Updated: Oct 20, 2020
From my last blog post about "my first plastic free swaps" to my latest, most recent endeavors... this is a fairly new topic for me. Keeping it real, I felt a little out my comfort zone at first talking about this, as it's such a new topic for me, but this is what I want for my blog. I want to be open, honest & share as I learn, in hope that it inspires, helps & brings awareness to others in a fun simple way.
This topic is a big one & one that I will not capture entirely in one blog post. It's quite an overwhelming topic to look into & it can be quite controversial. My aim is to keep it simple & accessible to anyone who wants to make small changes in their everyday life.
Change Starts with us - "Be The Change"
Whilst the big corporations, governing bodies & the government need to make change, we as individuals need to be the change wherever we can. Whilst there is a market for unsustainable products, the big wigs will continue to produce unsustainable products, so long as they have our money in their pockets.
Alternatively, we can use our voice & make changes now by the way we choose to spend our money.
Yes we need to continue to put pressure on the corporations & government to change legislation, but we all know it takes time, time that we're running out of. Let's make change together now!
I've read that the Fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world after oil. It consumes a massive amount of water & oil & is a source of a lot of plastic. To reduce the environmental impact of fashion there are a large number of things we can do, but here are a few of the easier ways we can incorporate fashion consciousness into our lives.
Here is what I've learnt...
1. Single Material Fashion
Where possible, it is better to buy garments made from a single material such as linen or organic cotton. I am increasingly noticing high street fashion chains offering clothes made from 100% organic cotton& at reasonable prices.
By choosing a single material garment, it means that once the garment is past it's wearable life, it can be recycled & in some cases, decomposed.
Mixed material garments, such as polyester/ cotton, cannot be broken down again, meaning the items cannot be recycled, or better, decomposed.
Polyester, & other synthetic fabrics, shed microfibers which escape from our washing machines into the ocean & can later enter into the food chain. If we can reduce the amount of synthetic fibre clothes we buy, this will help in the reduction of micro plastics leaking into the natural world.
*Great Solution* - I found this great washing bag that helps to reduce the amount of micro plastic that escapes through your washing machine. The GuppyFriend Washing Bag - Just put your synthetic fibre clothes into the bag, into your washing machine & the fibres that do break off are captured in the bag & can be put in the bin.
2. Make Do & Mend
There is nothing new with this concept. It's something that our parents, grandparents & great grandparents were brought up with. Darning socks & repairing clothes.
But society today encourages fast fashion where there is pressure to keep up with the latest trends & constantly have ever changing new outfits.
I haven't been into fast paced fashion for many years now but I have felt the fashion pressures of growing up in this society, feeling the need to keep up with the changing trends. I have always thrown away my socks as soon as they have a hole or thrown away my jeans once they're worn & tired, or that dress that snagged on a wooden bench.
I endeavor to stop this now. I will be darning my holey socks, repairing my worn jeans & patching up holes with funky embroidery. If you're like me, you may have a problem with the crutch in your jeans wearing out before the rest of the jeans. Usually I just throw them away at this point but I've found some great YouTube videos on how to repair worn out jeans & holes.
I'm excited to see my clothes re-invented & become bespoke unique pieces over time as I repair & extend their wearable life.
Take a look at some of my favourite How-to videos below & let me know if you choose to have a go yourself. I'd love to hear how you get on!
I will be posting the outcome of my own repairs on Instagram in the coming weeks too.
* Beropa Co. - How to mend your jeans - Crotch Area
*WithWendy - How to Mend Holes in Jeans
*Wonderfil Threads - How to Darn a Sock by Hand
I'm not a seamstress at all (cue bleeding fingers & wonky seams) & have only made 3 things in my life with the help of my Mum & Mother-in-Law who are excellent seamstresses. I'm very lucky to have them on hand to get me going on this new lifestyle change. However, if you're not as fortunate as me to have family who are a dab hand at sewing or they're not nearby to help out, there are loads of sewing schools online & in towns across the country.
It's a great way to support local businesses & it would be great to get this ethos of Make Do & Mend alive again. I expect we all have time when we're sat in front of the TV to darn a pair of socks. My husband has a few lined up for me already (or tucked behind the sofa). I'll keep you posted on how I get on via my Instagram.
