The many problems of fashion industry

Hello folks!

How many seasons do you think there are in the world of fashion? Most people would say four:
spring, summer, autumn and winter. These are the main seasons, but actually, there are 52 seasons.
This means new trends and new clothes every week. Do we really need something new so often? As
we are living in the time of climate change, environmental problems and low-cost products, I
decided to write about fashion industry and the problems we face in fast fashion. I find this topic
interesting and important as the fashion industry is filled with problematic practices and harmful
behavior.

Now, I am a tailor by my profession so this text is also somewhat motivated by my own self-interest
and interest of fellow tailors’ businesses. But let’s not let that bother us too much. When you get
into the world of tailors and learn about the high-quality bespoke clothes tailors and dressmakers
are able to make, you very soon learn to appreciate clothes in a new way. I always knew that some
stores sell poor quality fashion and some clothes tend to disintegrate in the first wash, but I did not
think about it too much. After becoming a tailor, I got this “ahaa”-moment: quality over quantity,
style over trend and it is all about the details. After this change in my thinking, I started to look for
information about how the fashion industry operates, how it affects me as a consumer, and how it
affects me as a tailor and others working in the field. What I found was sometimes very shocking.

Problems in fashion

A short post like this is not enough to go through all of the problems in such detail I would like to, so
I will shortly describe a few and put some links in the end of the post. Some big global fashion
businesses have made the headlines many times when reports of extremely poor work
environments in factories or lack of environmentally friendly practices have come up. For example,
in India some factory buildings have collapsed because they have not been maintained properly. In
low-cost production countries workers do not necessarily get the needed protecting covering when
working with chemicals. This can cause multiple health problems in the long run. Also, disturbingly
common is the fact that the employees are paid so little that they cannot afford the basic necessities
with 40-hour work weeks. The low-cost production is possible due to lack of legislation protecting
the workforce and environment.

The problems sadly do not end when products leave the factories. Polyester and other synthetic
fabrics are known to release microplastic fibers in every wash, and microplastic is one of the biggest
environmental problems we are facing. So, be aware of the material the textiles you buy are made of
and how often you wash them. Another interesting aspect is what happens to clothes when we do
not use them anymore. To be environmentally friendly we should cut the waste we produce aka
through less in to the bin. People try to sell their usable clothes in flea markets. When we are unable
to sell something, we usually turn to donating the clothes to charity. Charity is always good and I do
encourage people to donate, BUT when it comes to fashion you need to be careful where you
donate.

It has been reported that people in wealthy western countries donate tons of clothes to charities,
and tons of clothes are shipped yearly into for example countries in Africa. What starts as a good will
and idea of giving to those less fortunate, can sadly turn into more trouble. It is known that in some
cases the second hand clothes have turned into a million-dollar business as the donated clothes are
sold. Prices may seem low to us, but they can be more than a couple days salary for the locals. The
supporters say that this second hand clothes business creates jobs, but it is debatable if the business
truly creates more or better jobs than those lost in local production. Also, shipping donated clothes

is not the best answer to a problem that could be solved with local development. For example, an
area might need new infrastructure and investment in education and facilities, and in these cases,
shipping used clothes won’t solve the real problem. So, check what happens to the clothes you
donate.

Another option is giving clothes and textiles to companies who can turn used items into new fibers.
Technology for reusing fibers has evolved greatly. This is a good way to reduce the need for new
fibers and reduce the amount of waste we create.

Can we (the consumers) make a change?

Oh yes, we can! As consumers we have a responsibility to know how the products we buy and use
are made. We don’t need to know every little technical detail, but we should be aware of the larger
picture. This is because, if we want to change something, we need to know what we are changing
and what we can do to change it. Think of it in this way: a lamb does not suffer from shearing if it is
done in good environment, by shearers who truly know their profession and the health of the animal
is a priority. If the lamb lives in poor environment and no one cares about it as anything more than
just a resource, it suffers and can live in huge pain and distress. The same goes for everything else.

