Monday, 30 May 2011

Last Chance to Visit the EJF Pop-Up Shop

The Pop-Up Concept Store in Covent Garden will be closing soon. 

Visit the shop at:

36+38 Earlham Street
Seven Dials
Covent Garden

for fashion and lifestyle products that are organic, fair trade and ethically made.
Donated by the Shaftsbury Group PLC in the heart of London’s shopping district, the shop is the fifth pop up venture by the charity whose supporters include Johnny Depp, Lily Cole, Emilia Fox, Rachel Whiteread and over 60 stars of catwalk, stage and screen.

Mon – Sat 10am – 7pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Contact: 0207 239 3310
Exclusive design collaboration from top fashion designers including Alice Temperley, Katherine Hamnett, Luella, Giles Deacon, Richard Nicoll and many more.....

Take Action: Labour Behind the Label's Sandblasting Campaign

If you would like to get involved: IT STARTS HERE.

Day one of Killer Jeans Action Week
You can join campaigners around the country this week in taking action to tell the fashion industry that sandblasting kills, and it MUST BE BANNED.
Day One Action >>
Tell friends on facebook that you think killer jeans are wrong by making this picture your profile image:

When you do this, you can also update your status. Perhaps try 'I don't think fashion to die for should cause workers to die' OR 'Worn and faded patches on jeans are often done using sandblasting - a technique which causes a fatal lung disease in workers.  I think this is wrong' OR 'I don't wear Killer Jeans. Do you? See Labour Behind the Label page to get involved.'
Get clued up >>
If you haven't yet found out about sandblasting and the fatal effects of distressed denim on workers, please do check out our microsite
Check out Labour Behind the Label on Facebook:
P.S. Shhh but... Right now in the centre of Brighton, activists are slipping secret messages into the the pockets of jeans to tell consumers about the fatal effects of distressed denim.

Monday, 25 April 2011

What's Your poison?

Technological advancements in today’s textiles has enabled us to create genetically engineered filaments and biometric textiles that emulate nature, just like the synthetic textiles created to emulate natural fibres during the chemical and industrial revolution, however it is clear that despite new research into the development of well-being textiles, the widespread use of man-made chemicals in the textile and clothing industry has contributed to global contamination of the environment, wildlife and humankind. 
The Chemicals Revolution has impacted greatly on human well-being and although it cannot be argued that chemicals have raised farming yields by killing crop pests to what detriment has this occurred? 
Take cotton, for example: Cotton is the world’s most important non-food agricultural commodity.  It has been used to make textiles for over 5000 years and is grown on 76 million acres of land world-wide.  Although cotton is made from a natural fibre, from a plant, the pressure for conventionally processed cotton that can be produced cheaply and quickly has resulted in a final product that is far from natural.
Conventional cotton growing requires the use of acutely toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.  The use of pesticides has caused a range of well-documented environmental impacts including reduced soil fertility and loss of biodiversity and is known to be responsible for polluting rivers and soils, and can have devastating effects on the people working in the cotton fields. 
Pesticides are toxic by design, they are manufactured with the sole aim of killing, repelling or inhibiting the growth of specific organisms. One pesticide, endosulfan is widely used in cotton production and is the dominant pesticide in the cotton sector in 19 countries.  Endosulfan belongs to the chemical family of Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs).  Organochlorine pesticides are insecticides composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine. They break down slowly and can remain in the environment long after application and in organisms long after exposure.
The most notorious organochlorine is the insecticide DDT (Dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane), which was promoted as a "cure all" insecticide in the 1940s, when it was widely used in agricultural production around the world for many years. It was also the primary weapon in the global "war against malaria" during this period, and continues to be used for malaria control in a handful of countries.
In 1944 however, researchers found that residues of DDT were present in human fat. On entering the body it is stored largely in organs rich in fatty substances (because DDT itself is fat-soluble).  In the 1950’s DDT was also detected in Antarctic penguins living far from where DDT was being used, and as a result it has been found to threaten long-term health and create ecological consequences that were never anticipated or intended (Chemical Body Burden, 2010).
Detailed information on these specific pesticides is available at:
Like EJF, who are campaigning to ban the use of endosulfan, I also aim to campaign to make politicians take action to stop companies using hazardous chemicals and substitute them with safer alternatives whenever and wherever possible.   I will be doing this through an awareness campaign and will be asking a group of 16-17 year old students to design campaign T-Shirts for me to raise awareness of the use of pesticides in fibre cultivation.  The T-Shirts will be available on my website soon.  Watch this space for details……..
In the meantime, if you are interested and want to know more, watch EJF’s film on the deadly chemicals in cotton by clicking on the link:
EJF is campaigning to:
Raise awareness of the harmful impacts on the environment and human health of chemicals like endosulfan
Press national governments to introduce measures to ban the import, sale and use of dangerous pesticides
Secure global bans on the one of the world’s most hazardous pesticides (endosulfan), and empower developing countries to implement and enforce their national measures through international cooperation.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Be Ethical - Why Wash Your Jeans?

I’ve read about many of the chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners and am concerned about their health implications, as many contain formaldehyde, artificial fragrances and other toxins that can cause illnesses from central nervous system disorders to dermatitis.  It’s also widely accepted that between 50%, to 70% of life cycle carbon emissions of cleaning products occur during the use phase, for example when using a washing machine, and the major contributors to carbon emissions are often related to energy consumption.   

