Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting Reflective (and a wee bit heavy...)

                   "I am changing,
                    Less and less asleep,
                    Made of different stuff than when I began."

These Brooke Fraser lyrics have been echoing in my head lately. I think I've been undergoing a quiet revolution of sorts. It's not wholly recent; it's been simmering for several years now. But it's definitely starting to gather momentum.

I'm talking about living sustainably. The more I read about the gap between the first and third worlds, and the horrendous cost that a first world lifestyle has on the rest of the planet and humanity, the more troubled I've become by the way I live. Now, I know I'm not personally dumping toxic waste or cheating African workers, but I've come to realise that our culture is so engineered to function at the expense of the developing world that it's almost impossible not to enable that exploitation. There are alternatives though, and those are what I've been trying to track down and start implementing.

Like I said, this has been a gradually developing thing. But every so often there's been a big, jolting discovery. The most recent was coming across Lucy Siegel's book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? This was a real (and extremely uncomfortable) eye-opener. It covered the environmental, humanitarian and social price of the global fashion industry, which is absolutely horrifying. Every time I've been shopping since, I've started myself questions like "Who made this? Under what conditions? What am I actually supporting if I buy this?" (It's very inconvenient...) BUT, since the author loves clothes as much as the next woman, it also offered plenty of wonderful alternatives. And there are amazing people out there, creating clothes that are superior in every possible way to the cheap, looks-worn-out-after-three-washes rubbish that we buy (most of the time) simply because it's there and it's a "bargain".

Now this blog was only ever going to be scrapbooking-based, but I've got a vaguely formed resolution for the new year (and beyond, if it works). I thought I'd see how I'd go with making sure that every clothing purchase was as ethical a choice as I could make it. This can include new stuff from ethical designers, buying secondhand, upcycling old stuff, or DIY. I think I'll give myself some leeway on shoes, and I unapologetically draw the line at any kind of secondhand underwear ("If that is the price of the earth's survival, then I fear the earth shall have to die." Ben Elton). But I think it's doable. I might post some pictures of anything that I'm particularly happy with along the way. I have made a start with these two - the first was an old A-line skirt, and the second was another little skirt - sweet, but far too short (for me at least) to wear and still be unselfconsiously carefree:

Back to scrapbooking! I did up this page in my art/reflective/visual journal (I never know what to call it...) as a reminder. Think it's Number Thirty-One for the year.

Not sure how clearly it shows up, but those are third world workers under a layer of organza. Oh, must make disclaimer: just noticed that one of those tops is by Gorman, which has a stellar reputation for ethical manufacturing. Oops..

And here's Number Thirty-Two.

I think I'm on a bit of a page roll at the moment. It did cross my mind that maybe, just maybe, I could still reach the 52 layouts for the year, but then it occurred to me that there might be one or two other things happening during December.... We'll see!

Have a wonderful - and festive - week :)

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