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Tag Archives: Sustainable Fashion

  • Brand Spotlight: Wool and the Gang

    screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-56-38We all have a favourite woollen sweater or coat that we can rely on to keep us warm during the cold winter months, but how many of us know about wool and the sustainability of its production? According to Campaign for Wool, this natural textile is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep and boasts some amazing qualities like acting as a natural insulator, and being incredibly resilient and trans-seasonal.

    This week, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight a Brand that is pushing forward not just an ethical message, but also a global sense of community and sustainable practise for wool-producers and consumers. Known as Wool and the Gang, the company was founded on the basis of offering fashion lovers with unique woollen pieces, that respect the welfare of animals, while also creating a community of enthusiastic knitters that can participate in the creation of wonderful woollen items. Offering a variety of knitted products, as well as knitting patterns for the more ambitious, the company has been a great success, and has recently partnered up with London Department Store &OtherStories to release a beautiful, pearl studded Winter Collection. As sustainable fashion gains more grounding, we hope to see even more brands like Wool and the Gang, paving the way for positive change in an industry that impacts so many.

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  • The Winter Edit

    With the end of Autumn approaching, the weather has become crisp and chilly, and winter seems to have finally arrived. This colder weather is hence a fantastic invitation to invest in some ethical winter accessories. As leaders in the sustainable fashion industry, Fashion Compassion supports brands with the best ethical and environmental credentials, and are constantly scouting for the most fashionable and sustainable brands.

    This week, we will be spotlighting some of our favourites for the winter season, as the days grow colder and we are left to embrace- not battle- natures elements.

    Glow and See is a London based brand that specialises in glowing knitwear. A great option for anyone out on late winter nights!

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    Warm Regards is a brand which produce beautiful ethical scarves. Based in India, they are a social enterprise, dedicated to uplifting women and empowering them financially through artisian employment. These are fantastic colours for the festive season!

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  • November: Red is for Rememberance

    Remembering Victims of the Fashion Industry

    As the month of November brings with it a defiant spirit of remembrance and nostalgia, the Fashion Compassion team would like to reflect on the hardships suffered by many within the supply chains of the Global Textile Industry. In particular, while Fashion brings us choice and a channel to express individuality, it accommodates many shades of grey that remain to be addressed by both political and commercial circles.

    Last year saw the tragic Rana Plaza Diasater in Bangladesh which toke the lives of over 1,138 garment workers, while in 2016, the Syrian Refugee Crisis has brought with it opportunities for unethical human exploitation, as the BBC reported several weeks ago, indicating the dangers of our cultural appetite for fast fashion that replicates the latest seasonal trends, while placing  significant cost on our planet and poorer communities in the developing world.

    Despite the solum tone however, there is still hope, as passionate innovators and creators initiate campaigns to promote sustainability and fair trade, with Brands like HnM and organisations like the Ethical Fashion Forum and the Wage Alliance. So when you pin a poppy to the lapel of your winter coat, or you read of the memorial events that took place this weekend, the ultimate message is to remember not only past lives, but also present ones. The people that make Fashion as an industry possible, from skilled seamstresses and renowned designers to retail employees and garment workers that work 14 hour days. We all have a part to play in this global mosaic.

    Celebrate the month with red adornment and check out our picks from Fashion Compassion!

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  • The Future of Textiles: The Rise of Hybrid Fabrics

    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-48-40Mahatma Gandhi once said that 'There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it is makes hunger and unhappiness'. This profound statement is more relevant today than it has ever been, as fabric becomes a powerful metaphor for the principle of sustainability and for advocating global unity. The anatomy of the textile industry is indeed evolving, as innovation is now synonymous to the practise of sustainability. Traditional fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are now accompanied by contemporary hybrid fibres that reflect the technological and socially conscious world that globalisation has ignited. With the rise of textile innovation, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight two unique companies who are redefining the landscape of textile production by merging innovation with environmental and social objectives.

    Foremost is the Italian Startup Orange Fibre, which attributes its patented fabric to the geography of Sicily, where citris fruit is grown and consumed on a vast scale. It is the waste from this citris industry that provides degradable fibres, which are then transformed through nanotechnology techniques to create a vitamin C rich fabric known as Orange Fibre. This unique innovation is attributed to two Italian entrepreneurs Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena,  who together have scaled the idea and begun production of the fabric. Accordingly, the entrepreneurs hope to introduce a sustainable paradigm to the Italian Fashion Industry, and  to reincarnate a shrinking fruit industry which has left many Sicilian youth unemployed and local talents under leveraged. The company therefore addresses sustainability on multiple levels, by utilising fruit by-product and offering new jobs to local economies. Who could imagine a textile to be sustainable, nourishing and economically empowering?

