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Should you consider refinancing with rising rates? Yes

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By Sathi Roy (NMLS ID: 1459669)


Rates are rising, so if you’re considering refinancing, it’s better to do it now as opposed to later, when they might be higher. We’ll walk through some scenarios to help you decide if now is the right time for you.

First you’ll need to look at how far you are into your current mortgage and determine your Combined Loan to Value (CLTV) ratio. Your CLTV compares your loan balance to your home’s value and includes all lines of credit that you may have open on your home. It’s expressed as a percentage, and a lower number is better. A good CLTV opens the door to new loans.

Next, take a look at your bigger financial picture.

5 times refinancing during a period of rising rates is a good thing

1. Your ARM is about to reset

If you’re coming up on the adjustable part of your adjustable rate mortgage within the next year or two, switching loans — whether to a fixed mortgage or another ARM — means your rate would be guaranteed for longer than it is now, regardless of market fluctuations.

2. You can consolidate other loans

Say you have student loans, medical bills, a couple of credit cards...basically, other debt that generally has higher interest rates than home loans. If your interest rates are higher on that unsecured debt than they would be on a new mortgage, then it might make sense to consolidate so you’re paying the same interest rate across all loans.

3. Your credit score improved

Woo hoo! If you boosted your FICO, you could qualify for more types of mortgages. Might as well see what’s out there. If you’re able to find a less expensive loan, you could end up saving a lot of money. Learn how to find the right lender for you.

4. You have more money coming in

You got a raise at work, your spouse got a raise, or your new job pays better. Another woo hoo! However your situation got sunnier, more money in your bank account means a better debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which in turn makes you a more attractive credit risk, which — you see where this is going — means you’ll have better refi options. Everyone’s financial picture is different, so you might need to talk to a refinancing expert about your personal circumstances.

5. You live in a hot market

Obviously this one is beyond your control, but if you live somewhere with rising property values, that could mean good things for you. Maybe you’ve been putting some home improvement projects on the back burner, or you have other reasons you’ve been waiting to take a cash-out refinance. This is a fine moment to check into it before rates go up.

If you’re interested in learning more about how refinancing works and if it could be a good idea for you, check out the Better Guide to Refinance. It covers everything from how to determine your goals to how to shop around. As always, if you have questions, our Mortgage Experts are here with answers.

This article was originally published on Better.com

Your Daughter’s Sweet 16: Ideas She’ll Love

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As your precious daughter turns 16, you want to throw her an unforgettable party that she'll reminisce about for years to come. Planning for teenagers is easier said than done, however. Check out these tips for throwing a party that will give your daughter joyful lifelong memories of her sweet 16.

Get Her Input

It's simple but so easy to forget - ask your daughter what type of sweet 16 party she wants, and go from there. It can be easy to think about what kind of party you would have wanted as a teen, but your daughter's preferences may be very different. While you might imagine an extravagant blowout, she may want a small gathering of close friends. Involving your daughter in the planning process increases the chance that she'll have a great time at her birthday bash.

Celebrate What Makes Her Unique

Whether you choose to do a themed party or just have touches of her favorite things, celebrating the things that make her unique can create an entertaining party environment that she'll adore. Whether there's a particular band, tv show, celebrity, or sport she loves, hone in on her interests and find ways to incorporate them into the party.

Consider Going No-Gift

Today's generation of teens are more civic-minded than ever, and there's a decent chance that your daughter would prefer to have people make charitable donations in her name rather than bring a physical gift. Talk with your daughter to learn if this is something she might be interested in, and work with her to choose a charity that matches her interests and beliefs.

Create An Experience

If you and your daughter decide that you'd like to do something other than the traditional blowout bash for her sweet 16, an experience can be a fun, unique way to celebrate her birthday. Ziplining, spending a weekend away in a new city, seeing a play with friends, or checking out a new amusement park can all be exciting experiences that take the place of a formal celebration.

Chat With Her Friends

You want to find out what your daughter would like for her party, but privately check in with her friends too. Together, you can plan a few surprises for her sweet 16 that she'll love. The surprise in and of itself will wow her, but knowing that you and her friends joined forces to do something for her special day will warm her heart.

