Page 1

issue no. 1


Founding Editor MĂŠlina Labrosse

Copy Editor Elizabeth Polanco

Contributor Anika Kozlowski

Contributor + Copy Editor Lara Cardos

editor’s note Antidote is about fashion and the imbalance in the current system. Our earth is being polluted, people are being oppressed, and our desire for fashion has become deteriorative. Antidote is about using fashion as a medium to do better as a collective society, both as Canadians and world citizens; about using our money to change how companies are run, show our values and support each other through the ways we dress. As consumers, we have the power to vote with our money. To create a dialogue. To stand up for what matters to us. I would like to invite you to change the status quo of the fashion industry, to make ethical and sustainable clothing readily available, to raise awareness of these issues, and educate ourselves. Change the norm.

table of contents 6



blind eye

10 16

sartorial wages


from A to Z

24 28

dehumanizing fashion


made in

30 34

textiles 101


feeding time

42 44



the after life


making waves

in the wash

56 62

resisting the urge

doing the math

46 52



this or that?



glossary Artisan: a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand Boycott: avoiding specific products or brands to punish companies for undesirable policies or business practices Buycott: purchasing products from companies whose production practices or values are consistent with their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders Cradle to Cradle: an innovative idea that examines the overall impact of the production, use, care, disposal, and recycle potential of products from economic, industrial, and social perspectives. The goal is innovative, high-quality products with economic value and positive ecological impact Ethical: relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these Fairtrade: a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers. Feminism: liberal feminism believes that women are entitled full legal and social equality with men and favours changes in law, customs, and values

to achieve the goal of equality. Global feminism focuses on how prejudice and discrimination against women are related across cultures, and how they are connected to neocolonialism and global capitalism Life Cycle Analysis: examines the way the production, use, care, and disposal of a product affects the environment and the people involved with the product Living Wage: a working person must be able to support themselves and their family. Made in Canada: to claim the tag “Made in Canada�, the last substantial transformation of the good must occur in Canada, at least 51% of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing. That excludes the making of the textiles and other design details Minimum Wage: the lowest wage permitted by law or by a special agreement (such as one with a labor union) Organic Clothing: clothing that is made from materials raised in on in or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards Political Consumerism: a tool through which people can articulate social or political preferences Product of Canada: 98% of total cost must be made in Canada Slow Fashion: not mass produced quality-made garments. 6

Supply Chain: the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity. It virtually universally encompass the following three functions: supply of materials to a manufacturer; the manufacturing process and, the distribution of finished goods through a network of distributors and retailers to a final customer Socially Conscious Consumer: a consumer who takes into account the public consequences of his or her private consumption or who attempts to use his or her purchasing power to bring about social change

order for all stakeholders, including end consumers, to have a complete and accurate picture of the ethical and environmental impact of a product Upcycling: reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original Zero Waste: refers to items of clothing that generate little or no textile waste in their production

Sustainable or Responsible Consumption: implies the satisfaction of personal needs without an adverse impact on the lives and consumption potentials of present and future generations and complies therefore with the principles of sustainability Sweatshop: a pejorative term for a workplace that has poor, socially unacceptable working conditions. Workers in sweatshops may work long hours with low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage; child labor laws may also be violated. Traceability: the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification Transparency: the disclosure of information relating to material sources, manufacturers and other suppliers in 7

blind eye The fashion industry is a complex one, and understanding its inner workings and issues can be a daunting task. It’s easy to turn a blind eye on the situation, but we’re here to clear things up! Ethical, sustainable, green, transparent, eco, fair fashion -- these are all ambiguous terms that do not give the full story. That’s why it’s important to look more closely into the situation and see what the reality is behind the price tag. Since the apparel supply chain is so complex, there are many different elements that impact whether a garment is sustainable, ethical, etc... or not. Miriam Laroche, the founder of Eco Fashion Week, once mentioned that everyone has their own eco ‘recipe.’ There are many ways to embrace change in the industry, and one way might not be right for everyone. Whether the environment, ethics, or transparency is more important to you, you can associate with brands who match your values. Currently, one of the biggest issues involve corporate social responsibility (CSR), or the lack thereof for most big brands. For many, monetary profits and growth is the main goal, 9

but this kind of outlook is outdated. Some effects of a lack of CSR include excessive pollution (due to farming, water waste, dyeing, and energy usage to name a few), unethical labour in part due to untraceable sub-contracting, and landfill waste from used clothing, unused textiles, and unsold garments. It’s estimated that we consume 80 billion pieces of clothing each year and that each Canadian creates 81lbs of textile waste each year. Clothing is made of materials. Producing this volume of materials year after year strains the planet, both in terms of the use of natural resources, and environmental impacts like pollution and waste1. That’s why it’s important for us consumers to be careful about how we participate in the fashion industry and demand transparency from brands so that we can make educated choices. As consumers, we have the opportunity to demand change.

dehumanizing fashion The fashion industry has been known to underpay and overwork garment workers. Change is slow, but it can start by acknowledging the realities of human rights violations, overwork, and abuse that go on behind the scenes of the clothes we wear.


hile fashion is an amazing outlet to express either individuality or conformity, it can also be deteriorating. Infringements of human rights are not unusual in the fashion industry, especially when it comes to the production of textiles and garments. According to statistics, the two largest areas of non-conformity from garment factories are wages and working hours, including mandatory deductions for benefits along with health and safety issues, ranging from low to medium risk. The largest driver of these issues is cost.1 “In order to remain competitive, with a host of other developing countries in cutthroat industry where an overabundance of factories exist, factories simply fail to invest in proper systems and pay practices, which would price them out of the market”.1 In order to alter this reality, expectations of such low prices need to change. Competitive prices are an important driver of human rights violations. In May 2006, issues of excessive working hours of 19 hours a day in factories in Jordan were discovered. Human trafficking practices, such as the 11

seizing of passports which prohibits workers to leave the country, along with employment brokerage fees, were also brought to light. Allegations of overtime hours, threats of deportation, physical and verbal abuse, passport confiscation, and illegal deduction from workers’ wages have all occurred at some point, and are still problematic in some factories.1

Cases of sexual exploitation in offshore manufacturing have also been exposed. In 2013, a report by the International Labour Organization stated that ”structural features of the global garment industry make sexual harassment pervasive throughout it. The power differential between managers and workers makes workers vulnerable to various forms of abuse”.1 The fight against these kinds of issues isn’t over, but global awareness does help in preventing and addressing such situations. Factories often have codes of conduct to follow that are either established internally, or by the government or brands who utilize their services. However, factories sometimes become overwhelmed with orders and have



1. Lavergne, M. (2015). Fixing fashion: Rethinking the way we make, market and buy our clothes New Society Publishers. 2. Siegle, Lucy. (2008) To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? 3. Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability. 4. Hethorn, J., & Ulasewicz, C. (2008). Sustainable fashion - why now?: A conversation about issues, practices, and possibilities Fairchild Books.5. Safia Minney, WEAR 2016 6. Singer, Olivia. (2015). Dazed. Ethical fashion is feminist fashion. 7. Ricchetti, M., & Frisa, M. L. (2012). The beautiful and the good: Reasons for sustainable fashion (1st ed.) Marsilio Editori Spa.

