Many of you know that I have a passion for fashion, especially having worked as a model for more than 10 years. I’ve watched the industry go from a luxurious pace, in a time of polaroids and an all-day shoot for one “look,” to launching into a fever of fast fashion with clothes becoming cheaper, trends moving quicker and an item that you loved being old-hat in a matter of minutes. After what seemed like a never-ending madness which left you wondering what exactly was going to give, I’m happy to have seen it evolve again. A slow and conscious evolution is happening, just as with food, whereby we as the consumers want to know exactly what we are buying, what’s the story, what’s the provenance. We no longer want to feed ourselves with, or feed into something that doesn’t make sense for ourselves or the planet. We are finally starting to hear more about sustainable fashion in the media, but still have a long way to go before it becomes the norm. This week, during Fashion Revolution Week, I’ve set myself the challenge of wearing head-to-toe sustainable outfits to support brilliant brands and hopefully inspire others to do the same!
Ethical and sustainable fashion is becoming an increasing priority for me. As consumers, we have such a huge impact on our environment, as well as the power to support brands that treat their workers fairly and humanly. It’s Fashion Revolution Week, and I really want to share how easy it is to get involved. This issue may have previously made us bury our heads in the sand with no clear course of action, however, with more and more brands starting to change their processes and the launch of brands that are entirely committed to being green, we now have access to beautiful clothes as well as better choices for the planet and ultimately ourselves.
High-end designers, including Mara Hoffman and Stella McCartney, are pioneering a movement towards ethical clothing, whilst high-street brands, such as H&M, Mango and ASOS, are also creating their own more affordable sustainable lines. This gives us choice on the high street as well as online. Another great way to choose sustainability (and my favourite kind of shopping!) is to go vintage. Try local charity shops, car boot sales and vintage stores, or look up clothing swaps in your area. You might not find anything today, or even tomorrow but when you do you get that old school buzz rather than the cheap thrill of walking into a shop that has spent thousands marketing to you to drop your cash! Purchasing secondhand is such a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, as well as knowing you’ll more likely than not, find something unique with its own story and history!
I’ve set myself this task because I want to show people who aren’t convinced that sustainable clothing can be stylish that you can follow trends, look good and still support the environment. I’m not suggesting you go out and splash out on a brand new wardrobe; instead I want to encourage you to dig a little bit deeper into your own to see what you can pull together before making another purchase. Remember: reuse is even more important than recycling or upgrading!). Then, next time you do go to purchase something, look into companies that choose sustainable and ethical practices in their production process. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas of brands you haven’t heard of before from my outfits.
I’m sharing all seven days worth of outfits to mark Fashion Revolution Week over on @jasminehemsley, but in the meantime, here’s an extra one just for you:
Banjanan dress, Ethletic trainers and From St Xavier clutch
Banjanan is dedicated to supporting and sustaining its local textile community in Jaipur, India. With access to skilled artisanal craftsmen, every piece in the collection draws on the artisan’s unique expertise and generations of experience. The result is a collection of handmade embroidery and prints impossible to recreate by machine. Embroidered, printed and produced within a 5-kilometer radius, the collection is designed to roam the world.
Ethletic created the first fairly manufactured soccer ball in the world, in Pakistan, a pioneering achievement in an industry that was extensively known for child labor and inhumane conditions. Footballs are largely made from rubber and because up to then no sustainability seal for rubber had existed, one of the brand’s founders, Martin Kunz, worked to create one. Thanks to his initiative, the natural rubber from Sri Lanka – used by Ethletic – was certified for sustainable forest management by the Forest Stewardship Council – a global first. In 2007, the idea to use the same rubber for trainers was born. In 2010, the Ethletic trainer became the first sneaker on the market to be certified with the Fairtrade quality seal for organic cotton.
The brand is also dedicated to improving the living conditions of its workers in Pakistan. Ethletic donates 15% of the purchase price of its products to the workers’ welfare association at the production facilities. To this day, it is the sole responsibility of the women and men to decide which projects they want to use this money on, for instance for the education of their children, healthcare, pensions or for micro-loans.
FROM ST XAVIER
From St Xavier is a handcrafted statement clutches and bags label with a social and ethical conscience. Each piece explores the revival of the traditional Indian techniques of embroidery, hand beading, sequins and metalsmith making, taking an artisan up to four days to finish a single design. The handcrafted process means that each From St Xavier piece has unique characteristics and will differ slightly in appearance, making it a one-of-a-kind collectible. With an innate sense of ethics found at the core of From St Xavier, the brand takes pride in upholding the responsibilities of fair trade and investing in underprivileged communities. As such, all products are handmade in the North of India under strict industry regulations; generating sustainable income and empowering over 1,000 men and women.