2020: The year of eco-fashion?
We see a lot of companies, particularly clothing brands, claiming to have environmentally-friendly credentials as a means of attracting conscious shoppers to their stores. However, it has been proven that not all companies know exactly how environmentally friendly – or usually, unfriendly – they really are.
In 2011, Greenpeace inspected the water outputs of multiple riverside factories in China, including those producing garments, in response to it being published that 50% of China’s water had been deemed unsafe for human contact. It was believed that these factories were dumping toxic chemicals into rivers, and this meant that these chemicals were coming through into food and drinking water, affecting the health of both wildlife and humans. After collecting water samples, several toxic chemicals were found – some of which were already banned throughout Europe due to their adverse effects on sexual development and the immune system. Crucially, these chemicals were found to be persistent; they would remain in the environment. In addition to affecting humans through the food and water they consume, the chemicals were found to also be harmfully affecting marine life – washing clothing containing the toxins was leading to them being broken down and released back into bodies of water, where they were disturbing animal hormones.
Upon investigating the companies using these factories for suppliers, multiple international brands including Nike, Adidas and H&M were found – despite many of these brands promoting their care towards the environment. Greenpeace published their ‘Dirty Laundry report’ in July 2011, revealing that these companies simply didn’t know which chemicals were being used by their suppliers, meaning their environmental claims were often completely false. Until steps were taken to look into their supply chain, Greenpeace said, these brands could not really make such claims at all.
The solution to this problem came in the form of the Detox Our Future campaign, which encouraged brands to work with their suppliers to alter the ways their clothes were manufactured in order to eliminate the use of eleven different groups of toxic chemicals.
The ways that factories’ toxic chemicals can damage both humans and wildlife.
The first brand to comply was Puma, committing to erase hazardous chemicals from production by 2020. Since then, a total of 76 international brands have committed to the Detox campaign. This means that these brands will need to substitute hazardous PFCs with safer alternatives, become totally transparent in their supply chain and set out a clear plan of how they will achieve this by 2020, so that they can then claim that their production is environmentally friendly. You can see the list of companies who have committed, and how far they are complying with the criteria so far, here.
Movements like these will hopefully start to change the garment industry around for the better, saving both our natural environment and our own health! Yet still there are brands who are refusing to change the impact they are having on the environment – including GAP, Armani, Diesel and Christian Dior, so there is still a way to go. As consumers, we must proactively choose which companies we invest our money in to show brands that we do care.
Four incredible re-uses of plastic water bottles!
Each year the average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles, but only recycles 270 of them, meaning nearly half (44%) aren’t put in the recycling. If one year’s worth of the UK’s unrecycled plastic bottles were placed end to end, they would go around the world 31 times covering 780,000 miles (not even taking into account every other country!). When plastic does not get recycled, it takes hundreds of years to naturally break down, creating detrimental repercussions to our wildlife, and now the main source of ocean pollution.
There are some amazing and innovative ways in which some people are trying to tackle this however, trying to make the move into a more sustainable world for us all to live in. Here are some positive re-uses for the standard PET bottle we all come across and probably use in our day to day lives.
Plastic Bottle Village – Panama
In Panama, recycled plastic bottles are repurposed as a core building material. A two storey 100m2 home is rebuilt using 14,000 plastic bottles that are utilised as insulation. This means that there are huge time and money savings as a result. Plastic bottle homes are cooler temperatures indoors than concrete block walls and also boast a higher resistance against earthquakes due to the degree of flexibility.
The “bottle brick” technology started almost 16 years ago in India, South and Central America, providing a cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative to conventional building bricks.
Plastic Island – Richart Sowa
Richart Sowa spent seven years carefully constructing his floating eco-paradise, complete with a hot tub and even internet connection near Cancun, Mexico, that he calls Joyxee Island. It is made of 150,000 recycled bottles. The three storey house has two bedrooms, a hot tub, three shell showers, a kitchen and working internet. It is surrounded by palm trees, mangroves, fruit trees and edible herbs and plants which all grow from the sand and soil of this hand-made island. Alongside his house, he also has a ferry made from plastic bottles which can carry up to eight people to and from shore. This may be Richart’s idea of paradise but it does not come easy – there is a lot of physical labour involved in keeping it up, it is made from plastic bottles after all!
