Monthly Archives: October 2013

The 90s

The development of ecological fashion goes on… the second wave of eco fashion…

During this phase terms like “green luxury” and “welfare light” characterized the view that ecology should be enjoyed. On one hand ecology was seen as something that should show exclusiveness but on the other hand it was also regarded as a chance to be different… to stand out from the crowd.

During this period, the so-called “eco goes fashion” phase, the textile industry addressed the issue of ecology. The aim was to adapt the value chain of clothing items to the demands of an ecologically produced piece of clothing – that means from the cultivation of the material to the finished product. The problem was that functional and ecological aspects were not enough reasons for the potential consumer to purchase a piece… The image of the still omnipresent “sloppy-looking eco style” hovered over this eco fashion movement like grey clouds. So this phase represented rather an ecological wave than a shift towards a greener industry .

A historically significant event outside the fashion sector was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. There the Agenda 21 was passed by 178 states – a model for sustainable development. This model aims to satisfy the needs of today’s generation by means of changed economic, environmental and development policies without damaging the chances of future generations. If we think about the fact that this conference was held 21 years ago and if we consider the ongoing and never-ending issues regarding factory fires in countries with low-wage economies, child labour, inhumane working conditions, exploitation of farmers etc., we should critically think  about what will happen to our planet  and our society within the next 21 years…

…these are the things we think about at EARTHBACK and we want to make this earth a better place again, for everyone!

Throw-away fashion

Hello EARTHBACKers,

The trend towards rapid production of cheap clothing and the consequent advance of new consumer habits have crept into our society.

Clothes – a product for daily consumption? There are more and more clothes to buy for less and less money. It does not hurt then to throw away a piece after only wearing it once. A new one can be bought the next day. A T-shirt only costs as much as a cup of coffee.

Is this possible if clothes are produced under fair and humane conditions? NO!

Now it is up to us all to wake up and question the deplorable production and working conditions under which our clothing is made!

If you missed the TV documentary “Throw-away fashion” last week, you can watch it via this link:

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek#/beitrag/video/2005816/ZDFzoom:-Mode-zum-Wegwerfen

Your EARTHBACK team

RAPEX – the rapid alert system for consumer protection

Unfortunately the term RAPEX still does not mean anything to a lot of consumers. That is too bad  because the European Commission has been trying hard to make  a system accessible to people which warns them about unsafe and harmful consumer products.

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We would like to inform you about RAPEX with this entry on the topic.

RAPEX stands for Rapid Exchange of Information System and serves as an EU rapid alert system for consumer protection. Within the EU it allows a quick exchange of information about harmful products on the market as well as about measures for product recalls.

You can find information on unsafe consumer products via the link below. The tables are up-dated on a weekly basis.

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/alerts/main/index.cfm?event=main.listNotifications&CFID=2971036&CFTOKEN=91699142&jsessionid=089cf73529f26b7a827a2d5530467f292266

Greetings from your EARTHBACK team

Warm fur and good leather shoes at the expense of people, animals and the environment!

Some of us thought we had seen enough misery after the reports on factory fires and the deplorable working conditions of textile workers, e.g. in Bangladesh… but this goes on and on. Few people for example worry about the origin and the processing of the leather that we wear on a daily basis.

The idea that those people who produce our leather shoes cannot afford shoes themselves cannot be more ironic … however, it is getting worse. These people are trapped in a vicious circle of hunger and poverty. They are affected by diseases early in life due to the toxic chemicals they are exposed to every day or they suffer from starvation. And all this while they work for a wage rate so low that it lies beyond our imagination… Do we actually think about that when we slip into our fancy leather shoes in the morning?

Animals also go through unbearable sufferings for the sake of our well-being… In order to make a pretty-looking fur collar coat, foxes and raccoon dogs for example are bred in droves and then brutally beaten to death with iron bars on local markets so that their skins can be utilized right there. Or they are skinned alive…. Unscrupulously and heartlessly.

And in the end the products that enter our markets even harm the consumers. The material contains the remains of chemicals and toxic substances which are used and released during the tanning and which potentially damage the health of consumers. Recently a large amount of children’s shoes was affected and had to be recalled. Where is this going to end if workers in countries with low-wage economies, innocent and defenceless animals as well as our nature, the environment and in the end even the consumers – that is us – suffer from and throughout the whole production process of leather and fur… When will these conditions change?

The TV documentary by Manfred Karremann and the ZDF is shocking as well as eye-opening and helps us think outside the box of our everyday lives!

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/2000960/Gift-auf-unserer-Haut

The history of eco fashion

The historic development of ecological fashion began decades ago… or indeed even further back.

In the ancient world people had to rely on the materials found in nature. Consequently materials such as wool or cotton were used exclusively before linen, hemp and nettle fabrics arrived in the Middle Ages. When synthetic materials emerged these natural materials took a backseat in the 20th century. However, in the 80s parts of society took a political stand against the fundamental principles and the system of fashion and formed an environmental movement against excessive consumerism. How did this show!? That is the question now. It showed for example in the typical “sloppy-looking eco style”. Natural materials were “in”, figure-hugging designs were “out” :) . “Eco” was seen as an alternative lifestyle and was practiced in any shape or form.

Even at that time one fashion icon played a leading role and brought political awareness to the fashion industry: Katharine E. Hamnett. Her politically inspired protest T-shirts brought attention to social ills: “58% don’t want Pershing” (against the deployment of Pershing missiles in Britain) or “save the whales” were issues of the time that she referred to in the designs of her t-shirts.

Some people might ask how loud and provocative you are allowed to be in order to create attention… but the grand dame of the ethical fashion wave is also heavily involved in today’s eco fashion movement and successfully makes statements with her meaningful slogan T-shirts.

MargaretThatcher1984
MargaretThatcher1984

Katharine E. Hamnett visits the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1984)

Source: http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/katharine-hamnett-meets-thatcher/

Symposium “shoe goes sustainable” on 4/10/2013

Hey EARTHBACKers, a very interesting symposium on sustainable footwear was held at the Technische Universität Berlin early in October. The Technische Universität Berlin, netzwerk mode textil e.V. and modesearch Berlin collaborated on the event.

http://www.tu-berlin.de/?id=138064

As you can see it is not only the textile industry that should regard sustainability as a social commitment! Visitors could listen to informative talks while great exhibits caught the eye.

Enjoy these pictures from the symposium “shoe goes sustainable”!

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Your EARTHBACK team

A warm welcome

Hello to all the people out there!

In the name of the entire EARTHBACK crew we would like to warmly welcome you to our new website. “I want my earth back”… we want our earth back! Why, what for and in what way…. that’s what you’re going to find out here in this blog.

With this in mind we would like to provide you with important information and incentives concerning current trends and developments in the areas of sustainability and fashion. We cannot turn a blind eye anymore to what is happening on and to this planet.

Everyone can make a difference in small ways and contribute to making the world a better place again… We put our heart and soul into this… and hope you will do this too :)