Monthly Archives: May 2017

Clothes Swaps and the Problem With Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a relatively new phenomenon. It is the term used to describe the buying of cheaply made clothes which are then only worn a few times before being discarded. Fast fashion is a result of consumer desire to keep up with the ever changing trends and for a constantly updated wardrobe. What is wrong with that, you may think. Surely everyone wants to be trendy and fashionable and fast fashion is the perfect way to keep up with all the latest fashions without spending too much money. There are however a number of problems with this behaviour.

1. Low cost clothing is often produced unethically

In order to continually reduce the cost of producing clothing to keep up with the demand for low cost clothing, retailers sometimes use unethical suppliers in developing countries to provide clothing quickly at the required costs. There have been a number of well reported cases of retailers selling clothes made in sweatshops where workers are treated very badly, paid very little and given very little in terms of basic human rights.

2. Throwing away clothes that have hardly been worn contributes to the growing problem of landfill and textile waste.

Synthetic clothes do not degrade and so will remain in the ecosystem forever. Further more dyes and chemical finished on textiles that are disposed of landfill can be washed out by rain water and into rivers and other water systems. This is potentially damaging to flora, fauna and humans. Even natural fibres are a problem when disposed of in landfill, as they break down they produce methane a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

3. The constant production of new clothing has a number of environmental impacts including the use of fossil fuels, pollution and pesticides used in for the growth of cotton.

Many fast fashion clothes are made from synthetic fibres which are manufactured using petro chemicals in a process that is particularly energy intensive. Pollution from the textiles industry can be harmful to the environment and damaging to the health of humans in the vicinity. Carbon dioxide is also produced as energy is used to manufacture clothing; this is also a green house gas.

So what is the answer?

Consumers want to keep up with the latest fashions in a marketplace where, trends are driven by marketing and fashion companies. But perhaps it is the consumers who can change the fashion industry for the better by walking the walk when it comes to eco fashion. There has already been a lot of consumer interest in eco fashion, recycling and sustainable style. The issues need to be publicised even more and sustainable style promoted to the same degree as fast fashion has been. There are some key ways in which consumers can help move away from fast fashion and towards sustainable style.

Look for quality, well made clothes that will last

Where possible buy clothes made from natural organic fibres

Buy clothes in classic styles that will not go out of fashion quickly

Develop an individual style that is not dependent on keeping up with the latest trend

Look after and repair clothes to prolong their life

Recycle any unwanted clothes by swapping them, selling them or donating them to charity

Consider buying second hand, vintage and recycled clothing

Source by Ceri Heathcote

Stonewash Finish for Denim

Denim is the most preferred clothing of today’s youth. Various items of denim like pants, shirts, skirts, jackets, belts and caps etc. are available in the market. To give distressed denim look many types of washing is done to denim fabric.

Pumice stone usage in stonewash

One of such washing is known as Stonewash. In stonewashing the worn out look is given purposely. The fabric is washed along with pumice stones.

The stones and denim are spinned together in the large industrial washing machines. The longer they are spinned together the color of the fabric would get lighter with better contrasts. The time duration of this procedure is set beforehand so as to avoid the tear and wear of the fabric. Thereafter the fabric undergoes various other processes of rinsing, softening and finally tumbles drying. These stonewashed fabrics are used different uses like- garments making as well as for upholstery purpose.

Disadvantages of pumice stone usage

Stonewashing the denim with pumice stones has some disadvantages. For instance stones could cause wear and tear of the fabric, also it creates the problem of environmental disposition of waste of the grit produced by the stones. High labor costs are to be beared as the pumice stones and its dust particles produced are to be physically removed from the pockets of the garments and machines by the labors. Denim is required to be washed several times in order to completely get rid of the stones. The process of stonewashing also harms the big expensive laundry machines.

Alternate methods for stonewashing

To minimize such drawbacks, stonewashing of denim is carried out with the aid of enzymes. The method of giving the denim a stonewash look by use of enzymes like cellulase is known as- ‘Enzymatic Stonewashing’. Here cellulases are used to provide that distressed worn out look to the denim fabric.

Cellulase Method

Cellulase is environment friendly in comparison to pumice stones. It reduces the percentage of damage caused to denim caused on it by tough effect of stones on them. As there is huge demand of garments with distressed jeans look, stonewashing with enzymes is being used increasingly. It is also known as bio-stonewashing. Enzymatic treatment has become another substitute for kilograms of stones, also the jeans stonewashed by this method has more longetivity. It ensures the same result with minimum amount of water, waste, time, volume and damage to machines.

As jeans are made up of cellulosic fibers, the use of cellulase enzyme is successful in giving the stonewash look. This enzyme breaks down the surface cellulose fibers and removes them without causing harm to the jeans. Better finishing and look is achieved even with indigo dyed denim.

The production of stonewashed jeans has increased. Variations in finishes can be achieved by bio-stonewashing. Better fading of jeans could be achieved without causing harm to the fabric.