Sunlight powered ‘bulbs’ – Liter of Light
25,000 low-income homes in the Philippines have been lit up after the launch of a scheme to fit sunlight-powered ‘bulbs’ made from old plastic bottles. 40% of the country’s population live off less than $2 a day, and the rising cost of power leaves most unable to afford electricity. Therefore, it was imperative that someone found a way to sustainably source light for them. The My Shelter Foundation launched the Liter of Light project which uses plastic bottles filled with a solution of bleached water, installed into holes made in shanty towns’ corrugated iron roofs which refracts the equivalent of 55W of sunlight into the room (during the day at least). It takes only five minutes to make and costs $1 to produce. This highlights how important using appropriate green technologies for developing countries specifically is – “One man’s ‘stuff’ is another man’s gold”.
Water bottle wall – Monmoto, NYC
This restaurant in New York upcycled 17,400 litre plastic bottles into a two storey partition wall which is backlit by LED’s and a beautiful piece of interior architecture. There are so many things that can be done with a plastic bottle and this restaurant proves how beautiful they can really be.
“Who has my money helped?”: Our recent LendWithCare successes
As you may know, RubyMoon is actually a not-for-profit organisation. The money we generate from sales of our swimwear goes entirely to women entrepreneurs in developing countries as loans to help them either start or grow their businesses, as a means of helping them to help themselves. When the loans come back, we can then put them towards producing more swimwear or re-loan the money to others who need it.
We focus on women, as they are seen as the ‘change agents’ of the family –meaning they are the ones who are more likely to use the money for the good of their family. Women spend a larger proportion of their income on improving the health, nutrition and education of their families, particularly their children. Women are also usually the most vulnerable within society – most of the world’s poor are women – and to give women the empowerment that comes with a step towards financial independence is particularly important to us at RubyMoon.
To date, RubyMoon has made over 200 loans, helping 483 entrepreneurs and 1535 of their family members. We use the microfinance platform, LendWithCare, through which to make our loans.
Watch their introductory video here to learn about how they work.
We are delighted to announce that this spring/summer, we have been able to make 20 new loans! One of our most recent investments went to Care Group Twitezimbere, a savings and loans group in Rwanda whose name translates as “Let Us Move Forward”. The group of 30 individuals had requested a loan with which to buy sheep, goats and crop seeds for farming. RubyMoon frequently donates to agricultural businesses – in a lot of developing nations, farming is one of the most promising means of gaining a profit. In Africa alone, agriculture could become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030, so long as access to electricity, new technologies and suitable land can be obtained. As such, this group were one of many that we thought could really benefit from a small loan. Each of the group members has an average of five children – and they want the money to improve the lives of their children rather than themselves. The money raised from their farm is going to be used to pay for the children’s school fees, as well as health insurance for the whole family, so that the next generation can lead more enriched lives.
Your sales of our RubyMoon swimwear have not only allowed us to change the lives of this group and their families, but also 19 other business groups just like them! Thanks to you, businesswomen across the globe are becoming empowered and able to keep a stable income, something which we often overlook in the Western world, but is completely liberating for women like these.
So a massive thank you to all of our recent customers for enabling this positive social change to be brought about!
Five beach reads that will get you thinking this summer!
Sand- check. Cocktail- check. New RubyMoon bikini- check.
Good book? Check.
Nothing beats unwinding and getting into a good book. Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular books on sustainability and the environment. Get informed- whilst getting brown.
Collapse: How societies choose to fail or survive, Jared Diamond:
Diamond makes an enquiry into how societies such as the Mayan community and the people of Easter Island, collapsed. Using a range of past and present case studies, Diamond highlights the conditions needed for societal collapse, and what needs to be done to avoid it. Stories of serial self-inflicted ‘ecocide’ can lead us to draw conclusions about the fate of our current situation. Not the jolliest of reads but certainly thought-provoking. Have booze on hand when reading.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, Naomi Klein:
This International Bestseller is a must read for those who care about the future of our planet. Framing our current climate crisis as one based around the conflict between capitalism and the planet, Klein pins the blame firmly on capitalism. She explores how climate action has taken a backseat politically as a result of a larger corporate agenda.
