Two Australian women walk 3500 kilometres through Southeast Asia in search of sustainable fashion and bring their story back home – and to the world through social media - to inform and empower us.
While here at Planet Ark we’re in search of positive environment news, two young women walked 3500 km through Southeast Asia in search of positive fashion stories. On the Walk Sew Good website Gab Murphy and Megan O’Malley, the two women behind Walk Sew Good, ask us a question, “Hands up who knows where their clothes came from and who made them? No? No judgement but we suspected as much.” This is the burning question that fuelled their trek through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand over the course of 2016. The women sought to learn about and connect people with the stories behind our clothes. While the impetus for the journey was their own questions, their ultimate goals extend beyond satiating their own curiosity. “We’d like to change the way people look at, value and talk about fashion.” Given they captured much of their journey and findings through social media, releasing informative and inspirational videos, this goal is being realised. Megan and Gab found that the fashion industry can be sustainable and help improve people’s lives. They visited and spoke with over 60 different brands, producers, businesses and organisations who care about the environment and are producing clothing sustainably and ethically.This is important, as they believe that being bombarded with only negative stories about fast fashion can overwhelm and disempower us from positive action. By discovering these brands and spreading the word about them, it enables us to make positive choices, or at the very least, to know that there are alternatives to fast fashion. 92% of Australia’s clothing production is made overseas, a vast majority of which from Asia, which is why the women chose this part of the world to visit. An important element of the trek was enabling a human connection, so that we consider the human beings on the other side of the t-shirt we buy. One workshop the women visited in Phnom Penh takes scraps left over from large garment factories and reworks them into unique pieces. Visitors are able to tour the workshop and see the people making the clothes, a level of transparency that ensures ethical practices as well as enabling the human connection the women were seeking. Another garment facility they visited in Hanoi, Vietnam, made clothing out of plastic waste, which was melted down to create women’s active wear. As for positive action consumers can take, the women say the most important thing is to simply start – start asking questions and finding out about sustainable brands. The women are quick to add that we can’t aim to shop perfectly and having unrealistic expectations can be overwhelming and deter change. They recommend considering what your values are and shopping according to that. Google is full of information and new sustainable brands are regularly popping up. They also encourage us to buy less, to buy what we really need.
Positive ActionCheck out the Walk Sew Good website, Facebook and other social media for inspiration, information and more about their incredible journey. Follow Megan and Gab’s advice in considering how and where we shop and ways that we might be able to do so more sustainably, whether through buying second hand, or purchasing from sustainable brands.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.