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    The second innovator is American-based Bionic Yarn who has created a solution to combating the worlds excessive consumption of plastic products. Their mission 'To achieve sustainability without sacrificing quality' and to generate positive impact for the triple bottom line. The emergence of this company is timely, as plastic is known to be a non-biodegradable material and yet the world consumes it within almost every industry and demographic. The production of Bionic Yarn is therefore a welcomed step towards transforming this harmful waste into textile material that can be used in a diverse range of outlets- fashion being one of them.

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    In fact exciting collaborations have already manifested using this hybrid fibre, with the launch of a collection by rapper Pharrell Williams for G Star in 2015. This campaign was used to spread awareness of the extensive ocean pollution caused by plastic consumption and how companies like Bionic Yarn can offer sustainable solutions to vast environmental problems that now seem to transcend borders, cultures and geography.

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  • JOIN LIFE: Zara's Stake in the Sustainable Fashion Movement

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    An evolution is occurring on the High Street as this season Zara enters the Sustainable Fashion Family by introducing a collection called 'JOIN LIFE'. The endorsement of this collection with its use of organic textiles, is an indication of greater shifts to come within the world of fashion, as brands begin to capitalise on the business opportunities of sustainability, while engaging customers in the some of the most crucial debates of our time. Fashion has never been more important for spreading values and cultural ideas about how we consume, dress and express ourselves, and being a multi million dollar company, Zara has certainly committed itself to a worthy campaign, that will push forward  perceptions of a more progressive fashion industry which accommodate supply chains that respect the environment and its fragility.

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    With rich warm tones, the collection features well tailored classic pieces, that are bound to appeal to the fashion conscience, with chic trench coats, frills and pleats and minimalist shirts that capture the current flavour of Autumn. The launch of this collection is proof that sustainable style is slowly but surely becoming a norm within the world of fast fashion, as environmental and social issues are given a platform and projected into design and style collectives. This campaign also marks the beginning of a journey for Zara, as we can expect more exciting innovations from some of our favourite High Street brands.

     

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  • The Power of Aesthetic: Marrying Desirable Design with Sustainability

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    Fashion is instant language and a form of individual expression. It is no mystery then, that our love for different colours, textures and trends translate into a healthy appetite for beautiful adornment, and has fuelled an industry worth over three trillion dollars. Eco Fashion has come a long way from its initial minimalist organic cotton tees and jute and hemp bags, to tap into this exciting and ever evolving flow of aesthetic creation.  With this in mind, the design of a garment holds great precedent when we select new items for our wardrobe, irrespective of price tag, brand and unfortunately of green and ethical credentials. Ultimately, if a product is not beautifully made, it will not be bought or worn. This is an honest fact.

    Aesthetic and design harbours great craft and cultural context, and so even with the emergence of sustainable fashion brands, designers need to leverage good design to appeal to all consumers in the market. This is an idea which I contemplated in particular, during a recent visit to a local H&M Store, where I purchased a blouse from the Conscious Collection. However, my main motivation for the purchase came from my admiration of the colour and tailoring, while my attention to the production and sustainability of the garment toke second place, indicating the power of aesthetic appeal on our consumption habits and purchasing decisions.

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    At Fashion Compassion, we acknowledge this demand and desire for great aesthetic and design, but also realise the shifts that are needed in the fashion industry, and the social and environmental issues which are connected that need to be addressed in order to change current systems. Selecting great brands that offer exciting and current aesthetic is therefore a virtue we strive to endorse.

  • 'WEAR NO EVIL' A Sustainable Fashion Handbook

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    Publications on sustainable fashion have emerged in recent years with greater education and awareness of our increasingly fragile climate and concerns over the nature of global working conditions and environmental standards. Greta Eagan's book 'Wear No Evil' acts as a fantastic introduction and guide to ethical consumerism, as the book pairs practical styling tips with a rich plethora of references for sustainable companies and brands.

    Beginning her portfolio on sustainable fashion in 2010, Greta is also the creator of FashionMeGreen, a website that has become a crucial earmark for showcasing sustainable brands that are 'aligning the world of mainstream fashion with a conscious and ethical approach'.

    Wear no Evil is a recommended and insightful publication for anyone who wishes to uncover the complex layers of the Global Fashion Industry. It is a refreshing outlook which illuminates readers to the major challenges faced by the industry and the individual steps and decisions we can all initiate to create fairer and more environmentally conscious supply chains. Our hope is that as sustainable fashion becomes more mainstreamed, more impassioned advocates will emerge carrying the message of green ethical fashion.