dehumanizing fashion

difficulty meeting the deadlines -- but don’t want to do so by fear of not getting future orders from brands. In order to meet deadlines, they sometimes have to subcontract to home workers. The industry estimates suggest that 20 to 60 percent of garment production is sewn at home by informal workers.2 When this happens, ethics and human rights are more difficult to keep track of. In fact, concern over modern slavery is justifiable.


ccording to a research conducted by the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability, 71% of senior executives in the UK believe that there is modern slavery in their supply chains.3 I sat down with industry expert, Michael Lavergne, author of Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy our Clothes to get his perspective. He pointed out that the simplification and modernization of the supply chain is a key way to help eradicate this issue. He is currently working with George Brown College on a program that would train locals to manage and run a production facility. After the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, “an overwhelming amount of facilities were found to be operating without fire safety licenses, occupancy certificates or construction permits. All the while, Western brands were churning out millions worth of exports from the country.1 All this, for what? Yes, clothing is essential to protect the body, to culture, and to self-represent, but it shouldn’t get to the point where it is an infringement on someone’s life. Fashion should be a liberating form of expression, not a form of imprisonment. As consumers, it’s important to be aware of these issues, to question brands, and be thoughtful about our purchases. Clothing can have both positive and detrimental effects. “It’s important to not only invest in a transformation of the fashion industry but in the welfare of the society and planet that we all share.”4 For consumers who are women, the responsibility might even be greater. Actress Emma Watson noted: “Because so many 13

women design and make the clothes we wear, it’s primarily the working condition of women that are affected by the decisions we make.” Fashion is a feminist issue.5 Unfortunately, Western feminists’ purchases do not always correlate with their political views; “while western feminism is often quick to focus on the inequality around us, there is often a perverse blindness as to the impact of our purchasing power and privilege further afield. When feminist women shop in stores that directly profit from the exploitation of other disenfranchised women, we betray our own politics in a grotesque case of willful ignorance.”6 Our purchases should represent who we are both inside and out. During my interview with Michael, he mentioned that “it is not that people don’t care, but rather they don’t care to know” as it changes one’s outlook on the fashion industry but it is essential in order to better it.

“It is not that people don’t care, but rather they don’t care to know.” Consumption is an act that we do on a daily basis. Some even consider it to be an extension of citizenship and believe that “if we act as both good citizens and good consumers, we will send a message all the way up the supply chain asking for new processes to be followed.”7 The key to change is to ensure that the government, industry, and consumers work together to achieve a more sustainable and ethical industry. During the interview, Michael also stated that the root problem is overconsumption. Consuming less and therefore reducing both the output and employment would result in an overall better industry. Fashion has the ability to empower everyone, especially women, of all socioeconomic statuses and citizenship. I invite you to think differently about your consumption habits and participate in changing the status quo and harvesting equity.


of factory garment workers are women The power is in the numbers for this one. Having such a strong concentration of women in the garment industry workforce is meaningful for women globally. Women control 65 percent of global spending and more than 80 percent of U.S. spending. Women for women can create change.

Clean Clothes Campaign (2013). Clean Clothes Campain. Gender: Women workers mistreated.


sartorial wages One of the major reasons for unethical situations within the fashion supply chain? The retail price of a garment is not equally divided in between the stakeholders involved.


f you’re wondering why a garment has the price that it does, hopefully the graphic to the right will help you understand. We often forget but a simple cotton shirt actually started as a seed, on a farm. When ready, the cotton is picked, ginned, spun, woven, dyed, cut, sewn, and more. Making garments takes skills, resources, time, and a lot of effort. Additional steps include designing, pattern drafting, photographing, shipping, sewing, cutting threads, and the list goes on. We do not currently have machines that independently make our clothes. Therefore, our clothing is truly handmade (and has touched the hands of many)! While the people who are involved in these processes are an essential part of making the pieces in Canada’s wardrobe, they are far from getting their fair share on a general scale.

Being paid an average of 0.6% of the total cost of a t-shirt means that the garment maker is most likely barely making minimum wage -- which does not equal living wage. The next pages will tell you all about that! Many can’t complain about their wages nor create unions since this can result in losing their job. In conditions like these, workers can feel trapped between having an extremely low paying and dangerous job, or not having one at all. Greater transparency is needed from brands in order to allow us, the consumers, to make better informed purchases. Transparency is the only way to know where your money really goes.

“transparency is the only way to know where your money really goes.” 16



irt co h s


59% retail 12% profit to the brand 12% material cost 8% transport costs

5% intermediary

4% profit to factory in Bangladesh

0.9% overhead costs

0.6% pay to worker

rent healthcare




48 hrs/week


living wage minimum wage

should be earned in

Clean Clothes Campaign. (2014). Clean Clothes Campaign. Tailored Wages.

$ $ savings

sartorial wages

a living wage is a human right,

for all people, all over the world.

w ng vi

m wage v u m s. i n i l i m

ag e

VANCOUVER $501.60 $992.64

WINNIPEG $528.00 $675.36

TORONTO $547.20 $888.96 Living Wage Canada & Living Wage Halton

CALGARY $585.60 $871.20

HALIFAX $508.80 $920.16 MONTREAL $516.00 $738.24


sartorial wages

BANGLADESH $82.31 $431.50

CHINA $289.99 $624.61 INDIA $85.87 $324.37

CAMBODIA $120.65 $474.74

SRI LANKA $83.56 $430.94

INDONESIA $136.43 $443.21

Clean Clothes Campaign. (2014). Clean Clothes Campaign. Tailored Wages.

MALAYSIA $325.64 $599.93

legend: WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN? The inequality between the minimum and living wage affects residents in both Canada and other countries. Our fight for life affordability is not a lonely one. WHAT CAN YOU DO? Buying fair trade clothing and demanding transparency from brands are some of the ways you can help alleviate these issues for some garment workers. 21

minimum wage living wage

from a to z There is an estimated average of 101 stages in the production of clothing, from seed to store. Following, we have illustrated a few!





Siegle, L. (2011). To die for: Is fashion wearing out the world? Fourth Estate.




WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN? Clothing goes through various processes before being ready to be sold. We have ommited multiple steps including conceptualization and design. There’s also many details that are a part of the supply chain such as thread, buttons, zippers, labels, tags!


Farming: Assuming that the clothing is made from cotton, it would start as a plant and be collected.

Ginning: This step seperates the lint (cotton) from the seed. Ginning also seperates the short and long fibers from the cotton plant. Spinning: Tranforms the ginned cotton into yarn. Knitting: Spun yarn is turned into cloth.

Dyeing: This step can be completed before or after the sewing of a garment and can also include bleacing. At this stage, the fabric is also washed and softened. Cutting: Following a pattern, the fabric is cut into shapes used to assemble the garment.

Sewing: The cut fabric is sewn to create a 3D product. Distribution: The clothing is shipped to distributors, wholesalers, and retailers.


