The Most Important Fashion Trend of 2019

2019 is drawing to a close and another cycle of fashion trends ends.  Not only did this year present to us statement chunky trainers, biker shorts and tiny sunglasses, but it introduced the concept of sustainability, with the help of 15 year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg. A change is certainly happening in the world of fashion, consumers are becoming more conscious when purchasing and I for one hope it isn’t just a “trend” we leave behind come the new year.

Sustainable fashion: clothing/footwear/accessories that have been sourced and created ethically, this includes all different stages including; production, manufacturing, transporting, marketing etc. 

Why do we need sustainable fashion?

As a 20 year-old female, I can admit that I too fall victim to the push notifications that light up my phone screen from PLT and MissGuided, I’m only human and 30% off is just really hard to ignore. So, I scramble to create a basket as though this “last chance” discount doesn’t occur every other day, stocking up on cropped jumpers, back up dresses and a  few options for those “jeans and a nice top” kind of nights, maybe even a new bobble hat because its getting colder and I don’t have one that colour? We are all too familiar with this pattern, becoming mindless creatures of consumption for no real reason other than habit. You may be wondering “So, what? I’m not harming anyone.” And I do agree, you aren’t harming anyone… intentionally. After some thinking and a few hours scouring the internet, it turns out that this sort of behaviour does in fact contribute to the worlds suffering, as well as many of its people. I’ll list below some facts that I found to be a good wake-up call and unveil the truth about the industry.

  1. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, being second only to the oil industry.
  2. 170 million children are exposed to child labour, with a large percentage being worked in the textile and fashion industry as the work is considered to be low-skilled labour.
  3. In 2018, 1,113,000 tonnes of new clothing items were purchased, most of which ends up being dumped in a landfill which won’t decompose for 200 years or more.
  4. There are over 40 million garment factory workers worldwide, making below $3 a day, working in horrific conditions.

Where can we go for sustainable fashion?

I think by beginning to question and consider where our fashion is coming from and how it gets from laptop screen to our door, is a good place to start. Sustainable fashion is a growing market and if we as consumers show the demand is there, it will only become more accessible to us.

H&M have been championing a more sustainable future for fashion since 2013 when they launched their global garment collection initiative. This allowed customers to drop off their unwanted clothes (of any brand and condition) to any of the H&M stores, rewarding them with a £5 voucher. Along with this, they launch a new Conscious Exclusive collection each year which they create high end and environmentally friendly pieces.

Zara saw this opportunity and following in H&M’s footsteps launched their own campaign, “Join Life”, consisting of sustainable garments made form forest friendly and animal friendly materials. These effort from two high street brands may seem like a small drop in a massive ocean however it is a step towards a brighter future, and by bringing sustainable clothing to mainstream brands it is much more accessible to the average consumer.

Following the sustainable and conscious consumer trend that is becoming more and more popular, is rental websites for your clothes. We’ve all been there, buying a brand new outfit that we love, we wear, we get our Instagram pic, we never see it again and it is put to a dark corner of our wardrobe. These websites offer a solution to these poor habits, by simply renting the occasion-wear, go to the event and conveniently return.  I think its a great idea especially for the party season with those Christmas nights out that just aren’t worth investing in and I can see this type of business growing in the new year. Below I have included some sites along with their Instagram tag if you want to investigate further.

  1. Rent A Dress UK (@rentadressuk)
  2. Hurr (@hurr)
  3. My Wardrobe HQ (@mywardrobe_hq)
  4. Hire Street UK (@hirestreetuk)

I think in today’s climate, we all have some sort of responsibility to do as much as we can in creating a healthier planet and this is just a small change we can consider doing, and implement in our day to day lives. Even just to take that moment when frantically browsing the latest influencer line from ‘In The Style’ to ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”and “Do I really want it?” And if the answer is yes, then buy it, treat yourself. But if there is a moment of doubt then why not opt for a different option, one with less of a detrimental impact, without exploitation and without pollution. Just some food for thought.

Bronagh Carey is a final year student  Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations  at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram bronaghcarey_ and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bronagh-carey-702626173/

It’s Spooky Season

Autumn is easily my favorite time of the year, with the darker evenings, the crisp weather and cosy knitwear it’s the ideal environment for my introverted self to thrive.  But for me, the best part of it all is that ‘Spooky Season’ officially begins.

