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WELCOME TO #SOJUSTSHOP CONVERSATIONS

Just Stories segment of fascinating, inspiring longer articles, where we talk to change-makers around us, making a difference, one step at a time.

We talk to Bel Jacobs, Former Fashion Editor, Climate Campaigner and Animal Rights

 

Your Inspiration to Work in Fashion & Sustainability

Rana Plaza made me question everything about the industry and my role in it. It remains the worst ever industrial accident to hit the garment industry-
1,134 killed; dozens of others injured, mostly young women, trying to support their families in Bangladesh’s most dominant industry: fast fashion.
The fact that these women knew the building was falling before they entered and yet remained so powerless to protect themselves, due to threats of dismissal, is unbearable. The repercussions of Rana Plaza continue to this day.
 
That event opened a can of worms about an industry that many of us, up until that point, had thought was ‘innocent’. This still continues - from environmental degradation and resource use to pollution and carbon emissions.
Rana Plaza was one event that made me quit my job as a fashion editor to focus on the bigger picture,
Sustainable alternatives and now, on a complete system change within the industry.
Fast fashion is killing us.
 
Fashion Industry's Role in Sustainability

The industry needs to accept that current business models are destroying the planet.

Embrace systems that mean fewer, invest in alternative income streams that help mitigate the climate emergency and regenerate the earth; pay reparations to workers whose lands we have stolen and cultures we have destroyed.

These sound like such big concepts but the industry needs something to aim for and these ideas should be their touchstones.

 Don’t get me wrong. There is good work being done. The Institute of Positive Fashion’s Circular Fashion Ecosystem Report, released last year, was pretty ground-breaking, particularly in its focus on 'reduced volume of new physical clothing'.

There’s real interest in the outcome of the Proposed New York State Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act. Designers such as Bethany Williams are challenging boundaries and brands such as So Just are working for true equity -

But we are running out of time and fashion needs to embrace its true role as a leader of culture by downing tools and turning all that beautiful creativity to truly regenerative work. And to accept that that will probably not be in making new clothes.

 

Sustainable in Everyday Life

The usual- but more specifically, my veganism. I gave up meat in response to the treatment of cows in the leather industry- not to consume bodies of such unhappy animals.

But it was when I gave up dairy, that my veganism became political. Dairy, as the dairy industry would desperately love you to forget, is the product of the milk a cow creates to feed her baby. In order for us to obtain that milk, we have to separate them. Mother and baby cows in the dairy industry barely get a day together. Their grieving for each other is immeasurable. Both are killed within a fraction of their natural life span. For what? Something that people pile into cakes, sweets, ice cream and cheese, completely oblivious to the industrial scale suffering and death of billions of young animals.  

I believe people love animals but I also know that the reasons why more people aren’t vegan are complex. What gives me hope is that this is changing. In the meantime, veganism is the most vital act of personal rebellion that I am engaged in.

My veganism is a rebellion against the use and oppression of intelligent playful beings that are not able to speak up for themselves; against systematic injustice and cruelty, not just of all animals but all species. It is a rebellion against the corporate forces - like the petrochemical industry, pharmaceutical industry - that tell us bad things are good, and profit from that.

Finally, it is a plea for justice and for empathy, across all systems and for all species. And I actually don’t know anyone in my circles who doesn’t want those things too. 

#SOJUSTSHOP Pieces

So Just Shop's jewellery is handmade in recycled metals or certified mines support and empowers women-led artisan communities. To be able to wear something without worrying about its synthetic content, its impact on the earth and worker welfare is a boon to wellbeing.

I’ve chosen the Supriti Earrings and Krisha Bracelet by Tara, a social impact organisation supporting the economic growth of disadvantaged artisans in and around Delhi.

I send them my thanks and wish them well.

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