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Fashioncycling
Fall|Winter 2017 fashion trends helping or hurting the environment
Vending Machine to Recycling Bin
Sir Richard Branson speaks to College Students
Fashion vs. Clothing

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Fashioncycling

I have been exploring the wicked problem of textile disposal and recycling throughout the last few months. In this I have created a mini-documentary 'fashioncycling' highlighting this issue specifically in the state of Maine and some of the solutions at a local level. 

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Fashioncycling
A look into the wicked problem of Textile Disposal & Recycling.

Please visit the website www.fashioncycling.weebly.com for more sources on this subject. 

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Fall|Winter 2017 fashion trends helping or hurting the environment

With another change in fashion seasons, comes the potential for, “Half a million tonnes of microfibers into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles,” according to EcoWatch

The latest fashions, “Leave a devastating planetary impact,” EcoWatch reports. The purchase of this seasons must haves could affect the more than just your wallet. 

The fashion industry has tried to make strides in this impact in one way by producing sustainable clothing, ecocult, writes about, “THE 16 MOST AFFORDABLE PLACES TO BUY SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY, AND ETHICAL FASHION.” 


One of the most well known is Reformation, with their RefScale division the company tracks the environmental footprint generated in the manufacturing process. Other well known brands such as Urban Renewal by Urban Outfitters and Green Room by ASOS have eco-friendly divisions as well. 

When searching sustainable fashion, google trends show Dutch fashion as being at the top. I have attended the former Mercedes Benz New York Fashion week as well as Los Angeles Fashion week and strive to attend fashion weeks in Paris and London as well as Portugal, but never thought of Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week until now. 

We are all living in a globalized world which has its perks and benefits, but we also need to recognize what this world wide approach to manufacturing and transport does to the environment even if it is just the shirt on our backs that are contributing to our carbon footprint. 

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Vending Machine to Recycling Bin

Most people nowadays know how to navigate themselves to the correct recycling bin when finished with their beverage or snack from the vending machine. But what about when purchasing a tee shirt, socks or even flip flops, from such a  machine, where are the apparel recycling bins in the line up? 

The latest trend in fast fashion, a term coined because of the high volume of low prices clothing that comes in and out of store, in what seems like a blink of an eye, is the apparel vending machines.  Who What Wear, highlights some of the pioneers of this new way of selling with companies such as Uniqlo and Havanans cashing in on this trend. Followed by the extra money pocketed by,  “Cutting the middle man may be a savvy route to cost-cutting,” describes the Independent


Hopefully the consumers are also recycling these items instead of contributing to the 81 pounds of clothing many people in the United States throw away ever year. There are recycling bins for every product you can pretty much think up, sometimes all lined up together like little soldiers. But there has yet to be an apparel one amongst the rest. Those bins are usually outside second hand stores and scattered around random street corners. Why are they left alone all by themselves instead of being among the gang of recycle bins for glass, paper, plastic? 

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Fashion vs. Clothing

Originally posted October 22, 2017

First sight makes a lasting impression. Nonverbal communication makes up 93% of everyday communication, according to Albert Mehrabian. How people size up one another when first meeting, what one chooses as their outfit for the day tells the world who they are. According to the Changing Minds organization, "A simple rule is 'Dress to impress', which means what you should wear can vary greatly with your audience." 

Just think about it like walking around looking at yourself in the mirror all day. The mirror image is what the world sees of you and unfortunately human nature does judge a book by its cover. If this is the way of the world why not step out into it with your best [foot] outfit to show they world who you are? Take pride in your uniqueness and let you're clothing be your calling card to the world of how you want people to see you. 


The tee shirts people wear and what is printed on them tell a story about just like a billboard does. In a Complex Magazine article, Jon Moy breaks down tee shirts into 26 different categories. Moy describes category, “#20 athletictecht -  Personally, I don’t know you if you wear super technical T-shirts like this. Under Armour? What the fuck?” As well as category,  “#21 colleget You are a character in a romantic comedy who has reluctantly returned to their home town after years of living in New York City,” which I can truly relate to at this point in my life. 

Preserve History on a students tee shirt this morning tells me that he is interested in history from not even speaking to him. The fraternity someone's in the band that they like, where they've traveled and what their favorite sports team is. All of these tee shirt billboards tell a story about a person without even knowing them, so make sure you choose the correct one. 
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Wasteland or Recycle-land

Originally posted September 25, 2017

With the weather changing soon, a small set of UMaine students were asked what they did with their unwanted clothing. Almost all said they donated them to one charity or another. During a Mitchell Lecture on sustainability, Dr. Dietz, a professor of Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy from Michigan State University said, “We are reluctant to discuss value difference.” The students surveyed, answered with what they thought the politically correct answer should be. 

But upon more discussion on the issue, a few admitted they through away soiled or torn clothing. When asked why, they said because they were not good enough to donate, not knowing that they could recycle these textiles, much like plastic, paper and other materials. 

As mentioned in “The waste of changing seasons,” blog post, one solution on the UMaine campus is the Black Bear Exchange where you can exchange your clothing for some new wares of pick up some needed food. 

UMaine also has recycle bins around campus called zero-sort, unfortunately one of the only things not excepted are textiles. The Director of Sustainability at University of Maine, Dan Dixon said that,  “The contractor [Casella] does not allow textiles,” but that he would be interested in looking into the process involved in recycling textiles. 


Dixon went on to say, that Bangor and Orono used to have “Big Yellow Bins,”  possibly from Planet Aid for recycling clothing, but has not seen them lately. This company has been under investigation and according to an NBC Washington article, “Petersen [company owner] is now on the run -- wanted by Interpol -- after the Danish government charged him with charities fraud and tax evasion.” Perhaps this is why the bins are now gone. 

The university also has an end of year sale, the, “Clean Sweep Sale,” in which all of the items left “donated” by students are sold with the, “Proceeds will be used to support programs and services offered through UMaine’s Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, including the Black Bear Exchange, Welcome Weekend Day of Service, and the MLK Day of Service meal-packing event.”

It looks like overall Maine students and the university itself are doing their fair share of recycling and donating instead of contributing to the 81 pounds per year that most people in the United States throw away. 

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