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Australia: Third Fastest Growing Vegan Market In The World

No, we will not ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’. Haven’t you heard? Australia’s been listed as the third fastest growing vegan market in the world; a major step forward for us as a country, and us as a planet. The word is getting out that going vegan, cruelty-free, green and sustainable is good and cool. This trend is one that will continue to grow and stay for a while so you’re better to get amongst it, or be left out when it truly takes off. What exactly does this mean for Australia, though? And better yet, who has the best vegan market in the world? I have put my detective skills to the test on this one, but either way, we should be proud of us Aussies for taking a crack at saving the world one country at a time.

Image: uhp

If you’ve been living off the grid for the past few years, veganism is a diet that excludes the use of animal products, including animal meat and products in which animals produce. Us female millennials have taken on this diet with a purpose, which is just now starting to influence the older generation. Veganism underlies concerns about animal welfare, especially because of the recent poultry standards debate in Australia and plays a part for people’s mission to manage their weight.

Social media (of course) has been the main influencer for veganism and so far, has done a brilliant job of it. The rise of beautifully presented vegan meals bursting with colours flaunted over Instagram and blog sites has become a trend in itself. From these showcases, various restaurants have taken advantage and embraced the trend, now offering vegan-friendly options. This helps promote the vegan diet, and the restaurants’ brand. Competing with the restaurants, vegan fast food is on the rise. Big chains in Australia are starting to look in the meat-free isle, with companies such as Subway, Nando’s and Hungry Jack’s offering vegetarian and vegan menu options.

 

Image: Getty

Over the last year, Google searches containing the word ‘vegan’ have spiked dramatically with more searches made in Australia then any other country. However, with the perks, like anything, there is always a downside.  There are warnings that cutting meat out of anyone’s diet completely shouldn’t be done without planning and medical advice. The warning doesn’t only include the boycotting of animal products, but the trap of eating processed vegan-friendly foods like vegan packaged sausages, which are obviously not sourced naturally and are generally high in sodium and salts. Between the years of 2014 to 2016, the amount of food products launched in Australia introducing a vegan representation rose by 92%. By far the most popular product that non-vegans or part-time vegans lap up is alternative milk. Our nations soy and almond milk production has grown significantly too. These milks have improved coffee by so much, but the problem with almond and even rice milk is that the production process requires hundreds of litres of water to make just one litre of the alternative milk. The popular environmental group WWF (World Wide Fund), the rapid growth of soy crops around the world over the past decade, mostly for animal feed, is causing concern with mass deforestation.  It truly does sound like we can’t win either way.

Image: VegKitchen

Wishing you could un-read the last paragraph of sad-but-true facts, you’re probably thinking what can we do/eat/drink without harming animals and environments all over the world? One way to do this is to support and shop locally. You’ve probably heard that term before, right? It might mean buying from independent food boutiques, local farms/ orchards or even growing your own bunch of fruit and vegetables in your backyard. You should also try to stay away from soy. Soy is the common factor when it comes to deforestation. In countries without strict laws (like Australia have), there’s nothing stopping farmers from going into a forest, cutting down trees and causing havoc in order to start a crop. Soy is mainly grown for the animals, and the animals need land to live on, so when the land is taken away from them and the soy is no longer accessible where do they have to go? Either the animals are moved from land to land to enable the rehabilitation of past crop sites or they are to fend for themselves in unnatural habitats.

Image: uhp

It is estimated that by 2020, the vegan market will cost more than $215 million and with the way everyone is catching on somehow, that is due to increase in the near future. Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market with the top spots going to United Arab Emirates and China. Let’s hope that altogether we can see right from wrong and choose all products with caution for our precious land and animals, weather it means spending a few extra dollars for the freshest fruit or going a few days a week meat-free. A minor change can implement and influence.

 

Written by Darcey Weaven

Header image: Sydney Community College

ASOS X Puma X Crayola: All In The Name Of The Environment

As if ASOS isn’t already the best online store already, they’ve gone ahead and outdone themselves with their latest collaborations with big time labels, being the already popular Puma and the unexpected pairing we didn’t know we needed: Crayola — our favourite childhood crayons creating the brightest nostalgia yet. These brands are all stepping up the fashion and beauty game in the name of the environment and it couldn’t be a better time. Cruelty free and sustainable items are more in demand than ever.

