exactly bringing joy to the world. According to WRAP (Waste And Resources Action Programme), every year 500 tonnes of Christmas tree lights are thrown out as are 277,000 miles of wrapping paper, 74 million mince pies, 2 million turkeys and 250 tonnes worth of tree. That’s not even half of it!
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drop the festivities and immediately become a Scrooge, far from it! With a little bit of innovation, you can have yourself a merry little Christmas, just with a touch more sustainably. Here are a handful of ideas to keep you rockin’ around the responsibly sourced Christmas tree come December 25th.
Swap The Wrapping Paper For Something Even Cuter
Whilst recycling your used wrapping paper is an incredibly environmentally kind thing to do, getting rid of the stuff completely would be ideal. Trading a potential paper cut infliction for something soft and reusable such as a silk scarf, not only looks fabulous but will be treasured for life (or reused again to wrap your present next year). It’s essentially an extra gift. See our handy GIF for reference of assembly.
Buy a set of three silk scarves from our website, or come into one of our stores to find the perfect pattern yourself.
Ask What They Want
To reduce the fear of seeing your hard sought Christmas present in your local charity shop come New Years, or worse: the bin, have you ever considered asking your chosen recipient what they actually want? Perhaps instead of that kind of cute but totally unnecessary onesie you’ve been eyeing up in a branch of your preferred fast-fashion chain store, they are in dire need of a new sweatshirt after managing to spill red wine all down theirs at the work Christmas party. Think about it.
Shop Vintage And Second Hand
One man’s trash is another one’s treasured Christmas gift! Not only does shopping vintage and secondhand drastically reduces negative impacts on the world around us but the quality of genuine vintage clothing is way better than modern-day high street garb. One pair of brand new jeans uses over 5000 pints of water in the production line, and you don’t need that kind of guilt playing on your mind when there’s delicious food to be eaten and perfect telly to be watched.
Buy Vintage Christmas Jumpers
You’ve probably heard us go on about how vintage is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact, but it’s true! And besides, no Christmas is complete without a jazzy jumper. Shop unique throwback styles complete with all the usual trimmings to bring some extra Christmas spirit to your celebration.
Vegan Food Christmas Alternatives
Although meat eaters literally won’t stop going on about pigs in blankets every festive season, raising livestock causes over half of the world’s global emissions and animal farming creates around 18% of all greenhouse gases. Swapping to a nut roast with deliciously seasoned vegetables and a veggie stuffing could warm your stomachs without contributing to global warming.
Forking out for new tinsel and baubles every year, only for them to be cast away to sit in landfills forever isn’t so jolly. Try opting for something a little kinder like hung pine cones or chains made from recycled paper, even turning your old CDs into baubles. You can even make little gingerbread shapes and attach them to your tree using ribbon!
There’s nothing worse than receiving a present you’d never use, except maybe being the giver of the said gift. Let your loved one choose some goodies for themselves with a gift card, which we have available both online and in store. Waste not, want not.
Cutting Christmas Waste
We live in a society where being 100% waste free is genuinely impossible, but there are a few tricks to making it a little bit better. Cut down on your Christmas waste by donating any leftovers to food banks, downloading the Olio no waste food app and reusing gift bags when possible!
Out With The Old
In the disastrous event of receiving a gift so horrendous and unlike anything you’d ever imagine owning, or maybe your new gift renders an old favourite useless, perhaps you should consider donating elsewhere. Either drop it off at a local charity shop or re-gift to someone who could really need it. And after all, there’s always eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree!
Stuck for gifting ideas? Check out our online store and bag yourself or your loved ones the perfect Christmas present from our website.
This month, Beyond Retro are excited to share the news of our involvement with Converse Renew.
The Converse Renew initiative will see a line of Chuck 70 denim trainers released by Converse, created from recycled and/or upcycled denim provided by us at Beyond Retro. Our contribution to this programme has seen the potential of an innovative concept to change the way we think about, and use, discarded materials.
The trainer will give a new meaning to the nostalgia that comes with vintage denim. As senior director of materials at Converse, Jessica L’abbe, told Fast Company: 'Every denim Chuck is different because each pair of jeans will be worn differently. Each will feel highly personal even at scale, we feel that's a special moment for this program".
Converse Renew Denim in medium.
This initiative marks a huge step forward in the potential that sustainable fashion can hold, marking a significant change in the preconceived notions we hold for used materials. We’re proud to be able to help brands create accessible and environmentally sound alternative to fast-fashion, providing this to the high street customer at such a large scale.
Each year in the UK alone, we buy 70 million pairs of jeans, which has a largely negative environmental and human cost. At Beyond Retro, we source through over 1 million pairs of jeans a month. With Converse, we were able to provide the resources to source denim to the specifications - weaves, weights and colours - required to create the Converse Renew Denim trainer.
Converse Renew Denim in dark.
Our support of Converse through the creation of the Converse Renew Denim Chuck 70, which is the first upcycled collection of its kind to achieve industrial scale, has unveiled both the innovation and the potential of new manufacturing processes. We hope to inspire more brands to create renewed products so that sustainable options become accessible for all.
The Renew Denim will be available in three washes - light, medium and dark - which have been butterfly cut, so the iconic Converse shoe panels remain.
The Converse Renew Denim in all three washes, light, medium and dark.
We talk about fast-fashion a lot; about why we encourage people to shop vintage, secondhand or sustainable alternatives, about what needs to change in the industry to make a lasting impact on the world around us...
