Sunday, 6 March 2016

Slow Fashion and Sustainability News: February Edition

With consumer fatigue causing chaos across the global fashion industry, leaving some brands and retailers mistakenly putting their faith in the increasingly unstable and unsustainable fast fashion system, it seems that the time has come to start treating our clothing with a little more care and attention. There was a lot of love for sustainable fashion throughout February, from inspirational Valentine's gift guides by all the best ethical fashion bloggers to the launch of Livia Firth's new capsule collection for M&S, and an even bigger turnout for her Green Carpet Challenge at this year's Oscars, which was topped off by Leo's brilliant speech on climate change.

The global fashion industry seems to be on the edge of a tipping point, which could see the biggest seismic shift in our shopping habits since the introduction of the internet. To desperately try and keep consumers interested, some designers are trying to speed up the fast fashion system even more, turning catwalks into digital shopping catalogues and allowing customers to purchase as soon as trends first appear. However, when newspapers start to question "Is faster fashion really the cure for our consumer fatigue?", Pinterest feeds and books devoted to de-cluttering are taking over the western world, and the boss of Ikea proclaims we've reached "peak stuff", we might need to explore the second, more drastic but necessary option, which is to turn the whole fashion system on its head and think about new ways to buy and own, either through "seasonless" collections or clothing rental schemes such as Sweden's new "clothing library", below.

Of course, some brands are already making changes to their production and providing customers with greener or more conscious options, just like Livia Firth's new clothing collection for British department store Marks & Spencer, which is made up of classic pieces produced sustainably. Along with H&M, the retailer came under fire this month for not living up to the promises it has made regarding living wages in its factories, but it is important to note that the retailer already pays 60% above the local minimum wage whilst admitting there is "more to be done", and is regularly considered the market leader in terms of  environmental practices and working conditions (Ethical Consumer). As well as launching her M&S collection, Livia also had a busy month promoting her Green Carpet Challenge throughout the awards season, culminating in the Oscars on the 28th February. The movement is steadily gathering more and more followers, with sustainable gowns worn by Lily Cole in Vivienne Westwood, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) in  Sage Galvan for Opening Ceremony, and Liberty Ross re-purposing her old wedding dress.

Finally, who could forget Valentine's day? Whether you're single or attached, the ethical blogging community provided some brilliant Valentine's gift guides featuring products from companies with a conscience. Read my favourites from fellow ethical fashion writers EcoCult and The Note Passer, or check out my own tips here and below.

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