Sustainability Sunday #88
This week I’m raging about flashy fast festival fashion.
Last month, on the August Bank Holiday, I was reunited with my best pal Emma after too many months apart. We moved out of our old flat in May and holidays, work and various other things meant this bank hol I finally got to visit her new flat in Brixton. Brixton is a short hop on the bus from my place, but the bus runs through Clapham Common where one of London’s biggest summer festivals takes place… that weekend.
Now you may be thinking this post is a little dated, after all the sunny summer Bank Holiday does seem like a long time ago now, but I have been debating whether it would be constructive or whether it was destined to just be a big old rant that no-one need to see. I’ve taken a punt, and I’m going to try and make it constructive… bear with me…
Call me old fashioned, or just old, but whilst crawling along the road that runs through Clapham Common where the event takes place, I could not believe my eyes. Crowds of people were everywhere, and although this is typical of any of London’s green spaces in summer there was something a little different this time: dress code. Mini skirts exposing buttocks, prints and metallics of every kind, stretchy leotards in various colours and shapes, crop tops showing off side boob AND underboob (what happened to the rules of subtle seduction about only having one part of boob on show?!). I’m all for free the nipple, but what was actually at the forefront of my mind looking at all the happy, nakedish to almost-naked people in the 16 degree weather was that so much of the clothing screeeeamed fast fashion.
How many people bought something just for this occasion, something that’s suitable for only a couple of events a year and will likely be “out of fashion” next year? What are these things made of? I’m guessing at Jersey, Polyester and Viscose: unnatural fabrics that wear easily, release tiny fibres into our water when washed and are certainly not biodegradable. I’m actually going to point fingers here, after seeing the Channel 4 show “Undercover: Britain’s Cheap Clothes” I know damn well that retailers like Missguided and Boohoo are using cheap, environmentally-damaging fabrics AND treating their workforce unfairly, and I also know that they market “festival fashion” as hard as they can as soon as the sun comes out in April right through summer. And don’t even get me started on the price which I believe is at least half the reason their clothing is a wear-once kind of purchase.
Now, let me talk to you about glitter. Glitter for me, is like the microbeads of the arts and crafts world. I flippin’ love glitter. Anything that sparkles, or makes a big mess I’m down for, but when you think that glitter is just tiny dots of flimsy plastic, it starts to hurt. Whilst on the aforementioned bus, a girl a few seats in front of me was liberally applying all the sparkly face candy – copious amounts of highlighter, gold and metallic blue eyeliner and attempting to form a pattern in glitter in all shapes and sizes while the bus bumped up and down. Because of this, I could see the glitter going everywhere – all down her front, onto the floor of the bus (where it would no doubt be swept or blown outside), and to give her credit, plenty stuck to her face where later it would drop off into the grass, be left on the shoulders and clothing of her friends, and for the bits that made it through the night, no doubt into the sink as it’s washed away.
Okay, rant over (for now), and onto the constructive part – what can you do differently?
No, of course I’m not asking you to boycott festivals!! But, I am asking you to boycott fast fashion retailers’ “festival shops”. Be more creative, that’s the whole point isn’t it? Go to a second-hand or charity shop, pick something you can cut up, or iron appliques on to. Make your own short shorts from an old pair of jeans, use a charity shop belt to loop a purse round your waist, find a pair of old boots or trainers and get your felt tips out to decorate them yourself. Layer up jewellery you already have, or buy festival-style jewellery from independent shops on Etsy, eBay and the like – it’s more likely to last that way too.
For glitter – you don’t have to be any less sparkly than you want to be – just choose your glitter wisely. Brands like Eco Glitter Fun (which you can buy from fab new zero waste marketplace Acala), Eco Stardust (which, almost as magically as the dust itself, is being sold by ASOS), VO5 do a biodegradable hair glitter for those cute glittery partings and a company in the north of England have developed Bioglitter which comes in three forms – Cosmetic, Deco (for parties, decorations etc.) and Craft (for children, arts and home crafting). The choice is yours!
So, whether you felt like this was a rant or a post that contained some good advice (or both), next year you know what to tell your friends right? 🙂
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