Don't Forget The Food

Go all out for her celebration by making (or ordering!) her favorite for party guests. She'll feel celebrated as she's surrounded by something she loves, and she'll know how much you care as she sees you going the extra mile to make sure she and her friends have plenty of their favorite treats. Asking your daughter to participate in planning the menu for the party can be a fun way for you to bond and plan together.

No matter what route your daughter wants to go to celebrate her sweet 16, she'll love that you're taking the time to celebrate her.

 

This article was originally published on DearAva.

Tips for Choosing the Quality Air Mattress

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There are numerous categories of mattresses but when we talk about to set a guest room, kids’ room or for camping out, at that time we don’t forget to discuss the air mattresses. Among all the types of mattresses, air mattresses are the most unique category.

While camping out, you will be able to pack your air mattress in the small packaging. You will carry it very easily. Moreover, when you set the guest room, it’s very easy to move from one place to another. Its deflation quality will make storing it easier.

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The air mattresses are designed with the comfort layers that will heal your muscles from stiffness. Alongside getting this comfort, your body curves will be contoured properly and it’s equally best for all kinds of sleeper.

Just buy the most comfortable air mattress for you after reading the best air mattress reviews by the Top-ratted Home Products site.

Following are the tips, you should consider for choosing the quality air mattress

Get familiar with the manufacturing material of the air beds

Most of the air mattresses are manufactured by well-known material Vinyl. This manufacturing material Vinyl is also known as PVC material.

Before choosing the most comfortable air mattress, if your priority is the thickness of the inner layers then you need to keep a sharp focus on the air bed’s material. Most of the Vinyl made mattresses are containing the 4 inches thicker layers.

On the other hand, if you want more durability and more thickness then you will have to find the air mattress with extra thick Vinyl layers inside it.

READ  5 reasons to do the Manaslu circuit trek in Nepal

Must consider the size of an air mattress

Just like, while buying a traditional mattress you will have multiple options in the sizing of the mattresses. In air mattresses, you will also find a variety of sizes. Therefore, you need to consider the size according to your priorities.

Besides getting the air beds for treating the guests well regarding to give them good night rest, now numerous people have started to choose the air mattress for their personal use. For instance, few people find the air mattress with the optimal firmness. So, they choose it to cure their back problems.

That’s why; it’s important to look for the most appropriate air mattress size for you or for your kids.

Before making the final decision, read the customer reviews about air beds

Buying a mattress is an activity of investing a good amount on a product at once. Moreover, this investment is not a short term investment, in buying a mattress you will invest your money for the long term.

4 Quick Dance Studio Tips

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Imagine, if you will, the following scenario. You’re running a dance studio, but you’re just starting out and the prospect of being “in charge” is unfamiliar territory. You understand that the job comes with challenges, emotional demands, and more than its fair share of the unexpected. During a brief and welcome respite, you ask yourself, “what are a few things I can do to make sure things operate more smoothly?”

It’s a fair question. You don’t just want your studio to tread water — you want it to thrive. Just getting by isn’t the ideal scenario for most, and while there are few (if any) surefire plans that will ensure longevity for a business, there are some tips applicable to the art of operating a dance studio that can help maximize your chances. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you today.

Tip 1: Build Your Team

A great studio starts with a great team. Your first inclination will probably be to try and staff yours with the best members available. It’s not a bad first step, and there are plenty of tip guides available for hiring right, which put the benefits of extensive screening and stringent recruitment front and center:

“Hiring the right employee enhances your work culture and pays you back a thousand times over in high employee morale, positive forward thinking planning, and accomplishing challenging goals.”

Putting out the call for applicants in the traditional manner is a good start, but not always feasible when there’s a small hiring pool around or if your job ads just aren’t getting any traction. When such a situation arises, though, there’s a solid “Plan B” you can fall back on.

Tapping into your local network of dancers can help tip the scales when it comes to hiring trustworthy talent. Invite some talented guest dancers to help you teach classes, and, through word of mouth, attract others to come to the studio. Be sociable, and you may stumble across some leads that will prove fruitful in your search.

Then there’s your own internal network you can tap. Students who have risen through the ranks may show enough leadership to take the reins on a class or two of their own, so start grooming them to do so early.

Building cohesion amongst your dancers can help in this regard (and a distinct outfit, like customized leggings create a uniform look for the team, can help them forge a deeper connection with your studio). Remember to look to all available outlets when building your team to ensure you get the best and brightest watching your back.

