- A word on why local sustainability matters -
Hello everyone, and welcome! Writing a first post on a project like JOA is a true challenge; we started out about 2 years ago now, and at the beginning we were just talking about making jackets. We knew we wanted them to be eco-friendly, local and having a social purpose. JOA was a space where we could create our own vision of sustainability.
All these ideas were bubbling in our heads, and we were forgetting why in the first place a fashion company creating different values locally should be more encouraged. We compiled a few of these reasons.
The waste issue.
A lot of you probably know by now that fashion, an industry based on seasonal change, is a wasteful one. In the EU, the consumption of clothing per household increased by 40% between 1996 and 2012, while 30% of what's present in people's wardrobes is never or barely used, (European Parliament, 2019).
So, people consume more but wear less? Yes, and this without the negative impacts of the production being reduced. In the UK, the average use life of a garment is 2.2 years, and consequently, the amount of waste is ENORMOUS: worth £140 million every year (WRAP UK, 2017).
70% of this waste is sent to landfill when not resold or burnt, and then is sent to countries of the South were it destroys the local economy and culture, and not necessarily creating jobs like it is usual to hear 😑 (BBC News, 2015).
In a nutshell, fashion waste is not pretty, moreover considering that 90% of it could be reused or recycled (!!!!!). Reusing or recycling has a positive impact, saving up to three millions of tons of CO2 per year in the UK (WRAP UK, 2017). ♻️
The gentrification issue.
This one is as old as the new world. A popular area becomes the trendy place to be and increases rents. Making this neighbourhood inhabitable for the people who contributed to its economical and social fabric for decades.
It goes without saying that this phenomenon also kills the diversity of local businesses, often to be replaced by chains or other housing (The Guardian, 2016). London as a whole is sadly becoming an example of this situation (Independent, 2015). Gentrification may also have positive aspects, but it can't keep on spreading without eliminating its negative ones.
That is why established local businesses allowing the locals to stay in the area should not disappear and on the contrary, be supported! ✊
The homogenisation issue.
Thinking in trends resulted in all the brands creating the same designs, or copying each other. Like on the level of a borough in London, fashion needs become more diverse, locally and globally.
In terms of consumption, it results in you running into someone that has the same shirt as you. Each person is unique and complex, and your clothing should somehow reflect that.
Recently, niche concepts have been flourishing everywhere, and we believe it is the way forward. 🌸🌼🌹
Being aware of all these issues allows us to know that:
♻️ By upcycling preloved garments, we ensure some of people's fashion waste is not going to ruin another country's economy and culture.
✊🏼 By helping WaySide Community Centre clearing their clothing stock and by giving them money back, we help them remaining viable so they can provide for the most needy of the borough.
🌸🌼🌹 By using what we have around, each jacket or other item we design is inherently different.
Don't hesitate to tell us what you think about this first release. Engaging conversations about sustainability is our favorite hobby!
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/633143/EPRS_BRI(2019)633143_EN.pdf European Parliament (2019) Environmental Impact of the textile and clothing industry.
http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/valuing-our-clothes-the-cost-of-uk-fashion_WRAP.pdf#page=10 WRAP UK (2017) Valuing Our Clothes.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gentrification-pushing-some-of-the-poorest-members-of-society-out-of-their-homes-says-study-a6695926.html Independent (2015) 'Gentrification pushing some of the poorest members of society out of their homes, says study'.
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/24/the-bubble-that-turned-into-a-tide-how-london-got-hooked-on-gentrification The Guardian (2016) 'The bubble that turned into a tide: how London got hooked on gentrification'.
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30227025 BBC News (2015) 'Where do your old clothes go?'.