Festivals are a great way to jump on trends and show off your sense of style, but there is more harm behind festival outfits than good. From the sequins and glitter to the forgotten garments, festival fashion is not very eco-friendly.
Aside from the dangers of single use fashion, the miniscule glitter particles all over clothes and used in make-up contribute just as much harm. Glitter, gets, everywhere. And I don’t just mean in our bags or carpets. Made of harmful microplastics, glitter from festivals and crafts goes further than our homes, it reaches rivers and lakes and eventually our oceans.
Single use fashion
Many people buy brand new clothes for festivals, wanting new styles and pressured under the idea to buy new to fit in. Overall, around $307 million dollars are spent solely for this purpose which makes up about 7.5 million outfits.
Often the clothes bought are used only for one festival and some are even thrown away or left behind. Single use fashion is fast-fashion and it is not sustainable. Buying more and more clothes means that there is more in demand. This results in more pollution and waste being produced by the fashion and textile industries in the creation of these products.
Not only is it the production of clothes that produces harm, but their life afterwards. Their packaging is yet again more plastic and when you throw them away they simply sit in a landfill or are incinerated.
One of the influences behind buying new is the stigma behind re-wearing clothes. Many people avoid wearing the same outfits. In an age populated by social media, people are desiring the aesthetic of having multiple stand out outfits on their Instagram feed rather than the eco-friendly alternative.
We need to work to remove this stigma from social media. Encourage others to re-wear clothes, swap with friends, mix and match your own wardrobes for different occasions, buy second hand. Your aesthetic is much cooler when you’re not harming the environment, and you may even discover some new favourite outfits in the process.
And if you can’t find a more sustainable alternative, stay conscious of the clothes you are buying when you do buy new. Are they ethically produced? Is it made from sustainable materials? Will you wear it more than once? If not, is it worth buying in the first place? By being more conscious of our spending habits we can contribute to decreasing fast-fashion.
Is this goodbye to glitter?
Well, no, not entirely. With environmental concerns on the rise, many festivals and stores are replacing their purely plastic glitter with bioglitter, but don’t be fooled, not all bioglitter is eco-friendly.
Glitter is made from plastics such as PET which is known to release harmful chemicals that can interrupt hormonal systems in animals and humans alike. To combat this, bioglitter uses more natural sources such as cellulose.
However, one issue found with the first bioglitter products were that despite their mostly natural materials, companies were using a plastic coating on top of the natural cores. Companies did this out of the desire to maintain a shiny iridescent effect like normal glitter. When studied, these forms of bioglitter caused just as much harm as traditional glitter, a result of greenwashing, where companies could describe their products as biodegradable to gain customers without the claim being certified.
Where can we find bioglitter that IS eco-friendly?
A UK based company called Bioglitter™ created their own bioglitter products. Their first product Bioglitter™ SPARKLE was a form of bioglitter that used natural products but a plastic coating. However, they then improved their efforts to produce Bioglitter™ PURE. Bioglitter™ PURE is a certified eco-friendly product that is being sold to many stores and brands across the globe. The TÜV ‘OK biodegradable WATER’ certification assures with confidence that the glitter is biodegradable and means that in natural and freshwater environments the products biodegrade and contribute no harm or microplastics to the water sources it is in contact with.
Examples of brands that buy Bioglitter™ are Primark, Accessorize London, Tesco, Hobbycraft, and also to many other companies that provide glitter to brands using Bioglitter™ as a source, (Today Glitter, Eco Stardust, Glamavan).