Upcycling 365 days, forever

Jane Milburn wears upcycledBrisbane-based upcycler Jane Milburn spent every day of 2014 restyling cast-off clothing and engaging others in the process of refashioning old into ‘new’ as part of the eco-social change project Sew it Again.

Using simple home-sewing skills to snip-and-tuck unworn textiles (mainly linen, cotton, wool and silk from op shops and friends) Jane then posted the upcycles at sewitagain.com to demonstrate ways to re-new rather than buy-new.

“Every day, we eat and we dress. We are now more conscious of our food and it is time to become conscious of our clothing and its footprint on the world. A global rethink about the way we dress is beginning, as people question where clothing is made and what from, is it ethical and sustainable, and does it exploit people or planet?” Jane said.

As an agricultural scientist turned creative, Jane is raising awareness about the ecological impacts of our cheap/disposable fashion culture that consumes finite resources and generates textile waste at an alarming rate. Continue Reading →

Clothing in a material world

Never at any time in our history have there been so many clothes in the world, and another 69.7m tonnes added every year. Some clothing is now so cheap it is considered disposable. The fact we don’t make time to value or care for clothes like we did in past generations is leading to textile waste on a massive scale, with millions of tonnes of clothing going prematurely to landfill.

The fastest-growing household waste in Australia is clothing, according to a Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia which said Australians sent $500 million of fashion clothing to the tip in 2013. It suggested this waste could be reduced if we removed spills quickly using baby wipes or sloshing with water to stop stains setting. And it said if we are like other Western countries, we only recycle 18 per cent of clothing compared to 55 per cent of paper and 63 per cent of metal.  Continue Reading →

Choosing to consume, or not

We humans are autonomous, we make our own decisions, or so we think. But watch this documentary The Men Who Made Us Spend and understand how our ‘free choice’ is easily manipulated by a few making lots of money while our environment is junked with unnecessary resource use and waste.

In The Men Who Made Us Spend, investigative journalist Jacques Peretti explains how planned obsolescence, the organised creation of dissatisfaction and computer-aided design cultivated competitive consumerism throughout capitalist societies.

The documentary includes an economist saying change during the past two decades has seen the average American’s clothing consumption double from 34 pieces of apparel per year to 67 – equating to a brand new item of clothing coming into their wardrobe every 5.4 days. Once the garments are no longer ‘socially valuable’ they either go into the waste stream or the global apparel trade. Such waste and indulgence is wrong.  Continue Reading →