We talk about fast-fashion a lot because it is a conversation worth having.
When the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, over 1,129 people were killed and the horrific working conditions of fast-fashion sweatshops came out of the dark; people were confronted with the consequences of their choice to shop fast-fashion, which was proven to be undeniably unethical.
We can not ignore fast-fashion. There are an estimated 40 million people who work in sweatshops across the world, and many of them face unsafe and unethical working conditions. These workers, of which 90% are women, face malnutrition due to low wages, unprotected exposure to toxic chemicals, sexual harassment, discrimination and forced overtime.
At Beyond Retro, we believe that there has to be a better way to produce clothes that fashion can be a force for good and a force for change.
As one of the world’s leading vintage retailers, we're proud to use our platform to lift the voices of brands and designers who are utilising fashion for a positive change.
Carry on reading to discover our hand-picked eco-friendly fashion designers and brands to look out for. And, remember, vintage clothing is inherently sustainable and you can shop our range of products online and in store.
Birdsong are a brand very close to our heart. They are friends of ours, and as a brand they promise no sweatshops and no photoshop, two principles we at Beyond Retro agree with. Their vow to not use photoshop points at a second issue in the fashion industry, being the way in which clothes are marketed towards women, promoting an unattainable standard of beauty.
Their brands mission statement reads: “Wearing our collection of original wardrobe staples is a protest in itself– against the fast nature of the fashion industry, against the obsessive pursuit of trends and against the systematic abuse of women in the production line".
Birdsong then, is certainly a brand that wears their morals on their sleeve. Birdsong make clothes for those who want to make a conscious choice to shop sustainable, and who want to rebel with their clothing.
Know The Origin
Know The Origin is an online brand with a commitment to sustainable practices. All their clothes are made in factories of which their design team have personally visited to ensure only excellent working conditions.
Diversity is also at the forefront of what Know The Orign does, and a scroll through their online store makes this clear. Their clothes are listed on the website featuring a diverse range of models, of all sizes and backgrounds, an unfortunate rarity in fashion.
Project Pico is an underwear brand with a purpose. Underwear is one of the most thrown-away items of clothing, contributing to the never-ending problem of stuff.
It can seem easy to head into a shop on the high street when you need a fresh pair of undies, but knowing that these items are made under less-than-ethical circumstances is hopefully enough to turn you off.
Instead of Primark, opt for Project Pico, who share the story of how their underwear is made, from sewing the cotton seeds to how the finished products make their way to the UK.
They offer an array of styles, from high waist knickers, to the full brief as well as trunks for men.
Matt and Nat
All the bags and accessories from this brand are made from vegan leather, a particular type called PU is used where possible as this is less harmful to the environment than the typical PVC. The linings of their products are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles!
The brand has a close working relationship with the factories where their products are made, ensuring they qualify for the SA8000 standard certification which requires the fair treatment of garment workers.
ArmedAngels produce sustainable denim. All their jeans are made from sustainable materials, including organic wool, cotton and linen.
Important to note, their packaging is also all sustainable and completely recyclable!
Beaumont Organic is based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, producing self-described ‘contemporary conscious clothing’. They want to create clothing people are proud to be wearing and proud to feel associated with, they want to inspire change and pave the way for fashion to have a more sustainable future.
This brands message is much like our own, which is part of the reason we love them so much.
At the heart of Vildnis’ brand is the ethos to “change the fashion industry without changing your style”, and it follows through with its contemporary, Scandinavian-inspired design. Freedom, fairness, honesty, responsibility and protection of the environment are all part of the brands DNA.
We have been screaming from the roof-top about how the simple actions and the choices we make, such as, making the conscious decision to shop vintage and to shop sustainably can have a huge impact on the future.
Konodo is a brand that firmly believes in this, also. Based in North London, the brand trade fairly with factories in Nepal, China, Indonesia and Turkey which our frequently visited by designers and such. The brand works closely with the team of talented people who bring their ideas to life.
Mayamiko hand pick their textiles from local fabric markets in Malawi. They work with a cooperative of women traders to source the finest prints and they only source enough to produce a very limited number of pieces to ensure minimum waste.
Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is a fair trade fashion label that has been committed to social and environmental values from the very start. At the heart of our collections is the consideration of ethical production, beautiful materials and contemporary design.
Words Chardonnay West
We don’t have to tell you that we’re facing environmental doom, everyone and their auntie will be sharing articles about it on your timelines; but what you might not know is that its Plastic Free July!
A campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation, the point is to get millions of people around the globe to refuse single-use plastics for a whole month, with the hopes of seeing a future without plastic waste.
A WHOLE month? Without plastic? Sounds impossible! But with more and more businesses from cafes to healthcare stores stocking products in alternative packaging it has gotten significantly easier to break unsustainable habits.
We’re all about finding ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment, from our reworked vintage line or our collaborations with No Planet B, so we’ve compiled a handy list of no-fuss ways to ditch the plastic and fully embrace Plastic Free July.
10 Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste
Okay, let’s start with the basics. It’s become more common for bars, pubs and restaurants to no longer offer plastic straws, which is great! It can be tempting to take one if they are available but just remember that picture of the turtle and stay strong.
2. Carry A Water Bottle
Reusable water bottles come in so many styles, with so many fancy designs there’s no reason to not have one. Invest in a sturdy metal bottle that will keep your drinks cold or alternatively any cheap, refillable one will do. Go forth and hydrate smugly as you do your bit to fight pollution.
