It's Only Natural - Why You Should Care About Fibres.
Throughout August I travelled across the UK- as I am sure half of you people reading know (hi nan). It was great, being stuck in a tiny car for nearly four weeks with my mum and nine year old sister replaying Eye of the Tiger so often that I wanted to stab myself in the eye with a spoon.
But really, it was an incredible holiday. While venturing into the wild, I came across a photographer I just had to collaborate with.
Wvxei (Daniel) is a law student, but he is also a phenomenal artist. His eye for detail is just mind blowing. He makes ordinary beautiful, and though his pictures are each unique, they all bare one resemblance; they are very much his.
He works with both film and digital, and is self taught. Investing his spare time and money into his work; he creates photos that are both inviting and mystic. We spoke about the desire to show style that was more sustainable through the photos, something I have grown super passionate about.
My focus: Only use natural fibre garments.
Why is this such an issue? Disgustingly, microfibers make up 85% of human made debris on shorelines around the world. If you enjoy eating fish then you are quite literally polluting yourself. Natural fabric is soft and breathable, so better for your skin. Synthetic materials contain harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritations and can be absorbed through sweating and close contact.
Synthetic fibres can take hundreds of years to decompose, all the while releasing toxins. Natural fibres can biodegrade easily and won’t cause damage to the soils and water, because they contain no harmful chemicals.
A wide range of harmful chemicals are used to create synthetic garments. These chemicals are often flammable or carcinogenic.
When washing your garments, the synthetic clothes release microfibres into the water. When the waste water reaches our oceans, these microfibres are ingested by aquatic beasties including fish and whales, as well as other wildlife. To be clear, this is polluting our water. We are quite literally poisoning all our waterways.
I get so pissed about the amount of gorgeous clothes made with synthetics because we know the damage they do to our poor planet. It is a huge problem (the fashion industry is the 2nd largest water pollutant globally, and the fourth largest overall after housing, transport and food) and yet so many companies seem reluctant to tackle it.
Okay, so many brands (including Zara, H&M and Marks and Spencer) are making a change by reducing the amount of synthetic materials they use, but is it enough when an estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfills each year? Baring in mind that the majority of these garments contain harmful chemicals that leach into the ground while practically refusing to degrade.
These brands rely on our consumerism. Zara (as I have since discovered) releases new items every 13 days. There is no problem in enjoying fashion, we can’t demonise those who find pleasure in staying up to date with trends. Heck, I love clothes! I could shop every day. But, I don’t. Changing your shopping habits can tackle the clothing issues head on.
The clothes used in these photos are all trans seasonal. This means I will get more wear out of each garment throughout the year. They are all made of natural fibres, so if I wash them or they become unwearable, they will not leave a toxic trail. Half of the outfits are second hand. This means we have avoided the impact of a new garment completely and revived another item instead, keeping it out of landfill.
We know that major companies account for the majority of our current pollutants. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be changing our habits. As a consumer, you have voting power each time you spend your hard earned buck. Support local, support natural, support ethical.
Everything has an environmental impact, but these are just some of the ways to tackle the problem. How do you do conscious fashion? Do you buy second hand?
If you wanted some hardcore figures, check out the WRAP UK report on the ‘Cost of Clothes’. It is a fantastic in depth report on the life of UK clothing, from production to disposal.
If you have synthetic clothing you want to keep, wear and love without putting all those yucky chemicals in the water, go grab yourself a microfibre blocking GUPPYFRIEND bag.