Retail: This is where the garments are made available to us, the consumers. 23

made in

Does the country your clothing is made in matter?


he country something is made in is often seen as a representation of quality, sustainability, and ethics. However, many variants affect whether the country of production is important within the clothing industry or not. In an industry with increasingly complex and spanned supply chains, the tag indicating where a garment is made isn’t truly representative of the reality. Textiles can be made in India, cut and sewn in China, but finished and packaged in Europe, allowing it to sport a tag from one of those countries. In fact, “according to European Union regulations, companies need only spend a certain amount manufacturing a good in a certain country in order to qualify for local ‘made in’ labeling.”1 The situation is akin in Canada. To sport a label ‘Made in Canada’, at least 51% of the 25

total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the goods must have incurred in Canada.2 That excludes the production of the textiles and other design details. This means that current labeling laws do not require true representation of origin. Greater transparency from companies and stricter labeling laws would allow consumers to truly understand where our clothing and all the incurring elements are made. ‘Made in’ has long been an indicator of quality but do those claims still hold? The truth is that the country a garment is made in does not necessarily have a direct impact on the quality of the product anymore. Canada does not currently have many of the technologies and specialized workforce necessary to create high quality garments. Because of advanced technologies in countries such as

China, they are actually able to produce some garments at a higher quality than current capabilities in Canada are able to. In some departments, high tech machinery is only available in specific factories in China which means that they can produce garments that are of higher quality than made domestically.3 Furthermore, the factory’s standards and the fabrics used, can greatly affect quality. There will always be a strong history of heritage in some countries such as Italy with their leather goods but we cannot currently directly associate a country of origin with quality. Again, even if a tag sports a certain ‘made in’, it is not always fully representative.


ith the mass mediation of Nike’s and Gap’s Chinese sweatshops in the 90’s, China is often seen as synonymous with sweatshops. With the development of globalization, many laws and regulations have changed. Each country has different minimum wages and labour regulations. Furthermore, some countries allow unionization while others try to limit the formation of them. It is necessary to keep in mind that there are multiple variants from one factory to the next and that generalizations cannot be made. When clothing is made in more developed countries such as Canada and the U.S.A, there is stronger chances that sweatshops were not used because of stricter labour laws. However, it is not recently the case. Recently, Forever21 was accused of paying California workers as little as 4$ an hour.4 While there is less practice of law infringement in developed countries, we are not immune to it.

easier for brands to wash their hands from involvement with unethical practice. However various third-party certifications help in reassuring the consumer that their purchases have empowered the maker. One way we can better asses the sustainability, ethics, and quality of clothing is to look for brands holding specific certifications. Similarly to consumables, certain clothing are Certified Fairtrade or Organic by independent third-party organizations. This is a great way to simplify the investigating task for the consumer and allows us to trust the brands who are certified. Fairtrade and Organic Certifications are also important when it comes to farming and the production of fabric and other design elements (thread, buttons, zippers, rivets) but because of the complex supply chains and lack of transparency from most businesses, it is even harder for the consumer to track down. All in all, it’s difficult to judge a garment by it’s label not only because it isn’t truly representative but also because each factory is different. Looking for labels that have third-party certifications is an easier and more trustworthy way of being assured that your clothing is associated with positive elements.

Simultaneously, buying clothing made in an underdeveloped country does not necessarily mean that it is not produced ethically. When the workload is too large for factory capabilities, they often subcontract home workers which are often women whose children sometimes help with the work. Because many factories use subcontracting, it is difficult to track down work conditions and to find who to point fingers to. It makes it much 26

1. Business of Fashion. (2015). Does ‘Made in’ Matter? 2. Competition Bureau Canada. 2016 3. Marc Bain (2015). Quartz: “Made in China” really doesn’t mean what it used to. 4. Los Angeles Times. (2016). Factories that made clothes for Forever 21, Ross paid workers $4 an hour.

made in


circularity by Lara Cardoso

1.Cardoso, Lara. (2016). Clothing With A Flow: What Is A Circular Fashion Economy? 2. Circular Fashion (2017). Key Principles. 3. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2013). Towards the Circular Economy. 4. MUD Jeans. (2017). Sustainability. 5. Francis, Diane. (2014). Financial Post. Mending the Capitalist Model. 6. TED Research. (2017). Textiles Environment Design. Design to Reduce the Need to Consume

Have you ever stopped to consider the life of your clothing? How did the cool new tee you’re wearing get to you? What is it made of? Where was it made? What will happen to it when it’s not as cool as you once thought? Step into the circular fashion headspace. All of these questions and more are probing ways of re-thinking fashion’s economic models. Producers, consumers and researchers are exploring concepts of “circular fashion” and ways to “close the loop” in an effort to extend the lifecycle of our clothing for a more sustainable industry and planet at large.


rom our current economic standpoint, we live in a linear economy. This linear economy follows a “take, make, dispose” model that speaks to age-old industrialism. Companies take materials from our earth to make products that are then often disposed or thrown away. Some sources argue we live in a “throwaway culture,” and this stems from our current economic model in linear thought and practice. In contrast, the circular economy is “restorative and regenerative” in design. Products are designed and manufactured to last in society for as long as possible producing little to no waste. Products are made with minimal resources and environmentally friendly materials. When the consumer is done with the product, it is intended to be reused, rebuilt or recycled into a new product to keep it flowing and moving through society. How does the circular economy compete with a model that has been number one, or the only one, for so long? Brands and organizations are innovating. MUD Jeans in the first circular 29

fashion brand in the world. They have pioneered a “Lease A Jeans” business model that shows how circular fashion can be put into action. The concept is simple. You lease a pair of jeans for a year. When your year is over, you can choose to buy them, send them back or lease a different pair. If you choose to send the jeans back, they are recycled and reused to create new products such as sweaters or dresses. People are innovating, too. In their conscious consumerism and thinking. There are ways you can think circular when it comes to clothing and the fashion industry. Practice these three key principles as advised by Green Strategy: 1. Use, wash and repair with care 2. Consider rent, loan, swap, second-

hand or redesign instead of buying new

3. Buy quality as opposed to quantity

Thinking of fashion cyclically is an alternative practice. Circular fashion is a model that allows and encourages companies, consumers and producers to think deeply about how products in the industry are made, bought and used in an effort for a more sustainable world.

“The circular economy is restorative and regenerative in design.”

Many of the clothing sold in stores are oozing with chemicals that can be toxic to both our health and the environment.


ne of the most hazardous chemicals used in the fashion industry are nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). NPEs are used in textile production as wetting agents, detergents, and emulsifiers. This toxic chemical remains in the garment until it is released when you wash your clothing, breaking down to form toxic nonylphenol (NP). Whether released directly into surface waters or via wastewater treatment facilities, NPEs can break down to form nonylphenols, a group of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals. It is a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties that builds up in the food chain and is hazardous even at very low levels.1 The EU already bans NPEs from use within its borders however it allows garments containing NPEs to be imported. The concentration was especially high in garments with plastisol print (PVC screenprinting). If these chemicals we’re deemed unsafe and banned in Europe, why are they prominent in the rest of the world?

tor of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University and author “Lead Wars,” say that “There is no good level for lead exposure.”1 “Lead is a cumulative burden — we tend to store it very well,” said Dr. Bruce Lanphear, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and an expert on lead contamination. Even at very low levels, it has been linked to nervous system damage, cardiovascular problems, kidney failure and many other health problems.1 “If you buy products that are not contaminated, there’s undoubtedly an extra cost but there are much larger benefits.”1 The truth is that the government isn’t protecting its people nor land enough. New and improved laws need to be put in place. Furthermore, the inclusion of these chemicals in garments has a significantly higher impact on the health of garment workers as they interact with them on a daily basis. Being more careful and weary of toxic chemicals luring in clothing would help improve health on a global level.