Image: Instagram

Now that the threat of global warming and humans’ effect on the environment is becoming a more spoken about conversation of all ages, it was only a matter of time before more mainstream, accessible brands would act on these issues regarding the fashion industry and its carbon footprint. While there are still brands that still decide to turn blind eyes on the subject, ASOS and Puma joined forces in order to create an affordable, sustainable street style collection to start introducing the word to the younger generations. The collaboration is producing economically friendly menswear and womenswear for us to all shop with a guilt-free conscious. The ‘Sustainability Pack’ debuted a range of t-shirts, hoodies, track pants and more, with the entire collection being created with environmental impact in mind and a promise that each piece possesses a zero-carbon footprint.

Image: Hypebeast

The ASOS X Puma collection is of course made with 100% organic cotton and is crafted in regions that are more local to countries that they’re available in, ensuring that the working conditions are considerably better, having social and environmentally-certified health and safety systems in place. This effectively works to reduce the levels of carbon being discharged in transportation.

Image: Puma Catch Up

This alliance consists with sustainable designs including bold colours to natural tones. From seafoam green hoodies, cream and rainbow crewnecks and old school style printed tees they create smart-casual everyday wear. Those bright colours still don’t cost the environment because all the colours and prints selected to show their fun designs for the collection are free from harmful chemicals, so you can look fab (clearly) and flaunt your support for sustainable practices. There are 40 items in total for you to shop until your debit card drops and I couldn’t be prouder of the way the industry is moving. I can definitely feel a new trend coming out of this.

Image: Twitter

With so much happening at ASOS there’s still no stopping there. Soon after the Puma range dropped, announced was another collaboration with the stationery brand Crayola. This is by far one of the most bazaar alliances in beauty history, but it totally works. The British online retailer and Crayola announced the range was to be stocked on the ASOS Face + Body sector with it all being purely vegan and cruelty free. Crayola made news years ago with their goal to decrease its carbon footprint by using renewable solar and wind energy as its factories go vegan. The new beauty collection offers 58 cosmetic products, including a total of 95 shades, targeting us millennials and generation Z, encouraging buyers to ‘colour outside the lines’. Crayola’s company slogan is, if you remember, ‘Go play’, inspires shoppers to entertain their inner child’s desire to draw, smudge and paint with the products that will be familiar to many of our childhoods. The beauty partnership claims to have the only face crayon product of its kind in the beauty market that can be used to highlight lips, cheeks and eyes, making for a convenient all-in-one product. They also offer 24 shades of stick foundations, mascaras, highlighters and palettes. This is one of the most dynamic and up-to-date ranges to be accessible, supporting all the issues around the world regarding animal rights, global warming and even gender diversity for the range is also gender fluid. All rejoice ASOS and their creative work.

 

Written by: Darcey Weaven

References:
https://www.finder.com.au/puma-asos-collaboration
https://www.livekindly.co/crayola-beauty-launches-95-vegan-and-cruelty-free-shades-in-asos/

Fight Back and Join The Fashion Revolution

Have you ever wondered who was behind that gorgeous cocktail dress collecting dust in your wardrobe, or the comfy sweaters piled up in your cupboard? How about that pair of shoes you just can’t live without? Most people don’t. We buy, we throw away, then we buy again, never considering who’s actually making these clothes for us, and what their lives are like. How long have they been slaving away creating clothing they will never be able to wear themselves? Are they only being paid pennies for their work, or worse – nothing at all?

Image: Trusted Clothes 

During Fashion Revolution Week (April 23 through 29 this year), we are reminded of just how important what we choose to put on our bodies are. Our choices aren’t only affecting our personal image, but the lives of individuals with their own families, friends and dreams. It may have been five years ago, but the Rana Plaza collapse is still very relevant today. On the 24th of April 2013, a garment-factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1 138 people and injuring more than 2 500 others. The devastating collapse is the deadliest sweatshop accident in history, and many are left wondering why these things still happen today in our ‘modern’ world.

Image: Muniz Uz Zaman / AFP / Getty Images

The fear of this occurring again was the motivation behind the Fashion Revolution, a global movement with the goal of uniting everyone in a fight for an ethical and sustainable future for fashion, and those influenced by it. Although the fashion industry is an amazing outlet for creativity, its practices are far from humane, and this year long movement brings to light the problems still prevalent within the industry. Rather than hitting hard with facts and making consumers and producers feel guilt, the Fashion Revolution instead drive people to realise that they can create change. #whomademyclothes was the campaign of April, encouraging brands to change the way their clothing is sourced and produced. Most well-known brands still source from sweatshops and profit from cheap labour, but the Fashion Revolution is pushing for a change towards clothing that is made in a safe, clean and fair way. During Fashion Revolution Week, brands were asked to step up and claim #imadeyourclothes, for the first time openly stating where their clothes are produced.

