Bursting the Instagram-Fast Fashion Bubble with a #Thrift Revolution

Is there anything more thrilling than rummaging through a second-hand store? The excitement of possibility in the vintage treasure you might uncover. The satisfaction of sustainability and knowing your money is investing in a positive cause. The bargain hiding under a dusty old scarf or a dead person’s jacket, just waiting for you to claim it. Ahhh! Nope. There is literally nothing more thrilling than getting your thrift on!

It’s definitely my Womble at heart that makes the impenetrable smell of mothballs wafting through the air and that inevitable film of grime that layers your hands after touching old stuff more a badge of glory than a cause for disgust.

Foraging through secondhand clothes is an addictive, dopamine-boosting concoction. Combining the quest for something new, creating a completely unique look and bargain-hunting, soothed with the reassurance of aiding the environment.

Any guilt of unnecessary consumption is vanquished by the security that thrifting  is an act of both social activism and personal liberation.

On a societal level, it’s a beautiful two-fingers up to the oppressive and prescriptive fashion system; a system that has relied on disconnecting and disempowering us, reducing us to empty vessels, filling us with what we think we need and pushing us to incessant over-consumption and perpetual dissatisfaction.

The speed and fickleness of trends it rapidly churns out is dizzying. It’s not possible to keep up. The whole thing is built to make us feel like we don’t have enough, we don’t look good enough and we need more, more, more.

How have our style figureheads become measured by Instagram likes, donning one-time-wears in attempts to ‘influence’ us to purchase the exact same look? That’s not creativity or style. That’s passive consumption and commercialism.

The wastefulness, the impersonality, the lack of creativity. Gross.

Cyclical fashion trends, intensified by social media, are constructed to compromise our personal power. In obvious – and not so obvious – ways, they tell us what to wear and how to spend, all whilst selling us the illusion that we’re the ones in control. Yet, beneath the surface, it evokes our insecurities and inside we’re battling a perpetual need to keep up and buy something new to feel good.

Many of us are awakening to that illusion and realising that the revolution is thrifting.  Secondhand shopping app Depop makes £300mn a year in sales since starting out in 2011.

Wearing secondhand bursts the Instagram-fast fashion bubble. Rather than leading others onto copycat fast-fashion sites, a unique-to-you, thrifted #OOTD inspires a culture of creatively styling ourselves and resourcing our wardrobes.

It requires style over fashion and means getting closer to who you are, your identity, self-expression and your definition of your style. Only you have the power to create and play with that.

Get vintage and secondhand fashion inspiration on my insta: @HCC

Government’s ‘No’ to Sustainable Fashion Signals Radical Social Change

Parliament has failed us, now it’s time to build the vision of fashion we want ourselves

This week the biggest ever inquiry into the UK fashion industry was tabled by Parliament. Presenting wide-ranging and key recommendations for policies and legislation to end fast fashion (one of the world’s biggest industry contributors to climate change). Ministers rejected EVERY SINGLE RECOMMENDATION made by Fixing Fast Fashion Report: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability.

Conducted by the Environmental Audit Committee, the report cites startling truths on overconsumption including that, come 2050, almost three planets will be required to resource current lifestyles.

The government’s passivity of the urgency for change has sent shockwaves through the public, environmental activists and fashion designers. Ministers’ rejection of the report’s direct and tangible solutions to the fashion industry’s prolonged damage to the environment is especially startling as just last month, Parliament declared a state of climate emergency.

2

The report evidences urgent need for fast-acting, top-level action to tackle the current system’s environmental destruction and to clean up dire working conditions. Its recommendations to appease throwaway culture include a 1p garment tax. It also promotes a sociocultural shift by encouraging clothing design and mending lessons in schools and tax incentives for repair services.

The facts are unavoidable and they are sinister. It’s critical that prompt action is taken to regulate fashion’s contribution to climate damage. Producers must slow down and stop producing. A move, of course, that requires legislation and policy change enforceable by the government.

Parliament’s refusal to legislate towards positive cultural and environmental change confirms the uncertainty of the period we’re in. It is also a crucial turning point in history for us to reclaim our power and devise empowering new alternatives.

“By 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles” says the UN.

This rejection certifies loud and clear that the government as an institution is not fit for service in a just and equal society that people are calling for. This indifference illuminates the institution’s archaic, rigid structure as obsolete in times where people are demanding more and better for our lives.

Supported by critical movements like the Women’s March and Extinction Rebellion, we are shaping new parameters for the world we want to live in. That requires models founded on agility, adaptability, responsiveness and compassion (AKA antonyms for the current state of UK Parliament). As a society that wants more, we are outgrowing the function that this government can serve.

