‘Sustainability’ is the real buzz word for the moment. Everywhere I look, I see the words: sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral, the list can go on. But how can I actually make a difference as one person?
I was recently watching the BBC programme ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ and I was actually very shocked at her findings. I have felt uncomfortable for a while now which how we are all becoming consumable obsessive, always trying to get on the latest trend train. I admit once upon a time, I loved to walk around the local shopping centers feeding my shopping habit. I actually got excited when I found a bargain and picked up a top that was half price. I would opening brag to people how much of a bargain it was when they asked. But in recent times I’ve looked at what I buy and think, do I really need it.
Fast Fashion is a real problem, how often do you see a sale on the high street? All the time! There is always a sale on somewhere! But why? Mainly because they have such a large amount of stock that it needs to be shifted before the next collection comes in. It’s a never ending conveyor belt. The need to ‘get it before its gone’ has been drilled into our heads by the big money making corporations. When I walk into a large shopping centre now, I actually feel like I’ve been brainwashed into opening my purse and walking out with a bag full of purchases. But this year I’ve tried to break out of the mold.
I made a commitment this year to not buy any clothes and only to hand-make my wardrobe. My motto this year has been ‘If you can make it, don’t buy it’. One reason was to challenge myself and to increase my sewing skills. Another was to slow down the growth of my wardrobe and begin to only add what I need to it. So far I’ve only actually bought one pair of linen shorts that I picked up before I went on my summer holiday in a last minute rush but looking back I think I could have coped without them.
But one other issue that Stacey Dooley uncovered was the chemical process that is involved in the creation of fabrics. You have to watch this programme to see the impact the process has on the world. I can’t even start to explain the effect of the manufacturing of the ‘pure; fabric of cotton in words here you actually have to see the impact yourself. Please do go and watch it on iplayer catch up!
So how can I be more responsible here? By the time the fabric arrives to me, the process has already taken place. So I guess I can be more responsible with my consumption. I don’t have a large fabric stash, I often only buy a fabric if I have a make in mind. That has helped to stop me just stockpiling fabric for a project one day in the long distance future. I’ve also started to become more responsible in how I dispose of my scraps. H&M have a great textile recycling scheme and will take fabric scraps, not just old garments. In return they even give you a £5 voucher, but is this then fueling the fast fashion problem. The vouchers have a long expiry date so I’m keeping them to buy new garments for my daughters when they actually need them and not to buy something just because I have the voucher. The final way I’m trying to be more responsible to donate my clothes including my handmade’s to the local charity shops or passing on my daughters clothes to other friends.
I know that I am just one person trying to be more responsible and I’m aware that I won’t have a huge impact on the Earth but small little changes together add up. One day in the future when I sit down with my grandchildren I won’t feel as guilty that the Earth is not the beautiful place that it once was.