Tip 2: Learn To Navigate Conflict

Like any environment with more than a few individuals present, there will be situations that require some measure of conflict resolution. There will be potential for disruptions between faculty, problem students, and even problem parents from time to time.

It might stem from unrealistic expectations. In some cases, faculty may have some friction between their personalities. In other cases, parents might not have a grasp on the way things are supposed to operate. They might have a contention to every policy, every decision. They might spend an inordinate amount of time questioning everything about your staff and studio.

It can be difficult to handle, but the best approach is to be decisive. You have your guidelines and you know how your studio is supposed to be run. It might be a good idea to brush up on some conflict resolution skills. You might also want to look into some of the best ways to deal with parents who are a bit unruly.

Tip 3: Dedicate Time To The Business

Your passion might be dancing, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the business side of your operation. You’ll have to put some time into promoting yourself. Every industry is competitive, even when it comes to dance studios. Marketing yourself will be part parcel in your quest to make sure everything goes smoothly.

In a way, you’ve probably already got some buzz going through word of mouth. You can capitalize on this further by making use of online marketing avenues, such as social media and the like. It might feel like a tricky landscape to enter at first, but if you study the fundamentals, you’ll be able to take control of getting your name out to the masses in no time.

Tip 4: Stay Flexible

Last, but not least, you should remember that throughout it all, you’ve still got to make time for yourself. Putting in the hours necessary to build your studio and make it flourish is essential, but, you won’t be quite as effective if you don’t prioritize recharging yourself as well. When possible, get in the habit of taking a day off at regular intervals. Excite some of your interests outside of dancing, and return ready to tackle your next challenge.

6 Items Every Dancer Needs In Her Bag

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Ask any dancer and they will tell you, there are certain pieces of clothing that every dancer needs at some point. Dancers wear their gear to practice and they all serve a function that is important. When a dancer performs on stage, her clothing, hair, and performance must be flawless. With this in mind, it is easy to see that dance gear is critically important and not something to be taken lightly.

If you are a dancer or the parent of a dancer, you need to know what essentials are always needed. We have compiled a list of the top 6 items every dancer needs and all of them you can find at JustForKix.com.

  • Tights

Tights are probably the most used and most needed item in the dance bag. Tights keep the dancer compressed, warm, and sleek. They support the dancer and help her with her physique. Tights are worn during practice and rehearsal. When the performance moves to the stage, the lights are unforgiving. Tights give the dancer the flawless look that is required. Uneven skin tone on the legs, a scrape or a bruise is not acceptable in the arts. The tights must be pristine, without runs or stains.

  • Leotard

The leotard is dancewear the hugs the body and caresses the dancer. They allow the dancer to move freely and modestly. The one-piece outfit comes in an array of colors, necklines, and sleeves. Every dancer should have a leotard with them at all times.

  • Jazz pants

For many years the dancer stuck with the tried and true leggings for warmth while dancing. But today’s dancer could live in Jazz pants. They are comfortable and thicker so they are not as sheer. They are worn for all types and even for workouts. Many yoga dancers reach for the Jazz pants as part of their routine.

  • Wrap skirt

Even if you do not study ballet, you will feel like a ballerina when you wear a wrap skirt. They are chiffon and flow easily in the air around the dancer. When a dancer wants to concentrate on her moves while reinforcing her grace and femininity, she wears the wrap skirt. It never lets her down.

  • Ballerina slippers

Again, you do not have to be a ballerina to enjoy wearing these classic shoes, They are sinfully comfortable and offer superb grip and control. You will want to wear them everywhere, but your instructor will still insist they are never worn outside the dance studio.

  • Sports bras and Spanx

If you have never worn Spanx, you might not understand the pull these undergarments have on a dancer. The tight fit keeps the dancer from showing more skin than intended. The sports bra provides support and allows the dancer to move without fear.

Bonus tip:

It may not be a need, but you will find a dance costume in most dancers bags. They are fun and worn sometimes to boost dancer’s confidence. There are many dance costumes and every dancer deserves at least one. So select your best dance costume and show your stuff.

