chemical facts


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With a background in teaching fashion and textiles, my interest in ethical fashion started whilst working as an NGO in rural Zimbabwe, where I spent two blissful years in an environment free from light pollution (no electricity) and with few distractions (radio batteries don’t last long!!). Whilst in Zimbabwe I chanced upon a recipe book of natural dyes using indigenous plants and flora – the idea of using natural dyes was in stark contrast to the noxious chemical dyes I had been using for tie-dye with my women’s co-operatives – they were full of toxic chemicals, a mixture of corrosive caustic soda and sodium hydrosulphite, which when inhaled can cause severe irritation of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract, as well as other more serious long-term effects. These dyes and associated chemicals were sold without any health warnings and we wore no protective clothing or masks when handling them.

Many years later my mum told me about a friend of hers who suffered from pesticide poisoning from organophosphates which were commonly used for sheep dipping in the UK during the 1980’s. This ignited my interest again and after reading “The Toxic Consumer”, I was hooked on a campaign to discover the truth about the chemicals in our clothing.

This website has been born out of a passion to share my knowledge and experiences about the fashion and textile industry with those that are interested and aims to showcase the work undertaken by students who also have an interest in ethical fashion and share my concerns. The website will also provide educational tools and resources for other educators who teach on art and design or fashion related courses, in the hope that they can highlight the issues of toxic chemicals in clothing, bring ethics and sustainability into teaching, and, by doing so transform and motivate the designers of the future to create a fashion industry that considers people and the environment and questions the need for hazardous chemicals to be part of this industry.




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