Then I saw an article about a student at the University of Alberta who wore the same pair of skin-tight jeans for 15 months without washing them (that’s over 200 wears) before having his jeans tested by his textile professor to see what bacteria could be discovered, I began to wonder do we really need to wash our clothes so often?  The experiment ended up serving a rather interesting, purpose, as surprisingly, the jeans were remarkably clean.
Josh Le of the University of Alberta was not trying to reduce his carbon footprint; his excuse for not doing his laundry was that he wanted to break in the raw denim so the fabric would hug the contours of his body, leaving distinct wear lines and creases.
At the conclusion of the experiment Le washed his jeans in a washing machine, after which he wore the jeans another two weeks and then re-tested them. The results surprised Le and Human Ecology professor Rachel McQueen who said what was most surprising was that the jeans after they were re-washed and re-tested were very similar.
McQueen said the highest recordings of bacteria were found in the crotch of the jeans where between 8,500 and 10,000 bacterial units per square centimetre were found, with lower readings in the back and front of the jeans.  In all, there were five kinds of skin bacteria in the jeans, and there were no traces of dangerous E. coli. McQueen said of the bacteria count of the freshly washed pair, compared to the prewashing levels. “I expected they would still be much lower than after 15 months.”
Controlling odour was a different concern, Le said, admitting the jeans began to smell after a few months. Josh decided to put his smelly jeans in the freezer for a few hours after which they became odourless. “I triple-bagged them and put them in the freezer,” he said.
So, maybe we don’t need to wash our clothes so often after all!!!!
Read more by clicking on the link below:
Photo: John Ulan/Canadian Press

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Katharine Hamnett, Helvetas and the Environmental Justice Foundation team up to launch NO MORE FASHION VICTIMS

Katherine Hamnett

Katharine Hamnett is an iconic British Fashion Designer, who first launched slogan T-shirts in 1983 and has been involved in campaigns since 1989 to clean up the fashion industry, with initiatives such as the “Clean Up or Die” Collection which aimed to change industry from within.  Since 1990, Hamnett has also campaigned to promote organic cotton, and after giving a speech on the dangers of conventional cotton cultivation in New York, she became involved in the launch of Environmental Cotton 2000, in association with the Pesticide Action Network, which is a research and education programme concerned with pesticides used in cotton growing.

Appalled by the fact that conventional cotton farming kills twenty thousand people per year due to accidental pesticide poisoning and millions of people a year suffer long-term acute pesticide poisoning in cotton agriculture (Pesticide Action Network), Katharine took the decision to highlight these issues and tackle these problems. Organic cotton, grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and processed minus toxic dyes or other treatments, avoids many of the environmental, health and social problems associated with conventional cotton production. Organic cotton farmers can also grow food safely on their land, which they can then use to feed themselves and their families or sell to increase their income, thus providing food security. Organic farmers also report substantially higher incomes, allowing them to educate their children and gain access to health care.

She has continued to work on ethical and environmental manufacturing and on consumer awareness of the issues, producing a new line KATHARINE E HAMNETT, E for being manufactured Ethically and as Environmentally as physically possible, which is sold from her international on-line store. Katharine Hamnett has recently been honoured with a CBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to fashion, she has also been voted as the ‘No.1 Ethical Hero’ by New Consumer magazine and regarded in the industry as “The Queen of Green” (Vogue UK).

The T-Shirts are £40 and you can buy yours from the Environmental Justice Foundation at:  

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Reasons to Make Chemicals Kid-Safe

I've just found an interesting article written by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research organization based in Washington, D.C. that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

The EWG have produced a study that found 252 chemicals linked to cancer in 160 people tested (EWG 2008). Environmental Protection Agency studies show that infants up to age 2 are, on average, 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogens than adults (EWG 2003).

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Babies are Born Pre-Polluted


In 2005, Greenpeace and WWF undertook testing of maternal and umbilical cord blood and the results showed the ability of a number of commonly used chemicals to cross the placenta barrier. Exposure to chemical body burden can take place through our mothers, as during pregnancy, the chemicals stored in a woman's body have the ability to cross the placenta where they may cause harm. Some chemicals from a mother's body are also mobilized and transferred to the breasts as she produces breast milk.  These chemicals are then transferred to the baby during breastfeeding.
Developing or immature tissues are far more susceptible to chemical exposures than adult tissues. Development is a time of special vulnerability. It is a time of very rapid replication and differentiation of cells - the latter being an incredibly complex and vulnerable process.

Studies have shown that breast milk remains the best food for babies because of its immunological, nutritional and psychological benefits, however the fact that industrial chemicals have contaminated breast milk is tragic.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Welcome to the lauch of my toxic fashion blog!

I first became concerned with the amount of chemicals used to produce our clothing whilst undertaking an MA in Ethical Fashion.  A myriad of chemicals of various toxicity and hazards – from silicone waxes, harsh petroleum scours, softeners, brighteners, heavy metals, solvents, nanoparticles, ammonia and formaldehyde, amongst others, are used during the production of what we wear. As a result of my research, I have decided to campaign for a change in legislation and have produced a manifesto, which calls on the government to make a commitment to put our health and environment first.