While I’ve always tried to buy natural materials, and especially since, like many women, have experienced hormonal changes, I’m certain I haven’t shopped responsibly and only rarely boycotted certain brands or High Street shops and chains.
I don’t have an excuse. But my eyes were again opened to the issue of the impact of Fast Fashion on the environment with a visit last year (2018) to the V&A exhibition – Fashioned from Nature. (I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t expecting much from this exhibition – we’d actually gone to see something else and added this on as we were in the Museum.) It was a real eye opener on how many animal, bird and fish species have all been threatened by fashions trends and fads, from as early as the 1600s.
It’s not only the wildlife that has suffered, as David Attenborough’s Lonely Planet documentary highlighted, with the huge amounts of plastics floating in distant waters. Water itself is a threatened resource which in part has been caused by cotton growing, fabric dyeing and garment production. The shrinking of the Aral Sea is a stark reminder of this fact.
Although the exhibition is over, you can still buy the book of the exhibition. As you would expect from a V&A publication there are wonderful pictures to illustrate each era of fashion and its use or misuse of the natural environment. I think it’s a must read for anyone who wants to know more about the clothing industry and its relationship with nature. While it’s not essential to know of the historical use of feathers, skin and furs as a stylist or personal shopper, the Slow Fashion movement is certainly gaining momentum. We need to recognise this and be aware of the ethics of clothing manufacturers and the labels available on the high street.
If you’d like to read more, especially on World Book Day, Daisy Schubert a stylist in London has written a blog article “Five books to read on Sustainable Fashion (and three to avoid!)”
I think I’ll start with her first recommendation “Wear no Evil” by Great Egan
I’ve just downloaded it on Kindle for £3.99 You can get a copy here: