Lily Cole is probably most famous for her modelling career with her flamey ginger hair and she has become a well-known figure as she has appeared in numerous magazines such as Vogue and other magazines and advertising. It surprised me to learn today in the debate about "Is fashion killing the planet?" in college that Lily Cole is a Patron of the Environmental Justice Foundation.
Like every girl I really love shopping, buying new clothes and keeping fashion as a significantly important issue in my life as the clothes and accessories you wear are creating a statement about the type of person you are. However, fashion fades, it changes in a flash but style is eternal.However, I have always been deeply concerned with the welfare of the labour that is put into making clothes, especially the child labour and working conditions of people who could be forced or have no other choice to work there because other people are depending on them for their income, food and shelter which in return effects their environment.
"Fashion, like my mood, is never static and I could never be fulfilled with just one style or look.Just like an actress, it was impossible to remain content with only one role. Each day brings a new variable, a surprising weather forecast or a new pair of shoes – fashion is there to allow a person to adapt.True style requires clever ingenuity, imagination and a whole lot of risk. Those who are self conscious and are too concerned with standing out and being stared at, step down now, this game is not for you. If you would rather play it safe than have some fun, I wish you the best but I have no time. Clothes, colour, fabrics and textures are not to be frightened of."
"A woman is closest to being naked when she is well dressed." - Coco Channel.
There have been estimates that as many as 2 million children as young as 10 and 11 years old witness there schools closed for 2-3 months each year. In comparison to ourselves in the U.K, we have never experienced the hard labour which is inflicted on these people.
Each child is given a daily target of how much cotton they should have picked. They can face threats, bullying or physical abuse if they fail or refuse to the task. This harvest begins in the late summer when the weather conditions are hot and continues until winter.
Child are compelled to live in difficult conditions, drinking unclean water from irrigation pipes and provided with not enough food or shelter. Children receive little or no pay for their labour as many are reported in debt once the deductions have been made for transport to the field and the food.
Also, the unsustainable cotton production has hidden costs such as the human impact which has been profound as thousand of livelihoods which engaged in fishing, pelt and can processing and tourism have been lost. Species have disappeared and habitats have been lost. Only 10% of Uzbekistan Tugai forests remain.Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in the world, and the only "non-food crop" in the top 10 water users.
It is a sad fact to say that almost all cotton produced in Uzbekistan ends up in the European Union.
It is recommended that consumers must choose their cotton carefully by choosing organic and fair trade. They should also try to reduce their overall consumption of cotton products and only buy cotton when they know it has been produced sustainably.
On the back of the card with Lily Cole on are the What people can do to have a positive effect on Shopping For Justice:
- Look for items that are certificated organic and/ or fair trade - Many high-street brands and online retailers have organic and fair trade collections such as: & also www.ejfoundation.org/shop where the Environmental Justice Foundation is an organic and fairly traded designer T-shirt collection - also supporting an end to child labour and environmental abuses in the cotton industry.
- Update your wardrobe without even leaving the house! Breathe new life into old clothes by customisation such as: cutting up jeans into shorts, studs, patches; they are so many way to jazz up an outfit, such as if you find that you have cut your shorts to short you could use lace fabric to create a new look.
- Re-use & Recycle - Second hand shops are definitely a way to help save the planet. Charity shops and vintage shops are an amazing place to pick up a one in a million piece. ( The owner of the Georgian garden cafe in Brecon recently told me that she will be starting to sell vintage clothing, furniture and art in a Marquee during the winter months- I actually can't tell you how excited I am about this, Brecon definitely needs a full-time Vintage shop.)
- Think Local - Support British industry, local trade and crafts.
- Buy to last & clothing that is a worth-while investment.
- Ask your retailer where their cotton comes from- as this last point shows that consumers can make a stand against buying from retailers until they are assured that their products are made ethically.
& a very quick and easy way to show your support is to Type in to Face book - Environmental Justice Foundation & Make sure to press the "LIKE" button.
I have written this information with the use of the resources given out by the lady who came to speak to us in the debate at college, I really hope that by reading this people can create awareness of the negative effects of the cotton industry. It has been an interesting subject to gain more knowledge in as I knew very little about the production of the cotton production before today. I will definitely trying my best to follow the top tips on shopping for shopping for justice.