Gaia: A new look at Life on Earth, James Lovelock
In this work Lovelock posits the earth is a living thing, as its own organism. His ideas were often passed by as eccentric. Now, however, as climate change climbs higher and higher up the agenda, many of his predictions about the earth are coming true. Modelled as a modern day prophecy, this is a must read for non-scientists who want to understand more about the earth as a complex system and our place in it.
When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China will save mankind or destroy it, Jonathan Watts
Watt’s travels across China, from industrial waste lands to beauteous mountains, witnessing different responses to the encroaching environmental disaster. He portrays individual lives and responses, from those at the top of society and those at the bottom, in a way that cannot leave the reader unaffected. It highlights especially the role our individual actions can have in making a difference to our planet.
When the Rivers Run Dry: What happens when our water runs out?, Fred Pearce
Dealing with the worldwide water crisis, Pearce emphasises how now, water ‘is the new oil’. He explains how we got to this point of increasing hose pipe bans and drought warnings, in the UK and worldwide. This is sure to get you thinking about your own water usage, or wastage. Let’s not be putting ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’ signs up in the bathroom though.
By Roisin McCormack
Travel Tuesday Special: The most sustainable European cities for you to get lost in this summer
If your Instagram feed has become sickeningly saturated with other people’s sun, sand and sea posts; why not consider a weekend away in one of Europe’s greenest cities this summer?
RubyMoon puts together a list of five of the most sustainable cities in Europe, according to rankings and general experiences!
Ranked number one in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index-Zurich is the place to be for any eco-warriors this summer. Not only is it the greenest city, but it also ranks highly in terms of quality of living. *Cough cough*; not saying there’s a correlation….The city is teeming with green spaces and nature experiences, such as the lakeside park Zurichhorn and Platpitz; coincidentally also favourites of James Joyce, if you want to stalk the haunts of your favourite writer. You can hop from beautiful park to park easily via Zurich’s sustainable public transport system. In Zurich, ‘eco-tourism’ is now the buzzword of the day; Zurich tourist officials even encourage people to take the train from London to Paris, instead of flying- to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
Stockholm was ranked as the 3rd most sustainable city in the world, and is renowned for its innovative recycling of industrial heat to keep its neighbourhoods warm during winter. It is also home to nearby eco-districts– such as The Hammarbu Sjostad eco-town. Similarly, nearby Malmo and its surrounding region, is cited as Europe’s first carbon-neutral neighbourhood. Check them out for a view into the future! There are also independent organic cafes in abundance in Stockholm itself, for example the Rosendals garden café– where all ingredients are sourced from their own garden, or the Paradiset Organic Market.
In Vienna, the hills are alive with the sound of…. sustainability. Ranked 4th in the Sustainability Index, Vienna is certainly now attracting visitors for more than the Sound of Music tour. Similarly to Zurich, Vienna has one of the highest standards of living, and the happiest citizens. Vienna’s powerplants not only provide clean energy but are artistic too, designed by eco-artists, they dot the skyline. If you think of yourself as a bit of a green fingers, then check out one of the urban city gardens and farms- The City Farm Schonbrunn and the Karlsgarten. Wind your way through the city via bike taxis, or hire a city bike to take in the views and the Viennese architecture. Do the Sound of Music tour, visit one of the many urban gardens, and eat organically, EVERYWHERE. A perfect weekend.
Now, one for the vegans. Berlin is a haven for vegan food lovers, having been named the vegan capital of the world. There are over 30 solely vegan restaurants in the city, too many falafel places to count, and even kebab shops that do fake vegan meat. This urban zeitgeist for sustainability extends to fashion, Berlin is home to a number of ethical fashion brands, and hosts an annual ethical fashion show (5th and 6th July).
