Fashion Revolution Week: ‘WE-AR WHAT WE WEAR’
We are taking part of the global movement of the Fashion Revolution Week with a series of events that will help to raise awareness of the state of this industry in the world and in New Zealand.
One of our partners - WE-AR is a part of changing the ways the manufacturers and consumers interact with strong values and following them.
WE-AR urge women (and men) to educate themselves around plastics use in clothing and its effect on our oceans AND our own health.
PLASTIC-DERIVED POLYAMIDE TEXTILES ARE THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF MICRO-PLASTIC POLLUTION IN OUR OCEANS AND ARE ALSO ABSORBED INTO THE SKIN WHEN WORN.
You might know them as ‘Luon’, ‘Pilayo’ and ‘Studiolux’ – these and other plastic based polyamide textiles are made out of oil. Most of us are aware that the oil industry is responsible for widespread ecological disaster across our planet. From the devastation of habitats for drilling to vast ocean spills, and the pollution resulting from oil burning, the oil industry has a lot of heavy karma on its shoulders. Even now, Donald Trump is trying to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
We know we need to reduce our usage of fossil fuels but how about our consumption of other radical pollutants derived from the same industry?
Stretchy plastic textiles were first developed by DuPont in the 1940’s and trademarked as Nylon. It was considered a revolution at the time, but no one knew then what we know now – that these fibres are extremely dangerous to our environment, our food chain and our health. Some brands have trademarked their plastic textiles and Nylon alternatives - making the material seem more luxurious and friendlier to the consumer, but unfortunately these brand names are designed to confuse the consumer who has become increasingly Nylon aware and savvy.
Through the simple mechanical process of abrasion, each time you wear these textiles tiny plastic fibres are rubbed off and absorbed into the biggest organ in your body - your skin. The skin absorbs 80% of what you put on it and when you exercise the body tries to regulate your temperature through sweating, which means your pores open up and let the fibres in. The textiles also cause your body to heat up more as you are essentially 'glad-wrapping’ yourself in the plastic fabric, causing more sweating, more opening and more plastics absorption.
By the same process, every time you wash your polyamide leggings, sports bras and sweat wicking jogging shorts, they shed their plastic microfibers into your washing machine which make their way down the drain and into our waterways and on to the ocean. A two year study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) found that 82% of the micro-plastic pollution accumulating in the Gulf of Mexico is originating from synthetic clothes like stretchy polyamide yoga and athletic wear. Research into the contents of different fish from lakes and oceans around the world has found that plastic was present in one out of four fish sampled. These plastic chemicals are then absorbed from the gut, into the flesh of fish – which is then consumed by other fish, and by humans.
ARE RECYCLED PLASTIC YOGA LEGGINGS ANY BETTER?
Although touted as an ecological initiative by some yoga brands, it’s been found that recycled plastic products shed micro-fibres at an even faster rate. Whilst recycling plastic is a good idea, making it into fabric which needs to be washed frequently may not be. Studies show that an eco-fleece jacket made from recycled plastics sheds almost two thousand plastic fibers per wash, which is more than other fabrics that are made from non-recycled materials.
Do we have to give up our beautiful and flattering plastics derived Yoga Wear then? Increasingly conscious designers are choosing to use natural fibres like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and linen combined with minimal amounts of spandex to bring you the hugging, flattering yoga pants that you love that aren’t endangering our oceans and our health.
WE-AR the lifestyle and yoga brand are transparent about their textiles and offer 100% organic cotton tees and leggings that are 90% organic cotton with 10% elastane –the minimum needed in a textile to yield two-way stretch, body hugging functionality and longevity. WE-AR is constantly searching the earth for a 100% natural alternative so stay tuned for breakthroughs as they happen.
Make sure you follow them as they unravel this story and speak up about making a conscious choice for our planet and our bodies. WE-AR has chosen to include a minor spandex component to their active wear products as it increases the lifecycle of the product, ensuring they keep their shape for years to come, and thus minimising high garment turnover. Your WE-AR leggings will look and feel great for years.
Check out B-Corp and Conscious Consumers to discover more brands and companies that are committed to making change in our world. https://bcorporation.net/
Sources: The Guardian, 1 Million Women, Wikipedia, Return to Now, Business Insider, Teeki, Lululemon.
About WE-AR: New Zealand ethical fashion, yoga wear and accessories brand WE-AR produce stunning pieces at their B-CORP certified production houses located in beautiful Bali. Founded in 2005, WE-AR is one of the pioneering brands of New Zealand’s growing sustainable fashion industry. WE-AR release three to four core capsule collections throughout the year that beautifully compliment their coveted ‘classics’ range of clothing and accessories; Spring/Summer, High Summer, Autumn/Winter and Deep Winter. WE-AR have recently expanded their range to include a gorgeous Swimwear collection and Sleepwear collection with more wonderful collections to come.
WE-AR carefully select textiles for all their garments, including their organic yoga clothing, through a made-byorg developed, preferred materials list based on a rigorous life-cycle analysis that considers the environmental, health and social impact of the textiles from seed to end life. As well as B-CORP certified, WE-AR are a member of the Sustainable Business Network, Conscious Consumers Network and a proud Living Wage Employer.