From the editor…
What does sustainable clothing mean? It’s not necessarily a straightforward answer, so in this issue we set out to explore this with those who work in the industry, and to look at clothing options from companies doing their best to reduce their environmental impact, or extend the life and use of fabric and clothing in various ways. On pages 58 and 59, Safia Minney explains the action she has been taking to change the practices of the fashion industry. In our My Life My Way feature on page 80, Jeni Bolton shares how Frugi is looking at ‘sustainability’ in the widest possible sense.
It’s difficult for us as consumers because there is so much to think about when we buy, and our choices are not always easy or obvious: do we look at water consumption during fabric production or employee rights, or whether the fabric is organic or made from recycled plastic bottles which saves them from landfill but then releases microplastics… Everything we buy has an impact, which is why it’s always best to buy second hand where we can and use what skills we have to repair, hem and sew buttons back on. As that is not always possible, a good start is to just think about each and every purchase and try to buy things that will last.
I love Livia Firth’s #30Wears campaign which is simply about asking, “will I wear this 30 times?” before buying something. Using this hashtag, people celebrate the clothes that they love wearing, time and time again. I have many clothes that I’ve owned for years and have probably worn 300 times, and this is something to celebrate and feel proud of! Clothes can be part of who we are. I dress differently depending on the occasion – my clothes can help me ‘dress up’ when I have a difficult meeting, or ‘dress down’ when I want to feel relaxed to focus on creative editing. I love clothes that tell a story: where you bought them, who gave them to you, where you’ve worn them or whether you made them. This was particularly so for me when my children were young and items of clothing seemed imbued with memories. My wardrobe is full of tales. Each time I put on a favourite item, I can remember where else I’ve worn it. Some clothes are evocative of holidays or places I’ve travelled, and with some hand-me-downs come memories and family heritage.
So, with this issue, we’d like to celebrate all aspects of sustainable clothing and we hope this helps you make your choices.
Tanya McBride created the beautiful image which illustrates the Breastfeeding Aversion feature. Drawing inspiration from the raw beauty of the Lizard peninsula where she lives in Cornwall, Tanya creates ‘visual poetry’ through her work.
Zainab Yate wrote the Breastfeeding Aversion feature, sharing information from her book When Breastfeeding Sucks. Zainab has a degree in medical ethics and law and is an independent infant feeding researcher and campaigner.
Himalee Rupesinghe is a photographer and mum of four living in Cardiff. Originally a birth photographer in Surrey and then Dubai, she now captures families and small brands with relaxed, unposed storytelling. Himalee took our beautiful cover image.