I read this article from The Times earlier today. Save the planet? Darling, that’s so last season In it Janice Turner gives a pretty harsh view on Eco Celebrities and Eco fashion, prompted by Livia Firth’s Vogue Blog “The Green Carpet Challenge”
I wasn’t suprised when I saw this article appear, as I had already seen Turner’s twitter comments referring to Livia as a airhead for talking about clothes in that way. It made me feel sad at the time, as I thought that it was such a negative way to react to somebody trying to do something good. I tend to get defensive when people give celebrites a hard time, making assumptions about them and thier lives, critising thier weight and all that. I think that is just because I am empathetic and want to let them get on with thier lives. Normally I would keep quiet with the view there is no point arguing about it.
However, in this case I have met Livia Firth, and know that her concern for the Environment and Ethical Fashion is genuine. She has been doing some really great work supporting people and brands within the Ethical Fashion movement. The reality is that this is the most exposure Ethical Fashion has got from Vogue and that is because of people like Livia championing what we are working for.
But all this brings up the Eco-Contradiction. In the article Turner gives Sting and Gweneth Paltrow a hard time for what they are not doing, and assumes that they see themselves as some kind of heros for what they do. I don’t think this is true.
Within the Sustainability movement, the Eco-Contraditction always comes up. We agonise over flights we don’t think we should take, confess to having thrown glass in the bin, question if creating communities on the web around sustainability is a good thing, or if we should just switch off our computers and save the power!
The reality is that our world isn’t quite set up for the Green Life yet. Not if you want to live in a big city, and participate in that society, and don’t have a six figure salary.
So there we find ourselves always contradicting. No matter what good we do that day, we are always still contributing to the bad. Yet I don’t know anybody that works in this movement that really thinks of it as good and bad, or black and white. What we know is that there are all kinds of shades of grey out there. I don’t know anybody that judges people who don’t live “ethically.” We are simply hoping that through awareness the world around us can change .
This eventually has to come from the top down. Which it is starting to, for example the UN recently held a great conference on Ethical Fashion, and through Copenhagen governments are starting to consider the threats to our enviroment.
As individuals we can only start to make a difference, with our own lives and our own choices. The Ethical Fashion Movement is being pioneered by people that are looking into ways of doing things more positively. We don’t have the infrastructure yet to do everything completly “sustainably.”
But I know that I would rather live in a world where people do something and engage in the issues even if they can’t be “perfect” rather then give up and do nothing at all because it is all too difficult. We happen to live in a world where many people look to celebrities for guidance and validation. So if more celebrities engaging with the issues and doing what they can helps bring awareness to the issues and influences people, then I hope more of them get involved.
As for Livia, I personally can’t wait to see what she wears to the Oscars.
If you don’t know much about ethical fashion. You can find out more about the issues here. You will quickly see that it really does have the power to change millions of lives across the world.