Thursday 23 April 2015

the revolution is here

Tomorrow is Fashion Revolution Day, and it's time once again for us to ask #whomademyclothes?

It's hard to believe that it's already been 2 years since the tragedy at the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh claimed the lives of  1,133 people and injured over 2,500 more.

Now in it's second year, Fashion Revolution Day commemorates this devastation and helps us to demand a different way of producing clothes by asking clothing brands #whomademyclothes?

It's easy to participate!

1. Take a selfie showing your clothes label. You could turn your clothes inside out to make more of a statement.
2. Follow that brand on social media.
3. Upload your photo on social media with this message:I want to thank the people who made my clothes, @brand #whomademyclothes?"
4. Help make our message louder. Nominate 3 friends to do the same.

If you're in Sydney, come down to Sydney University tomorrow (Friday 24 April) between 12 and 2.30pm for an epic clothes swap - I'll be there and bringing some gorgeous frocks that are in desperate need of a new home.  

The clothes swap will start at 12:30pm at the Eastern Ave Foyer (near Eastern Ave Auditorium). Feel free to drop your clothes off any time after 12pm and you can come and go until 2:30pm.

There are other activities and events taking place across Australia today and tomorrow (and 67 other countries around the world!) - check out the website for details.

Why should we care?

Garment manufacturing the world's 3rd largest industry, behind automobiles and electronics, and employs hundreds of millions of people from farm to final product. Yet the people working in these roles remain largely invisible, the result of deep supply chains and a lack of transparency from textile and clothing manufacturers. And while some agreements and accords have been drafted by the likes of the European Commission and the Fair Trade Advocacy office, much remains to be done to guarantee labour rights and a safe working environment for people employed in the global garment industry.

In Australia, last week's release of the 2015 Fashion Report by World Baptist Aid showed us that 9 out of 10 companies supplying clothes to Australia do not know where their cotton originates, and most fail to pay their overseas workers a living wage (you can read more in this article about how your favourite Australian brands ranked). When 90% of clothing being sold to Australians is untraceable, action is demanded. And with the support of the global Fashion Revolution campaign, making a real difference seems more attainable than ever.

So get out that smart phone, take a selfie (maybe holding a sign from Fashion Revolution!) and ask your favourite brands #whomademyclothes?

I'd love to know if you hear back from your brand!

Tuesday 14 April 2015

surrender apparel

I recently came across a new range of sustainable yoga apparel - Surrender. Two of my passions, yoga and sustainability, already feel closely aligned, and it's wonderful when I can wear things to yoga that are environmentally sustainable.

photo c/o Surrender Apparel

One of the first things I noticed about the range were the large swing tags printed with lots of text. . .

 "In order to create clothing with a lighter footprint, this garment is dyed with natural dyes derived from leaves and roots. The natural pigment will fade over time. Please wash on a cool, gentle setting and dry in the shade to get the longest life out of your garment."

I love it - natural dyes, and perhaps more importantly, the label encourages cool washing and drying in the shade. There are varying figures depending on the material and how long you own a garment, but there is wide consensus that the 'use' phase of our clothing makes up the largest environmental impact of its life. For example, washing and drying a pair of Levi's 501s makes up almost 2/3 of the energy consumed throughout the life of the jeans and uses 1,600 litres of water - half of its water usage*.

I always turn my clothes inside out before making a purchase to see the care label, where something was made, and out of what fabrics. It's the first thing I do after spotting something I like. Again I was impressed by the size of the care label (though I may cut it out once I start wearing the clothing) encouraging cold washing, line drying, and the use of eco-friendly detergents.

The fabric of this soft and supple yoga apparel is made of Tencel and Modal, two environmentally sustainable fabrics known for their comfort and environmental credentials, plus 5-10% Spandex for stretch. Below Surrender explain why they made this choice:

photo c/o Surrender Apparel

Surrender Apparel designer Julie Belic has trained in sustainable fashion and international development, and it's no surprise that she hopes to pair with an NGO and have a social enterprise element to her business in the near future.

photo c/o Surrender Apparel

Until then, I'm thankful she created this beautiful, comfortable and sustainable line of yoga wear, and reminds us all to 'wash responsibly'.

"I don't think a design is fully resolved unless you have considered the the impact of both the manufacturing process and the user lifecycle." - Julie Belic

photo c/o Surrender Apparel

Well - better book myself into my next yoga session to try out my new gear in action!

Those of you living around Melbourne, there is currently a Surrender pop-up shop at Sea Yoga in Torquay where you can try on the pieces for yourself!

* * * *

*Statistics from Kate Fletcher's Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys Levi's CEO has also recently acknowledged the impact of washing denim and encourages people not to wash their jeans until it's absolutely necessary, primarily from the standpoint of how much water is used per wash. Read more here.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

bombah point

Over the long Easter weekend my hubby and I treated ourselves to a little eco-luxury at the Bombah Point Eco Cottages on the edge of Myall Lakes National Park. It was heavenly.

This is my idea of camping. I can be out in the bush or at the beach all day,
but still come back to a solid building with a bed and running water.

I've known about these cottages for a couple of years and was thrilled to spend a long weekend amongst the trees. Winner of the 2012 Green Lifestyle Award for Travel-Hotel/Resort, these cottages are tucked between Seal Rocks and Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens, and close to countless activities. We spent a day hiking, a morning kayaking, and an afternoon exploring the nearby beaches.

The view from Dark Point

Looking out to Broughton Island - here's my #LoveToBreathe
token, check out the website for ways to help Cystic Fibrosis
research, started by my dear high school friend.

I wasn't too disappointed with the heavy rain on Saturday that had us 'stuck' in our eco cottage listening to the rain and the kookaburras, and also allowed us our afternoon 'adventure' over to the main cabin to play billiards (which took hours, we are both terrible).

Comfy chairs and sofa, and surrounding by greenery.

There is a garden and orchard at Bombah Point, and the kind hosts place handpicked herbs and veggies in the main cabin for guests to enjoy. There is also a chicken house - you give the chooks your food scraps, they'll give you fresh eggs, not a bad bargain.

When you drive into the resort the first thing you notice are the solar panels - 48 of them set up on four sun trackers - which accounts for 50% of the energy used by Bombah Point. There are also two giant rainwater tanks for each cabin - I took a decadent bath without feeling too guilty about the amount of water I used - and the cottages also use bore water for toilets and laundry. In our kitchen there was a bin for compost, for non-food waste, and for recyclables. And the cottages use a tertiary treatment of sewage, which incorporates worm composting and reed bed filtration - you can read more about the eco-features of the resort on their website.

Bombah Point has also been recognised as a Wildlife Refuge thanks to the hard work of the owners, Jill and Peter, and their family and other staff members.

Hubby and I walking through the beautiful Bombah Point grounds.
You can bushwalk on site if you just can't be bothered driving anywhere.

We had an absolutely amazing time, have fallen even more in love with this beautiful country, and look forward to the next time we can visit Bombah Point. Definitely check it out if you're looking for an amazing holiday away from the bustle but still filled with life's little luxuries.

It was just chilly enough one night to have a fire - delight!

There are large cottages, they sleep at least 3 upstairs (we didn't use the loft).
And the artwork on the wall and throughout the cottages are by EggPicnic -
new faves of mine for sure!

Below is the video from the Bombah Point website. But fair warning, after watching this video it is really hard not to make a booking.