Amsterdam, The Netherlands:
A clean and green city where there are more bikes than people, and it’s safer to be on a bike than in a car. The cycling culture in the Netherlands is something that cannot be rivalled anywhere else in the world, and its capital is aiming to be an emission free city in Europe by 2025. If people aren’t on bikes, they’re in electric run cars: both of which are for hire for tourists at cheap prices. In the Negenstraats or ‘nine streets’ you can find gorgeous sustainable boutiques, there are food markets where you can pick up waste fruit and veg for free, and you can also have dinner at one of their many zero waste restaurants. Although there are a number of cute canal-side vegan cafes, be aware the Dutch are very big on cheese and milk; so vegan options are quite often not available and it can sometimes be a struggle to get a soya latte.
“I can’t save the world alone!” – The myth threatening our environmental progress.
Sceptics are arguably a bigger threat to our environment than climate change itself.
Over the years, there have been multiple articles suggesting we all stop caring – from ‘the earth is homeostatic’ to ‘it simply won’t get too bad within our lifetimes’, and the reasons have always been entirely disprovable. One recent article has particularly angered us here at RubyMoon – an Alden Wicker article entitled ‘conscious consumerism is a lie’.
The article highlights the three main points targeted by sceptics in their arguments against acting in favour of the environment – and the three ways of thinking that we need to change.
1.) The misrepresentation of research findings.
A lot of statistics that you see being used to defend non-environmentally friendly behaviour have been taken completely out of context, or just based on poorly executed research. For example, the Wicker article’s main argument is grounded on research by Csutora in 2012. The author split participants up into those acting ‘green’ and those acting ‘brown’, based on a largely irrelevant scale – one which looked at recent changes to behaviour. This put those who hadn’t recently altered their environmental behaviour in the wrong category, meaning the conclusions drawn aren’t completely valid. If reading an article that doesn’t sound quite right, make sure to look into their supporting research to assess whether something has been misinterpreted.
2.) Seeing throwaway fashion as too strong a force to argue with.
Wicker’s article adopts the attitude that it simply doesn’t matter whether we recycle our clothing or not – sooner or later, some future owner of the garment won’t end up recycling it, and it will end up in the same place as it would if we just threw it away now. Frankly, if we all held this opinion, of course all clothes would get thrown away! We simply need to encourage everybody to donate their clothes to new homes rather than throwing them away, and hopefully the quantity of waste being produced will fall. It is also mentioned that you need to be “privileged” to afford ethically made clothes – again, not true! The vast majority of sustainably made fashion is of extremely high quality in comparison to high street clothing, which is designed to wear out in order to encourage future purchases. Ethical fashion items last longer, so you don’t need to buy as many – which works out at the same, if not a lower price.
3.) Thinking that you are not powerful enough.
The Wicker article suggests that the only way that us mere citizens can make an impact is to give all our money to powerful organisations with a voice. Contrarily, there have been many instances of communities coming together to make a difference – such as in the Noord district in Amsterdam where households have come together to collect their plastic recycling and take it to a local drop-off point. This is rewarded with ‘green coins’, which are accepted in exchange for discounts at 30 local businesses for things such as half-price beers, free chocolate or discounted yoga classes. Talking to your neighbours about the environment could result in something really effective coming into place.
More locally, the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership aims to help residents waste less food, Brighton and Hove Wood Recycling Project takes waste wood from local builders and recreates it into a reusable product, and Hanover Action promotes sustainable living and attitude change through various community events like zero carbon energy BBQs and film showings of environmental documentaries. All of these programmes are community-run and have resulted in massive waste reduction.
Even individually, we can make a massive difference to the environment. Things such as eating less red meat, properly considering our clothing purchases and walking or cycling rather than driving or using public transport are all proven to really help the environment in terms of reducing emissions.
Here’s a list of 50 more ways to help the environment that can be implemented at home.
To quote Anita Roddick, “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room”.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is no “hoax”: What does this mean for the fashion industry and in general?
Earlier in June this year President Trump made the shocking announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris agreement. This pivotal agreement, signed by 195 nations, is one of the first deals that unites the world in a collective fight against the burgeoning climate change problem.