This inaction serves as a mirror reflecting back to us where our collective power has long been absorbed in this out-of-touch institution – sustaining class difference, healthcare cuts and social divisions whilst funding £80,000 salaries for its MPS.

Beating on Parliament’s door is not working because Ministers and MPs don’t want to hear us. Stepping forward, we must channel angst into action and create the vision of the future we want. No one person can take on the entire epidemic of climate change, but we must recognise our responsibility to do our bit, wise-up, recognise our own power and act on it.

That requires a considerable perspective shift, redefining where our power lies and initiating new solutions – solutions that do not rely on winning the attention of unconcerned Ministers and MPs. It means focusing on the mass empowerment and emancipation of the UK’s citizens by recognising that the power is with us, not them.

Sans government, how can we step forward with determination and resolve to create positive, radical social and cultural change?

Money and technology. Whilst these commonly evoke cautious reactions, a paradigm shift from defensiveness to opportunity thinking could be the answer to reshaping fashion.

Embracing our capital power in a consumer-led society, we can initiate change through the way we spend. Money, regardless of how much we think we have, is a form of power, and reframing the act of spending and consumption is a positive force. Every pound we spend is a choice that creates the world we want to live in. Becoming conscious of this, we can cut off the power supply of fashion’s worst offenders forcing brands to either adapt to our demand or dissolve.

“Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” says Anna Lappe

In addition, at the rate of technological advancements, dominant power is moving from the hands of the traditional lawmakers and into the hands of the app-makers. Instant communication allows for global awareness-raising, birthing ‘clicktivism’ – the means through which anti-Trump protest marches were organised to take place simultaneously across the world. It allows for global networking and faster inspiration, creativity and creation for problem-solving through inventions, knowledge and environmental solutions.

Searching for solutions to fast fashion, legislation, education, media, brands and consumers all entwine in a messy and complex web of a globalised landscape. The government is continuing to fail us as citizens and its unwillingness to fix fashion could be the catalyst needed to spur a radical paradigm and culture shift.

Author: Holly C. Campbell

Holly-Campbell@live.co.uk

Reflection: ProjectFEM’s Feminist Fashion Catwalk and Exhibition

High on the buzz of the debut ProjectFEM fashion event, Founder Holly Campbell reflects on the day, thanks all involved and offers food for thought for the next epic event…

The event was truly a success. After months of planning and exasperating hard work Danielle, Annie, Georgie and I managed to pull together our first event working late nights and weekends around our full time jobs. We emailed until our fingers were numb, persistently pitched for funding and flyered until we ran out of places to go; it all paid off on the day and we seamlessly improvised through unexpected challenges.

image1.JPG
The Team: Annie (Media), Holly (Director), Georgie (Stylist), Danielle (Event Manager at Cargo)

We welcomed guests including the Women’s Equality Party’s Sophie Walker and Catherine Meyer, plus size model Jada Sezer, activist model Rain Dove and America’s Next Top Model’s first gay contestant Cory Wade. All of whom were incredibly passionate about the cause and recognised the necessity of opening a conversation about the detrimental impacts of fashion around gender, beauty, diversity and representation. Sophie Walker gave a captivating speech about WEP’s #NoSizeFitsAll body image campaign, in which a fundamental component is to pressure London mayer Sadiq Khan into withdrawing funding from London Fashion Week for shows that do not cast at least one model of size 12 or above. Our audience were reassuringly engaged and opened up further important conversations around body image and fashion. Take action here.

sophie-walker

Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, speaking on 09.09.16

Then the show began! Our models were beaming with confidence and excitement and it showed. Designers included Gudrun & Gudrun, a sustainable knitwear brand and Neon Moon a feminist lingerie brand. Each look made a statement through visual culture in terms of gender and beauty.

fullsizerender-2

VIPs at the ProjectFEM event, 09.09.16

Diversity and representation are our fundamental aims and integral to our values and mission. We were successful in achieving racial diversity amongst our cast of models and we had a range of genders and ages. However, we recognise that we did not capture a cast as representative as we had hoped. We had two recruited plus-sized models and a model with physical disabilities, but at the last  minute they pulled out which was out of our control. This meant that we did not manage to represent physical disability in the show, whilst invisible disabilities were present amongst our cast.