3. Shop at local grocers/don’t bag your fruit and veg
Whether you’re lucky enough to live near a nice greengrocers or only have the big high-street chains there are ways to reduce waste in your weekly shop. If you can shop locally-sourced produce that comes without packaging, that’s amazing, but if you can’t, then you can still make swaps- for example if you can get broccoli that is un-packaged choose that over the ones wrapped in plastic. Of course don’t forget to bring your canvas bags and reusable shopping bags with you too!
4. Switch out meat for vegetarian or vegan options
Whilst the carbon footprint of the commercial agriculture industry is one huge problem in climate change, the plastic used in packing these meats is another big issue. For some, cutting it out altogether might seem impossible but if you can make swaps to vegetable-based diets even once or twice a week you will immediately cut down your waste production. Remember, it’s about the small, daily actions that can help make a big impact.
5. Switch from face-wipes to reusable makeup removers or face cloth
Not only do face-wipes come in plastic packaging but they are not biodegradable and often contain plastic fibres such as polyester. Reduce your spending and your environmental impact by investing in some reusable cleansing pads or simply using a good face-wash with a face-cloth. Don’t forget to also steer clear of scrubs that contain microplastics and go into the ocean.
6. Invest in a good lunchbox
In the same way water bottles have had a makeover in the last couple of years, so have lunch boxes. Find the right kind of box to fit the kinds of foods you like bringing to work and know that you’re also saving money on those pesky, plastic-heavy meal deals.
7. Invest in and carry a metal straw and cutlery set to carry with you
It’s crazy to think about the amount of throwaway plastic involved in daily routines such as breakfast and lunch. With everyone leading busier lives than ever, bad habits tend to form around the ease and availability of plastic. Cut-out the temptation by getting a portable set of straws and cutlery to keep in your bag. Opt for a long-lasting metal set or a cheaper reusable plastic option, that way even if you do treat yourself to a meal deal you can still refuse the plastic fork you’d normally pick up.
8. Kick your fizzy-drink habit
A mid-afternoon fizzy pick-me-up might be a normal part of your routine but the daily cans and bottles of drink can add up to a mountain of waste every week. If cutting it out altogether is too hard then try setting yourself a goal to not have more than 2 or 3 a week.
9. Make coffee at home/work
A morning coffee is, for many, the perfect way to start your day, but that quick fix on the way to work is doing a lot of harm. Instead of making a coffee stop in the morning, take 5 mins extra in bed, save a ton of money and make it when you get to work.
10. Get a plastic free buddy
Like with achieving all goals, it is often much easier to have someone doing it with you to cheer you on and keep you strong. Round-up your friends, colleagues or family, start a WhatsApp group and see who can go the longest before using something single-use! A fun way to make a big change!
These easy steps are all small, everyday things but if everyone tried to do at least 5 we could reduce our impact significantly. If you want some more handy tips on reducing your waste check out the Plastic Free July website where you can find loads of helpful resources, like this action plan maker.
You can also read our blogs on how to make 2019 your most sustainable summer yet and our easy-read guide to how we need to fix the fashion industry’s consumption and pollution.
Words by Eloise Gendry
We’re already looking forward to long days in the park, the sweet smell of sunscreen and all the over-the-top wide-brim hats but thinking about all of those plastic pint-cups, the single-use food packaging from picnics and all the temptingly-cheap fast fashion makes us break into a sweat. As it starts to heat up and we start planning for summer fun it’s easy to let our habits slip and forget the impact our everyday lifestyle choices can have. We know we can’t solve every issue but we can all do our own small bit every day in the choices we make. So to get the summer vibes flowing and help you plan for the most fun-filled season of the year we’ve compiled a list of switches, steps and shopping choices you can make to make 2019 your most sustainable summer yet.
Practical Picnic Tips
Step away from the cling film and tin foil! Whilst a sandwich bag or two might not seem like the worst thing you could do, they are the type of single-use plastic that will take years and years to decompose and poison the environment. But don’t stress! You can still keep your sarnies safe without plastic. Try making a DIY beeswax food-wrap. They are reusable so you can use them throughout the summer but means you can ditch unnecessary packaging.
Bamboo cutlery sets
There’s nothing like a stroll around a food market or lunch in the park but disposable cutlery is a huuuuuge waste of resources. Invest in a chic set of reusable bamboo cutlery which you can keep in your bag and refuse the nasty plastic you’re offered. The more people who stop using it, the less profitable it is for the companies and they will stop buying them.
Metal straw set
An essential for sustainable living the whole year round; a metal straw will mean whether you’re in the pub, at the beach or at a festival you can feel good about your choices.
Sustainable Summer Skincare
Biodegradable Face Glitter
Of course a glamorous, glittery look is essential for festival season but most are made of plastic which, when washed off, adds to the micro-plastic pollution in our oceans. Opt for a more sustainable option and feel like a guilt-free, glittering goddess.
Face wipes are not only damaging to the planet when disposed but they’re bad for your skin too! Choose a more skin-loving and planet-loving option and go for a good face wash or reusable cotton rounds.
Being a sweaty-mess is not a strong look for summer but neither is the effect that aerosol cans have on the environment. Try out a natural, solid deodorant that is just as effective but kinder on your arms and kinder to the environment.