Living under what has been deemed, the age of the Anthropocene (or the age of man); such a step is one towards undoing the careless and relentless damage done by humans, to our beautiful planet. The Anthropocene marks the period from which humans began to significantly impact the earth, and is posited as being from the 1800s; the beginning of the industrial revolution. Now, as we try to reverse this impact, the phrase ‘all hands-on deck’ does not emphasise enough the need for a worldwide collective effort. Ironically, or perhaps scarily, the U.S. is one of the largest contributors to atmospheric carbon dioxide in the world. Trump infamously quipped that climate change is “a hoax”. Such a regressive attitude paves the way to transforming the U.S. back into a 19th century miner fuelled energy economy. One can’t help but feel that this blatant denial and ignorance, could be material handpicked from an environmental dystopian novel by the likes of Margaret Atwood.
So, what is the agreement?
The aim of the agreement is to lower greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, whilst keeping the global temperature well below 2.0C. Each country must regularly plan and report on its own contribution to fighting global warming. In a more inclusive and accessible move, poorer countries are also provided with “climate finance” by richer countries, to develop renewable energy. By removing any financial barriers, poorer countries (who may face more pressing issues such as extreme poverty or hunger) can more effectively contribute to the cause.
Although not a legally binding agreement; it is one that can be considered as being tightly bound up with the maintenance of reputation. Trump’s withdrawal was met with condemnation and anger across the world. French President Emmanuel Macron reacted tellingly through his re-appropriation of Trump’s own phrase: #makeourplanetgreatagain, whilst other leaders pleaded with the President to reconsider his decision. Trump’s reasoning stems from misinformed ideas that the agreement is damaging to the US economy. Others believe it comes from his desire to revive the mining industry- following his mass support from the ‘rust belt’ during the elections. Interestingly, the only other two nations to refuse to be part of the agreement are Nicaragua and Syria. With one being in the midst of civil war, Trump’s decision looks even more reductive and unjustified.
What are the repercussions for the fashion industry?
Research by the Global Fashion Agenda have found that Trump’s decision will cause the sector’s CO2 emissions to increase by 60%- to nearly 2.8 billion tonnes per year by 2030. If the government is not pushing for more sustainable practices, where is the incentive to be more sustainable? If it’s cheaper and easier to run on without having to invest in renewable energy, having to pay fairly and source ethically- then why would a profit-making company do this? Furthermore, without facing any consequences or accountability, this leaves the field wide open for a continued cycle of unethical and planet destroying practices- at the hands of the latest trends and whims of throwaway fashion.
However, against all depressing odds- many high-profile companies and fashion labels have spoken out against Trump’s decision. Tiffanies and Co, Nike, and Levi’s, among others, have expressed their continued commitment to try and lower emissions; despite now facing challenges because of Trump’s actions. For example, Levi’s emphasised how costly waste reduction can be– and how previous government incentives had allowed this to be done more efficiently and cheaply. Now, less incentive and support slows down progress being made. Levi made the following statement on the subject:
“The Administration’s decision to back out of the Paris Accord will not change Levi Strauss & Co.’s commitment to reducing our impact on the environment; and we will continue to pursue technologies that can reduce the apparel industry’s environmental impact.”
Furthermore, the chief executive of the Global fashion agenda and the organiser of the Copenhagen Fashion summit, Eva Kruse, highlighted the long term financial gain in being committed to reducing emissions around the world: up to 67 billion annually. Trump’s self-proclaimed position as ultimate business mogul is once again questionable with such blatant dismissal of fact, one that suits his isolating and backwards looking ‘America first’ agenda.
It seems that Trump’s decision to “get America out” of the agreement is one that is contested by not only other world leaders, the business world’s biggest names (such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google); but by the people of America too. A study by Yale university (2017) found that 7 in 10 Americans wanted to remain a part of the agreement– in comparison to the mere 13% who wanted to withdraw. 30 states in America are dedicated to continuing the current climate policies and reducing emissions- a ray of hope within an otherwise dark outlook.
By Roisin McCormack
The Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: 37 Items or Less
You may have heard of the term ‘capsule wardrobe’, essentially meaning a wardrobe containing a few items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion quickly, that you really love. We’d hope we all have something similar in our own closets, but how many clothes do you actually own? 75? 100?