Lead is another chemical used in the fashion industry that consumers should be weary of. Lead can be found in many garments and accessories, especially vibrant coloured ones. While it is still unclear what the extent of exposure to lead has on the body, many specialists including David Rosner, co-direc30

1. Deborah Blum. 2013. New York Times: Fashion at a very high price. 2. Green Peace 2012 Kevin Brigden, David Santillo & Paul Johnston. NPE’s


CALL TO ACTION! Mail, tweet, call, or email the stakeholders of our laws! You can contact Global Affairs Canada, Health Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Below are some sample texts.

In 140 characters or less:

Me The Change Maker @MeTheChangeMaker

Please protect our land and people by banning toxic chemicals present in imported clothing. 10:08 AM - 08 Apr 2017

antidote Dear __________________, I have recently gained knowledge on the negative social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. I am deeply concerned about the lack of regulations regarding substances present in imported clothing. In 2015, the EU vowed to ban the import of clothing containing nanochemicals. If they are able to do it and still maintain a thriving retail and fashion industry, I believe that we can too. I urge you to create a policy against these chemicals in order to protect the wonderful individuals who live in Canada and our country’s environment. Thank you for prioritizing the prosperity of Canadians and their environment. Sincerely, ___________________

A $15 t-shirt is no bargain if it has the life span of an ice sculpture.

textiles 101

Synthetics, natural, semi-synthetics... what’s what? Following is a guide of some of the most common textiles, outlining the good and bad.

NATURAL Natural textiles come from the same place as our food does: farms. Natural materials derive either from plants or animals. Plant-based materials can be grown organically or with the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Similarily to the meat industry, animal-based materials differ in the way that farm animals interact with the land, which has significant environmental implications. - Natural fibres are biodegradable. - Resources used: land, water, fossilfuels (many agricultural chemicals are petroleum-based) - Environmental issues: chemical pesticides and fertilizers pollute soil, water systems and air. Ruminant farm animals (including sheep and goats) release methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. cotton: Cotton is the second-most common material in our clothes after polyester; the scale at which we cultivate this crop can have huge impacts. Although a natural fiber, growing cotton requires a lot of pesticides and fertilizers - in fact, it is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops. The growth of cotton requires a lot of water - approximately 2700 gallons of water to make enough cotton for one t-shirt. (That’s more water than the average human can drink in 2 years.)


Most cotton seeds used are genetically modified, leading to issues regarding soil and water pollution, along with presenting threats to biodiversity. Organic cotton represents about 1% of all cotton grown worldwide. Recycled cotton is also an option, but the current process used to recycle this fiber decreases its overall quality. hemp: A bast fiber produced by cannabis sativa. It’s highly sustainable since it doesn’t need pesticides nor fertilizers to grow, and requires little water. leather: Made from the skin of various animals. If sourced properly and tanned with natural (vegetable) dyes as opposed to the commonly used toxic dyes, it can be a better choice. linen: Also known as flax, a bast fiber produced by the flax plant. Similarily to hemp, linen is also highly sustainable. silk: A fibre produced by several varieties of caterpillars. If you’re concerned about the ethical issues associated with silk production, consider peace or ashima silk, which is harmless to the worm. wool: Made from shaving the coat of sheep, goats, or similar animals. Recycled wool has been processed into fabrics, garnetted, and processed into another fabric. Alpaca wool is actually the most environmental, since the sheep used to create this fibre only grave the grass instead of pulling it out, like cashmere goats do.

SEMI-SYNTHETICS Semi-synthetic fabrics are derived from natural sources, but require processing to transform into a fiber that can be used for clothing. - Resources used: primarily wood - Environmental issues: deforestation (the cutting down of trees faster than forests can replenish them); heavy chemicals needed to transform the hard wood into a soft fiber releases pollutants into the air and water. bamboo: A fiber made from regenerated pulp. Bamboo is highly controversial - the source itself is sustainable and renewable as it grows quickly and needs very little irrigation or chemical pesticides or fertilizers. However, the heavily chemical process the pulp goes through to be spun into fibre isn’t sustainable - the process has negative effects on air and water pollution. Instead, bamboo linen can be a more sustainable option. It comes from the same source, but is mechanically processed as opposed to chemically.

lyocell (Tencel®): Lyocell’s wood source is most commonly eucalyptus, which grows quickly without irrigation and doesn’t need chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Eucalyptus can also grow on marginal land that isn’t ideal for farming, which means its production doesn’t compete with the production of food. Tencel is produced through a closed loop system, in which virtually all of the chemicals are captured and reused, rather than being emitted into the environment as pollutants. Overall, this textile is highly sustainable material. rayon (viscose or modal): A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose. Generally in the manufacture of rayon, cellulose derived from wood pulp, cotton linter’s, or other vegetable matter is dissolved into a viscose spinning solution. This solution is then extruded and drawn into continuous filaments. Groups of these filaments may be made in the form of yarns, or cut into staple.


textiles 101

Amanda Cohen. (2014). Ecouterre. Is Synthetic Clothing Causing “Microplastic” Pollution in Our Oceans? 2. Nadine Farag. (2016). Man Repeller. Know Your Materials: What Each One Means for Sustainable Fashion.


Synthetic materials are made in factories through an industrial manufacturing process in which petroleum, a fossil fuel, is extracted from the earth and mechanically transformed into fibers for clothing. Although soft and even silky, the resulting fiber, is actually a plastic. In fact, polyester is made of the same exact material used to make plastic bottles: polyethylene terephthalate (PET). - Resources used: fossil-fuels - Environmental issues: the production of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, which is the leading cause of climate change; washing synthetic fibers releases microplastics into the water supply and ultimately into our food chain. Synthetics do not decompose in landfills. acrylic: This is the generic name of fibers made from acrylic granulate, which comes from coal, air, water, petroleum, and limestone. The quota of acrylonitrile units has to be at least 85% for a fiber to be called acrylic. Acrylic is light in weight for the warmth it gives, has a soft hand.

BLENDS Often times, textiles are created by blending various types of textiles together to create a unique combination. The issue with this is that it is not recyclable. There is currently no technology that exists on a large scale that can seperate different types of fibres. This is one things to keep in mind when shoping. Buying something made entirely from one fabric is best as it can be reycled or biodegradable if natural.


and is very popular as a substitute for wool. It’s machine washable and dryable with great color retention. nylon: Excellent strength, flexibility, toughness, elasticity, abrasion resistance, washability, ease of drying, and resistance to attack by insects and microorganisms. Its production releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2). polyester: Polyester is the most common material in modern clothing. Its fibers have high strength and are resistant to shrinking and stretching. It is quick drying and tends to have wrinkle resistance and crease retention. spandex/elastane: Spandex is lighter in weight, more durable, and more supple than conventional elastic threads and has between two and three times their restraining power. It also has great shape retention. vegan leather: a plastic fabric made to look like leather but isn’t as durable.