If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘spooky season’ a quick search on urban dictionary describes it as the fall time of year when everyone gets ‘spooky vibes’. Ground-breaking. This may be meaningless and mundane to most, but not for me.  As a fan of horror and all things twisted, I completely take advantage of the festivities that indulge my fascination of the darker things in life. I know I’m not alone in this, and after making a trip to the cinema to see Joaquinn Phoenix’s performance as ‘Joker’ it got me into the Halloween spirit, with it’s jump scare tactics and graphic scenes.

I think it can be agreed that every day experiences in real life can be grim enough without voluntarily sitting through hours’ worth of uncomfortable and intense remakes, whether it be a horror movie or a true crime show, yet there are many likeminded individuals who love to do it.

So in order to kick off the spooky season and celebrate the festivities, I have contrived a list of my favorite spooks for those cosy Halloween nights in; to spare you the hours of painful Netflix scrolling. Whether it be a gory slasher film or a psychological thriller,  these are some of my top picks:

 Psychological Thrillers

  1.           Get out / A quiet place

Both movies are directed by Jordan Peele, both movies equally as entertaining and clever in their own rights. Not the typical horror with demons and ghosts, but with the twisted warp on reality it makes for uncomfortable viewing. (I mean this in the best way).

  • Midsommar

Described as a ‘folk horror film’, this movie is not for the squeamish. The movie focuses on a young couple who travel to their friend’s hometown in Sweden; which just so happens to be celebrating their mid-summer festival during the time of their visit. At first the stay seems like a tranquil retreat but progresses into a series of disturbing events at the hands of a cult. A seriously bizarre watch, and some things I just won’t un-see. (I actually want to apologise to whoever watches this in advance.)

TV Series

  • The Haunting of Hill House

If you like a truly good ghost story this is the show for you. A gripping story line follows the adult lives of the Crain siblings, who are trying to deal with the ghosts from their past from their paranormal experiences in their childhood home. An ideal watch for the month of October to ease you into the Spooky Season.

  • Hannibal

Although it was cancelled after 3 seasons, it is still one of the best watches. Perfect for a rainy afternoon as it’s not overly intense but still fascinating and eery. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

hannibal

Slasher Movies

Slasher movies may not be my go-to, but I think it is only appropriate to include these two titles. Ideal movies to watch with a group of pals, I don’t know anyone who enjoys watching slashers on their own? And if you do you shouldn’t admit to it.  Maybe throw in a bottle of Pinot and some pizza, an ideal setup to help with the scares.

  • Scream250px-Ghostface

This movie is a classic for Halloween time, it’s entertaining and witty but still will have you guessing ‘who did it’ and wincing at the blood and violence. However it can make for a frustrating viewing; apparently common sense completely goes out the window when being chased by a masked serial killer.

  • Halloween

The ‘Halloween’ film series with the infamous crazed killer Michael Myers is full of suspense, the newest addition to the franchise is my favorite so far. Halloween 2018, the ultimate showdown between Mike and Laurie Strode, a survivor of the crazed killer.       A satisfying watch.halloween-david-gordon-green

True Crime

  • Abducted in Plain Sight

Last but not least, ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’. This is a crime documentary on Netflix, probably one of the most bizarre true crime shows I’ve watched, its hard to believe that it is completely factual when watching some of the events unfold. You genuinely have to see it to believe it.

 

Bronagh Carey is a final year student  Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations  at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram bronaghcarey_ and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bronagh-carey-702626173/

Vegan – Your Way

As January comes to an end, the paths we paved to good intentions merely four weeks ago become harder to follow. The image of our summer bodies and Instagram perfect lifestyles become clouded by the reality of work, classes and our 2018 habits that refuse to die. The annual fad that is “Veganuary” is over just as suddenly as it began, but does it have to be? I want to give my thoughts on the very topical “vegan lifestyle” and what that means to me, and I challenge anyone reading to keep an open mind.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “VEGAN”?

If I was asked this question one year ago, a gory image of intense PETA protests displaying the horrors of a skinned lab bunny, overbearing animal rights activists and “tree huggers” forcing their beliefs down passerbyers’ throats, automatically would fill my head, did you have similar thoughts? I want to help plant a seed in those minds who are open enough to consider simple lifestyle changes for a cause that will benefit personal health as well as having a lasting impact on the world we inhabit.