The capsule wardrobe challenge encourages you to never own more than 37.
And it’s actually easier than it sounds.
Creating a capsule wardrobe is a great idea if you’re interested in minimising your wardrobe and embracing slow fashion, since it encourages you to stick to a few staples rather than buying into tons of fad trends. Some guidelines just encourage a minimalist collection of less than 50 pieces of clothes, shoes and outerwear, but to build a wardrobe that you can term a “capsule wardrobe”, the strict limit is 37. (Pyjamas, accessories, fitness clothing and anything for a special occasion doesn’t count).
The reasons people opt for a capsule wardrobe will generally be either for personal ease, or for the environment.
Looking at it from a personal angle, capsule wardrobes are EASY. Once you’ve got yourself down to 37 pieces, you don’t have to worry about matching colours or styles – you know they all go together. Every item is something you genuinely love, so you will never be stuck rummaging through a stuffed wardrobe with nothing to wear. It also costs less, since you’re not buying as much, or even doing as much laundry.
But more importantly, capsule wardrobes are an excellent way that you as an individual can do something great for our planet. You’re far less likely to throw clothes away after purchasing but never wearing them, and due to the number restriction, you won’t be buying as many clothes to begin with. This means less of consumers’ money going towards the fashion industry, the second most polluting industry in the world, which in the long-run could result in production of clothes slowing altogether.
Here’s how you can do it…
1. Start by clearing your wardrobe out.
To start with, only keep the things you absolutely love. Anything that you’ve not worn for a year or more, doesn’t fit you, or can’t be mended, should be donated to charity or recycled – make sure they aren’t binned. We are throwing away clothes far too often and this can completely counteract the positive impact that the capsule wardrobe is aiming to have. The rest should then go into storage – it seems daunting to throw away such a large quantity at once, and you can’t always predict what you’ll miss, so keep everything hidden out of your wardrobe until you’re certain you don’t need it.
2. Live with what you’ve got for a while.
This is likely to put you at way under 37 items. But getting to grips with how small your wardrobe is will give you an idea of what’s missing, and hence, what you need to purchase. You can then make a note of what you need, rather than going shopping straight away and making assumptions of what to get.
3. Add the items you need.
To get yourself up to a comfortable number of pieces, buy things that fit your body shape. (There’s a fab body shape calculator here – so you can figure out what fits best). Clothes that are a flattering shape will look good regardless of any current fashions, so being able to identify these in stores is a great start. Since you’ll be wearing the same clothes more often, invest in some higher-quality pieces that won’t wear out easily. The extra money you’ll have spare can be put towards purchasing from cruelty-free brands, ensuring your clothes don’t come from companies that mistreat their workers or the planet.
4. Remove and replace, in balance.
Once you’ve got your 37 items, you’re good to go. If you notice at the end of a season that you wore any particular item less than three times, give it to a better home and find something to replace it that you will use more. Swap clothes in and out of storage depending on the time of year – remember, anything that’s not in your wardrobe doesn’t count towards your grand total.
Tip: Try the three-of-each rule – one casual, one dressy, and one in-between for each clothing staple!
Are you ready to commit to the capsule wardrobe challenge?
A list that’s sure you to make you GREEN with envy: Brighton’s top sustainable hot spots
Brighton is a bustling haven of sustainability. With saving the planet at the very heart of its politics, (it still reigns champion as the ONLY Green constituency in the country); such an attitude is palpable as one walks through the city.
As you worm your way through the North Laine’s, (a symphony of seagulls providing a backtrack to Brighton life), you can’t help but notice that there are nearly more food options available for vegans than non-vegans, a rare find. Chic boutiques boast ethical and sustainably sourced clothing, small organic and sustainable food markets sell reasonably priced groceries, and a totally vegetarian shoe shop stands out. The city also teems with students and young creatives, further creating a vibe of futurity that is so important as we strive for a sustainable future. Indeed, it is a perfect setting for RubyMoon to flourish under, and draw inspiration and encouragement from like-minded people and businesses.