Feeding time: Fashion, sustainability and Pavlov’s dog. by Anika Kozlowski


Growth: the process of increasing in physical size.


ashion used to be an expression, a physical embodiment of the Zeitgeist. Every decade in the 20th century conjures a clear picture of the characterizing styles. The 90s were grunge and minimalism, the 60s were mod and hippies, the 20s the flapper but that ended with 1999. Usher in the new era of fashion where defining decades have been washed away with a more democratic participation in fashion and an industry equated with growth. Fashion is no longer solely an expression of self, fashion is consumption, and to shop is to be. I argue fashion is no longer an expression for a few reasons. And I take this stance in the broadest of senses as there are always exceptions to the norm. Today in an era of cheap and plentiful fashion, one can be anyone and everyone with a quick outfit swap. That’s the beauty of cheap clothes and weekly micro trends. But what does that say about our identity and developing a style that reflects our intrinsic selves. Is a “schizophrenic style” truly an expression of ourselves or a habit peddled by those who sit at the top of the fashion food chain. We have become Pavlov’s dog, salivating when we hear that bell. I bring to you exhibit one, Balmain x H&M. Once the marketing campaign leaked, the population at large lost their shit, months before the collection even dropped. There wasn’t an Instagram or Tumblr feed that you could scroll through without a photo of Kendall and Gigi sporting the beaded blazers. That was our bell, our cue to start salivating, anticipating the drop day, the day we get fed. Whether Balmain is your thing or the latest Nike sneaker drop a la HTM, we all have cues and triggers these days that sweep us into the fashion habit. Growing our shoe collections, our looks, whatever the justifications may be. And I say this not from a critical stance where I am an exception. The reason I study this phenomenon is I salivate and wait for my feeding too. I don’t even wait for the bell to ring, I look for bells. Essentially what’s hap39

pened is we have been conditioned to consume fashion, lots of it, ultimately developing fashion consumption habits. Let me deconstruct this idea. A lot of the research I do, looks at how we value and consume fashion. Pre fast fashion, mass fashion whatever you want to call this latest phenomenon, fashion and clothing were fairly pricey. Fashion did not really use economies of scale (mass production) or produce in developing nations to exploit cheap labour. This is not to say abuses did not happen but to a much lesser extent than today. Materials, labour, the general process of making fashion clothing was more expensive and prices reflected this. We therefore consumed far less as clothing was of greater quality, so it lasted much longer.

“Cheap clothes literally make our brains explode with pleasure.” A myriad of developments from the Internet, movement to offshore production, the fast fashion business model and the emergence of street fashion opened up the door for “fashion democratization”. That is, the idea that anyone could now afford to participate in fashion. Let me take a moment to clarify what I mean by participate in fashion. Take for example the 90’s grunge “fashion”. This was a fashion and a true reflection of the times, grunge music was popular and the look du jour was combat boots, plaid and lots of it, band t-shirts, vintage clothing, oversized sweaters, you get the idea. It was a look that couldn’t be bought in a store; it was cultivated through living, through thoughtful purchases that added to your wardrobe. It really was a feeling and reflected who you were, what kind of music you listed to and general ethos. If you wore “grunge”, you wore it everyday because it was who you were. It wasn’t a “look.”

“Over 1,600 chemicals are used in the dyeing process of textiles and only 16 are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.“

found that happiness from shopping happens when we are in pursuit of goods i.e. clothes. The more we want something, the more our neurons fire in our pleasure centre. So not only do we get pleasure from wanting but also from getting a bargain. Cheap clothes literally make our brains explode with pleasure. To get into the science of it, our brains go through a hedonistic competition between desire and cost. You scroll through Instagram and up pops the new Rihanna x Puma fur slide, love at first right, this immediate desire will light up your pleasure centre or nucleus accumbens, releasing dopamine. So, obviously the next step is tracking it down and finding out how much it costs, which is were the insula comes in. The insula is the part of our brain that processes pain (the pain of high prices). This activates our medial prefrontal cortex (the very front our brain), which is the decision maker and weighs all the evidence by doing a cost-benefit analysis. It is a fight between the immediate pleasure of acquisition versus an equally immediate pain of paying. Fast fashion feeds into this neurological process by not only providing new desirable fashions weekly, the low cost doubles the pleasure we feel because we know we are getting a good deal compared to the real deal RTW brands. There is very little competing pain from the pleasure of a $20 dress. Which also explains what happens when there’s a sale, if you’ve ever been to a sample sale you know exactly what I’m talking about. All of this taps into our instinctual hunter and gatherer selves. There is definitely some fun in hunting down THE covetable piece and great joy in gathering it up and bringing it home.

Today, we buy looks. Maybe you are headed of to Coachella so you cruise the H&M Coachella collection to ensure you have that bohemian festival vibe going on. Maybe you’re feeling the minimalism and cropped culottes. I’m not saying this is bad, but we definitely buy into fashion far more than we ever did because its fun. This is also where we dive into the conditioning and habit part. Compared to previous decades, we also have way more bells around us, signalling new fashions. From street style, tumblr, Instagram, thousand of fashion magazines and more brands than ever before in history, the industry has seen tremendous growth. With all these bells around us, signalling us to buy all the “it” items, it’s no wonder consumption is out of control. We have been conditioned to respond and now it’s become habitual. I find the moment I’m bored for one second, or need a distraction and I find myself trolling Instagram and there’s no way I’m not going to see something that I love and will instantly desire.


he reason fashion consumption becomes habitual is because fashion is rewarding. Either through symbolic consumption (branding or association to an influencer whoever that is for you), social belonging or social exclusion, there are many rewards that we feel from consuming fashion. We have all felt the exhilaration of copping that exclusive piece. If it didn’t happen, you wouldn’t see sneakerheads line up for a week for the latest collabo to drop. We are actually hardwired in our brains to feel pleasure from the purchase of cheap fashion. A study conducted in 2007 by researchers from MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon

Just like any drug, when there is a pleasurable reward, it can become habitual. Fast fashion or an amazing score, for the most part are a pleasurable reward. The more we partake in behaviours with a reward the repetition creates a habitual behaviour. Our brains like efficiency, so if the brain knows that certain behaviours produces a certain reward, it evidentially becomes automatic. A factor that has 40

feeding time

contributed to growing shopping habits is the growth of stimuli or “bells”. Back in the 90s, fashion stimuli were pretty much reserved to the handful of fashion magazines available and Jeanne Beker’s Fashion Television. Today, we have a multitude of stimuli right at our fingertips from Instagram, endless tumblrs, and fashion zines. Not to mention the growth of fashion brands in general, with strong online presence and what seems to be retail locations every couple of blocks like they’re a starbucks.

that is a concern, its us, the ones who wear the clothes. Skin is the largest human organ, so not only do we absorb these residual chemicals on our clothes, little fibres continuously slough off which we ingest and inhale. Extending the life of a clothing item by just three months can reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 5-10%. About 90% of clothing is thrown out before the end of its life (not fashion trend death I’m talking about un-wearable this piece is D-E-A-D because you’ve worn the shit out it dead). But this is where we get into murky waters and the fact that there is no clear-cut answer to “sustainable fashion”. The industry is only continuing to grow and the fact that everyone can participate in fashion is a good thing right?! However, It brings up questions as to how big can the industry grow? How big do our closets need to grow and is this kind of growth really necessary or the key to our happiness? Fashion is never going to go away, but without a doubt we need to start questioning the growth of the industry and our closets. Bigger isn’t always better and we definitely don’t need to be slobbering dogs every time we hear someone ring a bell.