My Experience

For me, my journey began with my sister, a vegetarian of two years (at the time), challenged me to try out “Veganuary” with her in 2018, to which I surprisingly agreed. Bearing in mind I had no previous restrictions with my diet whatsoever (except for a peanut allergy lol), I considered myself a true foodie. However, it was a fun concept to me and with a love for animals I was interested in becoming educated in the industry that I was previously so ignorant too. I always claimed that I had an adoration for animals but when it really mattered, I turned a blind eye and ignored the major ramifications that my choices had on the environment.

To kickstart these revelations and find out the truth regarding my food, I began binge watching documentaries on Netflix; “What the Health” and “Cowspiracy” are two that stick in my mind and I recommend for anyone curious enough. It was fascinating to me that what products we purchase and consume can have such a direct effect on the environment and in most cases a detrimental impact on our health. I won’t bore you all with major statistics and facts that may very well fall onto deaf ears, with the likes of…’the water usage to produce ONE burger is the same as taking one hundred days’ worth of showers’, (that was the only one I promise.) One thing that really resonated with me was the simple statement, that cow’s milk is just that. Its purpose is to nourish a calf, humans were not designed to digest this produce. I am not a baby cow, I don’t think anyone reading this is a baby cow, so what human being decided to milk a cow for the first time and what did they think they were doing? Clearly, I had many unresolved questions and as these thoughts marinated in my brain, the more I found the transition to reducing my dairy intake to be easier. Key word being “REDUCING”.  I know this will only resonate with very few people, but I personally don’t need to cause the death of a life, in whatever form, for simply the pleasure of my taste buds. It doesn’t make sense to me.

The Bad Rep

The stigma that we attach to the label “vegan” is something that I personally prefer not to associate my diet or lifestyle with, as I definitely don’t follow a strict plant-based diet 24/7. I choose not to use labels because in my experience it gives people free rein with the belief that I validate their opinion on MY eating habits. Over this past year I have seen more “concern” for my protein intake than I care to acknowledge, questions like “So what can you actually eat?” “You’ll have some bacon still though?”  Frankly these labels carry too much backlash if some-day I fancy some halloumi sticks or some cheesy pasta. My point is, I want to remove the pressure that people feel when they are just trying to do their own bit and to try and diminish the scrutiny we put each other through.

Shaming someone for dietary habits whatever they may be, isn’t okay and I disagree with the approach some activists choose, although I do believe it is a truth that needs to be told. The importance of showing the gritty reality behind mass consumerism is something we all should be exposed to.

So what can you do?

Simple changes that I made in the beginning was delving into the cosmetic industry, which I appreciate is easy to overlook as I took for granted that we can trust our favourite lipstick can go from production to hand bag ethically.  But unfortunately keeping up with the latest makeup gurus and trends, causes major unnecessary suffering to animals. So currently, I only purchase makeup that I know is cruelty free, and that goes for skincare products too. It sounds alarming but genuinely as a make-up lover myself, I can tell you it is easier than it sounds and is beyond worth it. (Although say goodbye to MAC makeup, they really need to step up their game in that department.)  Cruelty free is a huge growing market and more and more brands are jumping on board which will include some of your favourites i.e. Nyx, Too Faced, Charlotte Tilburry, Dove etc. The options continue to surprise me, and it will only improve, so if you are considering making the switch there really is no better time than the present.  

A vegan diet shouldn’t be thought of as a chore or something that you resent, if this sort of lifestyle is intriguing to you why not begin with baby steps? For me personally, I no longer include any form of meat/fish in my diet and I have switched from dairy milk to alternative milks (preferably almond or oat) for my morning coffee or cereal.

I try to make my weekly meals at home rather than eating out, that way it is easier to keep track of what is going into your food and will ultimately be more beneficial for your health. A good idea to cut down your animal produce intake would be to designate a day of the week when you will plan meat free meals. It sounds daunting, but no your only option is not rice and beans. A favourite for me is Quorn “chicken” nuggets, I am happy to say that they taste identical to McNuggets, I have four of my housemates who will back me up with this if you don’t believe me. The variety of vegan friendly food on the market continues to surprise me, and if interested, I recommend Instagram accounts “AccidentallyVegan” and “TheVeganKind” to help your exploration.

I hope this little insight will inspire the small few of you who may be interested, to educate yourselves further and become more compassionate consumers. Don’t let the labels scare you off, everyone is trying their best and the smallest change can make a huge difference.

Bronagh Carey is a second year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: bronaghcarey_ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bronagh.carey.1