Ethical Emma

When Emma Watson isn’t advocating for gender equality as a U.N. Women goodwill ambassador or asking men to fight for feminism, she can be spotted on the red carpet promoting her films. But for Watson, a movie premiere is also the perfect place to showcase her newest cause: ethical fashion.

For press junkets and international screenings of her upcoming film Regression, Watson is taking part in the Green Carpet Challenge, an initiative that’s raising awareness about sustainability, ethics, and social welfare in fashion. Watson’s clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry are all from designers considering all parts of the production process, from environmental impact to workers’ rights, British Vogue reports. And she’s Instagramming it every step of the way.

Each event outfit she posts on the photo platform is accompanied by a description of what makes an item fit the bill—for example, designers who refuse to use harmful chemicals, or those that directly oversee their factories to ensure safe working conditions.

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Photocall complete with this ‘crazy tweed tulle skirt’ beauty by @christopherkane ! The fabric was screen printed by hand and the garment was made at the Christopher Kane studio in London by the brand’s own Atelier. @PaulAndrew shoes back in action because wearing something you love over and over is the real beauty of fashion– and sustainable! Rings and earrings by @Repossi who certifies the origin of it’s diamonds through certificates with Kimberley Process. Repossi through its conscious approach to sustainability is committed to ensure craftsmanship is well preserved, which is part of the heritage and values of the House. Cuff by @K/LLER COLLECTION which is made in the U.S.A– most pieces are handmade in the designer’s Brooklyn based studio. In October 2014, K/LLER COLLECTION was the grand prize winner of the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge. Beauty– @charlottehayward @visapyyapy 🙌🙌🙌 @emmawatson

Watson points to The True Cost, a documentary about human rights violations and environmental damage created by the fashion industry, as her inspiration for getting involved in the challenge, which is headed by eco-fashion activist Livia Firth.

The film revealed that as fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Forever 21 have pushed down prices, they’ve come to rely heavily on factories overseas. Of the 40 million garment workers worldwide, the majority earn less than $3 a day. Along with low wages, factory employees—85 percent of whom are women—work in hazardous structures. Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 workers, and there have been several major factory fires in the years since.

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Regram @sarahslutsky Day 2 kicked off with this @WesGordon dress! Love the print which was created in collaboration with London based artist and then produced in New York and Italy! @AlexanderWhite shoes are crafted by hand by artisans in Italy. Alex does not use fur and refuses to use chemical agents that could harm the environment! @Wwake jewelry uses recycled gold whenever possible, and our diamonds are either destruction-free antiques OR conflict-free stones and has developed an in-house studio practice with proper ventilation systems to protect employees health! #PayItForward

Along with the human cost, the film also looked at the environmental cost of purchasing and discarding clothing. Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries, second only to the oil industry.

The film called on designers and corporations for additional oversight into the supply chain, but individual consumers can take a stand by purchasing brands that have committed to responsible, sustainable fashion. And with a little help from stylist Sarah Slutsky, Watson shows us that caring about local artisans and sourced fabric looks good.

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Final look of the #Regression press junket! This gingham beauty from @isa_arfen who produces a majority of her garments in the United Kingdom and sources fabric from suppliers in Italy & France. The espadrilles from @EmmaWatson ’s closet by @StellaMcCartney. Stella is committed to being a responsible, honest, and modern company. Pledging to find innovative and ecological materials, #StellaMcCartney is pushing the boundaries of what sustainable products can look like. The jewels for this look by @jadetrau who works with responsibly sourced @forevermarkdiamonds (read more about #Forevermarks : http://www.forevermark.com/en-US/our-diamonds/responsibly-sourced/ ). @charlottehayward on makeup @visapyyapy on hair 😍

 

Lure Of Luxe

What with all the buzz around fast fashion and the evils of consumerism, becoming sustainable-chic seems to be, according to numerous recent eco-friendly fashion guides, on the top of shoppers’ New Year’s resolutions list.

Skeins dyed naturally with madder root, hanging to dry, at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Recycled skeins dyed naturally with madder root, hanging to dry, at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Aiming to raise consumer awareness about environmental concerns linked to the fashion and textile industries, various publications promote the use of healthier natural products like eco-friendly dyed fabrics, while addressing issues such as recycling, fair trade, water wastage resulting from cotton cultivation and deforestation due to excessive cattle ranching and leather production.

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In her book, Sustainable Luxe: A Guide to Feel Good Fashion, Jordan Phillips, rebels against ‘McFashion’, or “…a mass delusion that is a democratic right for everyone to purchase cheap clothing that looks luxe”, while recommending women to buy less but of higher quality and use their spending power to support labels or retailers engaged in protecting workers in developing countries and preserving traditional crafts, thus encouraging creativity.

Phillips also makes an interesting analogy between food and fashion consumption. If consumers now increasingly avoid processed foods and scrutinize labels to ensure that the contents are free of additives, choose quality over quantity when buying meat, and willingly go to several markets or specialised stores for vegetables and bio products, for instance, they should soon enough become just as conscious for their clothes and check tags for ‘hand-made’, ‘fair trade’ and ‘eco-friendly’, while accepting to pay a reasonable price.
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Furthermore, as Elizabeth L. Cline writes in Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion: “Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear. Building a wardrobe over time, saving up and investing in well-made pieces, obsessing over the perfect hem, luxuriating in fabrics, and patching and altering our clothes are old-fashioned habits. But they’re also deeply satisfying antidotes to the empty uniformity of cheapness.”

However, regular fast fashion shoppers would argue that ‘need’ was hardly part of the equation in the first place and that young consumers can’t afford to spend more on clothes anyway. Actually, budget fashion probably owes its success to the fact that for a long time mid-range, affordable clothes weren’t even close to being trendy enough and there seemed to be a gap in the market for teen fashion.
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Moreover, global brands have taken an eco-friendly stance since Greenpeace’s Fashion Detox campaign, launched in 2011, which resulted in investigations in manufacturing countries and the testing of garments by known brands to find traces of hazardous chemicals. Numerous famous labels including PUMA, H&M, Zara, M&S, Benetton, Valentino, Uniqlo, Mango and Levi’s, among many others, have committed to eliminating the use of chemicals released during their manufacturing process, while informing consumers and improving their business practices by 2020.

All in all, like many modern, recession-stricken fashion consumers, we are most likely to mix and match well-made items with more affordable ones, and reasonably invest in good wardrobe basics, vintage fashion and costume jewellery, which can be worn with more than one outfit, in an attempt to become wiser, more responsible shoppers.

Source: New Europe