The importance of sustainable fashion

Fashion, Lifestyle

When it comes to the fashion industry, sustainable shopping is key. In 2017, around 300,000 tonnes of clothing was sent to landfill sites in the UK; a massive amount of waste which – if unable to biodegrade – will continue to build up over time.

This poses a huge risk to the environment, especially as the concept of “fast fashion” is on the rise.

Fast Fashion: Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.

When people give into fast fashion and buy inexpensive clothing pieces, they’re also giving into threatening the environment and the sustainability of the fashion industry itself. This is due to the fact that inexpensive clothing pieces are typically made from cheaper and weaker materials, therefore resulting in a lower life for clothing as the fabrics are more susceptible to wear.

This then creates an endless cycle, as more clothes are thrown away to become waste and then replaced with further items which also last a short while – before then being replaced again and again.

Thankfully, many retailers are now becoming more aware of the risks which their manufacturing can pose to the environment, and are making efforts to improve the sustainability of their processes. This can be reflected in start up brands too, such as Grace Beverley’s (@gracefituk)’s new sustainable activewear brand – TALA.

However, there are also additional steps which can be taken by individuals in society, in order to try and preserve the environment and maintain sustainable shopping.

I’ve highlighted 3 simple and easy changes which can be made to your shopping habits to make your wardrobe a more sustainable one:

1. Re-educate yourself

When buying new statement pieces, make a point to search for the brands corporal social responsibility statements. These outline the different ways which the brand itself achieve sustainability, and what their aims are for the company and their environmental goals.

Remember: The less you’re paying for something, the higher the likelihood is that the people who manufacture the item are being paid an extremely small amount.

Depending on how much information the brand have made available, these facts should help you to make wise decisions when choosing who to buy your clothes from. Of course, there will be times when you’ll purchase items from companies and brands which aren’t as sustainable as you may have liked, and that’s ok. However making small changes to your shopping habits can make a big difference long term, so research is key when sourcing out new brands to support.

Additionally, buying locally is another effective option to support sustainability in the industry. Not only does this support the locals who create the pieces, but also means that the manufacture/supply drain is reduced to an acceptable amount.

2. Invest more time into shopping vintage and second hand

Instead of looking for all your clothes in high street stores or popular online websites, shopping for second hand pieces in charity shops and vintage markets is an effective step which can be taken to increase the sustainability of your wardrobe.

Shopping second hand means that clothes get a longer life before being turned to waste, and can be passed through various wardrobes to be worn and loved in new homes. Not only is this better for the environment, it’s also better for you – the purchaser – as second hand clothes are usually sold for much smaller prices whilst still in prime condition.

The same goes for sourcing out vintage pieces, and an added bonus is the rarity of many vintage products. Instead of wearing clothes which many people have seen advertised online and on other people, your vintage finds will be almost unique to you – and are bound to get endless compliments!

However, shopping second hand and vintage doesn’t have to just be limited to visiting physical niche stores. Instead, the app “Depop” is an extremely effective way to find staple items, and also for you to sell on your old clothes to make a little bit of extra money for yourself. Plus, it’s extremely easy to filter through and find your favourite brands, as well as communicate with other sellers to come to mutual agreements on affordable prices. What more could you want?

3. Upcycle and repair your preexisting wardrobe pieces

With new fashion being so easily accessible nowadays, it’s easy to be tempted to throw away old items the second they show a few signs of wear and tear. However, with just a fraction of the money you’d have spent on replacing them, you can easily repair them or upcycle them to look even better than before.

Upcycling: Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

Repairing and upcycling clothes can dramatically reduce the amount of waste you output into landfill sites each year, whilst also reducing the manufacturing and delivery emissions involved in ordering new clothes.

If you’re stuck on how to achieve an effective look, there are so many YouTube tutorials and blog posts available on how to successfully upcycle clothes. As well as upcycling, simply repairing small holes in seams can be an easy and cheap job – and most of the time the flaws are left barely noticeable.

Furthermore, if you want to reduce the amount of clothes you’re buying and having to repair/upcycle in the future, then buying investment pieces is a good way to go. Despite being more expensive, buying investment pieces which you know you’ll get wear out of and be able to style in various different outfits can often result in being more cost effective in the long run. Just one or two staple investment pieces can make valuable additions to your wardrobe, as well as your contribution to a more sustainable environment and industry.

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Using social media and technology efficiently: is it possible?

Careers, Lifestyle

According to recent statistics released by Smart Insights, the number of internet users in 2019 has reached 4.338 billion – currently at an all time high.

As a child I grew up with my head buried in books, however today’s younger generation seem to be entering their teenage years increasingly engrossed in their smartphones. From an outside perspective of those who didn’t have this technology throughout their childhood years, this can be a worrying concept. But with social media being repeatedly labelled as “toxic,” are these technological advances really as harmful as people make out?

Of course, there’s evidence of the damaging impacts of social media misuse. However, when used safely and correctly, the positive effects can be extensive.