So… here’s a roundup of some of our favourite ethical shops and collectives in Brighton:
The Fair Shop, 21 Queens Road:
With a motto of “Live Fair, Love Fair, Be Fair”, they essentially do what it says on the tin; stocking a range of different brands all with pristine ethical credentials. Their clothes are gorgeous, reasonably priced, and guilt free- the brands having been approved by the World Fair Trade Organisation.
Wolf and Gypsy, 30 Sydney Street:
A personal favourite now, Wolf and Gypsy’s window display and store layout is devilishly enticing, but their attitude to throwaway fashion is even more so. Upcycling vintage clothing to suit a more modern wardrobe, re-patching and mending garments so as not to waste them-they’re encouraging the upcycling of clothing in style.
Love that Stuff, 9 Mermaid Walk, Brighton Marina:
The simplicity of their ethos, “Handmade Stuff that Lasts”, does not take away from the importance of it. Located on Brighton Marina this shop sells a range of Fair Trade household items, clothing and accessories sourced responsibly from around the world. A perfect place for buying ethically minded gifts.
Vegetarian Shoe Shop, 12 Gardner Street:
This Brighton based store solely make vegan friendly shoes. Using a replacement leather material that hasn’t harmed any animals or the environment; for once you can treat yourself to shoes and feel less guilt at the gaping hole in your bank account… Their shoes are also breathable, and all products are shipped worldwide after popular demand.
Silo, 39 Upper Gardner Street:
‘A pre-industrial food system’ that uses pure ingredients, ensures clean farming, and operates a zero-waste policy. They source their produce locally, meaning they reduce food miles, and what’s more; their food is real and totally unprocessed, better for our bodies, and the environment. The interior of the restaurant is also a feat in itself- everything being upcycled from things that would have otherwise been wasted. A minimalist, simple design that hipsters would cry over.
Terre a Terre, 71 East Street:
This acclaimed vegetarian restaurant, born in 1993, is one of the original ethical restaurants in Brighton. Their decisions are driven towards recycling, waste management, giving something back to the environment instead of simply taking. Their food is outstanding, acting as a real tourist attraction in itself.
Infinity Foods, 25 North Road:
This worker co-operative has one of the largest selections of organic vegan and vegetarian foods, cosmetics, and household items in the South East. If you want to shop more organically but not break the bank, this is the place to go. They also have an instore bakery, and have now opened Infinity Foods Kitchen around the corner; a perfect stop for a spot of vegan friendly lunch.
HiSbe, 20-21 York Place:
HiSbe- short for ‘How it should be’ is marketed as ‘a supermarket revolution’. A social enterprise model that wants to put happiness before profits, this sets an example for all the major supermarkets. They source their products locally, pick seasonally, consider waste, farm ethically, and pay all their staff and suppliers fairly.
The Revival Collective:
Brighton based ethical fashion and lifestyle blog is a go to for tips on how to live more sustainably- and in style. An accessible and aesthetically pleasing feast of clothing and make up guides, recipes, and thought-provoking think pieces. Watch out for the events they put on like clothes swaps and documentary showings around Brighton too.
This vegan student food blogger/ Instagrammer will inspire you to get more creative, and ethically conscious, in the kitchen. With tips on where to get the cheapest vegan ingredients, as well as general food inspo, she’s bound to become a household name in the Brighton food scene.
Clothes Swaps- Rags Revival Clothes Swap:
Otherwise known as ‘swishing’, this collective organise meetups that provide a more economical, and environmentally way of shopping. One woman’s rags is another’s riches, so check them out on Facebook and get involved.
There are regular beach cleans in Brighton, helping to protect wildlife. A fun and active way to get involved with the Brighton community whilst doing something good for the environment. The next #pier2pierbeachclean takes place on Saturday 15th July.
Written by Roisin McCormack
Ocean’s Angels- Are they really answering our sustainability prayers?
As summer is well underway, many will now be diving into continental seas, or perhaps dipping tentative toes into slightly colder water here at home. For those of you making a splash, now seems a good time to raise awareness concerning the high levels of waste plastic in our oceans; and point to those who are making waves in innovative technology and design to overcome our ocean’s burgeoning problem.