Now, there is nothing wrong in wanting low-cost clothes as not all of us have the money to get
bespoke suits tailored by the best of the best. Also, clothes are just clothes and as they say ‘a suit
does not make the man’. But clothes can be produced efficiently, sustainably and in consumer-
friendly cost, we just need to change our mindset about fashion and start to ask for a better fashion
industry. There are already companies in Finland which use recycled materials and production
happens inside the EU. Also, there are multiple certificates such as Öko-Tex to showcase better
practices.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: How many garments do I need? Do I want to buy
something just because it is trendy? Do I see myself wearing the garment 2 years down the line?
Why do I feel like I need new clothes (possibility is that marketing has affected your thinking in a way
that a desire becomes a need)? Where do I buy my clothes from and how are the clothes produced?
Do I truly like the garment or do I truly need it?

It is all about making small changes and being more aware of our actions and what happens around
us, not forgetting the importance of working with other people to achieve something. In the end the
consumer has the power to decide where and how to spend money.

Greenpeace on microplastic https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/6956/what-are-microfibers-and-why-are-our-clothes-polluting-the-oceans/

The Machines. A documentary about fashion. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5690244/

Pollution and fast fashion https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/environment-costs-fast-fashion-pollution-waste-sustainability-a8139386.html

BBC news article on fast fashion https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242

A look into the second hand clothes business https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/2015/feb/13/second-hand-clothes-charity-donations-africa

Clean clothes campaign on living wages https://cleanclothes.org/livingwage

Paula Aromäki
The writer is the secretary of TAYK, student of social sciences and tailor.

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New year, new blog!

Introducing TAYK, 2250 and 2030

As most of you have probably noticed, we have a new, fancy looking webpage! Kudos Miska for working on it during the autumn 2018. As part of our master plan we’re going to revive also our blog. As the very first blog post, we felt it would be nice to talk about TAYK and our current goals and themes so you readers would be able to catch up nicely 🙂

As I’m writing this, we’re waiting for our newbies night to start and I’ve been preparing to talk about these same topics there also. What is TAYK? Why should you join us and be part of our events? And what on earth are Agenda 2030, SDG’s and 2250? To start off, let’s talk a bit about TAYK itself. We are now a 15-year-old association with deep connections to our predecessor MYKY ry (Mansen YK-yhdistys) that was put down somewhere during the mid-90’s. The reasons were, according to its last chair, the fading interest in the UN and its values with the recent ending of Cold War and the fall of Berlin Wall. In addition, Finland was suffering from the recession and without resources or people willing to join MYKY’s events, there was no need for an association like that. In 2004 however, the successor known as TAYK was founded.

The association have grown a lot during these last 15 years. It started with just a couple of people and really small budget and low effort events. Now we’re organizing events for our ~150 members; events being anywhere between grabbing a drink (‘’Have a drink with TAYK’’) to visiting other countries like we did last autumn when visiting Geneva! But this isn’t a reason to stop doing more and going even bigger. I feel it’s incredibly important to share knowledge about the UN and its values now that the international politics have gone remotely downhill with growing protectionism and isolation together with talks about a probable new Cold War. There are huge humanitarian crisis around the world, which the world cannot seem to find any definite answers. These problems aren’t something any of the countries or their citizens could solve alone, so the need for international cooperation and global awareness is more important than ever.

As part of these issues, we in TAYK hope to make people more aware of the issues at hand and make sure people don’t fall to apathy with everything they hear from the news. Thus, our current themes are the Agenda 2030 and the security council’s resolution 2250 ‘’Youth, peace and security’’.

 

Agenda 2030 and resolution 2250

‘’The numbers Mason, what do they mean?’’

Yeah, we hear this a lot. It’s not like most of us follow closely UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions or other UN stuff. We’re probably going to add sections to our webpage about Agenda 2030 and 2250 soon(ish), but before that happens, I’ll try to open them bit in this post.

