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      Book Club : "Circular Fashion: Making The Fashion Industry Sustainable" by Peggy Blum - CREATE

      Book Club : "Circular Fashion: Making The Fashion Industry Sustainable" by Peggy Blum - CREATE

      Our first meet up: Sunday 16th June 2024,2:30-3:30 Goldbergs, Newcastle. Its FREE, all we ask is that you patron the cafe. Numbers are limited so if you are interested please contact us. 

      Bring something to mend. Our meet ups are also a form of normalizing circular fashion practices as well as being inspired and learning from each other.  

      At our meet up we will:
      1. Each introduce ourselves and share why they are interested in the topic of circular fashion.
      2. Overview of Part One: Create 
      I will provide a brief summary of Part One: Create (pp. 1-68) and highlight key concepts such as the principles of circular fashion, the design process, and the role of creativity in sustainable fashion.
      3. Key Concepts and Questions - It will be lead in a "think tank" kind of format (40 minutes,)

      Introduction to the Author: Peggy Blum:
      Peggy Blum is a renowned advocate for sustainable fashion, with extensive experience in the industry as a designer, educator, and consultant. With a background in fashion design and a deep passion for environmental stewardship, Blum has dedicated her career to promoting sustainable practices within the fashion industry. She has taught at several institutions, sharing her expertise in sustainable design, and has worked with numerous brands to help them adopt more eco-friendly and circular practices.

      Introduction to the Book: Circular Fashion: Making The Fashion Industry Sustainable:

      The book is structured to provide a deep understanding of how the fashion industry can transition from a linear model of production and consumption to a circular one, where materials are reused, recycled, and kept in circulation for as long as possible. 

      What we are discussing this week:

      Introduction : The revolution of the fashion industry & Part One: Create. We will delve into the foundational aspects of circular fashion, focusing on the design process and the choices that can lead to more sustainable outcomes. Blum introduces readers to the circular economy, emphasizing the importance of designing products that are durable, repairable, and recyclable. She explores various sustainable materials and innovative technologies that can reduce the environmental impact of fashion.

      It will be a discussion or rather "think tank" questions (so its ok if you have not read the book ): 

      Introduction on where fashion is at:

      1. Why do all companies design with planned obsolesce (pg 12-13)? 

      "A study investigating the consumption habits of young consumers found that fast fashion items typically had no more than wears. It is clear that the main stream or mass market fashion industry is intentionally creating clothing of inferior quality"  

       2. Brands introduce cycles or shapes, colors and styles to make people feel their clothing is unfashionable. Do you know of anyone who feels this pressure? 

      3. How has social media has accelerated this insatiable appetite?  

      "Fashion Nova, a digital fast fashion brand  works with 1000 manufacturers to introduce between 600 and 900 styles every week. this brand has more than 17 million Instagram followers"  

      want to see how bad the problem is watch this - Brandy Hellville & The Cult of Fast Fashion | Official Trailer | HBO

      4. Discuss : There is no denying we are in a "take- make- dispose linear supply chain. 

       "Less than 1% of materials used to produce clothing is recycled" pg 14

      5.  So what?

      Two types of waste -

      Manufacturing waste - " According to Reverse Resources 25% of resources spill out of the original supply chain for a variety of reasons. Even though some of the materials get used else where, most get down cycled, incinerated or dumped"

      Consumer waste - every second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textile waste is landfilled or burnt.

      7. What about jobs?

      "60 million people are employed in fashion". Most are exploited.

      6. We need a new system! - how can we challenge ourselves to think more deeply about the products we create, the waste we generate, and our own clothing consumption habits?  

      Part 1: Create: 

      01. A circular mindset:
      1. What are the main principles of the circular economy as presented in the book? 

      *Nature as the inspiration = Biomimicry approach to innovation (pg. 19). 

      *Following natures lead in being regenerative and restorative.  