  • London Fashion Week Edit- H&M and the Circular Economy

    20160915_18260720160915_184229London Fashion Week is an annual event which brings with it a plethora of creativity, style and innovation- but perhaps the most exciting aspect of this global gathering has been the inclusion of sustainable and ethical fashion into wider industry dialogue. In particular, global high street brand H&M has become a significant and committed player within the sustainable fashion playing field, as following the creation of its acclaimed Conscious Collection, the company continues to break old paradigms within the global fashion industry, while introducing style conscious consumers to alternative ideas of sustainable style.

    Its latest project has manifested as an ambitious collaboration with the London College of Fashion which brought the production of a capsule collection designed from used textiles- collected as part of H&M’s garment collecting programme. The resulting collection was exhibited at H&M’s flagship store on Oxford Street during London Fashion Week, and became a potent statement for challenging current supply chain systems, through the promotion of greater consumer awareness for the design process. This project also represents a positive stride towards the concept of the Circular Economy- a system that is based on the 'cradle to cradle' philosophy and which prioritises the sustainable use of materials and resources. Initiating projects like these is therefore a welcomed sign not only for designers, but also for governments and commercial stakeholders who can engage and support practices that focus on greener and more ethical consumerism. 

    Desirable propositions must therefore be created in order to engage consumers, which makes fashion such a powerful medium to push initiatives for sustainability forward. Having participated in the scheme myself, it is reassuring and refreshing to see such a proactive stance towards transforming the fashion industry and to know that previously loved pieces can be given a new and chic lease of life, therefore achieving a reincarnation of style.

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  • Merge ZA's panel on sustainability

    "Nobody should die or suffer for fashion." - Orsola De Castro

    This, and other inspiring comments, could be heard on Monday 19th when our founder Ayesha Mustafa joined a panel on sustainability and its future in the fashion industry. In total the panel had 6 speakers: Ayesha, Orsola de Castro (Fashion Revolution), Rose Sinclaire (Goldsmith University), Francesco Mazzarella (Loughborough Design School), Jaqueline Shaw (Africa Fashion Guide), Anna Freemantle (Edinburgh International Fashion Festival), and Laura Santamaria (Sublime Magazine).

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    The founders of Merge ZA and the panelists after the talk (excluding Anna Freemantle).

    The event took place from 3PM to 5PM at TANK Magazine's gallery space in Soho and was organized by Merge ZA. The panelists discussed the past, present and future of the current fashion industry and answered the key question: "How to make the fashion industry more sustainable?"

    The panelists all agreed that although we have come a long way over the years when it comes to sustainability and green living, we still have a long way to go - the change for better will not happen immediately, but gradually people are seeing the importance of sustainability and it is important to continue spreading the message and educate people on the matter.

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    Ayesha Mustafa sharing her thoughts on the panel.

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    A slide from Jacqueline Shaw's presentation.

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    Brands that were showcased at the event.

    Fashion ComPassion would like to thank the audience, the panelists as well as the organizers for the event!

    All images © Fashion ComPassion.

  • Ayesha Mustafa to talk on Monday

    MERGE ZA is a travelling showroom and will launch at Tank Magazine’s gallery space during London Fashion Week to promote best of South African contemporary fashion designers. Its inaugural showroom will exhibit five of South Africa's leading designers' work: Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, SELFI, Wanda LePhoto and Young & Lazy. The event will be in partnership with the British Council CONNECT ZA.

    By taking South African fashion talents to global urban hotspots during events such as London Fashion Week, MERGE ZA is creating a platform to develop international audiences, to promote South African design and to act as service provider between local designers and international partners.

    The showroom will be open to buyers, press and the public from 11am-3pm between 16-20 September, with panel discussions on brand stories, media & trends and sustainability. Our founder Ayesha Mustafa will join the panel on sustainability on Monday 19th, starting at 3PM. Alongside her in the panel will be Orsola de Castro (Fashion Revolution), Anna Freemantle (Edinburgh International Fashion Festival), Rose Sinclair (Goldsmith), Francesco Mazzarella (Loughborough Design School) and Jaqueline Shaw (Africa Fashion Guide).

    Location
    Tank Magazine Gallery Space | 91-93 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NX

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    Rich Mnisi

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    Lukhanyo Mdingi

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    SELFI

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    Wanda LePhoto

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    Young & Lazy

    For further information of the events, please see the Merge ZA website.
    All images © The British Council.

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