Agenda 2030

From these two number combinations, the Agenda 2030 is most likely more well known since it is the biggest thing the UN is trying to implement worldwide currently. Agenda 2030 or the SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) are 17 interconnected goals, which are meant to be achieved by 2030. These 17 goals are meant to be a reference to global development in different sections of societies and global dimensions; for example, goal number 1 is ‘’No poverty’’, goal number 13 is ‘’Climate Action’’ and goal number 17 is ‘’Partnership for the goals’’.

The SDG’s are a successor for the Millennium Development Goals spanning from 2000 till 2015, which were nearly achieved. For example, the number of people living on less than $1.25 (extreme poverty) a day has been reduced from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015 – the goal was to halve the number. Also the global maternal mortality ratio fell by nearly half – short of the two-thirds reduction the MDGs aimed for.

The MDG’s were ambitious, but the SDG’s aim even higher. For example, Goal 1 ‘’No Poverty’’ includes the eradication of extreme poverty, meaning there would be no more people living with less than $1.25 a day. The progress is calculated, evaluated and followed with Sustainable Development Indexes, which you can look up yourself from a link I’ll provide in the end of this post. Finland has been one the first to take action on government level to acknowledge the goals as part of the state’s strategy. Just couple of days ago the state published their website for Finland’s SDI’s.

Whether or not we’ll achieve these goals or not, is up to every single person living and breathing on this planet. It is not just the governments, corporations and organizations but also you, me, your family and your friends who are responsible in trying to make our way of living sustainably on this planet.

Resolution 2250

Less known, but even so important. UNSC Resolution 2250 is better known as the resolution for ‘’Youth, peace and security’’ and it was unanimously adopted in 2015. The aim of this resolution is to call for the ‘’participation and views of youth to be considered during the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, as their marginalization would be detrimental to building sustainable peace in such aspects as repatriation, resettlement and reconstruction’’. The resolution defined youth as persons between 18 and 29.

2250 was chosen as the annual theme by the UN Youth of Finland and TAYK, as we felt it would be a good year to participate the youth of Finland in the political processes here in Finland. In 2016 a 2250 network was founded for civil society, to take action together to make it easier to advance the resolutions aims together. As we’re currently having two elections, national parliamentary and European Parliamentary, it is necessary to get the youth of Finland involved and heard. There has never been more young people in the world and all of us will be the ones making the difference in the future. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the difference right here, right now.

Epilogue

I could’ve written a whole lot more about these topics, but I hope this will improve your understanding even a little bit. If you’re interested in hearing and learning more about these topics or about TAYK, feel free to contact me or anyone from the current board of TAYK. You can also come to talk to us in our events whenever you like!

I tried to gather some interesting links here about 2030 and 2250, so can read more about them.

About the SDG’s https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/sustainabledevelopmentgoals

The SDG index portal https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/

Finnish Index page http://www.stat.fi/tup/kestavan-kehityksen-yk-indikaattorit-agenda2030.html

S/RES/2250 (2015) (Resolution 2250) https://undocs.org/S/RES/2250(2015)

Finnish 2250-network http://www.2250.fi/fi/

 

Yeti Kakko

The writer is the chair of TAYK, an enthusiastic association nerd, student of international relations and currently in a hurry to the newbie’s night.

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Tervetuloa Taykin blogiin!

Kuva
Veikko, Taykin pj 2014 // Veikko, Tayk chair 2014

Hei sinä, tervetuloa Tampereen YK-yhdistyksen upouuteen blogiin ja seuraamaan Taykin toimintaa ja ajatuksia kuluvana vuonna ja sen jälkeenkin. Ajattelin tässä ensimmäisessä kirjoituksessa hieman valaista, mitä vuonna 2014 on luvassa ja mikä oikein on tämän blogimme tarkoitus ja miksi se luotiin?

