Last week saw fast-fashion giant Misguided’s publicity stunt around their £1 bikini. As a slow-fashion advocate I often feel like we’re taking two steps forward and five steps back. This amount doesn’t reflect the true cost of the garment or value the workers who made it, instead it adds to the disposability factor that is so prevalent with the linear system that we see day in, day out. With a garbage truck of textiles being burned or landfilled every second, disposability is certainly something that we should be trying to dissuade, not encourage.
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To disrupt this system, it’s imperative that we keep what’s already in circulation flowing. A linear system doesn’t flow – instead it is built by greed and the only outcome is inevitable — a complete lack of respect for animals, workers and our planet. Today, it’s estimated that less than 1% of clothing is actually recycled into new clothing, a surprising fact given the amount of clothing already in existence. For me, this comes down to a complete lack of empathy at the beginning of a product’s lifecycle. If we choose compassion and empathy for materials, nature, people and animals at design level, then there would be a certain value associated with each and every product created and this could only have a positive impact moving forward. This idea points to a circular fashion system.
A circular system is regenerative and focuses on the principle that items of clothing should circulate for as long as possible, before they are re-purposed through recycling, thus retaining or surpassing their maximum value. Supporting a circular economy is one of the best ways that we can sustain our planet and the possibilities are endless in creating a thriving economy that supports and values the resources we once thought of as infinite.
This editorial was set up to showcase just what can be achieved through supporting a circular economy. The ethos behind the shoot was to only use preloved items through borrowing, swapping or thrifting. Everything was also vegan including the makeup, proving that choosing cruelty free is always possible. The bag and necklace were actually sourced through a conversation at a vegan festival and were created by assemblage artist Tracey Shough who only uses recycled materials in her work.
Founding a whole shoot on the principle of circularity could have been risky – but what it showed was that people are willing to come together and make something happen when they believe in or share your vision and I’m grateful to all the creatives who gave their time to collaborate on this project. When we plant little seeds of change or challenge the status quo we can achieve big things. We can’t undo the damage to our planet, but together we have the opportunity to write the rest of our story.
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” So, if each of us makes a start, however small, perhaps we can still change the end.
Notes on images:
All of the items in this shoot were borrowed, swapped and/or pre-loved. 100% vegan and cruelty free.
Bag and necklace: up-cycled, vegan range by artist Tracey ‘Pica Pica’ Shough
Model: Casey Kees @caseykeess
Photographer: Nansi Marshall @nansimarshallyoga
Styling and Art Direction: Meg Pirie @meg_pirie_stylist
Make-up: Heidi Owen @makeupbyheidianna
Intern/assistant: Bethany Roberts @bethx45
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