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As we know, a major obstacle for the for brands that have forms of ethical sourcing and trading is that they continuously compete with fast fashion. At least 40% of clothes are purchased from value retailers. With fast fashion, it is also a quantity based market and it shows: Women are buying 33% more clothes than at the turn of the century and 4 times as many items as in 1980.
The real pressure in this environment of course is handed to the garment workers in Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and many other places where their production targets may only just remain within human capability. The conditions are, a lot of the time, not worthy of any carbon based life form. So what can we do to defeat the fast fashion business model? It’s simple buy from transparent companies with humane factory conditions and buy less.
Our vegan bags at Wilby for example, are mainly made in the UK (two ranges are made in China with strict factory protocol). Materials are organic where possible which is important for a whole other range of issues. We also recommend looking on the Ethical Fashion Forum and other great companies such as Beyond skin who have great vegan shoes that are made in Europe.
Of course another issue is pricing. In a world where the speed is ever increasing, when in a rush do we have time to pick and choose or is it easier to pick up the five pound top on the way home? Prices are locked down by cheap labour which puts pressure on companies that have a more expensive and organic process. Many brands with a conscience still have to outsource abroad at times.
With all the talks of the consequences of Brexit, the majority of people and politicians are avoiding the most important issue of our time: Environmental progress.
We have just heard that Siemens will be freezing further UK wind power investment and the Country has a bad track record of proactively approaching domestic environmental issues. We hope that the Paris agreement will remain a target.
As a member of the European Union, the U.K. is signed up to the Renewable Energy Directive, which requires the EU as a whole to “fulfil at least 20 percent of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020″, according to the European Commission.
Amber Rudd, The Secretary of State for Climate Change, seemed to assure the green-conscious after the referendum result:”We’re still committed to making sure consumers have secure, affordable and clean energy now and in the future.” But this statement is vague and seems to stress the importance of affordable energy rather than the environmental targets that have already been put in place.
It will simply be a case of seeing what happens, look at your local green projects and if cutbacks are announced, it’s time to write to MPs.
We all know that the answer to clean energy is not to use other fossil fuels. At Wilby we believe in the idea of striving and achieving sustainability and with so many alternate sources of energy evolving, we wonder if the current government will utilise them. In retrospect, we are delighted with the news that solar powered energy has doubled in the U.K in the last two years in the U.K.
Here is the acclaimed actor Mark Ruffalo, calling out the Prime Minister on his fracking policies. In his words, you are making an ‘enormous’ mistake.
One of the main factors of high quality fashion brands is sustainability: whether it be the durability of the product or the continual tendencies of trend and style. However, the viability of fashion seems somewhat minor in the vast scale of global sustainable issues as environmental concern has seen a complete tumult in the last 50 years. Our self -sufficiency as a planet has become the fixation of the millennium and there are forever more and more gadgets and methods to prolong our renewable existence. Moving towards sustainability as a global concept is a target that entails ‘international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.’
Only in the late 1970s did the 1979 energy crisis in the US cause a crucial reorganisation of energy policies around the world, and since then we have seen the uprise of alternative energy sources, particularly naturally replenishable substitutes that provide an eco friendly answer to so many pressing matters.
In the list below we can see the top 10 most sustainable countries in the world in terms of air pollution, water quality and the effectiveness of each countries climate change policy. (It’s important to note the Costa Ricas sustainability levels have increased dramatically in 2015)
3. Costa Rica
However, it is clear looking at the top 10 that these countries are not necessarily the most economically powerful countries in the world. Is that a sacrifice that the industrially ambitious countries have to take or is there a future for the mutual alignment of the two?
For example, if we look at China’s sustainability issues, it is evident that its economic development is a vast and growing hindrance. It transgresses from solar panels and hybrid cars to ‘cancer villages’ and the famously toxic air pollution. Despite a now prosperous middle class, China’s sustainability is hinged on the widening abyss between its rich and poor and its evidently critical environmental problems.
This is just an example of how sustainability is not just an economic capability that can keep itself afloat but a harmony between environmental durability and a prosperous socio-economic balance.
By Lucy Orr-Ewing
By Lucy Orr-Ewing
After the timely launch of Wilby and Meg Mathews’ very own cork leather range last year (aptly named the ‘Primrose Hill set’), I thought it was a perfect time to share some facts about this under utilised material.
