Paris Is Burning: The Fire At Notre Dame Cathedral An Op-Ed by Tamara Cincik

If fashion is a global conversation, for many within this interconnected international community, its heart beats in Paris. Since the courts of the French kings, couturiers and ateliers have crafted the sublime into exquisite excess for Parisian style leaders such as Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, whose milliner and dressmaker Rose Bertin continued to make items for the queen, including her mourning outfit when her husband Louis XVI was executed, even while she was imprisoned before her execution by guillotine in 1793.

March Political Intelligence

Uncertainty has been the main theme of Brexit – who is making the decisions, what are the decisions and on what grounds are they being made? From your typical News Night viewer to the ambitious business owner to those sitting in Parliament, no one seems to fully comprehend what is going on. As well as being very tiring, it is expensive. Businesses cannot prepare for the unknown, and millions of pounds have already been spent (possibly in vain) on Brexit contingency plans both in the public and private sectors.

Smashing an Ace at the Ace Hotel. An Op-Ed by Fiona Carter

True to Fashion Roundtable’s style, their first workshop on Fashion Politics and Empowerment was presented on the 7th floor of London’s fashionable Ace Hotel surrounded by spectacular vistas of the city. With a better understanding of what is going on in the political landscape and how that impacts our personal and professional lives, we left with tools to increase our agency and feel more empowered, via policy and via fashion. #FrontRowtoFrontBench is Fashion Roundtable’s rallying cry for the fashion industry to be heard seen and properly represented.  So get involved through following on social media, attending events and signing up for their regular newsletters

UK Disabilities Minister Will Not Be Reappointed Until Brexit Is Resolved: the current situation and the implications of this so-called “small gap”. By Lottie Jackson

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live last week, the Tories vice-chairman James Cleverly revealed the government will not be reappointing the role of Disabilities Minister until the current Brexit impasse has been resolved. The previous Minister of State for Disabled People Sarah Newton resigned last month to vote against a no-deal withdrawal from the EU. But with no end point for Brexit on the horizon and a potential lengthy delay until we leave the EU, what impact will this have for the 13.9 million disabled people in the UK?

Press Release 21/03/2019: From catwalks to Customs Union, Fashion Roundtable represent the Brexit concerns of the fashion industry

"When we launched Fashion Roundtable the majority of politicians I spoke to thought the industry was just Kate Moss & catwalk shows and were more concerned about fisheries than fashion” Cincik says.“However after contacting each of the 650 MPs highlighting the reality of the UK Fashion Industry’s valuable contribution - generating over 890,000 jobs, nationwide and thousands of jobs and revenue to each of their constituencies - we're now seeing politicians from across the parties, uniting to ensure that our industry maintains its status as a global soft power leader for the economy.”

Cracking our war on waste. An Op-Ed by Amy Nguyen

Perusing the aisles in the run up to Easter, one can’t help but feel pensive when encountering the mountains of mini eggs and chocolate delights produced by confectionary corporations. Symbolising new life, the tradition of Easter eggs seems somewhat void of meaning due to the increased commercialisation and over marketing of this holiday with their encasing in PET plastic. With the mass food and packaging waste occurring in the UK, simultaneous to the rise in poverty and inequality, this article explores the contrasting trajectories of our abhorrent throw away culture next to the destitution facing many UK households and how initiatives like the Felix Project are pursuing the mission of rebalancing this disparity.

Extinction Rebellion: Culture Declares, an Op-Ed by Trash4Gold

 ‘We’re all (nearly) totally fucked’ read the flyer that advertised the Extinction Rebellion’s talks that were given by Clare Farrell and Sara Arnold at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art this week. While hundreds of students in the building were designing and making new products, Clare and Sara were talking about the very real consequences of making too much. It’s worrying that the audience was small when this topic is so big, do so few people care about the existence of the human race? The talk was called ‘Heading to Extinction and what to do about it’ and, as Sara told me, aimed to “educate people on the truth about the climate crisis.”

If you don't have it, make it: Judy Blame's legacy. An Op-Ed by Karen Binns

JUDY BLAME, was a true rebel in every sense of the word.
He was one of the first pioneers of the DIY stylist movement of the 1980s. Not only a stylist, but an amazing jeweller, making what we throw away as garbage into compelling pieces of art. A true anarchist, he is what I would consider the real meaning of a real stylist. Totally original in his aesthetic and a constant influence on today’s fashion community.

It's like walking in a painting. An Op-Ed by Karen Binns

This season at Paris fashion weeks AW 19/20, collections defined honour in the working women. With the recent passing of the the king himself, Karl Lagerfeld,  I felt sadness and joy all at the same time. Their was a quietness in the air, almost like a salute to the house of Chanel, And it’s achievement to still stand tall amongst all of the new designers houses.

February Political Intelligence

In a bold act of rebellion, seven Labour MPs broke away from the Party and united as the Independent Party. Declaring their loss of faith and disappointment in a Party that no longer represents their values, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna summoned a press conference to announce their resignation and intention to sit in Parliament as a “new, Independent Group of MPs.”

The Price of Fashion: our exclusive Q&A with the Chair Environmental Audit Committee Mary Creagh MP

What are the three points that you would like Defra to pick up on?