3. Choose Vegan
This is a fairly new concept for me. A couple of years ago I decided to cut down on meat but this year I decided to go for it & I am now choosing to eat a vegetarian diet & I love it.
Unconscious Harri however, didn't initially think of the vegetarian choices beyond the food I put in my mouth, until fairly recently when I decided to buy my usual leather boots.
I have worn leather boots during winter for as long as I can remember. So there I was, ordering my new pair of boots ready for the colder months. Whilst waiting for them to turn up I found myself watching the latest David Attenborough program & I suddenly realised.... Leather is buying into the meat industry, of which I chose not to do anymore for sustainability reasons.
I did laugh at myself & quickly decided I would return them & tell you all about my little faux pas. he he
I've since decided to invest in a pair of vegan ankle boots which should last me many years & I love them!
(if you see a girl walking down the street staring at her new boots, that could be me! Ouch! Lamp post!)
There are loads of vegan fashion choices online & not all expensive, but take a look at point 4. to see if spending a little more money up front is worth it in the long run.
Since purchasing my vegan boots I have learnt about sustainable & non-sustainable vegan leathers. Sustainable being made from natural &/or recycled materials & unsustainable being made from synthetic materials which can include toxic chemicals in it's production.
Something else to look out for if vegan leather interests you. I do hope so.
Can you tell I love it... My latest purchase was very exciting & I've had loads of people interested in it.
A Vegan Eco Friendly Rucksack from goBambu. It's brilliant & gets people talking when i'm sat outside my local cafe. It's eye catching & people are always asking me, is your bag made of paper?
Yes it is! It's made from kraft paper & it's waterproof! The lining inside is made from recycled polyester that would otherwise have gone to landfill & the straps are cotton. It's really hard wearing & can take all of my essentials. If you're anything like me, you carry everything but the kitchen sink wherever you go to the annoyance of your husband, who can never find the car keys in your Mary Poppins bag!
This bag is perfectly durable for those of you like me!
*Good to Know* - In reference to my earlier point - this is a sustainable vegan leather product so you can buy with confidence & feel great about your choice.
This fun & striking bag, paired with your new vegan boots & statement "Be The Change" pin is a message in itself & showcases an alternative environmentally friendly approach to fashion.
To purchase this bag, click on the link below & whilst you're there, check out the other fantastic sustainable household items you can purchase.
Why I love goBambu:
*Small UK based company - I am all about supporting small businesses
*10% of their profits go to charity
*Featured Bamboo collection - one of the most sustainable materials in the world
*Very competitive prices - I was delighted to see how reasonable the prices are
4. Think Long-term
It's not always something that springs to mind when faced with buying a more expensive item. Our first thoughts can be, ouch! that's a lot of money. But with a more conscious hat on, paying more for an item can be a more sustainable approach & pay off in the end.
Previously, I have found myself buying cheap fashion month after month, year after year. Whereas if you buy a more expensive higher quality item, it can last for years, save you money in the long run & is therefore generating less waste & not falling into the fast fashion unsustainable cycle.
Can you extend the life of your garment that you previously thought was now useless?
Going back to "Make Do & Mend" - that top that's shrunk in the wash & is now too short - can you add a nice piece of lace on the bottom or a new block of fabric transforming your garment into a new bespoke piece of fashion. Are you really done with that top? Could you re-purpose it into a shopping bag or cleaning cloth?
As I approach my thirties I realise my insignificance in this world compared to the planet we live on & it's helped me to understand that my choices aren't just about me anymore.
Sure, I've had insecurities about my appearance & felt anxieties over the way I look & dress, & yes I want to look nice & feel good about the clothes I wear, but not at the cost of nature.
So i'm learning that if we want to live in alignment with what Mother Earth can provide, we have to be more conscious about the choices we make & see that it isn't just about ourselves.
We can be fashion conscious & planet conscious at the same time.
Thanks for reading my blog. I'd love to hear what you think & don't forget to follow me on Instagram, @consciously_harri, to see how I get on with my fashion repairs!