We’ve done it, everyone, well done! Today marks the last day of 2019, and I can’t tell if I’m excited or already anxious about what 2020 will bring. Nonetheless, I hope your year has been filled with success, happiness and sustainability (a whole lot of it). This year, the call for a sustainable way of life was stronger than ever, and hopefully it will continue to grow in 2020.
While we welcome and celebrate the new year tonight, let’s forget about our worries and the future—only one main thing should stay on our minds and lead our actions during that evening: enjoying a sustainable sesh. And while I know being both slaughtered and sustainable this New Year’s Eve sounds almost undoable, here are 5 tips to help you achieve this goal, so you can start 2020 in the best of mindsets.
1. It’s all about the garms, baby
Along with the new year’s celebrations comes the mission of finding the perfect outfit for the night—something cute and trendy, sexy for some, chic for others. Whatever your style is, whatever you are planning on doing tonight, whether you are staying in for a dinner party or going out because you’re a slave to the sesh, we all want one thing: to look good for the many pictures that will undoubtedly inundate Instagram on 1 January 2020.
But for you to properly end 2019 on a good note, you can’t be doing so wearing a glittery outfit from Pretty Little Thing or any other fast fashion brand that has such a negative impact on our environment. Instead, try to think sustainably and borrow that bomb outfit from your one friend that has nicer garms than you. Try to avoid buying a brand new outfit just for New Year’s Eve, but if you really feel like you have to, and if you’re confident you will wear it again and again, shop from environmentally-friendly options such as vintage and charity shops, Depop, House of Sunny or even from rental fashion companies.
Also, keep away from the non-biodegradable glitters and all the tacky headwears that people wear on New Year’s Eve. They’re awful for the environment, and, let’s be honest, they’re never a good look when you’re already looking like a hot mess at the end of the party.
2. Travel sustainably, no matter where the party’s at
If you’ve already flown away to welcome 2020 in a warmer country than the UK, this is a first time warning—next year, try to travel consciously. For the rest of you that stayed in the country, use public transport. “Why should I use the tube tonight, when everyone else is going to do the same thing and I am probably going to be stuck with drunk people yelling on the central line for 20 minutes?” I can hear you wonder.
First of all, if you live in London, the tube, buses, DLR and Overground are all free that night and up until 4:30 on New Year’s Day, so don’t forget to take your Oyster card for your journey home from the rave. Furthermore, using public transport is safer on top of being greener. Each year, the majority of drunk driving accidents happen during this time of the year.
If you really have to use Uber, remember to split the journey with friends, or order an Uber Pool. Enjoy the 4x surge price while you’re at it.
3. You might not drink responsibly, but drink sustainably
I’m not here to tell you how much you should or should not drink, and I am the last one to judge. This New Year’s Eve, most of us will end up drinking too much, but to make you feel a tiny bit better, you should at least drink sustainable, UK-produced spirits and vinos that taste as good as the bottle of Disaronno you downed during Christmas.
For my vodka fans out there, try the Black Cow Vodka made in West Dorset with a zero-waste ethos, using only one ingredient—leftover whey from grass-fed cow’s milk. Are you more of a whiskey and gin kind of drinker? Ncn’ean Botanical Spirit is the first product from the first whisky distillery in Scotland to be 100 per cent organic and sustainable. My point is, there are a lot of eco-friendly alcoholic beverages out there, from spirits and beers to eco wines, so let’s make boycotting unsustainable drinks our first resolution of 2020.
4. Don’t do drugs (that are not ethically sourced)
In the UK, according to a crime survey for England and Wales, cocaine was used by an estimated 875,000 people between 2017 and 2018. This is the highest number in a decade and a 15 per cent year-on-year rise. So, yes, drugs are bad, but they’re also very much in demand, especially for New Year’s Eve.
If you have to get high tonight, just to come to terms with 2019, try to stick to ethically-grown weed, mushrooms, LSD, or even ketamine instead of cocaine. But if you can’t resist getting a few baggies to celebrate the new decade, well, at least make sure your dealer is doing his absolute best to reduce his environmental impact. As ridiculous as it sounds, eco-friendly drug dealers are now packaging cocaine and ketamine in reusable containers for customers concerned about the environment—that’s you my friend.
5. Finish it off with eco-friendly fireworks
If you ask me, we should not have any kind of fireworks, ever. But it is my role to be as open-minded with them as I have just been with alcohol and drugs. Traditional fireworks are made using a charcoal and sulphur fuel, a perchlorate oxidiser to keep them burning, and colourants and propellants on top of that. When ignited, they look spectacular, but so is the environmental impact of the smoke they emit. That’s why environmentally-friendly fireworks have been developed to reduce the amount of atmospheric pollution produced.
