Sonntag, 19. März 2017

(HW) Five ways to recycle old clothes

According to a survey by Greenpeace Germany, only 21% of the questioned people throw their clothes into the trash, because they are broken beyond repair. The most popular reasons to get rid of them are stains/colour fading, because they don't fit anymore or simply because they are not after their owner's liking. I am going to share with you five alternatives to the trashcan, that can be a lot of fun but also extend the life of the pieces in our wardrobe - let's go!

  1. For items that (maybe hold sentimantal value but) have become boring - Fabric dye When I first discovered fabric dye, I was amazed by what magic it can do. I started, because my favourite colour - a dark, foresty green - seems to never hit the shelves of local clothing markets and I haven't stopped using it since. It is amazing what impace either refreshing a colour or entirely changing it (the later is more exciting!) can do to an old looking and slightly lifeless piece of fashion.

    Before and after of a gorgeous coat that I secondhand-scored and loved, but I really hated the colour and thus didn't wear it that often
  2. For items that are too plain for your taste - fabric paint  I can especially recommend this if you are of the artsy kind. Investing in one or two bottles of fabric paint (I recommend the Marabu metallic line for dark fabric, it ends up looking very neat; Boesner or Mastnak have them, if you are located in Vienna) gives you the freedom to really customize items and especially create something new.
  3. For items that are just plain ugly - donate / sell /swap Either you can earn a little extra by selling it (Willhaben, Kleiderkreisel,...), or drop it off at a local secondhand market or a donation box. These ways are also my favourite way to get new items for a reasonable price. Clothes-swap parties with friends are also recommendable - so much fun :)
  4. For items that are broken - repairing Taylor, s relative who can sew our you yourself try your best with stain removal or needle and thread.
  5. For items that are really broken - recycling Cutting it up to create a piece of cleaning cloth or making something entirely new from it (if you are gifted with the sewing maching) There are quite some tutorials on line how to turn an old piece of clothing into something new :)

Samstag, 18. März 2017

(HW) A tiny little approach to a minimalist-inspired wardrobe

Here I was standing, a couple of years ago with a bursting wardrobe and didn't know what to do. If I was being honest with myself, most of the clothes spilling from the racks in the most messy way you can imagine, I had not worn in ages. I was fed up, because it felt impossible to keep this monster of a closet tidy. 

As I am known for sometimes quite drastic decisions, I decided to pile it all up, pick out the pieces I had worn at least once during the last six months and donated the rest (exceot for some hopeless items that were turned into reuseable coth wipes for cleaning). 

What it these items were all you had?
There are people out there, who promote something called minimalism; as the name suggests; owning as little as possible and only after I had gotten rid of most of my clothes (and having hardly bought enw ones since!), I could finally truly understand why somebody would willingly limit their belongings : it is absolutely relieving.
  1. I feel less stressed out, because the clutter is gone
  2. Tidying takes about no time
  3. If you only have clothes you actually like wearing, you feel great every single day
And there is another benefit to this: since my clothes are limited, I shop more thoughtful than I used to a couple of years ago and hardly get new things without really needing them. This allows for making more conscious decisions on what I buy (I rather spend a bit more on shoes that will last me for many years to come).

 I am curious, how many pieces do you own, that you haven't worn in more than four months and could you imagine living a minimalist lifestyle?

Freitag, 17. März 2017

(HW) A new pair of jeans for every season

The fashion industry knows more than four seasons - and every season comes with its own trends, colours and "must-have-items". It is quite the brilliant marketing technique to be fair: the entire beauty industry aligns, all magazines and ads promote a certain style (even sunglasses go with the flow) and while we are at the height of one of those short lived fasion periods, we are already given a preview on what will be the trend in the season to follow.
The changes are usually quite subtle so over time, our wardrobe keeps changing constantly, just to re-stock it with pretty much the same items a couple of years later.

Checking through youtube and watching some "Spring haul" or "How to be trendy" videos for research horryfies me - how long will these clothes be worn before they are thrown away again? This is such an incredible waste of both ressources and money - but as long as we are stylish it doesn't matter, right?