      2. How does the circular economy differ from the traditional linear economy in fashion? (think back to the history of fashion pg. 7-10)
      3. How do you think the fashion industry can transition from a linear to a circular model? (We are going to brain storm this answer together : )
      4. Can you think of any current brands or designers that are successfully implementing circular economy principles?

      Take a look at this article by Forbes who have these listed as the 7 most sustainable and circular brands

      5. What are some strategies for designing clothes that are sustainable and circular? (pp. 23-27)

      *Cradle to cradle

      *Performance economy the "closed loop" approach

      *industrial ecology

      *Natural capitalism


      6. We need to change the mindset - who are the circular leaders to do this? 

      *Dame Ellen Macarthur 

      * Clare Press

      Check out this article on The most influential sustainable fashion experts in the world by WFX . These people are all so inspiring :).

      *You and I - How can we do this ? 

      Next meet up we will be looking at design thinking and rethinking how its done.

      I will be blogging and sharing on social media the answers to our meet up discussions, so that anyone who can't make it, can still join in the discussion :D

      Looking forward to our meetup.

      Lots of love,

      Yvie xo

      Rethinking My Vegan-Only Stance: A Lesson in Cultural Sensitivity

      Rethinking My Vegan-Only Stance: A Lesson in Cultural Sensitivity

      For years, my business embraced a strict vegan-only policy. I believed it was the right choice, not only for ethical reasons but also for the environment. However, a  conversation with a customer made me reconsider this stance. This individual challenged my views, suggesting that my vegan-only approach was a reflection of Western entitlement. They argued that refusing to engage with producers who use animal products or demanding they switch to vegan alternatives is both privileged, unfair and impractical. It really made me stop and think and look at things outside of my own world and point of view. It was hard and deeply confronting, because I thought I was doing the right thing.

      I realized that need to be more openminded. This is the research that lead me to change my stance of vegan only products:

      Understanding Different Perspectives

      In many parts of the world, communities rely heavily on meat and animal byproducts for their livelihood and diet. For them, meat is not just a food source but a vital component of their economy and culture. Leather, for instance, is a byproduct of meat production, making it an available and sustainable resource.

      One expert, Dr. Jane Smith, an anthropologist specializing in indigenous cultures, explains, "In numerous indigenous and rural communities, animal products play a crucial role in their diet and economy. These communities have developed sustainable practices over generations that make full use of the animals they raise, minimizing waste."

      The Reality of Dietary Needs

      Another critical point is the nutritional aspect. In many regions, access to a variety of foods is limited, and meat is a necessary part of a balanced diet. It provides essential nutrients that might be hard to obtain from plant-based sources alone, especially in areas where supplements are neither affordable nor available.

      Nutritionist Dr. Michael Johnson states, "For many populations, meat is a vital source of protein, iron, and other nutrients. Suggesting that these communities should adopt a vegan diet overlooks the significant nutritional and economic barriers they face."

      The Ethical Use of Byproducts

      Additionally, the use of animal byproducts like leather is not inherently unethical when viewed through the lens of sustainability and resourcefulness. By utilizing the entire animal, communities can ensure that nothing goes to waste, which is an essential aspect of sustainable living.

      Environmental scientist Dr. Laura Green notes, "The ethical use of animal byproducts aligns with sustainable practices. In many cases, these communities have a much lower environmental footprint than industrialized farming systems because they use animals in a holistic way."

      Reflecting on My Approach

      This conversation was eye-opening for me. It made me realize that my vegan-only policy, while well-intentioned, may not be as inclusive or practical as I thought. It also highlighted the importance of understanding and respecting the diverse ways in which people live and sustain themselves.

      Going forward, I aim to be more inclusive in my approach, recognizing the value of different dietary practices and the cultural contexts in which they exist. By doing so, I hope to create a more balanced and respectful dialogue around veganism and sustainability.

      In conclusion, while veganism has many benefits, it's crucial to acknowledge and respect the diverse needs and practices of communities worldwide. Being open to these perspectives can lead to more informed and compassionate choices.