When most people think of the internet as a entity, their minds immediately focus on social media and platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. These platforms have grown massively in popularity over the past few years, and have developed into a societal issue when it comes to their influences on their users.

However, one extremely important thing for all users to remember is that social media is most accurately described as a “highlights” reel. People display their best bits; from holidays to job promotions, to important milestones in their lives. But the truth is that everyone struggles, and life isn’t always as perfect as the internet may seem to reflect. Therefore, when using social media and comparing your life to others, keep that in mind.

Social media should be used light-heartedly, and it’s always ok to take a step away from it if you feel like it.

With that said, social media and the internet can both be used collaboratively and in isolation in order to enhance both your career goals and personal life. I’ve picked out 5 key elements which I believe can help you to use these platforms more efficiently:

Research

When carrying out research, the internet can often be your best friend. As well as traditional research sources, such as journals and newspapers, branching out into using sources available on the internet and social media can provide constantly evolving research tools and information points.

However, knowing how to verify your sources is extremely important, especially with the abundance of fake news being spread across social media recently. Luckily, there are now various verification tools and cross comparison sites which can be used to ensure that all information you gather online is accurate and up to date. Below are a number of safe online research platforms, for both qualitative and quantitative methodologies:

  • Google Scholar
  • Online Libraries
  • Liveminds

LinkedIn

When it comes to building connections and reaching your career goals, LinkedIn is a social media platform which makes life 10x easier. Don’t be afraid to reach out to employers and fellow users, as they can provide vital insights into progressing in your chosen field, as well as providing exclusive job opportunities which may not always be advertised on websites such as Indeed and Jobseekers.

Building and developing your LinkedIn profile is an excellent starting point, as it allows you to both show off your achievements to future employers, but also gives them an insight into the type of person you are, and the career you aspire to build.

Of all social media platforms, LinkedIn is probably one of the most useful, helpful, and powerful sites when it comes to using your smartphone to benefit your career. If you haven’t already created an account, you can start today and sign up here.

Reaching Out

As well as LinkedIn, other social media platforms such as Twitter can also be used efficiently and effectively when it comes to reaching out to people who may be able to help you in your career and job. In my field of work (Journalism) Twitter can be an absolute lifesaver.

For example, there’s nothing worse than having a fresh idea for a new feature article, and then struggling to find respondents to help you develop it. However, with Hashtags and Trends on Twitter, such as “#journorequest,” reaching out to relevant contacts has never been easier. As such a popular hashtag, you’re bound to get numerous responses to your query within hours. After all, whether it be work related or not, it’s always nice to have a helping hand every now and again.

Podcasts

On my usual commute, I normally find myself with my headphones in and loading up the Spotify app the second I leave my door. However, recently I’ve discovered Podcasts, and haven’t looked back since.

On the iTunes Podcast app, there’s hundreds of Podcasts to choose from (my favourite being the new Pretty Little Thing: Behind Closed Doors podcasts) and the majority are free to listen to.

As someone who’s always struggled to be a morning person, listening to these podcasts has impacted massively on my productivity. They get you engaged from the get go, and can even stimulate your brain to get more motivated for the day. Why not try it and see what you think?

Social Media

As mentioned above, social media can also be a powerful tool when it comes to your everyday life. One tip that cannot be stressed enough is to change your following habits if you feel like your feed is getting you down, or not fulfilling it’s true purpose.

Remove people who make you feel bad about yourself, and follow people who motivate you. This can be influencers who radiate positive messages, or creative accounts that inspire you. You’ll notice an immediate difference.

Next time you pick up your smartphone, think about how you’re using it, and whether you could be using it more efficiently. With continuous technological advancements, the future possibilities and developments appear to be endless; so make the most of what’s in-front of you.

There’s so many opportunities out there, it’s just having the courage and right tools to be able to grasp them.

An Interview with Lois White

Fashion, Interviews

At just 21 years old, social media influencer Lois White has already created quite a name for herself; with over 19,000 followers on Instagram.

Starting off on Twitter to grow her following, Lois’ accounts began to grow in popularity as her fashion related posts took off – gaining her a solid number of followers who continuously engage with her content.

She officially kickstarted her influencing career when she switched her Instagram into more of a clothing account, around two years ago when she began working with a clothing boutique in Dunfermline and created regular posts for them.

From then on, she began to realise that her account was growing when more companies were approaching her; and seemed to take a big interest in her content. Equally, she also noticed how the engagement with her posts was growing, as the number of direct messages which she received began to increase day by day.

On the topic of fashion and styling, Lois recalls how it’s always been one of the most important things to her, as well as her biggest interest – apart from dogs!

Speaking about how she grew a following on her various platforms, Lois says: “I think I’m just super common and relatable, and people like that! I post pretty regularly too which is more attractive to a follower.”

“I guess you either have to work hard or you’re lucky and people just immediately take to you. For me it was the latter and I think people like how often I post and how engaged I am with my followers.”