Upcycle Your Wardrobe
Everyone has that old pair of jeans that don’t quite fit right anymore or aren’t your style but linger in the back of your wardrobe. Summer is the perfect time to get creative and experiment with some DIY style. Take that old pair of jeans, that old maxi dress or an old tee-shirt and grab your scissors. By simply cutting off the hems you can revive your wardrobe in an instant and have a new summery wardrobe without spending anything. If you want some more upcycling inspo then check out our customization how-to’s!
No Waste No Regret
If you do decide to crop your jeans, jackets, dresses and tees then take the excess fabrics and turn them into a coordinating item for your outfit. For example, with a few simple stitches the denim from your jeans can be used to make a matching tote bag to go with your new denim shorts. There’s a world of possibilities to refresh your look!
Avoid Fast Fashion
When it comes to planning holidays or even what you’re going to wear to the park with friends it can be tempting to go for the super-cheap, low-quality fast fashion the high-street has to offer. Of course it can be difficult to avoid the convenience all together but by checking out your local charity shops and vintage stores you’ll be bound to find yourself something totally unique. To make life even easier we even offer next-day shipping on our website, so when you fall in love with a vintage gem and just can’t wait to wear it you don’t have to.
Work With What You’ve Got
When looking for new summer pieces, choose things that already work with what’s in your wardrobe. By buying less you save money and save the planet! It’s simple but a super effective way to help lessen your contribution to climate change.
Stay Cool In Vintage
Look for vintage hats and fans to keep your cool as it heats up. A good wide-brimmed boater, some cat-eye sunglasses and a vintage handheld fan will not only means you’ll be staying chilled but you’ll look chic AF whilst doing it.
Out & About
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
One of the joys of summer is being able to be out in the sunshine all day, strolling through the streets, picnicing in the park and avoiding public transport at all costs. Whilst walking places is a more environmentally friendly way to get around you’ll need to stay hydrated- don’t forget a reusable bottle to keep filled up with water!
Refusing plastic bags when you go shopping is a simple witch which many of us have already begun to do naturally, but when the sun comes out you might not be carrying around the same big backpacks you were in the winter! Get yourself a cotton or net tote bag which you can fit neatly into your wicker summer bags and you’ll never be caught having to use plastic. Also a tote bag will double up nicely as a mini picnic blanket to sit on so you don’t get your white summer clothes dirty on those long picnic-in-the-park afternoons!
Every small step helps and the most seemingly-insignificant change can make a big impact when we all do it. If you’re after some summer wardrobe refreshment then shop our women’s summer shop or men’s summer shop online. Or if you want some more info on sustainability in fashion read about it here.
If you have opened Twitter, Facebook or Instagram in the last two days you will have almost definitely seen headlines on ministers rejecting plans to bring in a levy to tackle fast fashion. This news comes in the same week that fast fashion brand Missguided has come under fire from activists and consumers for the selling and heavy promotion of a £1 bikini.
At Beyond Retro we believe in trying our best to do our part in lessening the impact the fashion industry has on the environment. From our reworked vintage collection that gives old clothes a new lease of life to our ongoing collaborations with activists such as No Planet B, we want to make shopping second-hand the norm!
Whilst it seems like we are constantly being bombarded with reports of our governments inadequacies when dealing with the climate crisis, it does fuel the conversation and hopefully encourages more people to do their bit. With so much information and not enough time to keep up with it, we’ve compiled a handy guide so you know what’s going on and how you can help. Your voice matters!
The Environmental Audit Committee Report
On the 19th of February 2019 the EAC published an official report titled ‘Fixing Fashion: Clothing consumption and sustainability, which outlined four main points. These were:
- The environmental cost of our clothes - The main takeaways from this are that “textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined” and that “synthetic fibres are being found in the deep sea, in Arctic sea ice, in fish and shellfish”.... basically, the outlook is not good.
- The social cost of our clothes - The report put blame on big retailers for trying to keep costs as low as possible by using child labour, forced labour, poverty pay and bad worker conditions. They state in their report that “this must stop”.
- Textile waste and collection - In this area the report outlines that in the UK we consume more textiles than any other European country, 300,00 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year and less than 1% of material is recycled.
- New economic models for the fashion industry - Here the EAC state that we need a new economic model because “business as usual no longer works”. They also say that the Government need to change the law to require companies to perform better checks across their supply chains.
In this section of the report the EAC do make a point to celebrate British designers, such as Raeburn, who are embracing recycled and sustainable fabrics in their collections.
In 2022 a new tax will be implemented which will tax virgin plastic (i.e new plastic), and the EAC asked the Government to consider whether this tax should also be applied to textile products that contain less than 50% recycled fabric, which would be groundbreaking for the future of fashion production.
The Environmental Committee’s Recommendations
The EAC recognise that cheap clothing has made it possible for people on lower incomes to experience the latest trends, but suggest the following steps for increasing the industry’s sustainability:
- “Repairing, rewearing, reusing and renting are preferable to recycling or discarding clothes”
- The Government must find a way to end the throwaway society we are currently in.
- “The Government should make fashion retailers take responsibility for the waste they create and reward companies that take action to reduce waste.”
- The Government should apply a charge of 1p per garment to raise £35 million to invest in better clothing collection and sorting.
The committee also stated that the Government are being to slow to act on these issues and they need action before the end of this parliament. You can read the full report summary and see all 16 recommendations they made here.
The Government’s Response
So, this is why its all kicked off, and why your timeline will have been filled with fast fashion and environmental chat. The Government's response to these recommendations was less than enthusiastic. They failed to commit to any kind of action to implement the tax, instead saying that this could only be considered for implementation by 2025.