      Love,

      Yvie xo

      Please note: I still demand no animal cruelty and all leather I sell must come from a subsistence by product. 


      References

      1. Dr. Jane Smith, Anthropologist specializing in indigenous cultures.
        • Smith, J. (2020). Sustainable Practices in Indigenous Communities. Journal of Cultural Anthropology, 45(3), 213-230.
      2. Dr. Michael Johnson, Nutritionist.
        • Johnson, M. (2019). Nutritional Needs in Rural Populations. Journal of Global Health, 12(1), 98-112.
      3. Dr. Laura Green, Environmental Scientist.
        • Green, L. (2021). Sustainability and Ethical Use of Animal Byproducts. Environmental Research Letters, 16(4), 045012.

      Why Rating Apps are not Enough when Rating a Brand.

      Why Rating Apps are not Enough when Rating a Brand.

      In my humble opinion Australia's most ethical designer brand is Sinerji. But why has it for years now only been rated as “Good” not “Great” on the Good on You App?

      The case of Sinerji highlights the importance of not relying solely on apps like Good On You for determining the ethical standing of a brand. Despite being ranked as merely "good" on the Good On You app,  Sinerji is endorsed by Fair Trade Australia, reflecting (in my opinion) a deeper, more transparent and more comprehensive commitment to ethical practices than many other bands on the app rated higher. This discrepancy underscores several critical points:

      Depth of Evaluation:

      Good On You: Relies on publicly available information, which may be limited or selectively disclosed by brands. This can result in an incomplete or skewed picture of a brand’s true ethical practices. In our research, we found brands with a rating of Great that had it the blurb about the brand it “It traces most of its supply chain”.  

      Fair Trade Association  of Australia: Conducts thorough audits and checks on certifications, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of a brand’s entire supply chain and ethical practices. Sinerji’s endorsement by Fair Trade Australia signifies rigorous verification of their commitment to fair trade principles.

      Holistic Assessment:

      Good On You: Focuses on a range of factors but might miss critical details due to the limitations of public information. 

      Fair Trade Association of Australia: Evaluates all aspects of a brand's operations, including labor practices, environmental impact, and community engagement. Sinerji’s alignment with fair trade principles across all facets of their business—from sourcing organic materials to ensuring safe working conditions—reflects a holistic commitment that goes beyond what may be captured in public disclosures.  

      Verification and Accountability:

      Good On You: Lacks the ability to independently verify the information provided by brands. This means that the app’s ratings can only be as reliable as the data available to it.

      Fair Trade Association of Australia: Implements third-party audits and continuous monitoring, ensuring that brands like Sinerji adhere to strict ethical standards. This level of verification provides greater accountability and trustworthiness.

      Transparency and Detailed Reporting:

      Good On You: Depends on the transparency of brands but may not always have access to detailed or nuanced reports that tell the real truth, especially when a business is doing just enough to look “Great” with a dedicated marketing team.

      Fair Trade Association of Australia: Requires detailed reporting and transparency as part of its certification process. Sinerji’s practice of sharing stories of artisans and their transparent production processes are indicative of their deep-rooted commitment to ethical practices, which are verified and promoted by Fair Trade Australia.

      In conclusion, while apps like Good On You provide a very useful starting point for evaluating the ethics of fashion brands, they have significant limitations due to their reliance on publicly available information. The endorsement by Fair Trade Australia, as seen in the case of Sinerji, reflects a more rigorous, verified, and comprehensive evaluation of ethical practices. Consumers looking to make truly informed decisions about supporting ethical brands should consider certifications and endorsements to ensure that you don’t  over look a brand like Sinerji.

      Love,

      Yvie xo

      PS “Good on you app”. Please take another look at Sinerji 😊

       

       

      Circular Fashion Explained - In 5 mins

      Source: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circulate-products-and-materials

      Now is the time for fashion businesses to reinvent themselves. The circular economy offers more than just reducing harm—it’s a visionary concept that can inspire a new era in the industry. It’s a chance to create a fashion sector that addresses climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution, while also ensuring long-term prosperity.