Green is Good: 5 Tips on How to Start Your Organic Clothing Line

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With a forwarding eco-friendly global community, organic clothing provides people with a chance to create an impact on an exclusive level. To demonstrate, natural cotton is responsible for producing almost all organic apparel, as well as soy and hemp, making organic clothing a staple to every possible clothing variety.

Those with enthusiasm for clothing and a passion for protecting the world can find inspiration, joy, as well as profit by establishing an organic clothing industry. Hence, here are the important tips when setting up your organic clothing business.

Plan Like a Pro

The first thing you have to consider what being sustainable means and determine how this concept can work for your label. Accordingly, put your imagination for your organic clothing line on paper. Also, define all your objectives and goals by doing a business plan and study the trends and profits of the industry.

Next, provide information about your business, including the statement of mission and vision, the name of your business, as well as the organizational structure. Then, provide comprehensive marketing plans along with the information regarding your target market. Lastly, determine the potential profits and illustrate performance possibilities with financial statements.

Explore and Analyze

Looking for your perfect material is quite challenging if you are limited to only ethical and sustainably and made sources. However, there are a few eco-friendly fabric options that are quite popular in organic and ethical brands. Organic fabrics have a lesser impact on the environment than synthetic materials.

The cropping of organic cotton use quite less water than those of conventional cotton and are free from chemicals and pesticides that are harmful to consumers, farmers, and the whole environmental lives. Other than organic cotton, some sought-after natural materials include Tencel, bamboo linen, also the deadstock and recycled fabrics.

Also, using fabric made out of recycled materials consumes lesser energy than manufacturing an entirely new fabric.  What's more, surplus or deadstock fabrics are leftover from factories, mills, or big companies, and then resold at more affordable prices instead of being thrown into the garbage.

Thus, do research and communicate to some reputable suppliers and request few samples for you to review. After you have compared several suppliers, gathered plenty of options and chosen your fabrics, you can now develop your design.

Get Your Concepts Real

Before jumping into the designing process, you have to establish your brand identity. As mentioned earlier, study your target market and identify your ideal customers. Also, you have to be concise in strengthening your product vision by creating a brand message, mood board, and a written review of your target market for your reference.

Now, you should work on making your design concepts into a tangible and actual product. Draw clear design outlines, and hire someone to help you with the pattern and sample making if needed.

Remember that this step may require some stages of tweaking until you can have your ideal garment pattern and figure that you can introduce to a factory. At this moment, you also need to have your technical sheet ready. Technical sheets play crucial details of construction to let factories produce your designs easily.

Don’t Go Alone

After your tech sheets and product samples are ready, now is the time to look for a production partner. Remember that when looking for a prospective partner, present these including the exact amount of products you want to produce.

Indeed, it's essential to be prepared with all of these details to make sure that you aren’t viewed as an amateur since factories won't hold your hand throughout the process. Consider also to get some costing quotes from a few alternatives and compare the pricing. Moreover, determine the lead times of the factory and set a production itinerary that works for you.

Time to Launch and Promote

After you have done the process above, it's the time for you to do the promotion. However, promoting a product doesn't seem to be easy as it seems. Understand that the promotion tool in the marketing mix plays a lot of communication which covers all image-forming and sales-promoting measures.

This step is vital in implementing an organic and ethical brand. Thus, communicate with your target market through the use of social media, since it is the most influential means of marketing nowadays. Also, try to display your products online like Deal Wiki and other online sites to have a wider reach of customers.

Takeaway

The word "organic" is spreading around like wildfire in the past years Though it's commonly used to describe foods, it now transitioned to our clothing too. If you're a fashion enthusiast and a nature-lover as well, think of creating your sustainable and organic brand.

But remember that when starting your organic clothing brand, you need to go more than a good sense of style. You also need to know the game in business as well as the capability to create organic garments.

How to Be More Sustainable in 5 Easy Steps

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For many of us, we hear the term ‘sustainable fashion’, we learn a little about what it entails and we are eager to start being better and being more sustainable. The only issue is - how and where do you start?

 

Search the internet on how to start supporting ethical fashion and in typical internet style (excuse the pun) you’ll find the usual combination of: highly valuable information, a mixture of controversial opinions, followed by a few misleading facts and some completely worthless reading! The most common debate is the “do you start again, throw out what you have and buy all new, sustainable fashion items? Or do you act sustainably and use what you have until the time comes when you will subsequently replace it with sustainable alternatives? The choice depends on you, but the most rational option would be the latter.