With all respect to the Government WE DO NOT HAVE UNTIL 2025! As more and more scientist-backed reports are released on the deteriorating state of the planet it is clear to see that we must act now.
Whilst individually we try to have a positive impact to the environment in our own way, from refusing straws and minimising our plastic use, to shopping secondhand or repairing/upcycling what we have tucked away in our wardrobes... it requires large, Government-implemented taxes and laws for us to effectively battle the big, polluting companies that contribute so much waste.
So, What Next?
Whilst individual actions may feel a drop in the ocean, its just these changes that when combined, makes a huge impact. Here are some groups and movements happening right now that you can get involved with to help start making change happen!
- Extinction Rebellion: Boycott Fashion - After the XR group recently shut down Oxford Street to protest the Governments’ lack of action on climate change a new branch of the movement has arisen. Boycott Fashion is asking consumers to sign a pledge to not purchase any new textiles for 52 weeks. You can see more details and make your pledge on their website and whilst it may seem daunting it will send the right message to retailers and the Government.
- Fashion Revolution - Sustainability champions and previous Beyond Retro X No Planet B panellists Fashion Revolution have created an easy template that you can use to contact your local MP. The simple act of contacting your local MP takes less than five minutes and when enough people do it they have to take notice. You can see the letter template here and find contact details for your local MP here.
- Slow Fashion Summer initiated by CollAction - Similar to the fashion boycott, CollAction are trying to get 10,000 people to sign up to not buy any new clothes for 3 months. The idea is to mend, swap, upcycle and borrow clothes instead of putting money into retailers who do not care about the environmental impact their businesses have. See more details here.
It might feel overwhelming, but everyone who spends money on clothing has the ability to make change happen. Whilst it is on the big companies and Government ultimately to decide if, how and when we try to tackle the issue, our voices are a lot louder than we think when we all come together to try and make positive change.
Alongside the bigger organisations and groups fighting climate change there are small things you can do every day that will make a difference;
- Buy second-hand!
- When you no longer want an item of clothing put it on Depop, eBay or another site where someone else could use it. One man's trash is another man's fresh outfit!
- Only wash your clothes when they are dirty - excessive washing wastes water and contributes micro-fibers to our water.
- Let clothes dry naturally
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.... re-wear and repair! Slow down your consumption by loving what you own.
- Pick items made of recycled fabrics where available.
- Check the sustainability and ethics of your favourite shops
- Say no to plastic carrier bags when they are offered
Reading for more information on the EAC’s report and the fashion industry’s environmental impact:
- Drapers research: How sustainable is the fashion industry?
- The Guardian: Ministers reject plans for 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion.
- The Guardian: Trawling for trash, the brands turning plastic pollution into fashion.
- Fashion Revolution: Further information on the fashion industries contribution to climate change.
- Extinction Rebellion: Wider info on climate change
Words By Eloise Gendry
This Fashion Revolution Week we've teamed up with No Planet B for a night of talks, music and a panel discussion on the future of fashion and ethical practices.
Join us on Saturday 27th April and grab 20% off your ticket with code BEYOND20, click here to purchase!
With an amazing panel line up from Fashion Revolution, Know The Origin, Stories Behind Things and Stay Wild Swim, we spoke to them to tell us more about what they do and how they are supporting ethical practices.
Please can you tell us about Fashion Revolution and the global movement you have created?
Fashion Revolution began in 2013 as a response to the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed over 1,100 people, most of whom were young, female garment workers producing clothing for major global fashion brands.
In the wake of the tragedy, co-founder Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro came together to create a movement that would effect lasting change in the industry. Since then, Fashion Revolution has been campaigning for a more transparent fashion industry, by engaging citizens, brands, policymakers, students, and educators around the world. In 2018, we had over 275 million people globally engage with our campaign.
Why is it important to consider who made our clothes?
Fashion is one of the most labour intensive industries in the world. When I was studying fashion design in my early university days, I learned that clothing production is much more difficult to automate than seemingly more complicated products like phones and computers. Why? Because robots and machines have greater difficulty manipulating soft goods like fabric than they do assembling hard parts.
Millions of people around the world work in the garment industry, and too often these jobs come with low pay, long hours, and unsafe working conditions. Too many garment workers are subject to verbal and physical abuse among other kinds of exploitation.
So at Fashion Revolution, we begin with the question "Who made my clothes?", to look behind the curtain at the often-secretive supply chain. It's impossible for us to enact change if we can't see the problems. This is the essence of why we are demanding a more transparent fashion industry and why we must continue to ask #Whomademyclothes?
How can someone join your movement and support slow, ethical fashion?
With Fashion Revolution Week 2019 just around the corner (April 22-28), hundreds of events will take place around the world. You can find a global events directory on our website, and find clothing swaps, panel discussions, film screenings, and so many other activations wherever you live.
We also have a guide to getting involved here, which is a great way to take part in our digital campaigns, write to a brand or policymaker, and begin asking the right questions.
What are some key impacts that fast fashion has on people and on the planet?
This year, we at Fashion Revolution are spreading the message that you cannot separate human and planetary sustainability. The activists around the world leading climate marches are campaigning for peace and human rights as much as they are campaigning for a policy that addresses carbon emissions and pollution. Because without a healthy planet, there will be no supply chains, safe working conditions, or fair fashion.