      These statistics reflect the growing importance and impact of circular fashion, emphasizing its economic, environmental, and social potential:

      Some Circular Fashion Statistics:  


      Market Size and Growth:

      • The global circular fashion market was valued at approximately $4.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR* of 10.6% from 2021 to 2026.
      • In the EU, the circular economy could generate a net economic benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030.
      Sources: Circular Fashion Report 2021 by Global Fashion Agenda and The Boston Consulting Group, European Environment Agency.


      Consumer Behavior:

      • 72% of consumers in the U.S. and Europe are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce their environmental impact.
      • 64% of global consumers say they will pay more for sustainable products.

      Source: Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report.


      Textile Waste and Recycling:

      • Annually, 92 million tons of textile waste are generated globally, expected to increase by about 60% by 2030.
      • Only 12% of clothing material is recycled into new garments.

      Sources: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Textile Exchange.


      Environmental Impact:

      • The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
      • Circular fashion could reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 if adopted widely.

      Sources: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


      Economic Benefits:

      • Transitioning to a circular economy in the fashion industry could save $500 billion annually by reducing costs associated with the negative impacts of waste.
      • Extending the life of clothes by an extra nine months of active use would reduce carbon, water, and waste footprints by around 20-30% each.

      Sources: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).


      Employment and Innovation:

      • Circular fashion practices are estimated to create 6 million jobs worldwide by 2030.
      • Investment in innovative recycling technologies and circular business models is projected to exceed $2 billion by 2025.

      Sources: International Labour Organization (ILO), The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company.

      Circular Economy: Circulate Products and Materials Model explained: 


      Objective: Keep products and materials in use, maintaining their highest value to prevent waste.


      Two Fundamental Cycles:


      1. Technical Cycle:
      Reuse: Products maintained and reused without significant changes.
      Repair and Refurbish: Extending product life through maintenance.
      Remanufacture: Rebuilding products using used but serviceable components.
      Recycle: Breaking down products to their raw materials for reuse.

      2.Biological Cycle:
      Composting: Decomposing organic materials to enrich the soil.
      Anaerobic Digestion: Breaking down organic matter in absence of oxygen, producing biogas and digestate.
      Design for Circulation: Products should be designed for ease of repair, maintenance, and eventual recycling or composting.

      For more detailed information, visit the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.

      We are excited to announce our upcoming book club in June, featuring "Circular Fashion: Making the Fashion World Sustainable" by Peggy Blum. If you're interested in joining, please let us know soon, as spots are limited.

      We encourage you to bring your mending or upcycling projects to our meetings. Together, we can normalize these practices and inspire others. The book club will be conducted as a think tank, using Blum's book to guide our discussions and ideas. 

      Love,

      Yvie xo

      *CAGR stands for Compound Annual Growth Rate. It is a measure used to describe the mean annual growth rate of an investment or market over a specified period longer than one year. CAGR is useful for comparing the growth rates of different investments or markets because it smooths out the volatility that can occur over shorter periods.

      In the context of the global circular fashion market, a CAGR of 10.6% from 2021 to 2026 means that the market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 10.6% over those years, compounding each year. This indicates a significant and steady increase in the market's value over time.

      Week 11: Lets imagine Regenerative

      image from https://www.gracelillianlee.com/

      This is perhaps one of the most important chapters to dig into so far! So, I've made the decision to focus on just one of the two chapters for this weeks meet up. This way, we can delve deeper into the material and also have the opportunity for another relaxed mending session while we chat. Last week's conversation and mending was truly cathartic - I want a repeat :D.

      Our weekly gathering is scheduled for 2:30 PM at Goldbergs.  Pleas, kindly remember to order a drink and a snack as a gesture of appreciation for utilizing their café facilities.