 

The art of supporting sustainable fashion involves supporting ethical brands, buying items of clothing made using eco-friendly fabrics and manufacturing processes, as well as preventing textile waste! We can all start being more sustainable today without rushing out to buy from ethical, eco-friendly brands! Here’s how to be more sustainable in 5 easy steps!

1. Learn what colours suit you so that you don’t buy the wrong colour that you’ll hate forever and never wear.

2. Learn what styles and textures suit your natural body shape and silhouette. Dress for the body shape and physical features you have rather than what you want, and you’ll always dress well!

3. Consider what you really need from your wardrobe: a small but tailored capsule collection of items that suit you perfectly and can be effortlessly mixed and matched without any thought? Or a more complex wardrobe of vintage garments, on-trend pieces, a huge range of accessories, as well as essential classic pieces? Unless require a wealthy collection for work purposes, I’m sure that most of you would feel better having a neat and stylish wardrobe full of quality items that never fail to flatter your shape and skin colouring. In this case it would be better for you to create a capsule wardrobe of items that you can effortlessly throw together to achieve a stylish outfit! This doesn’t have to mean you have a limited choice or always have to look the same. Take a look here at my 29 items to a perfectly stylish wardrobe checklist here – all of these items can be mixed and matched with little effort but guarantee you look fabulous all the same!

4. Don’t rule out using thrift stores! Here’s why… Second hand shops, charity shops, vintage boutiques, thrift stores. There are so many ways in which to refer to clothing outlets selling pre-owned items. What’s most important is what they represent – reusing clothing thereby preventing textile waste! Not everybody is keen on the idea of wearing items of clothing that once belonged to somebody else, so here’s a little food for thought. In some cases the items you pick up in thrift stores have actually been worn far less than brand new items you purchase from high street stores. In many cases, second hand clothing stores are full of items that were mistake purchases and have only been worn a couple of times or never at all! On the other hand, high street stores receive huge volumes of daily shopper traffic ranging from ‘the teen that just wants to try on items after school’ to ‘the keen shopper that’s going to try, buy, and possibly return everything’. My point is that more times than not, the items you buy on the high street have been worn/tried on more times by lots more people than something you might find in a second hand shop. Additionally, there are some quality items on offer in thrift stores, available at a fraction of their normal retail price.

Don’t forget that when conducting a thorough ‘wardrobe weeding’ session, offloading your unwanted fashion items to a charity shop/pre-owned fashion store is also a good idea. It eliminates waste and puts your old goods to better use!

5. DIY. Upcycle. Revamp what you already have!

You’d be surprised at just how many more years you could get out of an old shirt with a button missing (Fix: sew on a new one), or a plain t-shirt that bores you (Fix: sew on sequins, fancy buttons, add a brooch). There are lots of easy DIY fashion tutorials on Pinterest, Youtube, as well as on my own site. You’d be amazed at how quick and easy it is to completely transform your old clothing in the matter of minutes!

Finally, if you’re missing shopping and are in need of a little inspiration on how to revamp clothing you already own, take a trip to the mall for ‘research’ purposes only! Enjoy browsing round the carefully curated collections on display, but instead of taking an armful of hangers over to the counter, take out your camera phone and take pictures of garment details, styles and fits that appeal to you. Quite often, the items you see on shop displays are very easy and affordable to replicate at home. Take for example, a t-shirt with button details along the shoulder line. The extra detail makes the garment look expensive but sewing a couple of buttons onto a t-shirt couldn’t be simpler and is something anybody could do at home!

 

Supporting sustainable fashion and being more sustainable is highly creative and incredibly rewarding. Once you start implementing these 5 easy steps, you’d be amazed at how enjoyable your journey becomes!

 

Luisa Kearney

Online Personal Stylist

www.onlinepersonalstylist.com

https://www.facebook.com/theonlinePersonalStylist

https://www.instagram.com/onlinepersonalstylist

https://twitter.com/onlinestylist_

Redefining possibilities

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The reason why a fast food chain restaurant can offer a 1 euro burger wherever you may be but getting clean, potable water to places that may need it seems sometimes impossible is the same reason why China had an incredible fast paced industrialization and growth after Apple decided to build the iPhone there; chains of production and transportation. I am not going into detail about the economics or the pros and cons of such large scale cogs that make the world market turn round, instead I will over-generalize certain points I think are the main focus when talking about sustainability, and specifically in the fashion industry.