t is estimated (because no one really can nail down an exact number) but we produce and consume 150 billion garments a year. Fashion is also now the second largest polluter in the world. The Council for Textile Recycling estimates Americans throw away 80 pounds of clothing and other textiles a year. According to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, in 1991 Americans on average purchased 40 garments per person. In 2013 this number has grown to 63.7 garments per person, which works out to more than one item of clothing each week. In the UK, consumption has quadrupled since the 1980s. Overall, we buy 400% more clothes than we did 20 years ago. The problem with the growth of the fashion industry as of late is the negative social and environmental impacts associated with clothing production, consumption and disposal. To give you an idea of these impacts here are a few facts. Over 1,600 chemicals are used in the dyeing process of textiles and only 16 are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. One pair of jeans can use around 11,000 L of water and up to 3 KG of chemicals to produce. This is from growing the cotton to you wearing them. Tanning leather uses Chromium (trivalent to be exact), which transforms to a very toxic form (hexavalent chromium), a known carcinogen to humans and extremely toxic to aquatic life. Hexavalent chromium is also used in textile dyes along with formaldehyde to ensure clothing arrives mould free after spending a month travelling on a boat from Asia. So its not only worker health and safety

Originally published on

“Overall, we buy 400% more clothes than we did 20 years ago.”


resisting urge Sometimes, swiping that piece of plastic seems like the best therapy but here are some ways to curve the temptation. 1. Practice love for what you have! According to research by David Desteno, Ph.D., practicing gratitude, love, and compassion is the best way to avoid impulse buys. 2. Fake it til’ you make it. By repurposing what’s in your closet, you can essentially “fake” a new wardrobe 3. Unsubscribe from all the e-tailers newsletters to avoid excessive online shopping.You can always resubscribe later. 4. Power pause. This method is simple and effective for diverting spending. Pause anywhere from two hours to two days after first spotting the item you’re lusting after. During this time, you are shopping consciously instead of emotionally. 5. Anticipate. Next time you feel an urge to make an impulse purchase, try this trick: Think about what you want your wardrobe to look like in six months, one year, and five years. If the item doesn’t fit into the long-term vision you have for your wardrobe, then move on. 6. Write down every single thing you buy. This can help you visualize how much your spending - or saving - and take stock of it. 7. Shopping isn’t the only therapy. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of emotional shopping. If you realize that you are guilty of doing so, try to replace this habit by a healthier one. A trust worthy friend or family member can also help in holding you accountable for your swipes. 42

Boardman, Samantha. (2015). Psychology Today. Forget Willpower: A Smarter Strategy to Resist Temptation


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been reimagined for the fashion consumer. When thinking about changing up your wardrobe, start from the bottom up.

rarchy of ne e y u b ed s the buy make thrift swap borrow

A bunch of pretty things I did not buy. Sarah Lazarovic. 2014.

use what you have

In the event that you need a few items to perfect your style, consider Sarah Lazarovic’s re-imagined “buyerarchy of needs.”


$ price


price per wear

# of wears





Don’t be turned off by this formula. While many individuals justify their consumption habits by the low prices of fast-fashion, we’d like to offer an alternative perspective. It’s not difficult to understand the rapid rise of fast-fashion. It offers the latest styles at the lowest price. Many shoppers believe that they are getting a ‘deal of the century’ but buying low cost items multiple times (in part due to the lack of quality) can actually end up costing more than investing in a quality piece that you loooove. Considering a price per wear when shopping for a higher priced item might make you reconsider cheap items. At the end of the day, it isn’t the amount you spend on an item that determines whether it’s worthy to be in you closet or not. I’ve found fabulous $0.50 secondhand pieces before. You just have to make sure to choose carefully and only purchase things that truly add value to your life. KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN SHOPPING 1. How much will I wear it? Make sure you can use an item multiple times and in multiple ways. Using the cost per wear formula can help. 2. How much do I already own? most people only wear 20% of what they have - buy things you dont already have or that you’ll wear every day 3. How long will it last? Making 1 shirt releases as much carbon as driving 1 car and if made of cotton, uses more water than the average human can drink in 2 years.


capsuled Learn how creating a capsule wardrobe can improve yours! Also coined as minimalist wardrobes, capsule wardrobes are typically made up from 30 or so items (excluding shoes, underwear, and socks). These items are often cross functional and can work in many different ways. Not only do capsule wardrobes help in getting dressed more quickly in the morning but also require less closet space, and can actually make you look more stylish! While the concept might not be for everyone going through the process of assessing your wardrobe can help you figure out your style and see your garments throught a new lens. It can also help you visually see your spending habits and notice whether you wear most of your clothes or not. Following are steps to help you coin your own capsule wardrobe.



CAPSULE WARDROBE WORKSHEET 1. Evaluate your life. Figure out how you spend your time in an average week and how you need to dress for your lifestyle

2. Pick your colours. Decide which 3-5 colours are your favourite ones to wear. These should include both neutrals and accents

3. Audit your closet. Take everything out of your closet and sort it into 3 piles - keep, hold, donate. *check out our website to see where to donate/recycle clothes and textiles in your area! 4. Define your ideal style. Make a mood or pinterest board, it’s a great way to get inspiration! 5. Evaluate your existing pieces and see if you can create at least 3 different outfits with each piece 6. Create 3 outfits for each activity, or however many you believe you need for each. Using the items you have for the third activity that you earlier identified as core to how you spend your time.

7. Count it. Input the number of items you have for each category into the table below sleeveless shirts



long sleeve shirts








bathing suits


athletic tops

athletic bottoms underwear



casual shoes

dressy shoes










8. Decide what you need after completing a full evaluation of your wardrobe and make a list of it. Don’t forget to consider Sara Lazarovic’s “buyerarchy of needs.”



afterlife Most clothing donations are sold abroad to developing countries. While this might be meant as an act of kindness, it can actually do more harm than good – they affect the country’s culture, economy, and independence. Make sure to know where your castoffs are headed.



ontinuous consumption of material possessions by Western society has a larger impact on the world than previously thought. The after effects of consumption might be difficult to see from one wardrobe to the next, but it’s shocking when assembled together. Binge-buying has true consequences. Chances are, that ultra-trendy top you just donated (and wore twice to go out) will end up wrapped in a bale (large bundle of material tightly bound and often wrapped) and shipped to a land far far away. Many Westerners regularly clean out their closets and donate clothing to charities in hopes that it will go to someone in need, while giving them incentive to buy more clothes. Clothing bales are part of a much larger issue on many levels. Most donors are not aware that their goods are part of a whole other industry. In fact, secondhand clothing is one of the biggest exports of the United States. The secondhand clothing industry is an important one. Rivoli noted: “Between 1995 and 2007, the United States exported nearly nine billion pounds of used clothing and other worn textile products to the rest of the world.”1 This translates to a very important economy in developing countries. In fact, an estimated 70-90% of donated clothing does not even make it to the store shelves; they are packed up into bales and sent overseas.2 Most secondhand clothing in the West is donated because over-consumerism has resulted in an imbalance. As Rivoli pointed out, “The supply now so far outstrips domestic demand that only a fraction of the clothing collected by the Salvation Army stays in the United States. There are nowhere near enough poor people in America to absorb the mountains of castoffs, even if they were given away”1. The problem not only lies in the disposal of clothing but the accumulation of it. So many clothes have been accumulated that even Western countries can’t take any more. 49

Deep in debt to banks and governments, African leaders were forced to liberalize their economies under political pressure. Liberal economic reforms to the market meant the removal of barriers to trade, such as import taxes and quotas, which had protected new African factories.1 Once fragile economies were open to imports – like cheap second-hand clothes – there was a wholesale collapse of vast swathes of local industry. Cheaper imported goods flooded African markets and workers in clothing factories lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the debt crisis, as well as the long-term decline in the price of agricultural products like cotton led to falling incomes across the continent. One of the sad ironies of today’s globalized economy is that many cotton farmers and ex-factory workers in countries such as Zambia are now too poor to afford any clothes other than imported secondhand ones from the West – whereas 30 or 40 years ago they could buy locally produced new clothes.

