My light bulb moment came after watching the documentary 'The True Cost'- an incredible insight into all aspects of the fast fashion industry (seriously if you haven’t already, watch it). How little I knew about this industry and the repercussions of it actually horrified me. Yes, there is the awful side of poor labour conditions which is more widely known, but what is less known is that the whole entire supply chain from cotton seed to landfill is fucked.
Monsanto (Google them) controls nearly a quarter of the world's seeds, and is the main seed supplier to India of Genetically Modified Cotton Seeds. To tell you a little more, GMO cotton plants are the most heavily pesticide sprayed crop in the world. Conveniently, Monsanto also supplies the pesticide spray… Many cotton crops are grown in third world countries, and with expenses continuously rising, many farmers cannot keep up with the growing debt. In India alone there have been over 250,000 farmer suicides in the last 30 years, about one every half an hour.
And it gets worse. Not only is pesticide toxic and can make workers sick, but it literally kills our Earth. The soil dies meaning nothing else can ever be grown there. I read a quote from Dr Libby recently which pretty much sums up how scary that actually is, “Despite all of our achievements in the world, we owe our existence to a 30cm layer of top soil and the fact that it rains’. Once the cotton is turned into fabric, it is then dyed. These dyes are also toxic, and often end up in local waterways contaminating the water and creating pollution. Not to mention, the dyed fabric is then sewn into clothes, mostly done in third world countries in 'sweatshops'. Working conditions tend to be poor, and the buildings can be very unsafe. The majority of workers are women, who have to leave their children in the village so that they can make a living in the city, sometimes they won't get to see their kids more than once a year. Once we (the consumer) have bought the clothes and worn them, depending on the quality and the price we paid they either get thrown out or donated. Our landfills are overflowing with non-biodegradable clothes; because it’s just so easy to chuck out something that cost us $10 or $20.
All of these factors sparked a realisation that everything we buy comes from somewhere, is made by someone and has an impact on the environment, society and the economy; whether that be a positive or negative one. This had never before crossed my mind when I bought clothes, that someone (a lot like you and me) had sewn that item of clothing, by hand, in potentially shitty conditions, getting paid fuck-all so that I could wear it a few times, get bored with it and basically chuck it.
So, you might be thinking how does this relate to all things beauty? Before my ‘light bulb moment’ the words ethical, organic and natural never really meant anything to me in relation to beauty products. In all honesty, I had put those kinds of beauty products in a box labelled "average", and never bothered to try any out because I just assumed they couldn’t possibly be as good as conventional products. Well let me tell you, there are a few products I have since trialled which have blown my mind! And don't worry- I’ll be sharing these amazing products with you very soon.
So there it is, the workings of my mind and how I arrived at this point. I'm now on a journey of researching and discovering amazing, non-toxic beauty products (and possibly the occasional clothing and lifestyle product) and will share with you my findings. I believe there is a shift happening where people are becoming more conscious of what they are consuming and how this can impact our health, as well as the world we live in. I'm committed to finding products, which are just as good (or better) than the norm because- hey let’s face it- it makes it so much easier to make the change!
I would love to hear your feedback, and any products you would like to see researched and featured, I'm up for a challenge!
P.S For those of you now freaking out about where to buy clothes from (I know I was) here are some links to some awesome NZ and Australian Designers who have a focus on a transparent supply chain, and some use organic cotton too- bonus!
Well Made Clothes www.wellmadeclothes.co.nz (they curate a selection of the best!)
Care of Label www.careoflabel.com
Azlan + Grace www.azlanandgrace.com
The Fable www.thefable.com.au