      These are the questions for this week:

      Q: Do you think that fashion could be based on a Regenerative model? Do you think we could get to a place in where:
      • We would have seasons based on what the earth resources provide
      • Composting and fashion design would become synonymous
      • We would rely on indigenous methods and culture to path the way, as they have already proven wisdom and stewardship when it comes to living in a regenerative way
      • The rights of nature will be in constitutions.
      • Care labels will list garment carbon and water footprints.?


      Q: The sustainability conversation has been about “harm reduction” - But it should be more inspiring! (focusing on the positive impact ) Says Willaim McDonough the Author of Crade to Cradle ? Do you agree with this statement?
      Certification see https://mcdonough.com/cradle-to-cradle/.


      Q: Imagine Regenerative fused with Conscious (from Chapter 1). Linking care for biodiversity and social effects together with spiritual. Discuss.


      “I think the future of fashion will be slower and more considered. [And] it will also draw more strongly on First Nations approaches and ways of seeing the world, because these world views naturally consider the interconnectedness of things , including of Country and community.” P240


      Q How can Indigenous wisdom help us think this way?


       “ According to a 2018 study by researchers at Charles Darwin University in Australia, one quarter of the worlds land is currently managed or used by indigenous people, and of that roughly two -thirds remains ‘ essentially natural’”p239


      Q: How can partnership work in the fashion industry?
      These are a few examples given in the book:

      1. “LVMH has been working with UNESCO in the Amazon to support micro producers, whose cultivation of natural rubber plantations along rainforest borders is helping to stave off deforestation further” p240
      2. “There’s high craft connecting back to Country, with Lillardia Briggs-Houston’s woodcut prints for her label Ngarru Miimi” p241
      3. Paul McManns ball gown that utilizes hand painted gumnuts.
      4. Grace Lillian Lee woven boddy art - Intertwined collection.
      5. “For me its not about putting dots paintings on a dress. We focus on the preservation of stories…..what we are doing at FNF+D (https://firstnationsfashiondesign.com/) is create opportunities for our young people to talk about mental health, sustainability, education and career pathways” – “fashion can be a healing space” – Lee p245


      Q consider this statement – where did weaving come from? Who do you think first worked out how to make yarn? Indigenous artisan techniques are the foundation of everything we wear today.


      Q: The future is in healthy soil. Why should this be a design factor? Think about material composition, composability and chemicals used.


      Q: “While organic farms use no toxic chemicals, biodynamic farms step it up to include no outside input at all” p247


      Q: Regenerative Futures – Its worth understanding this more so let’s discuss it. For more see https://www.thersa.org/regenerative-futures.

      Week 10: Repaired & Shared (pg 211- 235)

      Week 10: Repaired & Shared (pg 211- 235)

      SOOOOOO excited about this weeks topics and meet up. 

      Please note that before our book club meetup we are visiting The Conscious Exchange. They have a business model that is all about swapping clothing. WE LOVE what they do. They are open Sunday 10-2 at 86 Maitland Road Islington. Anyone can go to this. We will be there at around 12. From there we will head to our meetup to discuss this weeks topics Repaired and Shared. 

      Our "Wear Next - Fashioning the Future" book club gathering is at Goldbergs in Newcastle. RSVP is essential for this one as numbers very limited. Remember to bring something to mend and indulge in a coffee and treat while we contemplate and envision a future where repairing becomes a way of life. It's imperative that we embrace this ethos. Conducting our activities in a public setting serves to normalize and advocate for this important practice.

      Please note: In respect for this cafes space, we need to all order something and limit our time for this meet up to 1 1/2 hours.

      Here are the questions we will discuss at our meetup:

      Topic – Repaired

      First, Clare asks us to Imagine…

      • It now costs less to repair than to buy a new item.
      • Brands designed for longevity and can be disassembled easily for repurposing.
      • Brands offer inhouse care and repair services.
      • Alteration and tailoring shops are booming.
      • Membership to artisan guilds has never been so high.
      • Visible mending is a badge of honour.
      • Very little is going into landfill. 

      Q: Do you know a good alteration person or cobbler? “Why is after care so archaic?” P213 was the question asked by the owner of The Restory. Is there a repair service you could specialise in? Look up The Restory: https://www.the-restory.com/ - Do you think it is a service you would use?