“There are nowhere near enough poor people in America to absorb the mountains of castoffs, even if they were given away.” Many clothing donors think that these clothes should be sent around the world. In fact, sending used clothing far away does help dress the rest of the world’s population by providing them with resources; however it also destroys the economies of these places. Since the clothing is sold so cheap, it is not worth it for the population to buy new clothes made locally.

POSTCONSUMER TEXTILE WASTE re-use pass on to friends & family

sold in a charity shop

donate to charity

sold to rag sorters

vintage & collectibles

direct simillar use clothing export


cleaning cloths

new spun yarns



legend first cycle: incineration (energy creation)

second cycle:

Kadolph, S. J. (2010). textiles (11th ed.) Pearson.

open recycling

1. Rivoli, P. (2009). The travels of a T-shirt in the global economy: An economist examines the markets, power, and politics of world trade (2nd ed.) John Wiley. 2. Brooks, A. (2012). Riches from rags or persistent poverty? the working lives of secondhand clothing vendors in maputo, mozambique. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 10(2), 222-237. doi:10.2752/175183512X13315695424239. 3. Bloemen, S. (Producer & Director). (2011). T-Shirt travels [Motion picture]. United States: PBS. 4. Brooks, A. (2015). Clothing poverty: The hidden world of fast fashion and second-hand clothes Zed Books.

the after life

“In Xipamanine Market in Maputo, Mozambique, a used pair of jeans will typically cost £2.90 and a t-shirt £1.50. Secondhand clothes are cheaper than new alternatives and normally better quality, but the average daily income in Mozambique is just £1, so even used clothes are difficult to afford. Selling clothes does provide some jobs but there are also negative impacts.”2 The lack of local consumption in developing countries creates a bigger dependency for outside resources from the West. Providing secondhand clothing to countries, such as Mozambique, makes them dependent on the cheap clothes, and prevents the country from regaining its independency. At its height, Zambia had 85 textile manufacturers who employed 10,000 workers.4 After opening the doors to foreign trade, the country’s clothing industry collapsed within 8 years.

“The lack of local consumption in developing countries creates a bigger dependency for outside resources from the West.” Why did secondhand clothing become so popular overseas? Zambia can be used as an example that represents many other countries. As Bloeman shared, “In 1991, when the country’s markets were opened to free trade, container load after container load of used clothing began to arrive in Zambia, undercutting the cost of the domestic manufacturers and putting them out of business. The skills, the infrastructure and the capital of an entire industry are now virtually extinct, with not a single clothing manufacturer left in the country today.”3 51

The World Bank has control over Zambia’s economic faith because they owe a stupendous sum of money. Because of the debt, Zambia has to surrender to their economic control. Brooks noted that Sophi Phiri, a corporate investment banker, said: “We don’t have a political colonialism in Zambia, we have an economic colonialism. If they [the World Bank] can control the shots that far, then are we an independent state?”4 As pointed out, Zambia’s economy controls their politics, and even though they are independent, they are in debt, and therefore have relatively no freedom.


t can be said that clothing donations provide resources, however, they also have the power to destroy the economies of the recipient. Questions can be asked whether the industry takes advantage of the goodwill of their charities and donors, or if it suffocates the apparel industry in developing countries. This industry is invisible to the donating populations except for the insiders. All in all, I hope that you might reconsider the way you donate or even buy clothing. If more people in developed countries bought secondhand clothing, or even simply a few less pieces of clothing each year, the need to create new clothes (along with the amount) might be reduced. Secondhand clothing sent abroad does help reduce waste on a global level, it has a direct economic impact along with a very strong cultural one. Furthermore, consumers can make sure to donate clothing to charities who keep the donations locally.

in the wash

Turn it down low. “Lowering the temperature from 60 degrees Celsius to 30°C, or hot to cold, when machine washing, you reduce energy use by 50%.” 52

The less you wash your clothes the better, they will actually last longer! Think of this as a reward for being lazy. Taking care of your clothes can also reduce their environmental impact. According to Well Dressed?, about 60% of the energy used in the life cycle of a cotton T-shirt is related to post purchase washing and drying at high temperatures.1 An average laundry cycle uses up to 40 gallons of water and 5,500 watts of electricity.2 More than 30 percent of a garment’s climate footprint actually occurs after it leaves the store, according to H&M. You can alter this by “lowering the temperature from 60 degrees Celsius to 30°C, or hot to cold, when machine washing”. This can reduce energy use by 50 percent.3 Furthermore, “hang-drying saves 17 percent of the total climate impact in the life cycle. Ironing can also be reduced by steaming clothes in the bathroom while showering and you can hand-wash most dry clean only knits and silks.”3 Small changes to your laundering routine can greatly help in both reducing your environmental impact and utility bills!

1. Claudio, L. (2007). Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(9), A449–A454. 2. Brit Liggett . (2012). Ecouterre. “Shed Me” Clothes Reduce Need for Laundry by Shedding Like Snakeskin. 3. Jasmin Malik Chua. (2014). Ecouterre. H&M Launches “Clevercare” Label at Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

the act of washing your clothes actually takes a huge part of the footprint of your clothing on the planet. Here, we explore how to minimize that.






white vinegar and water

soak clothing overnight in Âź cup vinegar and enough water to cover stain


baking soda

run clothing under cold water. sprinkle with baking soda. rub fabric gently and run under cold water. wash as usual

coffee, tea, clean rag and or chocolate club soda

dampen rag with club soda and blot stain until removed. wash clothes as usual

fruit or wine

lemon juice

douse with undiluted lemon juice. let dry in the sun. wash as usual


milk, vinegar, cornstarch, and a brush


vodka, clean rag, and hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach

blot stain with vodka. blot stain with hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach. wash clothes with laundry soap

oils and grease

baking soda

add baking soda to your wash or make paste with water. rub paste on clothing to pretreat stains.

soak in milk for one hour. coat with paste of cornstarch and vinegar. let dry. brush off dried paste and wash as usual


LAUNDRY SOAP DETERGENT RECIPE It’s not only way cheaper than buying premade soap but also healthier for all stakeholders.



▫▫ ¾ cup Castile Soap ▫▫ ½ cup Super Washing Soda ▫▫ ½ cup 20 Mule Team Borax or Baking Soda


machine wash


dry clean

▫▫ Take your two gallon bucket and pour lukewarm to cold water in the bottom of it, about an inch high of water ▫▫ Add the dry powders




tumble dry

▫▫ Fill your two-gallon bucket up almost all the way with tap water





▫▫ Add more water if necessary to cover the powders then take your hand mixer or immersion blender and blend the powders for a few minutes, or until it is fully blended and there are no more clumps.

▫▫ Add the castile soap and stir with a long-handled spoon.

e sy mb

▫▫ Using the funnel, pour into your containers.





permanent press


heat settings

do not

do not


You can also add a few drops of essential oils to get that fresh smell.