FullSizeRender (3).jpg

Catwalk Finale, 09.09.16

Upon reflection, as much as we advertised through social media, flyered and put out casting calls with a diverse modelling agencies, we struggled to capture the amount of transgender, age and ability diverse models as we wanted. We were inundated with applications from models from ranging ethnic background but found it a real task to reach those with broader ranging underrepresented qualities. Starting the project we thought individuals from these groups would eager get involved. Upon reflection, this challenge shows that if there is no consistent mainstream space for these people then how can there exist an aspiring population of models ready to jump at our adverts? We advertised with a diverse modelling agency but that brought us only young, slim and ethnically diverse models. Diversity is more than that.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Models from the ProjectFEM Catwalk, 09.09.16

This exemplifies the need for us to continue our work in advocating true human representation within fashion. To achieve that we need to provide opportunities, hope and change for human beings who are completely unrepresented by the fashion industry. We need to give them the space to become models in the first place, to pressure fashion week organisers, designers and advertising agencies to allow equal space for these models. We cannot simply widen the goal posts of idealised beauty by having racial and size diversity, we need to reinvent those ideals from a deeper grassroots level with the radical value that we are all beautiful, all races, abilities, genders, sizes and ages included.

We cannot merely broaden the goal posts of what or who is considered idealised beauty, we need to revolutionise what we are told beauty is. If people outside the stereotypical ideal are not represented then they are unlikely to aspire to become models. We must provide that empowerment and a platform for them to do so. We have learnt a tremendous amount from hosting our first event and our values, drive and integrity has never been stronger!

Feedback from models following the event:

susannah-posttiffanie-email

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminist Fashion Catwalk & Exhibition, Friday 9th Sept, Shoreditch London

We are hosting our first event under ProjectFEM.

Experience a truly empowering and inclusive fashion culture with diverse and representative models and ethically and socially responsible designers.

We are working with the Women’s Equality Party’s #NoSizeFitsAll body image campaign to combat the ideals perpetuated by the current fashion industry.

Let’s join forces and create the change we NEED to see in the world! 

Tickets: http://bit.ly/2bJPjvB

Our Top 5 Change Makers for Diversity in Fashion

To highlight those in the world of fashion who are championing diversity and positive change, we have selected our favourite change makers to showcase the positive action being taken in the industry today…

  1. Lorde Inc.

Lorde Inc., a London based modelling agency, were established in 2013 by 26 year old founder Nafisa Kaptownwala. The agency recruits only models of colour to encourage racial diversity within the industry. As highlighted in our London Fashion Week article, non-white models are severely underrepresented demonstrating a deep-routed racial imbalance. In an interview with Nylon Nafisa criticises the lack of authentic diversity in alternative agencies, and aspires to normalise non-white models by making them readily available for hire with the aim of making models of colour a principle part of fashion, opposed to the tokenised or culturally appropriated representations that we see all too often.

13113757_1691540347764227_1175544204_n12479432_580834848752420_481437100_n12826144_823620231075804_1776176764_n

  1. Rein London

The high-end brand Rein was established in 2015 by London College of Fashion graduates Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson, with an explicitly feminist focus on ‘celebrating the female form, inspired by and for women…exploring clothing’s ability to empower’. Rein use visual culture through their designs to challenge social constructions of acceptability with revealing cut-outs and sheer materials. Furthermore, the designers value ethical manufacturing through using only local and sustainable sources. In Rein’s short history, they have already had much success including debuting at London Fashion Week in 2015 and dressing established women such as Lady Gaga. Rein’s success makes us hopeful that we can pave the way for feminism within fashion, not only through designs, but in explicit associations with feminism, sustainability and social action.

  1. Rain Dove

Androgynous model Rain Dove identifies as agender and has modelled for both men and womenswear collections such as Chromat and Malan Breton.  Not only is Rain breaking boundaries of gender on the catwalks, but is also using their knowledge and experiences to advocate for gender diversity within fashion. In an interview with Buzzfeed Rain says: “The gender thing doesn’t exist; it’s a social construct you don’t have to fit into… I model as all genders. I model as a human being”. Rain takes a refreshingly critical stance on gender constructs and fashion; season by season we see designers construct and reconstruct the idea of gender, of androgyny, femininity and masculinity, but Rain is using their voice to evoke positive change for more genderless clothing campaigns. Rain recognises the power fashion has to change the world and is using their platform to encourage that.