Quantis has estimated that globally, the fashion industry contributes to around 8.1% of climate impacts. Of course, fast-fashion's environmental impacts reach everything from water pollution and contamination to deforestation, landfill contribution, and waste incineration. The garment industry has also been flagged by the Global Slavery Index as the 2nd highest at-risk product category for Modern Slavery.
If you want to learn more about the full scope of fashion's impact, I'd recommend the UK Environmental Audit Committee's Fixing Fashion Report, which documents their investigation into the sustainability of the Fashion Industry. Our policy director, Sarah Ditty, was one of the witnesses who submitted evidence to their report, and we're proud to have seen some of these issues addressed through the EAC's policy recommendations. You can read the report here.
Please could you tell us about Know The Origin and what products you offer?
Know The Origin is a multibrand platform, bringing together 70+ brands that have pioneering levels of ethics from clothing made from bamboo, pineapple and recycled plastic, to sustainability and plastic free conscious living essentials. We also create our own brand of clothing, KTO. It is a Fairtrade and Organic fashion brand working to set a new standard of transparency in the fashion industry. From the farm to the factory we work with socially and environmentally focused businesses that are pioneering new ethical standards across India. These producer groups were started to alleviate poverty or address injustices such as human trafficking or farmer suicide rates from GM related debt. In 2017 we were ranked Ethical Consumer’s top-rated fashion brand due to our commitment to the highest standards of Fairtrade, organic and fully transparent supply chains. KTO has been also featured on Forbes 30 under 30 lists, Evening Standard, Guardian and Refinery 29.
How is KTO setting new ethical standards in the fashion industry?
Currently, 61% of brands don't know who made their clothes and 93% don't know where the fabrics come from. Charlotte was inspired to start KTO after finding that the lack of transparency within fashion supply chains had led to abuses of human rights and environmental degradation worldwide. Through developing strong relationships with incredible organic and fairtrade producers across India, Know The Origin shows people that fashion can, and should, be done differently. Know The Origin respects people and the environment at every stage of the supply chain from cotton farming to the final factory with traceability and high ethical standards at the heart of its work. We have created standards of 25 criteria across people, planet and purpose behind businesses. All of the brands on our platform are required to meet 6 of these standards and provide full traceability, which makes us incredibly unusual.
Why should we think twice about supporting high-street chain stores?
It is fascinating how easy it is to be disconnected from the impact we have on people around the world. We walk down the high street and see beautiful clothing, and seek quality in the pieces we buy, whilst completely disregarding the quality of the person’s life who has made it. When we realise our money is the power to vote for change, then it has the ability to transform an industry. Through supporting smaller, certified and transparent brands we can grow the kind of cultures we want to see in these industries. I think unless high street stores are unable to offer transparency, it is unlikely they know where the pieces are made, or whether they are slave free.
Can you offer 3 top tips for someone wanting to make more ethical fashion choices?
- Get educated, films like The True Cost perfectly represent the major issues that are currently at the forefront of fast fashion.
- Start with small changes and grow, that's what produces sustainable change.
- Only buy items that you'll wear 30+ times.
- Aim to buy items that are 100% fibre, natural products that can break down and will one day decompose.
Please can you tell us about Craftivist Collective and the movement you have created?
I set up the Craftivist Collective as a group in 2009 after people around the world wanted to join in my craftivism projects and unique 'gentle protest' methodology. I started doing craftivism in 2008 after feeling like a burnt out activist in my personal life as well as being a professional campaigner in my day job too. I picked up a cross stitch small craft kit up and noticed how repetitive stitches especially overwriting helped me engage more deeply in the complex injustice issues I cared about and think more critically about how I could be more strategic, compassionate and ultimately effective in my activism.
I focus on hand embroidery and paper crafts both heavily focused on the importance of the words created, the colours we use, the textures, fonts and design and with activism as our priority and craft as our tool. Over the last 10 years, I've learnt a huge amount, honed my craft in craftivism and written honestly about where I think craft can be useful for activism and where it might not be. My book How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest explains my unique methodology and is full of case studies and testimonies of how our projects have worked.
Craftivist Collective aims to inspire, educate, and empower people to engage in more strategic, kind activism to improve our world without burning out. I encourage craftivist to stop, think carefully and act effectively to improve the systems and structures that exist within our society. Always inclusive, always collaborative, always positive, I strive to create an inviting environment in which all are welcome into the Craftivist Collective to craft towards a fairer, more beautiful world with courage and care. I'm proud to say that our craftivism projects have helped to change laws and business policies as well as hearts and minds around the world.
What is your approach to mindful activism?
I have a whole chapter in my book on 'Mindful Activism' - it's all about using the slow, repetitive action of craft to be mindful of how our bodies are feeling, how our mood is, what baggage are we bringing to our craftivism or activism and do we have a robust activism strategy to tackle the injustice we see or are we just reacting rather than proactively planning? Using the comfort of craft and the time it takes to do, we can slow down and really ask ourselves these big questions, be honest with ourselves.
Activism is about engaging other complex human beings especially those who disagree with us and that is really difficult. And that's why we need to be even more mindful of what we are bringing to our activism that might help or harm our actions.
How can someone get involved with your group stitch-ins and what are the benefits of attending?
The benefits depend on if you come to our sessions with an open heart and an open mind and the results can be different for different people in the same workshop. Our projects are all different so each one will engage you with a different issue and technique to not only help with the cause your project is about but also help train you to be a more confident thoughtful craftivist who can use our 'gentle protest' approach to craftivism in your own campaigns too.
