So here we are - a new month, new year, a new decade. 2020 always seemed so far away and yet here we are at the precipice of a new 'roaring 20s'. Whilst there are certainly challenges to face, we are excited about what lies ahead. Looking back on the past 10 years, we have seen great progress in sustainable fashion across the board. When we had the idea for Gather&See more than 10 years ago, the term ethical fashion was met with quizzical looks and eye rolls, when we launched 5 years ago we were still very much a seen as a niche offering - now in 2020 we find ourselves surrounded by big-name brands putting millions into sustainability as consumers demand fairer, safer, better-made products that do not cost the earth (literally). And thank goodness.
Climate change is the greatest threat that we face today, indeed, potentially the greatest threat that humans have faced ever. The wildfires raging through Australia as we speak are a sign that nature cannot take much more. Act now or that blazing inferno is the future. The arrival of a new year and a new decade is a chance to take a step back, take stock of recent years and set intentions for those that come. If ever there was a time to assess what we can do as individuals, communities and society as a whole, it is now. With that in mind for our monthly issue this January we've put together 5 simple things we can all do to make a difference this year and for those that follow.
1. Kick the Fast Fashion Habit
We've all learned about the negative impacts of fast fashion. In the words of Lucy Siegle - "it's not free, someone, somewhere is paying for it." Not only that - our climate is paying for it. We've long chimed in about the effects that the fashion industry has on climate change. The truth is that the more fast fashion we consume, the more greenhouse gasses we emit, the more water we use and poison and the more habitats we destroy. We own more than we need and use it not enough - in fact, the average person buys 60% more clothes and keeps them for half as long as they did 15 years ago (Greenpeace). Make a pact to buy less - and wear your items more. Lauren Bravo's brilliant book 'How to Break Up with Fast Fashion' is out soon and full of brilliant ideas on how to kick the habit for good.
2. Cared for Clothes Last
We wash our clothes too much! Save on water and electricity and wash them less! As a busy Mum of boys this I am constantly trying to save on washing. Dab down small stains right away and you'll get another wear out of them. Choose natural fibres such as wool and they require less washing in the first place and when you do wash try to line dry or hang. The less we wash them, the longer our will last but when they do show signs of wear and tear be sure to repair and not throw in the bin. Learn to sew, its easier than you think, will save you money and is way more rewarding than yet another half-hour spent scrolling Instagram. There are so many tutorials for pretty much everything online or if you really can't handle it then find someone to do it for you. www.theseam.london finds the best tailors and seamstresses in your local neighbourhood.
3. Conscious Consumption
When you do buy, buy with care. This is the sentiment that lies at the heart of everything at Gather&See. It's why we provide our customers with all the information as to how our brands are sustainable and break down what Philosophies they are built around. Think about the materials used to make your clothes and how they are processed. Just like you choose what foods to put in your body, consider carefully how you want to clothe it. Choose organic cotton not only for your own health but to protect and respect those that produce it and the environments in which it is farmed. Choose natural fibres that will bio-degrade quicker and require less chemical use and processing. This is not to take the joy out of fashion and shopping - quite the opposite. Consider your buys more, research them more and they'll be all the sweeter once you make them.
4. Plant-Based Living
Moving towards a more plant-based diet and lifestyle is one of the biggest things that we can do to help the environment, whilst being beneficial to your health as well. Even just removing meat from your diet a couple of days a week is a start and will save you money at the same time. Animal agriculture accounts for 51% of all greenhouse gasses with the figure set to increase to 80% by 2050 if things do not change. Deliciously Ella's plant-based recipes have always inspired us but now you will find most food writers have considerable vegetarian sections to give you plenty of ideas. Of course, it isn't just what we eat - animal products used in clothing and beauty products all have an impact - discover our Vegan selection for completely animal-free sustainable fashion.
5. Join the Movement and Make Your Voice Heard
We are at crisis point, the earth is at its limit. We can't stand the thought of being the generation that didn't fight. The passion that we have seen from our children and teenagers as they have been calling for change is humbling and inspiring. I want to have a clear, confident response when my sons ask me what I did to help. Sign up to groups such as Extinction Rebellion, lend your support to local climate change organizations and continue to put pressure on governments and businesses, talk about our responsibilities as global citizens to our children. As the world's most famous teenager Greta Thunberg said, no one is too small to make a difference. As we start a new decade it is telling that it is her and not a reality TV star that our teenagers are looking up to. Yes there is a lot to fear, but there is also hope - now let us nurture and harness it so that at the turn of the next decade the future looks a little brighter.