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As I walked in the Autumn Makers’ Market on September 21st, I knew that each maker had a story to tell. A story about their hatred of the quick journey clothing makes from catwalk to consumer to the garbage. This vicious cycle is popularly known as Fast Fashion. However, these vendors would share a story about how they are contributing to the brakes that are slowing down fast fashion.  From upcycling to hand-making their goods, the Makers at Withrow Park Farmers’ Market brought new perspectives to this fast fashion driven society. 

The Upcyclery was a wonderful place full of practical products that can be used to lead a sustainable life. All their materials are sourced from second-hand stores or reused from previously worn items. Today, 1kg of cotton requires 22, 500 liters of water [Water Footprint Network] during its processing. Therefore, when asked about their impact, Sarah from The Upcyclery, believes her initiative educates people and motivates them to think about their consumption habits and builds interest in living a sustainable life. This can definitely be supported as I, myself, discovered new alternatives and choices I could make to living a more sustainable life. Their advice? Get creative! “Try to reuse materials instead of buying new products regularly and research sustainable alternatives to purchasing disposable cotton clothing and items.”

Ardent Earth is also a line that uses upcycled materials that are sustainably sourced. Some items include reusable cotton rounds, paperless towels, and coffee baskets. Absolutely all of their products are upcycled. For instance, they take things that would be discarded in landfills such as upholstery samples and use the fabric to make beautiful throw pillows.  Essentially, giving these materials a new life, resulting in reducing waste and helping to extend our planet’s life. With a background in Fashion Design, Natalie believes Fast Fashion is a major cause of the climate crisis. She encourages everyone to reuse everything!

No Space For Waste Apparel definitely lives up to its name! They are greatly passionate about waste reduction and do everything they can for the cause. Not only do they sell upcycled products and Zero Waste items, but they also use their platform as a place of knowledge-sharing for other businesses interested in taking steps to become more sustainable. They encourage businesses and individuals alike to have patience and do their research to find the best long-term environmentally sustainable options for them. Their words of encouragement  “Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.”

 

All the vendors at the Makers’ Market had a passion for environmentalism and they pursued it through their business’ mission and initiatives. Most notably,  Create 4 Impact which was founded by two 16-year-old twins, Nikki and Ivy, who create art using upcycled materials for positive change. The motivation which inspired them on this journey includes acts of kindness, a variety of Ted Talks, and encouragement from people that they have seen using their talents for good. These inspirational girls also created a campaign called the 52 Campaign where they would give a card to someone that contained a question such as:  What drives you? What’s your passion? and so forth. This movement, they hoped, would inspire many to turn inward. They believe “It takes one person to make a difference” is a mindset that everyone should adopt.

Fast fashion is a crisis we are still battling at this moment, mostly due to consumers’ lack of education about its harms. However, by raising awareness and making alternative options attractive and easily accessible from organizations and businesses like these, we are sure to make a change. Perhaps the following analogy is an enlightening ending. 

We, as a planet, are currently passing a red light! We must pump our brakes on fast fashion to avoid crashing!


Written by Rhea Matharu, a 16 year old, passionate about taking initiative in environmental issues. She is a copy editor and production head of her school newspaper and has combined her love of writing and passion of the environment to advocate for the planet. She believes that a single person can make a great difference to help resolve climate change by simply changing a few lifestyle choices. After seeing melting glaciers live in Iceland, she became more determined to do whatever she can, in her role as a citizen of this earth, to help save this planet.