Wherever you are in the world alone or with others you can take part in our projects - some using our free resources, others using our ethical kits (to help the collective survive and thrive). You can create your own 'crafternoon' or evening workshop with friends or at an existing group and we have top tips on our website here how to set them up yourself. I do deliver workshops and stitch-ins so keep an eye on our Instagram or Facebook page for updates.
What would your 3 top tips be for someone wanting to support slow fashion?
- Be curious - research who made your clothes, check the label on new clothes, ask the shop staff if the company has an ethical policy
- Enjoy slow fashion - enjoy learning about the wonderful stories of people who are part of this movement and the skill, energy and love they put into the products. Share these good news stories to attract people to join the movement rather than guilt-trip them into joining
- Be a strategic changemaker - we need to help change structures and systems of fast fashion as well as change our own habits and actions. This can be joining Fashion Revolutions actions, becoming a shareholder activist of a fashion brand (one of my craftivism projects was in collaboration with ShareAction and led to 50,000 employees of one company gaining a pay rise in line with the real Living Wage), shopdropping our Mini Fashion Statements (which gained worldwide media attention including the homepage of BBC News) or finding your own loving and strategic way to challenge those in positions of power to be part of slow fashion for the sake of our fragile planet. Be strategic, kind, positive, encouraging and respectful in your activism and it makes it much harder for the industry to ignore you.
We had those few dreamy days of hot weather this month and now all we’re longing for is Summer. Give us long evenings, drives to the coast with the windows down and day-long drinking sessions where we convince ourselves we’re Lana Del Rey in a music video (more like Brian May, thanks to humidity).
It’s no secret that the 70s are back in a big way and we have to say, for us they never went away. This was the decade of floaty fabrics and suede-fringed silhouettes, ringer tees and flared jeans, hot summer days….mid July...oh sorry Lana popped back out again.
Anyway, the point is this era gave us some of the best and longest surviving style staples and here at Beyond Retro we have recreated and reworked some of those styles in the only way we know how: sustainably and authentically.
A personal favourite of ours from the 70s, the iconic flared jeans, a staple item in anyone's wardrobe and totally perfect for striding down the street like a Bee Gee, we stan.
Roll neck Jumpers
Where would we be without the humble roll neck knit? Year to year and season to season, it’s another favourite of ours and the perfect nod to that seventies style.
Suede is a timeless staple and adds that 70s touch to any look, shop our huge collection of reworked suede here.
Add a little bit of the 70s to your silhouette with an A-line mini skirt, a piece that will last you from season to season.
Join No Planet B on Saturday 1st December in our Cheshire Street store for a sustainably special Xmas party! With Panel Discussions and a Workshop showing us all how to have a merry #lowimpact X-Mas. You’ll be sure to be on the good list this year 🎅
Grab your tickets before they're gone, with DIY workshops available before the doors open, be sure to purchase your tickets now!
No Planet B spoke to some of the inspiring people speaking at the event to find out more about what they do and their part in the mission to save our plant.
Other panellists include Greenpeace UK, Zessoo and AJ Joshi.
In Conversation With Claudia Ayuso
Claudia Ayuso is a Writer, Presenter and all-around Environmentalist! And soon will be releasing a fantastic podcast series, talking to the minds that are shaping the world today. People that put the health of the planet at the core of their businesses and platforms.
1. Please, could you tell us a little about yourself and your mission as an environmentalist?
I always say I became an environmentalist by accident, but looking back it may have not been so accidental.
My mum's side of the family is from South America, a country called Uruguay, so when I was little I used to go visit them and spend the summer in a village that my mum loved as a kid. Back in the day, this village had barely any running water or electricity, streets were full of handicrafts from the villagers, everyone walked around barefoot and apparently I loved it! I can't remember but my mum tells me that one day I came up to her barefoot (of course) with a cloth tied up at the end of a stick and said 'These people know how to live life.'
From a very young age, I've known what being in connection with Earth means. It's not just a cold, dead piece of rock. It's alive, it keeps us safe and it is our home. So it is our duty to treat her with love and respect. We've only got one. No planet B, folks.
2. Your book 'Flammae: Listen to the Signs’, is a spiritual exploration of the concept of being one with the planet, and working together to thrive for good. Please, could you briefly expand on this concept? And share with us why you set out to write this book?
I believe in the power of stories, I think they are our best tool to awaken any kind of emotion in someone, to pass on knowledge and to learn new information. My two dreams growing up were to write a book and become an actor, only now I realise those are my favourite ways of storytelling (I wish I could sing and not smash all the glasses in the room).
The year 2015 was a breakthrough for me, I started to feel an unbelievable connection with the world around me (humans, plants, animals, the planet) and I wanted to share it. That's why I wrote 'Flammae: Listen to the Signs' because I believe there's more than meets the eye and science is starting to agree. Flammae is a book about a spiritual journey with Quantum Physics as a companion, and a love story that pushes the fabric of reality.
3. With Christmas soon approaching and consumerism at it’s highest throughout the year, what would your top 3 tips be for someone wanting to have a low impact Christmas?
Give experiences, not items! - For me, spending quality time with a friend or family member is way more valuable than receiving a new face-brush.
Be original with wrapping paper! - There's no need to buy all those glittery, plasticky wrapping papers with a lifespan of 10 seconds if you're a ripper like me... Find boxes from previous presents, old newspapers (free newspapers), unwanted pieces of clothing, or even better... hide the present and organise a treasure hunt, that'll be your wrapping paper!
