A Love Letter to Sustainability
Over the years we have worked with many students and in particular Fashion Communication Students from Northumbria University here in Newcastle.
We would love to share a recent and very special piece from Lydia Bell. Lydia beautifully crafted a chat we had into a love letter to sustainability, which feels appropriate to share on Earth Day 2020 and during this year's Fashion Revolution Week.
To my closest companion,
I’ve always had my own definition for you, a cherished word to describe you – although you’re so much more than one, singular word. I wish I could use an abundance, but it’s not possible in one lifetime, I hope you understand. It’s different for everyone and personal to us. What’s the most important to me? Longevity. I knew it from the start, a perfect match for life and beyond. I craved something that was going to last and didn’t need replacing each season. Not the type that unravels at the seams after the second wash, I desired the real deal.
Imagine if we could have a culture of longevity, how wonderful would that be? A culture where we considered quality over quantity and time was dedicated to crafting well-made clothing. It’s paramount to me that the T-shirts I produce are made without harming the world around us and those involved in the creative process, it’s about the longevity of our planet. I hope my authenticity shows after all this time and effort, I couldn’t bear the thought that someone suspected us of just greenwashing, I have always been true to you.
Covid-19 has been dreadful for so many, I feel a lump in my throat as I contemplate the magnitude of loss. But it has also brought many positives and has provided me with a new level of appreciation for you. You were a place of solace and serenity through a bleak time of crippling anxiety and despair, and even after all the suffering, I feel truly optimistic about the future. Our future. We’re all shopping locally, supporting small businesses and questioning the consumerism which has been ingrained in our minds like a bad habit that can’t be kicked.
As a human race, we can still survive and thrive with less, but living with less means that we want products which last. It almost feels like we’ve all had a wakeup call to re-evaluate the things which are important to us, something the two of us have been dreaming about for years. A realisation about what is really important: slowing down, appreciating our communities, the things money can’t buy and the ground beneath our feet. I’m certainly practising doing nothing, never mind just slowing down!
There has been a big change, attitudes are very different now, which brings a smile to my face as I write this. I used to watch my friends drowning in the strong tides of consumerism, as their wardrobes swelled with clothes like a raging sea, distorting their vision and damaging you. Now, there is a growing pride in people saying: ‘oh this old thing, I’ve had it for years!’. We’ve come such a long way. What I sell is no longer just ‘nice to have', it’s a primary reason for buying. People don’t want to carry the true cost of their clothing on their shoulders any more, it’s an unbearable weight. They want to feel soft fair-trade cotton against their skin, with no guilty conscience. Finally, we’ve been heard. Consumers want to know about the journey their clothing has been on, the back story of the fibres and threads that make up the protective layer covering their bodies. It gives them soul.
The future excites me, and I hope you feel the same. We must put our faith in the younger generations across the globe, I promise you, they are so much more aware. Schools are now excellent at educating students about the environment around us, and there are numerous sustainability and environmental groups appearing online, so these practices can become ingrained. If they grow up demanding and rejecting, they have the power to create a new normal, one of ethical practices and beliefs, which will pay homage to you.
Final Year Student Fashion Communication Northumbria University