Industry brings money and places are often charmed by the influx of low-skilled production jobs, which on their own are charmed by the cheap labour. The problem comes in when there is no care for the community or the place. The short term benefits of urbanization and wealth have proven to be quickly outweighed by pollution, extremely poor safety regulations, an emphasis on speed and quantity and not a long term commitment; and just like land that gets overworked at some point it dries and the fertility seems to be gone. Workers demand more in terms of income, benefits, laws and regulations get stricter and the industry that so suddenly came in moves on to find another place to colonize as it may seem. We have seen this time and time again. Yet it is hard to place the blame on one thing alone.

The speed at which the industry must move derives by the speed us as consumers demand product. Fast fashion being a frontrunner in this with stores that switch around a lot of their inventory every two weeks. We want the next trendy item and we want it to be affordable, we want that cheeseburger and it better be a euro.

From consumers to providers there lies an incredibly long amount of intermediaries ranging from transport companies with tankers, port employees, retail workers, factory workers, communities that get built around these industrial towns, farmers and land owners, countries and taxation, bankers and lawyers who struggle to make sense of everything so that you can get that white tee for 5 bucks no questions asked; so much depends on it sometimes it seems like the cliche’d phrase of “it might just be too big to fail” seems to apply.

I would like to point out an important part of the chain that sometimes gets relegated to a different sector, which people might consider to be somewhat separate, and that would be designers. Technology and fashion have always been connected; the use of denim for work attire, or the use of materials to make clothes waterproof may be a good example. Before plastics we’re a thing we would cover leather with beeswax for example, but how affordable is that for today’s market? We can also leap to today and see what sports brands are doing with sneakers and their incredible push towards materials engineering; a quest for comfort and durability at a point where it can be mass produced at a price point where people find it worth their money.

Luxury will always be there, so a good pair of leather shoes built by human hands will have an artisanal value, but I would argue that the care put into quality means something that will stand use and wear, not a cheap leather item that is in itself nothing but designed to be replaced after a season. So leaving that alone for now, let’s talk a bit about technology.

Does technology need to be priced as much as luxury is? Do a fabric that can offer durability, comfort, or even thermal properties need to be more expensive than something that came from half way around the world in a container? Unfortunately mostly yes. For the industry to cannibalize itself there will always be a reason to keep the machine working. Or will the bubble ever burst as perhaps the housing industry did? Unlikely.

I am not trying to say that we as consumer have the power to influence a sudden change. We can compare it to the zero kilometer movement in the food industry, but even then people will pay a markup for locally grown, locally sourced vegetables and fruits. Neither I am saying the economical system needs to be reworked for anything to change, every system has and will always have its flaws.

So what exactly am I trying to say with this seemingly pointless rant you might be asking yourself right about now, and that’s a fair point, because I do not have all the answers and I believe no one does. I do have some suggestions and do feel free to disagree with me, but as long as I made you think of your own then I believe this has been worth every keystroke.

The west going in crisis where over-qualified people can’t find a job is a place that needs to get some investment on. Not for production perhaps but for development. Whereas in other industrial revolutions so much effort was put into the development of technology it has now been focused entirely on phones that we throw out every couple of years and the likes. We can see how this can work with companies like Tesla and finding solutions for energy sources, or how a private company tries to make affordable space exploration when the dream seem to have been lost in past generations. We are easily distracted and information comes so often and so quickly that our perception has been shifted into small pockets of issues we as a whole pay attention to and then move on. Impossible with funding from Google and Bill Gates has developed a burger paddy that imitates meat as much as they could with plants, not for vegetarians, but to proof meat eaters that there can be another way, All of this thanks to designers and engineers and people with white coats; people that sometimes don’t get the pay they should get in a world where ideas are privatized and owned by employers.

Some may say open-sourcing certain things might make the market adjust itself. If a new textile can be developed by students in MIT and companies could use their chain of production to create and sell something more environmentally and socially friendly that would benefit us all.