Plastic waste now accounts for up to 80% of the total debris in the oceans. It is the number one source of pollution in the oceans, and is symptomatic of the disposable lifestyle many are defined by. Killing over a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year, tainting the natural beauty of coastlines across the world, and disrupting an entire eco-system, our throwaway use of plastic is not sustainable. However, there are now designers (like here at Ruby Moon) trying to wean themselves off what ethical designer Cyrill Gutsch’s calls, the plastic “drug”- by using recycled ocean plastic, fishing nets and debris in their products.
Adidas and Stella McCartney : Parley Ultra Boost X Trainers made from Ocean Plastic
Adidas, (who in the past have been known for their unethical practices) have teamed up with sustainable fashion pioneer Stella McCartney, and environmental group Parley for the Oceans, to create a running shoe. While it is currently only the upper that is made from recycled ocean plastic, each pair of shoes does contain up to eleven plastic bottles. The trainers signal a change in direction for Adidas as a brand and the trainer industry itself. In a clever marketing move the first 50 pairs could not be bought, but had to be won in a video competition requiring entrants to demonstrate their commitment to ending single use plastic items.
Following the success of this enterprise, they have joined forces again in creating a collection of swimwear made from upcycled fishing nets and debris.
G-Star RAW- Pharrell Williams
Similarly, Dutch denim company G-Star RAW have launched a collection of denim garments made from recycled ocean plastics. In collaboration once again with Parley for the Oceans, as well as textile company Bionic Yarn, the tag line: “Turning the tide on ocean plastic pollution” indicates a change in the fashion world and the insurgence of recycled plastic as a breakthrough material. Their partnership with singer Pharrell Williams also signals the ever-increasing presence of celebrities in the fight for sustainable fashion. (See recent blog post on 10 Celebrities endorsing ethical fashion).
While such efforts by G-Star and Adidas do exemplify a positive new trend developing among fast-fashion brands; questions can be raised about the genuine intentions of such marketing- and the actual sustainability of products. Using plastic to make denim for example, whether recycled or not, fails to consider the future of the product within the cradle-to-cradle design structure. Recycled plastic still ultimately remains non-biodegradable. 100% organic cotton could be considered as a more appropriate or sustainable material for making denim.
Such a failure to consider the life-cycle of a material, could point to the possibility of these products, which are marketed under the guise of sustainability; being sold simply to fill the gap in the market, and jump on the sustainability ‘band waggon’ that is increasingly gaining momentum.
Similarly, the Adidas trainer (as mentioned before) is marketed as being “Made from Parley Ocean Plastic”- yet only a minor part of the shoe is made so. If we are to be purists about the sourcing of materials and the actual sustainability of them, (as we are here at Ruby Moon), these factors then have to be considered.
Spark- Recycled Plastic Beach Huts
Parley for the Oceans work with Adidas and G-Star has now also influenced architecture designers. Spark’s series of beach huts in Singapore resemble giant pine cones, and are also crucially made from recycled ocean plastic. Their location along the East Coast Park not only works practically by providing shade for tourists, but act as bold visual reminders of the effects of ocean plastic.
Terazzo Effect Table- Brodie Neill
Brodie Neill’s terrazzo effect table is carefully curated from small pieces of plastic, recovered from beaches in Tasmania, Hawaii and Cornwall. The blue, white, brown and green chips of plastic merge beautifully into a speckled top resembling the ocean. Neill’s work was commissioned for the London design biennale in 2016, the theme being centred around ‘Utopia by Design’. Neill’s use of the recycled plastic for his work in relation to this theme, interestingly highlights the role this material could play in the creation of a better world; Utopia meaning an imagined place where everything is perfect.
Lush- Green Spun Knot Wrap:
Lush have introduced a more old-world way of packing products- that does not involve wasting paper. The innovative and sustainable mode of knot wrapping something, pays homage to the Japanese tradition of “Furoshiki”. Wrapping a product in a beautifully decorated piece of reusable material, not only looks more presentable when giving gifts, but saves the planet. They can also be used to wrap your lunch, act as an individual hair scarf, or an impromptu picnic blanket- who knew one item could have so many potential uses?