A: It is essential for Defra, and the Government as a whole, to understand that the way we make, use and throwaway our clothes is unsustainable. Our excessive fashion consumption is causing a waste problem both in the UK and overseas.

Defra should make fashion retailers take responsibility for the textile waste they create by introducing an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for textiles and reward companies that take positive action to reduce waste. The Government’s recent pledge to review and consult on how to deal with textile waste by 2025 is too little too late. We need action before the end of this parliament (2022).  

We would also like to see the Department consider whether it could apply its promised tax on virgin plastics to synthetic garments that don’t contain recycled plastic.  

Defra should also bring together fashion retailers, water companies and washing machine manufacturers to work together to solve the problem of microfibre pollution. We need changes in the law to end the era of throwaway fashion.  

A Head Couture brand that empowers Women Acid Attack Survivors. By Kshitija Mruthyunjaya

Ara Lumiere an Indian brand creates exquisite head accessories handcrafted by women acid attack survivors. They recently won the Fashion Hub Market prize by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and The Best Shops (a non-profit Italian chamber of buyers) during Milan Fashion Week and founder Kulsum Shadab Wahab says the “survivor’s needed this glory and there is no better platform to start our journey.”

Refugees in the Fashion Industry. An op-ed by Melissa Chaplin

It was October 2016 when a BBC Panorama investigation uncovered Syrian refugee children working in garment factories in Turkey, for high-street brands such as Marks and Spencer and ASOS. The documentary showed that there were children as young as 13 being forced to work 60 hour weeks for as little as 70p an hour. As a group, refugees are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as Peter McAlister, head of the Ethical Trading Initiative, has pointed out.

In Review - Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart & William McDonough. By Amy Nguyen

Published in 2002, this design manifesto centres on how we interact with the earth’s natural systems and nature. It calls for a paradigm shift away from a linear economy to one that is circular. The focus on a Cradle to Cradle philosophy in creating systems that promote an endless life cycle and celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity. Composed by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, it marries Braungart’s proficiency in chemistry with McDonough’s architectural prowess. Their excellence and expertise in their respective fields has seen Braungart lead Greenpeace’s chemical division as well as founding the German Environmental Protection Agency. McDonough’s international renowned design consultancy also sees him sit on the World Economic Forum’s Meta Council on Circular Economy. 

Exclusive Q&A on the High Streets and Town Centres in 2030 report. By Rafaella de Freitas

The High Streets and Town Centres 2030 report was the conclusion of an inquiry led by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee of the House of Commons. Town centres and the shopping experience have been reinvented with the next day deliveries, free returns and the comfort on not leaving your house, provided by online stores. This, combined with changing demographics, the trend of moving away from small towns to cities and the domination of chain commerce (how many Costa coffee’s do you walk past on your way to work?) has prompted a massive shift in the usage and scope for town centres and high streets to survive (and thrive )as our shopping habits change.

The Committee’s inquiry sets out to understand the role of high streets and city centres in sustaining social, cultural and economic health to local communities, and to evaluate the impact of the changing high streets on these.

More or Less Magazine x Matchesfashion: Designers Work Wonders With Waste. An Op-Ed by Trash4gold

It was refreshing to see designers featured that don’t have sustainability at the core of their brand. Vital conversations about waste are being opened up. Louise Gray made a splendid patch worked dress whereby strands of trimmings were attached in layers. Halpern used various fabrics from past seasons, creating a mish-mashed version of his signature sequin all in ones and Richard Quinn created a red floral dress using spare sample fabric. While Dilara Findikolu used old toiles creating a Miss Havishamesque gown with an embroidered D on the neckline.

Where Are All The Great Leaders? An Op-Ed by Nicholas Diamond-Krendel

Shortly before he died, Roy Jenkins commented that political journalism was something of a repetitive challenge when there were only two significant figures, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He compared the barren landscape of the day with the fertile ground of the 1970s and 1980s when a columnist could reflect on the activities of Benn, Crosland, Healey, Owen, Williams, Thatcher, Joseph, Heseltine and, of course, Jenkins himself. 15 years on from Jenkins’ comment and the situation appears to be worse than ever. Can I be alone in hankering after the conviction and charisma of a Blair or the intellectual heft of a Brown right now? Looking along the front benches today, I’d have Cameron and Osborne back – true they may have set our country on this wretched course, but at least they had a certain swagger and sangfroid that the Brexit debate has sorely lacked.

Following Up From Our Meeting with Bectu - Why Fashion Needs A Union. By @fashionassistants. The Voice Behind The Anonymous Instagram Page Highlighting Systemic Abuses In The Fashion Industry.

We are working with BECTU to find a way to create a sector for creatives just like you and me. The assistants and freelancers in fashion, make up, hair, PR, the works! If this goes ahead (we need your support and there’s been quite the case of people showing support but not actually turning up) it would cost £10 p/month (same as Netflix and Spotify) and once you’re a member you can pay £38 for the year (April to April) to get full public liability insurance. If we started a space or means of contact which would allow us to share our expected day rates, warn anyone we needed to or advise each other where necessary then the constant problems we find ourselves facing could hopefully decrease and, who knows, maybe one day disappear.