What I am trying to come down to is that ultimately all it takes it for someone to care and to make someone else care, not with frustration and the hashtag of the week, but with empathy. For consumers to buy smart, spend what you can but spend on something that is worth it and be an informed consumer. For designers to be interested in talking to engineers and for decision makers to convince the backers that sometimes, if they actually care we as consumers will too. Let’s make technology in fashion not such a luxury anymore.

 

 

Roberto Campos

@stylecomptoir

http://Roberto-Campos.com/

How to Enjoy a Cruelty-Free Winter

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Stroll into your average high street store during the winter season and you are likely to meet a number of controversial types of clothing materials. Materials such as wool, leather, fur and suede are incredibly popular and widely available during the winter months. A simple winter hat with a fluffy pom-pom may contain traces of real animal fur. If you want to avoid innocently buying into unethical fashion, consequently supporting cruelty then you need to pay attention to what you are buying and how to identify the differences between animal skins and their ethical alternatives.

 

Identifying the Difference between Real Fur and Faux Fur

Worryingly, avoiding real fur with the intention of buying a faux alternative is not as simple as looking out for a big label stating ‘faux fur’. Unfortunately, some items made from imitation fur can contain traces of real animal fur, which is unfair on the side of the manufacturer if the consumer is making a conscious effort to avoid real fur! Not many years ago, faux fur was easily identified simply by giving the garment a quick look over and feeling the quality of the material. Just as little as 5 years ago, vegan fur was coarse, dry and by no means as soft as real fur. Nowadays, vegan fur is often softer and fluffier than real fur, which has helped to inspire many keen fur-wearers to switch to wearing faux fur. Real fur is possibly one of the most barbarically obtained animal skins, due to the fact that the animals are often skinned alive and left to die afterwards. So with that said, you will probably want to avoid buying real fur at all costs, so here are some ways in which you can determine whether you’re looking at real animal fur or a vegan/cruelty-free version:

·       As mentioned above, real fur is no longer noticeably softer than faux fur alternatives. These days it is often vegan fur that is softer than real animal fur so don’t let this confuse you.

·       Similarly, don’t let the colour of the fur fool you. Faux fur can easily be dyed and comes in a range of colours and shades. So don’t judge purely on its colour.

·       Look at the ends of the fur. Usually real fur tapers to a fine point at the ends, whereas faux fur is choppier and the ends are not so neatly defined.

·       If possible (very carefully) burn a few small strands of the fur. Faux fur will have a chemical smell, but if it smells like burning human hair then it is real animal fur.

·       Look carefully at the label on the garment. Sometimes hidden in the small print on a label, you will see that the item is made from e.g. 75% polyester and 25% mink (or another animal) fur.

 

Vegan Alternatives to Animal Leather

At this time of year, items such as leather riding boots and leather jackets are highly popular choices to add to our winter outfits. Unfortunately real leather is not an ethically sourced material, but don’t panic – there are a number of fantastic ethical and sustainable alternatives to leather, such as:

·       Leatherette

·       Cork

·       Mushroom Skin

·       Pineapple Skin Leather

 

Popular Materials and Fibres that are NOT Cruelty-Free

·       Bunting

·       Cashmere

·       Cerecloth

·       Doeskin

·       Duffle

·       Felt

·       Fleece

·       Horsehair

·       Leather

·       Mohair

·       Silk

·       Suede Leather

·       Tweed

·       Wool

 

Popular Materials and Fibres that are Cruelty-Free and Ethical

·       Acrylic

·       Canvas

·       Chino

·       Cork

·       Cotton

·       Denim

·       Elastane

·       Flannelette

·       Leatherette

·       Linen

·       Lint

·       Microfiber

·       Moleskin

·       Nylon

·       Polyester

·       Towelling

·       Velcro

·       Velour

·       Viscose

What is Sustainable Fashion?

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We often hear about sustainable fashion and we’re told that it’s the future of fashion but what exactly does it mean? There are so many terms to describe ethical and eco-friendly fashion but they don’t all share the same meaning or mode of production. So let’s take a look at what it means to live and dress sustainably.

 

Sustainable fashion is a term used to describe fashion items and their raw materials that have been grown, sought and produced in an environmentally-friendly way. Producing any kind of clothing takes its toll on the earth’s resources, but the sustainable fashion industry tries to find other eco-friendly alternatives where possible.