 "Every girls dream wardrobe!"

What the fashion industry has created is need. Just like in so many other branches of industry, we are led to believe that there is something we are missing out on that needs to be filled - you could call it an exploitation of something, that in all honesty is quite human. Everybody has something they are passionate about and want to have in their life but if this thing is something that only comes in a bulk and needs very frequent replacement, maybe we should ask ourselves if it is really worth it afterall.

Huge discount companies like Primark (everybody's favourite example of evil, whereas H&M is not much better at all) absolutely benefit from our need to consume and stay modern. But buying something more sustainable or higher quality is more expensive, which equals less loot in total. Since trends are short lived, no one cares, if the shirt breaks down after a year or so, because we won't wear it anymore anyways by then.
I personally think that this gap within ourselves that is on constant demand is better filled with something else - something, money cannot buy.

Sonntag, 12. März 2017

(HW) Let's drown supermarkets in their own trash

Us customers carry great responsibility. We might not be aware of the power we hold over what is available in shops and what won't be and I have come to the colnclusion that many people tend to believe that "one single person cannot make a change". The more I have thought about it, the more I am led to believe that actually, maybe, we cannot even blame big comanies for producing GMO food because as long as there are people buying it, what reason should they have to make a change? We as humans have a way greater impact on the food-chain and what arrives in the shiny supermarket shelves than we are aware of. A little example: growing up as a kid with allergies, I stil remember how in my childhood, there was only one brand that produced soymilk (which tasted awful and like cardboard). Nowadays, where veganism is becomming more mainstream and popular, there are almost more milk alternatives than actual milk brands in local markets - how is that? Demands. There are poeple, who are ready to actually leave complaints or requests. Being born a daughter to a father who is A+ at imediately and personally voicing  demands at supermarkets that wouldn't even occur to me to utter - I know it does work eventually most of the time. (But ugh, comfort zone issues I know...) Either with the more active claim of telling the manager or the passive way of buying/not buying a certain product, we shape the market. In a lecture about waste management, I learnt, that technically if customers decided to imediately unpack our newly bought goods in the palce they are sold and dump the trash there, they must keep it as it still falls under their responsibility. So what if everyone suddenly refused to take packaging home?

Freitag, 10. März 2017

(HW) Plastic bottles; practical, lightweight and deadly

The day before I have seen this powerful advert and I am wondering: what if all commercials looked like this?

Personally I believe that one of the reasons why some things are not changing much is because people try to just not think about it. If it doesn't have an imediate effect, it is very easy to just ignore it or why else would we even consume softdrinks in the first place?
Back when I was but a teenager, I was way more open for what the TV made us think is cool - coffee to-go cups were the thing back then. Did you know that you can bring your own cup to most coffeeshops and oftentimes they will even charge you less?
Plastic bottles however are most prominent and are a marketing strategy on their own - of course: they are lightweight, come with a leak-proof lid and are available in every supermarket. They also are quite pricy - between 0,25€ and 1,99€ per liter of water at the Spar market while tapwater is essentially <em>for free</em>.
Commercials push us to believe that bottled water is healthier, has more minerals etc but what they don't tell us is that America alone uses approximately <strong>50 billion plastic bottles a year</strong> which equals about 17 million barrels of oil (excluding transportation!) with only a 23% rate of recycling. (<a href="">Source</a>)
One plastic bottle takes between 450 and 1000 years to completely biodegrade. <strong>Plant -</strong> and <strong>petroleum-based oxo-biodegradable</strong> <strong>plastic</strong> are science's possible answer but it seems merely like a way to clean the customer's conscience.
And if we think that Europe is that far behind, we are wrong - we are catching up more and more. It is much more difficult to find specific numbers for the European union or Austria even, as most articles published deal more with "<em>how much we recycled this year, boy are we eco friendly</em>!" completely ignoring the issue that maybe we shouldn't recycle more, but just produce less?