“I also try to reply to all of my DMs and take at least an hour out of my day to give people advice on things – ranging from skincare to what they should wear on their birthday, to how they should deal with a break up. It’s a lot of fun and I feel very honoured to be in this position.”

For many companies looking to spread their content, influencers like Lois are vital marketing tools when it comes to advertising products. For this reason, many brands have introduced “brand deals” exclusively for influencers and their followers, in order to encourage sales.

For a girl passionate about fashion, Lois notes how the collaborations which she gets offered are perfect for her. “For clothing I usually get free clothes in exchange for a post, which is perfect for me who used to go shopping literally every week!”

“For skincare and teeth whitening products I’ve often been gifted them in exchange for posts, and also get given the chance to earn off of them if buyers use my code at checkout which is class! When it comes to events, I’m usually gifted with tickets to whatever it is in exchange for a post and a story, and to just generally hype it over my profiles.”

However, as well as being an influencer and running her own social media accounts, Lois also works full time at a restaurant as an extra source of income. Reflecting on her job, Lois says: “I know it’s not very glamorous but I work long hours, so whilst being full time I only work 4 days a week which gives me a lot of time to work on myself and side ventures.”

In addition to working full time, Lois also uses fast-growing app “Depop” to sell on her old clothes, where she stresses the importance of styling your pictures tactically, in order to be attractive to your followers:

“People usually want to buy things because they’ve seen you in it and wouldn’t necessarily have liked it on a mannequin. Items you’re selling are best posted as a full outfit rather than (for example) selling a bodysuit and posting a picture of you in it and nothing else – people like inspiration!”

In terms of advice for future influencers, or anyone reading this who fancies giving the influencing lifestyle a try, Lois has a few key pointers which she feels are the most important when aiming to make your accounts a success.

Her main piece of advice is to be as active as possible: “People find it easier to follow an account if it’s forever flowing, and also has a life story to follow.”

However, she also highlights the importance of tagging your outfits in each post: “There’s this stupid stigma around tagging clothes that weren’t sent to you and it being “embarrassing” but I don’t get all of my clothes sent to me for free, and I still tag them so I don’t have to reply to 10 different messages asking me where I got my jeans from.”

Despite getting gifted many outfits, Lois emphasises how she’s just like everyone else, and still loves shopping for her own signature items. When asked what her go-to brands are for new outfit inspiration, Lois says:

“Nasty gal forever, my funkiest fits are always from there. I love my gals at iKrush too, everything I’ve had sent from them has been an absolute staple item of my wardrobe. Zara usually have some unreal one-off pieces too!”

Bringing the interview to a close, she also notes how she couldn’t live without her Balenciaga’s: “They literally go with everything I wear. Spice girl vibes all day every day. Big chunky trainers will live on forever.”

Although to many people being a social media influencer may look like an easy job, it’s clear that Lois’ passion for styling is a main contributor towards her success.

If you’re going to be putting a lot of time and effort into something, like building your own personal identity brand through social media, it’s imperative that you’re driven and enthusiastic about the content you’re sharing – something which is clearly evident on each and every one of Lois’ platforms.

Looking towards the future, the list of opportunities for Lois appear endless, and it’s definitely looking bright.

You can find Lois over on twitter with the handle “@dropdeadlois” or Instagram at “@alltimelois.”

A Q&A with Union J

Interviews

– August 2015 –


Union J are a pop boyband, formed in 2012 on famous talent show ‘The X Factor’, with members consisting of Josh Cuthbert, Jaymi Hensley, JJ Hamblett, and George Shelley. Before their performance at Fusion Festival 2015 in Birmingham, I had the pleasure of interviewing the band – talking all things from future collaborations to crazy fan experiences!

Q:  When is the next single out?

George: New Year, we’re recording it at the moment.

Josh: After New Year we’re going to do a couple of cool songs, the tour and stuff we’ve got coming up, and then release it on iTunes by the beginning of New Year.

JJ: You’ll love it.

Jaymi: We’ve heard it!

George: We’ve heard it and it’s so good!

Q: Is it fast?

George: It is fast!

JJ: Yep.

Q: So, who would you say is the best air guitarist in the band?

George: I tend to air guitar quite a lot, even in songs that don’t have guitar, I’m standing there like – yep – definitely a piano!

Josh: George is the only one who can play the guitar so I would probably say George.

Q: What’s one of the maddest things a fan has ever said to you?

George: Where do you live, or can you make me pregnant! A women asked Josh can you make my daughter pregnant.

Jaymi: She’s out there (in the audience) holding a sign saying can you impregnate me!

Josh: She should be chucked out!

George: ‘Can you make my daughter pregnant’ – they were the words.

Josh: With her daughter standing there by the way!

Q: If there was one person at Fusion who you could collaborate with, who would it be?

George: Ed Sheeran!

JJ: Ed Sheeran!

Jaymi: Adam Lambert for me. Listen to that! *Sound of his performance in the background* That’s a man singing that high, it’s ridiculous! He’s got the most incredible voice.


 

Interview conducted via competition and contact with Fusion Festival 2015. In collaboration with Vimto.