The Eco-Contradiction

 In Ethical Fashion, Social Change, Sustainability

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.

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  • Miles

    I agree with what you say, fully. We have to start somewhere, but instead of particularities, can we not rather start with principles… this gives us more room for unity… the challenges are great, and if the intent is good lots can be done

    but as a developing country person, the use of good initiatives by the north to kill the industry of poor countries are just too many to recall…

    the issue is people to people links, relationships and mutual accomodation… most of the people i tried to link with at the UN event did not respond and this is sad… perhaps they do just want “feel good” events and do not want to take the underlying issues seriously….

    nice post on ipwatch on this event…

Amisha on WeardrobeAmisha is an exciting new independent jewellery label presenting eclectic pieces that embody romance and timeless elegance whilst hinting at the spirit of passion and rebellion that come with just seeing where life takes you… The collections are made up entirely of limited edition pieces, each one a unique arrangement of handcrafted silver and semi-precious stones. Each design carefully combines the colours and properties of the stones and crystals used to produce jewellery that complements and enhances the natural beauty of the wearer. Amisha strives to build strong connections between business and communities and in a step that reflects the positive ideals expressed in the designs themselves, is proud to donate ten percent of the profit to carefully selected local and global charities. Amisha means, literally, someone who spreads ‘the sweetest elixir of the heavens’ all around her, and it is this spirit of vitality and radiant positivity we hope will be instilled in every piece of jewellery so that it will be carried by the wearer and shared wherever she goes. "…he said the light festooned around her like a hundred tiny jewels falling, and in her eyes he saw elsewhere, and when she let down her hair he heard the wings of birds beating…"