Less is more - instead of buying a trillion tiny presents, why don't you invest in a good quality gift that will last more than one Christmas? Some research on ethical brands might be required, but you have now something to tell the receiver of the gift and, let me tell you, we all LOVE added value to our presents.
4. Through being the environmentalist that you are, working with Greenpeace Spain and other organisations, what would you say is the best way someone else can be an advocate for sustainable, ethical living?
I've had many conversations with Greenpeace campaigners and all sort of activists in the world, and what I've learnt is we can't be perfect. The world is not designed for it yet and, certainly, humans are not designed for it either.
My best advice is to get to know yourself and which fight that makes your flame burn brighter. I went vegan because I couldn't believe the impact the farming industry has on our ecosystems and the environment. This doesn't change the fact that I utterly despise the torture and slaughtering, but my voice might sound louder when talking about the health of our planet.
I read, listen and watch as much as I can to educate myself and know what's going on in the world, and I do my absolute best to live up to my values. But some days are harder than the others and we cannot beat ourselves up for not being able to choose better. I repeat, the world is not designed for it yet. I uploaded an IGTV called 'Fear of Judgement' precisely on this topic.
We are human beings, we thrive in a community because each one of us has a purpose, a calling, a passion. Whether it is fashion, food, animals, energy, the wellbeing of our planet or human rights, there's always someone who will be taking care of something you didn't manage to accomplish today. That makes us stronger. celebrate individuality, embrace community.
In Conversation With Emma Ross
Emma Ross aka MamaLinaUK is a low waste mama of 2 living slowly and sustainably showing us all how to tread lightly on the planet, even if you have a family to look after!
1. Please could you tell us a little about yourself and your mission through MamaLinaUK?
I'm a London based mum of 2 little boys and I'm on a mission to make low waste, plastic-free parenting mainstream and accessible to every single parent.
2. With you being an advocate for slow and sustainable parenting, what would be your top tips for any new parent, aunty or uncle wanting to create a low impact family environment?
Get the kids involved and educate them along the way so they start to understand when and why you live like this. It's also a great way to entertain them - ever seen how much fun it is for a kid to go around a supermarket with their own little canvas bag choosing only plastic-free fruit and veg? Or what about making oat milk together? Or composting? Or litter picking? All really sustainable parenting activities that the kids love too.
3. What are the challenges you face daily with sustainable parenting? And how do you overcome them?
Being just that bit organised when you're rrrreally tired. Having had not much sleep with a toddler who wakes at 6.45am, sometimes the idea of washing out all the reusables to head out for the day feels like hard work. Hence why I always advise people to wash everything out as soon as you're home! Also - if I'm allowed another challenge (!) - being OK with being a bit different - the only mum using cloth wipes and cloth nappies and any parents who think you're the weird hippy one in the corner.
4. You have just released a very informative low impact Christmas Guide. For those that don't know, please could you give us an overview of how wasteful Christmas can be, and provide some tips on how we can all be more mindful this year.
Sure. In a nutshell, there are many wonderful and meaningful rituals associated with Christmas but it’s also come to be a period synonymous with pressure, excessive consumption and waste. In fact, an alarming 30% more rubbish is produced during the Festive Season, and given that each year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tonnes of waste, that's a problem. So I put together a campaign, called 'Seasons Greentings', which launched on November 1st and is all about respecting Earth’s natural resources and celebrating. It's aiming to reframe our approach to traditional Festive celebrations and to offer a different, less wasteful approach to traditional festive celebrations. Each week focuses on a different theme, and there's a 30-page downloadable guide to accompany the campaign. So far, the response has been overwhelming - it's very exciting!
In Conversation With Sally Earthrowl
Sally Earthrowl, Mission Leader at eXXpedition, sails around the world with a mission to highlight the devastating impact of single-use plastics and toxics from land-based activities are having on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health.
1. Please can you give an overview of who eXXpedition are and your role within the organisation?
eXXpedition is a Community Interest Company which organises all-female sailing voyages with an aim to ‘make the unseen seen’ from the plastics in our ocean to the toxics in our seas, and in us. As Mission Leader, I help the team plan the mission logistics, but I will mostly be found on board facilitating scientific data collection and discussion around how we can collectively tackle this issue so that when our crew returns to land they are motivated to effect change in whatever sphere of influence they have.
2. What are some of the most interesting findings that you have found on your eXXpedition voyages?
A key part of our planning is to select a multidisciplinary crew so that everyone brings a different perspective to the discussion on the issues and solutions. Sharing innovative and inspiring ways in which people plan to tackle this in their communities back on land is by far the most interesting and motivating part of these voyages.
What kinds of plastics are most commonly found in the ocean? And what makes them so harmful to our planet?
Sailing through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch we saw a shocking amount of identifiable plastic items, but what was most shocking was the number microplastics we collected in our trawl samples. We all know that marine life and birds, such as the Albatross find it difficult to differentiate between the plastic and their usual food source which impacts on their health, the health of our ecosystem and ultimately, us.
4. How can others get involved in eXXpedition voyages? And what can they expect to experience?
Please check out the applications section of our website, our new voyages will be up soon so keep an eye out! You can also find information on past voyages, which should help you to get a flavour of what to expect. Hopefully, see you on 1st December at the @noplanetbcommunity Christmas party where I'll be sharing stories from our latest voyage across the Pacific Ocean.
Join the No Plant B Christmas event on Saturday 1st December (6-10pm) be sure to secure your tickets here!