Cork leather is the perfect amalgamation of the two distinct material’s qualities: the durability of leather and the natural look and warmth of cork. Due to its manufacturing process of obtaining thin sheets of cork straight from the bark of a cork oak tree, the end product is of extremely high quality and incredibly natural. The cork sheets are then backed to a fabric support and the process is largely hand-made, further attributing to its natural essence. Apart from being amazingly versatile in that the fabric varies from furniture to clothes and shoes, the material is as durable as leather and easily washable. The cork leather is finished with a fabric protection spray making it difficult to stain. Due to its manufacturing process, it makes the fabric dirt, grease and dust repellent.
The main difference between Cork leather and leather is that cork leather is totally vegan and natural, and provides a fantastic alternative to leather. Other than being environmentally friendly it is also hypoallergenic, being immune to microorganism proliferation (e.g. Mites) and water resistant, even being able to sustain a wash at high temperatures in a washing machine. Cork oak tree regenerates its bark and so obtaining the raw materials really does do no damage at all to the tree. In fact, in order to insure the trees are healthy, the initial harvesting of the cork doesn’t begin until the tree is 25-35 years old, and the process is repeated once every 7-10 years in order to restore its qualities. Cork leather’s impermeability and insulating characteristics also contribute to its durability.
When you buy your cork leather item, you might be struck by the unique texture and look. The versatility of the material also offers a huge variety of designs to accommodate your taste.
Most likely, your cork will be obtained from the forests of Southern Portugal, where many of the corks for wine originate, and its sustainability means there will be no shortage any time soon. There’s no waste from cork production, as the surplus cork is used for wine stoppers.
Cork leather really is ‘Nature’s leather’, and for the surge of Vegan fashion, compared with other artificial leathers, provides the only eco-friendly alternative for leather. Some shopper’s paradigms continue to scrutinise non-cow leather, challenging it’s durability and strength. As the photo that represents this post demonstrates, cork is perfectly capable of holding many items, even toddlers.
*The bag in the photo is a Wilby Primrose Tote www.wilbyclutch.com
By Lucy Orr-Ewing
As the continuing rise of veganism raises numerous ethical, dietary and environmental issues which become increasingly popular in today’s discussions, the vegan remains under constant scruple. In recent years, we have seen the boom of the ‘Green Scene’ as it becomes more fashionable to be environmentally and ethically aware. It is no surprise, therefore that vegan fashion itself has seen a recent uprising, so much so that PETA even held the first ever Vegan fashion awards last year.
The primordial concept for veganism: we, as humans, should not have a ‘use’ for animals in any way, and to promote the self sufficiency of the human race. They seek to abolish all exploitation of animals, which settles any common confusion, such as whether shearing a sheep disadvantages the animal. In fact, sheep shearing has become so brutal to answer the supply and demand of wool manufacturing that sheep are prematurely stripped and many die from the harsh winter conditions.
Vegans themselves admit that the extent to which they commit to the vegan philosophy is hard to maintain completely, but they argue that they do what they can and that is enough. The keystone foundations are inherently basic and the simplicity of opting for man-made leather and other synthetic man-made materials, for example, renders the hassle of switching to veganism utterly void, especially as the eco-friendly, sustainable surge has cemented the availability and popularity of such materials. Websites like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Vegan Fashion Blog offer guidelines in how to avoid non-vegan products, and to creat a forum for all things free from cruelty, from skincare to restaurants.
Perhaps it is the malleability of vegan law that keeps vegans in scrutiny; the ‘you are vegan but you have…’ questions by non vegans may have a validity, however none can deny the issues raised and now considered globally by this ever-growing group.
The popularization of the Green lifestyle will undeniably continue, and we’re sure to see a growth in Vegan style in 2015.
As the rise of veganism continues to question the methods of the meat industry, one chemical compound still resonates as the true danger of mass meat production.
People who promote the leather industry will state to vegans (and truly so) that methane is the natural gas created when bacteria breakdown organic matter, indeed , we can all produce methane quite embarrassingly! The trouble comes with excess. Although methane stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time than other greenhouse gases, its effects are more damaging:
Methane produces 21 times as much warming as C02
The level of methane has risen 2.5 times since the industrial revolution
Methane has unpredictable removal processes
Its capability of locking in heat to the atmosphere makes it responsible for 20% of the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ even though it is present in less concentrations.
As for the natural gas argument , 2 thirds of global methane comes from man made sources i.e fossil fuels and of course (we had to mention it) cattle ranching. With the rise in demand for cheap leather, the lack of vegan alternatives as well as the demand for cheap meat, how can we limit methane in the atmosphere without changing paradigms? The answer is that we can’t.