Image: Atelier Tammam 

But how can we contribute to change? It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the facts and feel helpless in an issue affecting so many. However, we as consumers wield more power than we are aware of. Just being conscious of the things we choose to buy, whether they are produced through exploitation or ethical means, could save a life. Even though we may feel small, when we demand the brands we love to take action, they will listen. Nowadays with the use of social media, a tweet or Instagram post holds equal power, if not more, than an email or letter. It’s such a simple, yet effective way to connect with where we shop from, and with enough traction, our voices will be heard.

So, what are you waiting for? Join the Fashion Revolution now, and create a better future for fashion, and for the world.

 

Written by: Tiffany Ko

Find out more about Fashion Revolution here.

The Year of the Mushroom

Although not an official Chinese Zodiac symbol, it certainly seemed that 2017 was the year of the mushroom. Dominating the health and wellness industry, we saw trends from superfood mushroom coffee to psychoactive mushroom therapy. Now, thanks to companies like Mycoworks, not only can mushrooms be used as one of our fastest growing plant proteins, but can actually be farmed and harvested for sustainable, bio- degradable textiles. Could these little fun-guys be the key to the next boom in sustainable fashion?

Image Credit: Pinterest

The bio-materials company, Mycoworks, was founded in 2013 by three founding members: Phillip Ross, Sophia Wang and Eddie Pavlu. The San Fransisco based start-up have come a long way from experimenting with building materials made from mycelium. Finding the building market difficult to crack; through the destruction of mycelium brick dreams, mushroom leather was born.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Harnessing the power of one of the most abundant resources on Earth, Mycoworks have developed a technology that allows them to cultivate a leather-like textile from a type of fungi called Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi mushroom). It acts like an animal hide because it too, is organic. It is tough and durable, water resistant, breathable and out-performs synthetic leather, lamb and sheep skin. It is naturally anti-biotic, so this wondrous material is actually beneficial for our skin.

Image Credit: Pinterest

The mushrooms are cultivated using recycled agricultural waste such as saw dust and corn cobs. Within just two months, a full cow hide-sized mushroom hide is grown. The best part? not only is mushroom leather organic, fast-growing, processed without toxic chemicals, carbon neutral and utilising waste from the agricultural industry, Mycoworks have pledged to lower the cost of the product to $5 per square metre by 2020. This will allow them to compete with all other leather on the market. Thanks to the commercial production of edible mushrooms, the same process can be used to grow mushroom leather. It is low-tech compared to the production of animal leather and not a single animal is slaughtered in the process.

According to a 2016 Mycoworks presentation, livestock alone consumes 50% of the USA’s water supply and around 10,000 pounds of feed. It is responsible for producing 18% of green house gases annually and covers around 30% of the Earth’s surface. A single cow hide takes approximately 3 years to reach its full size. 70% of this is then discarded with the remaining 30% being sent to tanneries overseas, commonly in third-world countries.

Bangladesh and India are among those exploited for their cheap labour. Tanneries use toxic chemicals in the process; the run-off waste often being found in the streets, leaching into local water supplies, thus debunking the myth of any ‘ethical’ leather process.

Not only can this vegan material be produced ethically and sustainably; different textures, finishes and thicknesses can be engineered into the hide itself. Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined doing this with animal hides!

Image Credit: Google

Although originally popular among alternative indie labels, we can expect to see more of this abundant textile on the runway in the coming years. As the eco-fashion movement continues to spread like wildfire, we are seeing an increasingly large number of iconic fashion houses going fur-free, with the likes of Gucci and Prada to name a few. Having some of the loudest and most powerful voices for change, designers are finally starting to accept their social responsibilities.

While activists continue their mission to educate the masses, the demand for a more ethical and cruelty free product soars. Fur is now seen by the majority as an insulting symbol of gluttony in the world of fashion. Next up: leather.

Image Credit: Google

A wise man once said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Right on, Ghandi. Systems cannot exist without belief; they are intangible constructs, influenced by the mainstream. One can find great liberation in the fact that we, the people, have more control over what the fashion industries produce – more than we realise.