Eco-friendly fireworks have a clean burning, nitrogen-based fuel that emit very little smoke and still produce highly coloured flames. If you’re looking up at the incredible firework display in the sky tonight, take a moment to think about the effect it is having on the atmosphere. And look at it this way, if you use eco-friendly fireworks, you will definitely feel better about that 80 quid baggy in your pocket.
Tonight, remember to stay safe, slaughtered and sustainable. And happy new year!
Amidst an environmental crisis, environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion is calling for the cancellation of London Fashion Week. But what would cancelling London Fashion Week really achieve, and how would it affect independent designers not participating in mass production?
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters impacting our planet right now, and it is not looking good. There is an endless cycle of clothes ending up in landfills annually (over a million tonnes of which are from the U.K. alone), the industry produces around 10 percent of the global greenhouse emissions, and chemical dyes polluting water produce about 20 percent of water waste yearly. This industry is predicted to grow by 63 percent by 2030, and the textile industry is expected to produce 25 percent of all carbon emissions by 2050.
The Swedish Fashion Council cancelled the upcoming Stockholm Fashion Week, and Extinction Rebellion demands the British Fashion Council do the same. By planning creative disruptive actions throughout the event, with a funeral commemorating the loss of life due to climate change, the organisation hopes to bring our awareness to just how harmful the fashion industry is. A number of companies within the industry are also taking a stand to boycott LFW in various ways—London-based fashion magazine Bricks, as an example, decided not to cover LFW this year.
Here is the thing, though, London Fashion Week is a platform that showcases a number of independent and emerging talent, many of whom don’t even have the means to mass-produce if they wanted to (then we would be having an entirely different conversation). Many designers each year advocate awareness for sustainability and choose to use recycled fabrics and environmentally friendly textiles. That is not to say that LFW only supports independent designers, with big companies like Burberry participating who are far from being sustainable, but the real evil is the fast fashion industry.
It is, of course, important to note that without high end fashion, fast fashion would never exist in the first place. Emerging in the 90s, fast fashion promotes rapid and mass production of cheap clothing to meet the most recent fashion trends. These fashion trends are inspired by high end fashion designers and most independent designers, and it is understandable why people choose to purchase fast fashion. In the real world, who can actually afford to splash out hundreds or thousands of pounds per clothing item? It is so unrealistic and exclusive. Plus, in the age of Instagram culture, where everybody feels they have to show off how stylish they are to their followers, overconsumption is inevitable.
By all means, this needs to change. We do engage in constant, mindless consumption, and so many of us already have more clothing than we need. But fast fashion brands don’t showcase their work during LFW—independent designers do. So is it fair to punish them by taking away their platform? Fashion is a form of art, and LFW is equivalent to Frieze Art Fair or the Venice Biennale of fashion. Many designers showcasing at LFW have worked incredibly hard to get where they are, and we simply cannot take this away from them.
Don’t get me wrong, the fashion industry does need to be regulated, ASAP. In an interview with Screen Shot, Fashion Revolution’s founder and creative director Orsola de Castro claims she is “against” canceling fashion week, saying that we need to “redesign them rather than shutting them down.” De Castro believes that, “As far as being disruptive, we need to be constructive at the same time.”
Taking into consideration how much power and energy are invested in the production of these shows: the number of flights needed to transport models, editors, influencers, buyers, and garments, greener alternatives must be found. Designers showcasing twice a year is certainly excessive, and it would be better have all fashion weeks take place once a year maximum. Recycling previous collections into their new season should also be a must—yes, many independent designers already use recycled materials, but this can be elevated.
Fashion Open Studio is also a great alternative to this, which is a week of presentations, talks, openings, and workshops shining a light on emerging designers. “We need to use Fashion Week as a place to discuss conspicuous consumption, to discuss innovation, to discuss new parameters,” says de Castro—and rightfully so. Re-showcasing work from previous seasons would also be incredibly beneficial. The second hand fashion market is set to grow bigger than the high end and luxury ones by 2022, which is great news and could help support emerging talent instead of forcing them to keep up with the pressures of creating new work and being relevant.
Let’s all start investing into second hand and thrift shopping as our go-to option. Let’s push Instagram Influencers and celebrities to promote second hand clothing over brand partnerships with fast fashion brands. We could even go as far as demanding a new law that would prohibit the promotion of fast fashion brands or brands who use unethical resources when creating clothing. We need to reconsider how we, as consumers, view fashion once and for all, and start appreciating high end fashion as an art form rather than try and replicate it. But, please, let’s not punish emerging talented artists who have worked through blood and sweat to be able to express themselves through fashion.