Rain Dove 1rain dove 2

rain dove 3

 

  1. Claire Barrow

London based designer Claire Barrow debuted her work at London Fashion Week 2013. At just 23 Barrow caught her break when one of her iconic hand-painted leather jackets was featured in Vogue. Not only are we inspired by Barrows journey of running a business alongside a degree as well as maintaining her creative work at just 23, but her ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos which reflects British subculture is culturally and politically engaging.  The inspiration from Barrow’s artwork ranges from feminist statements within girl gangs to recognising the prospects for young people today. We highlighted Barrow in our London Fashion Week article as the only designer to use a plus-size model, and to represent ethnic and age diversity. Barrows used male and female models to showcase her genderless collection, and continues to make political and current statements through her work.

 

CB 1cb2

cb3cb4

  1. Lucy Jones

In 2015 Lucy Jones won the Womenswear Designer of the Year award for her Seated Collection, which consists of accessible clothing focusing on aesthetic and comfort for wheelchair users. The collection was inspired by a fashion assignment which aimed to change the world; Jones recognised that people with disabilities are overlooked within fashion and wanted to make accessible solutions. To achieve this, Jones researched over 100 people with disabilities, all of whom felt marginalised by the fashion industry. Jones began to notice and solve the issues of accessibility faced by wheelchair users and their clothes, such as reinforcing sleeves and altering the cut of trousers. Jones believes that disability should be considered in a designers approach to design from the outset, as most wheelchair users have to simply make do with uncomfortable and impractical clothing, compromising either style or accessibility.

jones 1

Positive and genuinely representative images of race, disability, age and gender is fundamental to diversity within fashion and ultimately to the self-esteem of those observing and participating in it; from watching the catwalks to reading fashion magazines, the singular idealised image of accepted beauty which still permeates the industry is problematic, especially for young women. If fashion does not authentically reflect ethnically diverse, disabled, non-binary human beings, they are further marginalised from a culture which has such propensity to empower and change the world. The change makers highlighted are fundamental to sustaining positive and authentic diversity in the fashion industry, and we must value and champion those choosing to use their voice to create an inclusive culture.

Author:  Holly C

Use Your Voice!

It is fundamental to ProjectFEM that we promote a diverse range of people’s experiences, values and perspectives on our blog. We value hearing about your associations with fashion, beauty and the industry and what it means to you.

Whether you have years of experience within the fashion industry, or are passionate about social justice and creating change. We value each and every contributors voice and perspective.

We are welcoming anyone with a passion for our cause who has experience in writing, blogging or journalism to guest write a post for us. Don’t miss out on an exciting opportunity to voice your views and make a positive change, get in touch!

PROJECTFEM-BANNER ProjectFEM@Hotmail.com

 

Styling Radical Buttons, the Feminist Badge Designer

This week we styled pieces by Radical Buttons, an accessories brand that aim to ‘make the world a less oppressive place, one button at  a time’. Radical Buttons launched last year with the vision to create feminist and social-justice themed accessories to promote self-empowerment and anti-oppression. Half the proceeds of your purchases go to charities and you can customise your own pieces!

We chose the following handmade pieces to style into two different looks:

IMG_4651

The designs make statements on a range of social justice issues that affect women and the LGBTQA+ community from sexism to veganism and politics. We love the humour and novelty behind the designs, which makes each piece more meaningful in expressing your identity through your style.

Pink is Power

IMG_4644.JPG

The designs of the badges and necklace have been co-ordinated with the colours of the shirt and coat for an unashamedly pink and feminine look. We should not be ashamed of embracing our femininity for fear of compromising how seriously we are taken by the outside world. Reclaim pink into your style, it holds power and sentiment. Take ownership of being a woman who embraces her femininity without compromising her mission.

IMG_4648

This sentiment also goes for the novelty pumps, fashion should be fun, creative and expressive so own it by pairing cute, unique pieces with Radical Buttons accessories that make powerful statements.

Look 2Express Yourself

IMG_4649

Instead of buying into a pre-motif’d jacket, go DIY and customise your own with motifs and badges that make meaningful statements that express you, your views and your values.

IMG_4646.JPG

A mesh crop top and appliqué bralet makes a visual statement of liberation and empowerment by taking ownership of your body regardless of shape or size. We are taught to cover up and wear styles that ‘flatter’, but it can be liberating to show your body in the public sphere, when women are predominantly told to cover up boobs and hide any fat.

IMG_4650

We believe that self-expression, either through novelty accessories or statements on pins is fundamental to style. Don’t be a dupe of fashion by buying pre-motif’d jackets this season, create and customise your own with badges that are important and expressive to you. Regardless of what the catwalks and magazines tell us is in season right now, carry novelty accessories through because they create a sense of timeless character and personality for your look.

Show us how you are styling your Radical Buttons accessories, and we will share them on our Instagram page!

Written and styled by Holly C