In cellulase enzymatic wash, the denim is given an enzyme bath. Here certain amount of indigo dye and cellulose fibers are removed from the surface of the fabric. As enzymes are like yeast in nature, they eat the cellulose present in denims. When the jeans get the preferred color, enzymatic reaction is stopped by changing the alkalinity of the bath or else the water is heated. Thereafter the fabric undergoes rinsing and softening process. The number of rinsing process after enzymes treatment is less than pumice stonewashing. There is reduced amount of waste produced and overall costs for stonewashing is also less.

Disadvantages of cellulase treatment

There are certain disadvantages of cellulase treatment. It could leave marks of backstaining like blue threads becoming more blue or white threads becoming blue. To get rid of such unwanted re-coloration of threads, the jeans are rigorously washed adding surfactants to it. This process could result to color-fading of jeans and there is added usage of water for the washing. Thus wastage of water and certain amount of backstaining could be experienced.

The primary target of stonewashing the denim with pumice stones or enzymes is to provide the garment worn out, old and aged look. Sometimes both stones and enzymes are used for the purpose.

Latest process of stonewash – Perlite

A new process of stonewashing has been introduced found by series of laboratory testings- Perlite.

Perlite is the form of naturally occurring silicon rock. It has the distinctive property of expanding to 4 to 20 times its initial volume when heated at a particular temperature. This happens because the raw perlite rock consists of 2-6% of water content in it. The crude perlite rock when heated at the temperature above 870 C it gets swollen up and tiny glass sealed bubbles are formed. Its original color which is black or gray changes to grayish white else white. This heated form of perlite is used for stonewash purpose.

It does the same function of stonewashing as stones. Perlite treatment reduces the rate of harm caused to large washing machines by pumice stones and gives the denim better supple and softer finish. Many jeans manufacturing companies instead of enzymatic treatment use perlite, it reduces the rate of wearing out of jeans when used. It gives throughout uniform worn out and old look to the denim and not just the upper part of the garment. There are many grades of perlite which differ in size are used for giving the stonewash finish to denim right from largest to finest grades, some are very tiny just like grounded earth.

Source by Gaurav Doshi

Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

Many of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so we could parade around the neighborhood in our finest. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or avoid, as some fashion-phobic children were known to do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history shows that its origins are not what we might expect. And examining the custom from a fashion school point of view, we see how changing retailing patterns have altered its significance.

Origins in other cultures. Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, has traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but the idea that people have more than they possibly need.

Christian beginnings. In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth and new life. But it was not until 300 A.D. that wearing new clothes became an official decree, as the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks for new ones.

Superstitions. A 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin’s Almanack stated that if one’s clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck: “At Easter let your clothes be new; Or else for sure you will it rue.” In the 16th Century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes.

Post Civil War. Easter traditions as we know it were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw no good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, the churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called “The Sunday of Joy,” and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.

The Easter Parade. In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was famous around the country, and people who were poor or from the middle class would watch the parade to witness the latest trends in fashion design. Soon, clothing retailers leveraged the parade’s popularity and used Easter as a promotional tool in selling their garments. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today.

The American Dream. By the middle of the 20th Century, dressing up for Easter had lost much of any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at vintage clothing ads in a fashion school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was something every wholesome, All-American family was expected to do.

Attitudes today. Although many of us may still don new clothes on Easter, the tradition doesn’t feel as special, not because of any religious ambivalence, but because we buy and wear new clothes all the time. At one time in this country, middle class families shopped only one or two times a year at the local store or from a catalog. But in the last few decades, retailing options have boomed. There’s a Gap on every corner, and countless internet merchants allow us to shop 24/7. No wonder young people today hear the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade” and have no idea what it means.

It’s interesting to see where the tradition of wearing new clothes on Easter began, and how it’s evolved through the years. Even with changing times, however, the custom will surely continue in some form. After all, fashionistas love a reason to shop.

Source by Lily McCallister

Once Slap Bracelets Were Banned At School

Still I can remember the day; the Slap Bracelets were banned in our school. It was very pathetic and I thought I was going to lost one of my precious things, which was a part of my fashion credentials. I made my identity as “the fashionable, the rough & tough boy reputation” in school with a different wearing style. The tears began to fall like rain drops in my heart after hearing the news. I loved to wear five Slap Bracelets at a time from wrist to elbow as the zebra striped, the cheetah printed, the wild imaged, the black and white striped, plain red colored, the leopard spot printed, etc. I bought all of them from different stores with my mom and Grandpa. I was fond of slap bracelets and I had a good collection of them. Some of my classmates were jealous and that was another pleasure for me.

The slap bracelets were banned because of its improper use, the teenagers and pre-teens began to use as a wrist weapons to defense by causing eye and skull injuries in elementary schools. Besides that, the metal strip inside the fabric snapped over wrists often become exposed and caused injuries. The craze of wearing Slap bracelet, which was also known as snap bracelet, was begun in the late 80s. In 90s when it banned I was a teenager. When the school notice came to my parents and they warned me to wear the bracelets in school, it was very hard to accept. However, I thought my parents might permit me to wear them after school. Unfortunately, they disagreed after spreading the death news of two boys causing by slap bracelet. It seemed like all of my pleasures were snatched away in a moment.