Image Credit: Google

So how can we find more designers utilising mushroom leather? Ask, and you shall receive; when the demand for mushroom leather snowballs, as will the supply. Just as we are encouraged to write to our local politicians regarding our concerns, we should be doing the same with our designers. Write to brands and designers expressing your disenchantment with animal products, stop buying fur, leather or any other unsustainable textile. Start the trend and spread the word! Support brands that are already harnessing this cutting edge technology.

Sweatshops: The Changes Being Made

Sweatshops are a concept well known to the world of fast-fashion; clothes that are affordable, and the wages of those who made them, even more so. The reality of bargain prices trace back to countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, where manual workers are employed at minimum wage inside a factory or workshop for long hours and under poor conditions.

After the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, a building which housed clothing factories among other shops, the transparency of fashion companies’ supply chains are being called into question as change is slowly taking shape around the operation of sweatshops. A pop-up sweatshop by the Clean Clothing Campaign in Amsterdam challenged consumers to sit behind a sewing machine and make as many garments as they possibly could in an hour, encouraging onlookers to question their fashion retailers about their manufacturing conditions.

Photo: Anko Stoffels

Closer to home, the Australian government is making moves toward a Modern Slavery Act, an act that Britain introduced in 2015. Such an act would might force companies to prove that they are not exploiting foreign workers. Companies with an annual turnover of $50 million would be reporting on their suppliers’ use of overseas labour. The result of the act is not to dole out fines, but to keep transparency between companies, consumers and shareholders.

 

Perhaps the example needed in this industry to help curb this problem is Nike. The early 1990s saw the brand exposed and shamed relentlessly for its employment of workers in Indonesia and Vietnam for less than minimum wage. The company was protested and criticized until 1998 when then-CEO Phil Knight announced a raise of the minimum age of its workers and increased monitoring in all factories producing Nike’s goods. In the year following, Nike began creating the Fair Labour Association to enforce codes of conduct including a set 60-hour work week and a minimum age to be employed. The company became the first to publish a complete list of all factories they dealt with in 2005 and continues to take corporate social responsibility in auditing data and upholding their commitments to its workers and consumers.

Photo: Getty

Consumers have a right to know how their goods are being made. Shopping ethically is made easier with Ethical Clothing Accreditation. Ethical Clothing Australia is a program designed to verify that all workers are receiving their legal entitlements. Upon accreditation, retailers appeal to a growing market of consumers and ensure transparency between themselves and consumers.

The change that must occur to better conditions in sweatshops and eradicate slave labour must first come from the consumer. Think about how your money is being spent and whose pocket it’s going into. Brands and retailers must be responsible for their actions. So must we.

 

Written by: Celina Foong

Feature Image: Kay Nietfeld / Picture-alliance

Coffee + Sugar NO CREAM.

Vegan Bath Treats! 

When I began working for Vashti I knew there would be perks but Luxe Bath & Body stole my heart when they mailed me some of their most popular scrubs to test. After about 5 days of obsessively checking my mailbox I reached in and pulled forth my prize- a delicate flat, black package that made me double check to see if it was clothing. On my elevator ride home I ripped open the dark wrapping and pulled forth two flat envelopes.Image Credit: Luxe Bath & Body Instagram

I’ll begin with the sugar scrub. It’s 2018 so if you haven’t used a sugar scrub yet then you haven’t been living- seriously go find one! Luxe Bath & Body has made their scrub out of raw, natural sugar and the smell brings back childhood memories of my mom baking chocolate-chip cookies. I suppose, biscuits for everyone else- the scrub smells like chocolate-chip… biscuits?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: BBC

As seemed appropriate I waited until my morning shower to sample the coffee scrub. I admit there was something that felt so very right about finishing my morning cup-of-joe and proceeding to the shower to douse myself in coffee grounds. If you’ve ever had a morning of blankly staring into the dark abyss that is your coffee mug and mentally listing everything you have to do for your day, week, life- STOP and go treat yourself to an organic coffee scrub. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Repaved

Both of these scrubs were lovely to use, if you prefer a smooth hydrated feeling I would suggest the raw sugar scrub. It has organic coconut oil, olive oil, vanilla, and vitamin E and leaves your skin feeling very hydrated with zero  residue. The organic coffee scrub was equally scrubtastic if not more so- it’s perfect if you want exfoliation, antioxidants, anti- inflammatory benefits as well as an extra boost waking up! Image Credit: Luxe Bath & Body Etsy

Written by: Abby Caroline Teeter