Q& A

with Barbara Basar

“The natural living world is an oasis & a luxury when living in a city full of concrete buildings and man made objects.�


Fashion designer and femme fatale, Barbara Basar, shares what it’s like to be behind the seams (pun intended). What inspires and influences your work? I am inspired by the intricacies and simplicities found in nature. The natural world is an oasis and a luxury when living in a city full of concrete buildings and man made objects. I find the organic and unaltered aesthetic natural objects and beings embody a great starting point for my man made objects (clothing) to be designed from. Describe your aesthetic. My aesthetic is influenced by my mood. I will go through periods of a monochromatic and dark aesthetic and sway to the other side of the pendulum into a vibrant and playful aesthetic. There is always an element of fine detail and handwork present for that eye catching impact. What does a good design entail in your opinion? Good design entails longevity. That is a hard characteristic for fashion to encapsulate today as it has become so rooted in designing in excess for mass trends that are hot today, on the sale rack tomorrow and in the trash by next week. How much time do you typically spend designing or conceptualizing versus constructing a garment? I can’t sit down for an hour and force designs to squeeze out of my head. It’s a sporadic process where I let thoughts and ideas come to me organically in my hand dandy sketch book. When it comes to constructing, I push myself to have strict deadlines to get things done for efficiency. Getting to the desired design might take one toile or seven. It is the itty gritty part of design that can be draining, but very rewarding once completed. How does being a woman impact or inform your work? It impacts in the way of comfort and feel in terms of design. Those are the two main qualities every woman wants to feel when wearing a garment.

As a fashion designer, how does sustainability and ethics affect your work? I think it’s important to buy from and support local businesses and help them flourish. I think it’s also about quality, not quantity. Straying away from fads and fast fashion and aiming more for longevity and quality products. What is the most exciting part of your job? Seeing the finish garment hanging on the rack. That is always the big finale moment. The beginning is also exciting, as the anticipation and adrenaline builds up to start something fresh and new. What is the hardest part of being a fashion designer? Making the “average joe” understand the process of what fine design is in a garment. Thanks to our mass consumer society, fashion has been greatly devalued. Thus, many don’t have the knowledge or awareness of what the difference between the price tag of a $100 t-shirt made in Canada versus a $5 made in Bangladesh t-shirt. I know there has been progress, but to make it more promising in the future education should start at school just like science and math. Clothing is a necessity of life as is math and science and so people should be just as knowledgeable about it.

“Good design entails longevity.” Where do you see the market heading? I don’t see fast fashion stopping anytime soon but I hope that awareness goes for buying locally and products with longevity continues to rise. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I will still be in the design field and working as a creative. I see myself possibly having my own business. What do most individuals don’t know about designers or fashion that you wish they did? The amount of effort that goes into the making, pattern drafting, sourcing, and the overall thought process. Sleep most of the times not included! 58

Barbara wears a dress and necklace she made herself. The necklace is made from upcycled materials.

ve making wa



dia round up

the best of what’s out there if you want to watch, listen, or read further. 60

DOCUMENTARIES The True Cost Unapologetically frank, The True Cost reveals the untold story of our clothes and asks us to reconsider the impact of our clothing. It exposes various façades of the industry.

River Blue Feeling blue about the denim industry, this documentary explores the destruction of rivers, effects on humanity, and hopeful solutions for a sustainable future.

Stink! A chemical-smelling pajama set sent the film’s director out to uncover the source. Findings include the presence of carcinogens in everyday consumer products and the secrecy that surrounds them.

Conscious Chatter Kestrel Jenkins encourages us to think critically about our clothes, from what they’re made of to who made them, while harnessing a community of mindful consumers and stylish changemakers.

Spirit of 608 Lorraine Sanders focuses on empowering women and female thought leadership while exploring the relationships of fashion, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and tech.

The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black This beautifully designed book gives a great overview of social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. She presents diverse perspectives in an enticing and coherent manner.

ReFashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown Upcycling is a growing source of innovative design. Learn about the magnificent possibilities of upcycling garments into new and cutting edge ones.

Sustainable Fashion: Why Now? by Janet Hethorn and Connie Ulasewicz Aimed at consumers, designers, and makers, this collection of essays explores the liaison between innate desire for fashion and doing so responsibly.

Fixing Fashion by Michael Lavergne An insider’s view on how how cheap and disposable clothing results in serious environmental, communal, and labour rights abuses. A 2013 disaster has led to crucial increased awareness.

The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli Global economic realities are made clear by illustrating compelling lessons in politics and globalization. It opens the reader’s eye to a new perspective.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney Equally relevant for consumers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, this book presents the innovative movement that puts people, livelihoods and environmental sustainability at the forefront of its process.

PODCASTS Magnifeco Radio Sporting the same name as her blog and book, Kate Black’s podcasts feature extensive discussions with industry professionals on their path, motivation, and all the other big questions.




this or that?

The road to ethical and sustainable fashion isn’t always easy. There is a struggle for each stakeholder. Which option would you pick? As a consumer... to do more research, potentially spend more, but feel satisfied and empowered with purchase

to go into a store and blindly buy clothing whithout knowing the implications of its production

As designer... to utilize gmo (conventional) cotton that requires harsh pesticides

to use recycled cotton which results in textiles of lower quality

As a brand... to stay competitive solely on price point and ignore the impacts of business doings

to raise your prices slightly or lower profit margin to assure ethical and sustainable merchandise

As a factory owner... to be loyal to laws and regulations but deliver products late and risk losing a client

to sub contract home workers in unregulated environments in order to meet a deadline

As a garment worker... to join or formal union and risk losing your job because of it

to maintain a low paying job and work in possibly dangerous conditions

As a farmer... to take on large loans with high interest fees in order to buy expensive, genetically modified cotton seeds for your crop

to start growing organic crops but endure three years of lower yields until the cotton can be certified as organic and get a higher price



Buy less, choose well, make it last. As famously stated by Vivienne Westwood, buying less and choosing better is one of the best ways to reduce our impact on the planet.

Consume politically. Think of each purchase as a stand for or against something. Whatever might be closest to your heart.




We have the power to change the current situation though the way we consume. Following are some suggestions of steps to take to become a better fashion citizen!

Know your brands. While it’s difficult to know each brand’s ethical practices, try to do your research by checking out your favourite brand’s website.

Know your fabrics. Some fabric is compostable, recyclable, recycled, and other is simply doomed for the landfill. Knowing what your clothes is made of will help you know which fabrics are best. If clothing is made from a blended fabric, it makes it very difficult for it to be recycled into new fabric as separating the fibers is near impossible. 64



Look for certifications. While certifications are not necessary to know which products are good or not, they do help. Some of the most common certifications in the garment industry are GOTS, bluesign® standard, Fairtrade, WFTO, and Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

Dispose mindfully. Give to local charities, upcycle your clothing, send it to a recycling centre, and check if your city has a fabric recycling program.



Take care. The way and the frequency that you wash your clothes has a great effect on the environment. Wear your clothes a few times before washing them and then do so in cold water with environmentally conscious detergent. Avoid the dryer as much as possible.

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Repairing your clothing helps in reducing textile waste. Learn how by watching youtube tutorials or reading diy blogs.

Consider alternatives such as renting your clothes, buying secondhand, or regularly swapping with friends.



Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask sales associates, contact brands, whatever it might be about the clothes you’re faced with when shopping.

Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them will. — Anne Klein


Antidote is a Canadian zine that focuses on the conscious consumerism of fashion. It aims to raise awareness and educate consumers on the im...


Antidote is a Canadian zine that focuses on the conscious consumerism of fashion. It aims to raise awareness and educate consumers on the im...