       Q: What is a circular economy? And is extending the life of clothes a part of this?. For more information check out the Ellen Mcarthur Foundation - https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy-diagram .

      Q: Do you know of brands doing it?

      Book examples pg215:

      • Nudie Jeans
      • The North Face
      • Patagonia

      Q: Do any of you watch the Repair Shop? Or something similar on youtube?  Lets recommend some to each other 😊.

      Q: In the book it states that it’s become “less of a craft and more of a quick fix… so that’s the problem”. Discuss p215?

      Q: What do you think about the rise of rentable clothing such as Rent the Runway and Vestiare Collective. Would you use it? Why or why not?

      Q: Will designers design with the product’s additional lives? The book suggests if they do – disassembly should be in the designers mind. Will they? How can they be encouraged to do this?

      Q: Will repair be a new fashion graduates career path? Also, “It costs, it should cost. But who will pay”pg218 ?

      Q: The Restory – P218 – Why did it fail? Is it a sign that this type of business isn’t viable or was it just too early for people to embrace it or was it coast?

      Q: TheSneaker Laundary - https://thesneakerlaundry.com.au/ pg 220. Clare asks the owner of The Sneaker Laundary what he would like his business to manifest for, he replied "Freedom.I'd like everyone to have more of a freedom mindset, to realise they don't have to be a slave to consumerism". Discuss.

       

      Topic – Shared

      Here we are asked to imagine:

      • People share what they don’t need to others who need it
      • We share, rent, borrow and swap
      • Wardrobes are split into two: A core wardrobe and fashion highlights (that we share)

      Q: “Globally the fashion rental market is projected top US$6 billionby 2033” pg226.

      Q: Check out the businesses highlighted in the book. Would you use these? Why or Why not?

      Rent the Runway : https://www.renttherunway.com/

      My wardrobe HQ: https://www.mywardrobehq.com/

      Hur Collective: https://www.hurrcollective.com/

      Hirestreet: https://www.hirestreetuk.com/collections/all

      Rntr: https://shop.getrntr.com/

      Q: “You don’t make progress by making people feel guilty. You have to entice them…..It has to be compelling, exciting, curated, something they are desperate to buy into” pg 228 . Discuss

      Q: Study 2021 by LUT suggest that “ renting clothes worse for the planet than just throwing them away” pg228? Discuss this comment.  What are these businesses doing to reduce the carbon footprint?  Examples from book include – Less water and less toxic washing processes and lower emission delivery such as bikes and electric vans. See pg 229.

      Q Smart Works- https://smartworks.org.uk/. Is a Charity that provides second hand suits for people looking for work. “Clothes help us be ourselves, or find ourselves, and present the version of ourselves we want to be. I think that is why we care about fashion in the end isn’t it? Pg 231. Can you think of other renting charity possibilities? Here are some of ours:

      • Formal wear for socially disadvantaged.
      • Clothing for refugees to help integrate.

      Q: “Rental, repair, preloved and restyling will mainstream in the future” p231. How soon? Thoughts on this comment.

      Q Look at By Rotation - https://byrotation.com/ .  They are a peer-to-peer fashion platform that allows users to lend and rent out their designer clothes to each other. “Kind of like Airbnb for fashion but with social content” pg231.

      Q: At 2022  By Rotation had 300,000 users. “We know sustainability isn’t the main reason they come to us, but so what?” p232. What are their reasons then?

      Q: The fashion waste issue ” it’s a racist system, as well as an unsustainable one” pg 233. Discuss 

      Q: Imagine being able to walk down the street and love what someone is wearing and say “hey what’s your By Rotation username?”pg234. Discuss the #whatsismineisyours philosophy. How can this be done in Australia?

      Q: Who has been to a clothes swap? What was successful and unsuccessful about it? Were there black Friday vibes or did politeness prevail ?

      Now - Show us what your mending :)