The Negative Impact of Fast Fashion

The emergence of the fast fashion industry has not only caused an impact on most peoples bank accounts but also on the economy of the third world countries that supply this industry and on the environment as a whole.

Back in the 1950s and before there were a maximum of 4 seasons in the fashion calendar, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, or sometimes only two seasons, Winter and Summer (dress for the cold and dress for the warm). Now with the advent of fast fashion we have on average 52 seasons a year, this constant creation and movement of new clothes requires the growth of more materials, the use of more chemicals and results in more waste.

Most fast fashion companies outsource their production to members of third world countries because they know that they can pay them less and exploit lax health and safety laws, whilst touting about how they are helping these countries and their employees because ‘this way they have a job and are earning money’. Never mind that this money may not be enough to feed their family, or that their employees risk death and illness in these factories.

As well as causing a negative impact on the world environment, fast fashion also has an impact on our wallets. Whilst most high street shops offer their clothes for a good price, this quick change in stock often results in people buying more clothes than they need, often clothes that they will only wear once. There have also been reports of big name companies taking overstock and slicing it with packaging knives so that it cannot be resold or donated once new stock comes in, thus driving more sales.

So what to do?

Try shopping only when you know that you need something. I never window shop and only go into town when i’m looking for something in particular, this helps me to save money which then means that I can afford to buy something that I really want that is usually of higher quality and will therefore last longer. Also, moving my thinking from ‘I want that’ to ‘do I need that?’ has reduced the effect that advertising has on me. Instead of being sold on the lifestyle that these companies are claiming to provide, I now see adverts for what they are, a company trying to get my money by making me feel inferior.

Shop in charity shops. Whilst they may not always have what you want charity shops are a great place to find a bargain and you may stumble across a hidden gem. I’d been wanting a leather style jacket for ages but didn’t want to buy one from the high street, then whilst I was looking for a scarf in my local charity shop I stumbled upon a second hand leather jacket for £6! The other upside to supporting charity shops, other than the obvious, is that by buying at charity shops I can reduce the amount of things thrown away and I can extend a clothing’s lifespan.

Try making some stuff for yourself. Now this isn’t going to be for everyone, I enjoy sewing and making things so the prospect of making an outfit for myself is quite exciting, for some of you that is probably not your idea of fun and that’s okay. Dressmakers and tailors are still around and will make something for you that fits perfectly and will last longer than the cheap mass produced items.

For more information about the fast fashion world and the impact it has on the environment, third world countries and your own pocket then I highly recommend watching ‘The True Price’ on Netflix, it goes much more in-depth into the impact the fashion industry has and ways in which you can help combat it.

The Vegan Hippy Market

So last week I went to a local festival called the Vegan Hippy Market. It was a great experience, especially as I knew that I could eat everything there, and there wasn’t just food, there were natural skin care products and up-cycled and recycled clothes. Meeting like-minded people and hearing good music whilst eating good food is in my opinion one of the best ways to spend a sunny day.

Food and drink

Some of my favourite stalls included the gourmet toast stall where I bought a lovely spinach, cashew and ‘cheese’ toastie. The Vegan burger stall Setain’s (pronounces satans) grill, that makes black bun burgers, unfortunately the stall was so popular that I couldn’t get a taste. There were also many vegan dessert stalls including Beau Monde that made amazing cupcakes, and Pip’s real hot chocolate co who make hot chocolate shots that you simply drop in hot milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skincare

Many of the vegan skincare stalls provided their products in recyclable or refillable packaging. Like the Heavenly skin care organics stall where I bought some lovely deodorant powder, all of their products come in low waste packaging and they provide refills for their products if you send them your empty container.

Recycling

Finally there was a stall run by the followers of Master Cheng Yen, they work as Buddhist disaster relief workers and have also developed shopping bags made from recycled water bottles.

 

The Importance of Hemp

Hemp has many uses and should in my opinion be the go to ingredient for products such as packaging, clothing and paper. Many people have an issue with hemp as an ingredient in that they believe it can only be used as a drug, or that using a product with hemp in will cause you to get high. However the hemp plant and the marijuana plant are two different things, they are closely related, but trying to get a high from using hemp will probably not get you the effect that you expect. Hemp is easier to grow and hardier than marijuana, it doesn’t require the constant high temperatures and its fibres have been used for manufacturing purposes as far back as 8000BC.

Hemp Oil

One of the main uses of hemp is in the production of hemp oil. It can replace palm oil in many foods, as well as used to make candles, paint and in lotions for skin care. In the case of food oil, hemp is a good alternative to palm oil which is very detrimental to the environment, this is one of the reasons I no loner eat Nutella as its about 30% palm oil. Palm oil leaches nutrients from the soil making it impossible to grow anything else on the soil afterwards, and palm oil plantations often destroy native rainforests that are home to endangered species, such as the orangutang. Hemp plants take very few nutrients from the soil and have a quick growth rate which means that they only need a small area to grow in to be profitable. Paint made from hemp oil is non-toxic and has the added advantage of lasting longer than regular paint. Skin care products, such as moisturisers, that contain hemp oil aid in the regeneration of cracked and dry skin and are very good for those with skin conditions such as eczema.

Plastic

Plastic made from hemp is biodegradable and therefore can aid in reducing the amount of plastic sent to landfills. Regular plastic can take up to 1000 years to biodegrade, a plastic water bottle for example will hang around for roughly 450 years however a hemp plastic water bottle will be gone within six months. Non-biodegradable plastics are having a massive impact on the environment, you have no doubt seen news articles showing plastic bags found in the stomachs of dead animals, or floating islands full of plastic waste polluting our oceans.

Clothing

Hemp is used to make many types of clothing, from jeans to sportswear to jumpers. IT creates a highly durable fibre which helps your clothes to last longer. It is also, once again, less detrimental to the environment than its cotton alternative as it requires less water and space to grow. Many clothing lines and companies are now moving to hemp fibres so check out the labels of your next purchase to see if you can spot it.

Paper

Paper made from hemp is cheaper than paper made from trees as the growth rate of a harvestable hemp plant is 4-5 weeks, whereas a paper ready tree takes a minimum of 18 years to grow. Hemp paper is better for the environment as you can harvest enough hemp to meet demand from a relatively small area that can be replanted regularly, this also helps to save the trees as it reduces logging and protects the animals who live in those forested areas.

Construction

One of the least recognised uses of hemp is in construction. Hemp can be used to make cement for houses that is more weather resistant than regular cement, incurs less weather damage, and is once again less environmentally damaging as it is what is known as carbon-negative. Most people have heard of carbon-neutral, where the process of making and consuming a product creates as much carbon dioxide as was taken out of the atmosphere buy growing the materials. Carbon-negative products emit less carbon dioxide in their production and consumption than is taken in by the growing materials, in this case the hemp.

Fuel

Hemp is one of the plants used in many types of biofuel. Whilst many types of engines don’t currently take biofuel there has been an increasing demand for it, as once again biofuel is mostly carbon-neutral.