Ensin viimeisin kysymys. Jo aikojen alusta Tayk on tuottanut lehteä nimeltään Tayk-sanomat, jossa ihmiset pystyivät kirjoittamaan ajankohtaisista, Yhdistyneisiin kansakuntiin liittyvistä asioista yhdistyksen jäsenten ja ulkopuolisten luettavaksi. Koska vuoden 2012 Tayk-sanomat on edelleen painossa (ehkä vielä joskus sen sieltä saamme) päädyimme vuonna 2013 korvaamaan sen tämän vuoden alussa perustetulla blogilla. Blogin tarkoitus on tuoda Taykin toimintaa elävämmin esille: millaisia ihmisiä täällä oikein toimii, millaisia tapahtumia järjestämme ja millaisia asioita pidämme tärkeänä. Blogi toimii myös visuaalisena keinona ja elävöittää sivuja mukavasti vaarantamatta yhdistyksen arvoja.

Sitten, kaikkia kiinnostavaan asiaan: mitä on luvassa vuonna 2014. Keväällä panostamme niin asiapitoiseen ohjelmaan, kuten Harjoitteluinfo 20.3., Yksille Taykin kanssa -ilta 25.3, kuin hauskanpitoon, kuten huhtikuun aikana lanseerattava Maailmanparannuskaraoke, jossa parannetaan maailmaa musiikin keinoin! Syksyllä pamahtaa kunnolla, sillä luvassa on ainakin suosittu Maailmanparannussuunnistus, Peace Day -päivän seminaari ja vuosijuhlat, sillä Tayk on päässyt jo kymmenen vuoden varhaisteini-ikään! Näihin kaikkiin tapahtumiin olet lämpimästi tervetullut ja tietoa niistää saa joko sähköpostilistaltamme, Facebookista tai täältä nettisivuiltamme! Jos et pääse paikalle, niin tunnelmia voi käydä katselemassa ja lukemassa täältä blogista.

Ja vielä huomiona: tähän blogiin voi kirjoittaa kuka tahansa; myös Taykin hallituksen ulkopuoliset jäsenet, kunhan teksti tai kirjoitus liittyy jollakin tapaa Taykin toimintaan tai YK:hon. Mikäli tekstiä haluaa tuottaa, se kannattaa lähettää tiedottajallemme (sakari.ilkka(at)uta.fi), joka esitarkistuksen jälkeen julkaissee tekstin tällä.

Nähdään tapahtumissa!

Terkuin,

Tayk ry:n puolesta, Veikko (PJ -14)

[polldaddy poll=7889806]

–ENGLISH–

Welcome to Tayk blog!

Hey you! Yes, exactly you, a warm welcome to brand new Tayk (United Nations Association of Tampere) blog to follow what we are up to in the following year and beyond! My purpose in this celebratory first writing is to enlighten what is the purpose of the blog and what is still to come in the year 2014.

So why Tayk blog? Well, very long time ago, until recently Tayk published a magazine known as Tayk-sanomat, where people could write about recent, UN related issues for association’s members and outsiders to read. Since the 2012 Tayk-sanomat is still in the press (and God knows when it will be released), the Tayk board 2013 decided to replace the magazine with a blog in the beginning of 2014. The meaning of the blog is to bring Tayk’s events and activities to the forefront in more vividly: to tell people what kind of people act here, what kind of events we organise and what kind of issues we value. The blog also works as a visual means to make the websites livelier without compromising the association’s values.

But of course, a blog without content would be useless. Thus, we have planned some intriguing events for you to participate in in 2014! In the spring, we offer you ‘Have a Pint with Tayk’ -discussion evenings (the first in 25.3), excursion and more relaxed ‘Heal the world by karaoke’ -eventing where you can use the power of songs to heal the world and make it a better place – for you and for me. In the autumn we will treat you with Peace Day seminar, Heal the World orienteering (yes, we love to heal the world) and 10-year party. You are of course most welcome to these events! To get more information of them you can join our Facebook, email-list or visit this websites. Or if you are unable to make it, you should check this blog for photos and stuff.

One more thing, this blog is meant for everyone, thus everyone can write in it as long as the text has something to do with our association or is UN related. If you want to write something or have done so already, send it to our board member responsible for communications (sakari.ilkka(at)uta.fi) who will check the text and publish it here.

Enjoy our blog and cya in our events!

Best,

On behalf of Tayk, Veikko (Chair -14)

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