However, now I can realize that it was a good decision by school committees and parents. And as a result, the bracelet making companies begin to compete for presenting new arrivals like more fashionable, more attractive, reasonable price & obviously harmless bracelets for all different aged people.

Some fashion & styles do not last for long. Some are treated as old fashions and overlooked, some are renewed with new dimensions, and some fashions are repeated as the same after couple of years. Surprisingly, the slap bracelet ruled over the world from late 80’s to till now. From kids to old; all like to wear and to gift others as a token of love. Now-a-days the slap bracelet is used as awareness band like diabetic day, breast cancer awareness; aids prevent awareness, heart disease awareness, etc. Besides, some companies use it as a company identity for the employees. In this age of globalization, all are thinking to present their products or thoughts with versatile applications and the slap bracelets are not beyond it.

Source by Diljahan Shimla

What Colors Should I Wear for a Sporty Effect?

We will want to arouse a sense of athletics and sports games with bold, simple color and active rhythm. Sporty color makes us think of the ocean and air, grass and uniforms. Colors that belong to this mix are strong, mid-to-light value blues: slightly violet blue, royal blue and sky blue. Oranges at a mid-to-light value. Bright, hot red. Golden- yellow. Kelly green like the green of baseball, soccer and football fields. Analogous colors like yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange remind us of teamwork and harmony.

A sporty effect calls for analogous blues along with analogous golds and oranges. White needs to be a part of the mix. White makes us think of tennis clothes and shoes, white sails, the ice rink, and white lines marking game fields. You’re looking for fresh, vigorous color that is bright and bold. It pumps you up. It gives you a “can do” sense of energy.

Sporty clothing should be simple in design. It should have bold, simple rhythmic patterns. Shapes such a stripes should have bold differentiation which would suggest strength and vigor. Prints might vary the condensed shapes with broader, linear ones for a feeling of movement and energy.

“What colors should I wear?” While you need to go for bright energetic colors as described above, the colors need to be selected from your skin-tone-matching personal color palette. There should be enough color choices in the palette for you to select the best-for-you versions of the sporty colors. Your best colors will enhance your good looks and bring out your best sporty look.

Source by Jan Hawken

Ethical Clothing – Progress or Greenwash?

Ethical clothing is hot news right now. Wherever you look in the fashion industry that’s what the buzz is about. So have the manufacturers and retailers finally bowed to consumer pressure and cleaned up their act?

The problem in answering that question is there is no agreed definition on what ethical clothing actually is. Some people concentrate on fair trade issues. How were the workers treated? How much were they paid? Others are more concerned with the materials used and concentrate on sourcing organic, recycled and animal free products. Still others add in transport issues and focus on the environmental costs of shipping fabric and finished articles around the world. It is rare to get a single retail outlet that addresses all these issues for even a minority of their stock.

For sure the major retail chains have cottoned on to the ethical clothing issue and are falling over themselves in an attempt to seem greener than green. Top Shop has teamed up with People Tree (which supports local community manufacturing in majority world countries) and M&S have bought up 30% of the global Fairtrade cotton supply. Primark, once labelled the least ethical place to buy clothes in Britain – achieving a mere 2.5 out of 20 on the ethical index – has joined up with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and vowed to change its way.

The ETI sounds a great idea but in reality it is simply a means by which a company can give itself a cheap green image. In order to join the ETI a retailer must agree to adopt a base code. The code is great. It covers all the things you would expect – good working conditions, a fair wage etc. The flaw, and it’s a huge one, is that the retailer doesn’t have to agree to abide by that code – only to work towards it. How many companies have joined up simply to look green?

In December 2006 anti-poverty campaigners from War on Want reported the appalling conditions and pay of Bangladeshi workers supplying Primark and Tesco (both ETI members).

In 2006 Labour Behind the Label conducted a major interrogation of the biggest fashion brands and retailers in the high street. They simply asked “What are you doing to ensure that the workers making your clothes get paid a living wage?” The majority of the responses they got back were “a combination of procrastination, stalling, and fairly transparent excuses. Only a few companies admitted that there was a problem, and even fewer that they had a responsibility to fix it.”

A follow up study in 2007 found that very little had changed.

“There isn’t a single high street company where we could say we believe you could buy their products knowing that they haven’t been made in sweat shop conditions.” Said Sam Maher, a spokesperson for campaign group Labour behind the Label.

But it is not all bad news. There are a growing number of alternatives available. Stores that are truly dedicated to providing well-made, stylish, organic and fairly-traded clothes. Most of these are only found online and until we, as consumers, give them our support that’s where they’ll stay. Let’s get shopping!

Source by Pamela Maunsell