 

 

All of us have to wear clothes. Many of us enjoy the process of shopping, styling and wearing clothes. None of us want their fashion habits to have a negative impact on our planet!

 

Before we go any further, it is wise to familiarise yourself with the below listed terms, describing different aspects of ethical fashion.

 

Popular Terms Used to Describe “Friendly-Fashion”

 

• Slow Fashion 

You’ve heard the term “fast fashion”: fast-moving clothing retailers that produce fashion items in the masses, which are often manufactured under poor working conditions in other countries. Slow fashion promotes the belief of “buying less but buying better”. Buy garments that you’re going to wear. Invest in items you love. Wear the items you buy. Don’t waste your money on clothing that may fall apart after a couple of wears.

• Ethical Fashion 

Ethical fashion signifies ethical manufacturing, textile sourcing and working conditions. This means that no living beings (human or animal) were harmed or mistreated while obtaining the materials, during production or at any other stage.

• Vegan Fashion

Fashion items made from materials that are not obtained from animals, i.e. no fur, leather, wool, silk, suede, etc. Vegan fashion guarantees that no animals were harmed or killed for the sake of manufacturing fashion products.

• Cruelty-free Fashion

Cruelty-free fashion usually refers to products which do not involve testing products on animals or unethically obtaining skins and other materials from animals. In the world of cosmetics however, cruelty-free can mean that the product and its ingredients haven’t been tested on animals, but it may not necessarily be suitable for vegans – take cruelty-free honey lip balm for example.

• Sustainable Fashion 

Sustainable fashion involves using recycled materials or producing new fashion items using dyes and manufacturing processes that cause as little harm as possible to the environment. Other types of sustainable fashion involve swapping clothing, buying pre-owned items, upcycling what you already own, or buying less and wearing it more.

• Eco-friendly Fashion 

Fashion products that are manufactured in a way that is most economical for the earth’s resources and the environment. Eco-fashion manufacturing uses special dyes and fabric fibres sourced from natural, recyclable materials.

 

Would you run your kitchen tap and allow 7000 litres of water to just pour down the drain? It sounds like a huge waste doesn’t it?! It takes 7000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. Every time you discard of an unwanted fashion item that you’ve purchased on a whim, you are essentially throwing away thousands of litres of water! This is one of the many reasons why supporting sustainable fashion brands and being more sustainable in your daily life has such a major, positive impact on the planet. Typical clothing production using non-sustainable materials and processes is harmful to the environment for a number of reasons. The heavy use of bleach and harmful dyes (especially when dealing with animal skins) is not only damaging and potentially toxic, but also requires thousands of litres of water in order to carry out the dying stage. With such a huge choice of high quality natural fabrics and vegan leather available on the market, it is easier than ever to dress stylishly and ethically!

 

Easy Ways to Start Living More Sustainably Today

 

• Be conscious of what you buy. Buy items that you love, that suit you perfectly, and that you know you will wear over and over.

• The “30 Wears” question: last year I participated in a campaign called “30 Wears” – a challenge that encouraged people to wear each fashion garment that they buy at least 30 times before disposing of it. So, next time you shop ask yourself whether you could imagine yourself wearing the item you’ve just picked up at least 30 times.

• Take a good look at items in your wardrobe and see how you can upcycle them to make them more wearable. Sewing on a couple of sequins or accessorising in another way can instantly transform the overall look of a garment.

• Aim to buy from ethical and sustainable fashion brands. Every item of clothing has a story, so why not make sure its story is a positive and environmentally-friendly journey.

• Set aside 30 minutes per week to plan out your outfits that you plan to wear that week. Not only will this save you heaps of time and stress each morning, it will also allow you to see what exactly you have lying in your wardrobe which will help you to make good use of it by planning a way in which you can wear it.

• Learn what kind of styles, colours and fits suit your personal physical characteristics, enabling you to make more informed decisions when shopping for clothes because you won’t waste time or money on items that you know will not suit you.

• Wear what you buy! Textile waste is a huge issue across the world, so the insignificant act of making good use of the clothing you own and preventing textile waste can improve this problem in an enormous way!

 

Luisa Kearney

Online Personal Stylist

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