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Sustainability Meets Style with Circular Economy Luxury Sportswear

Rosie Underwood wears sustainable luxury sportswear by Sundried made from recycled coffee waste

Everyday, we hear more and more about the irreparable damage that humans are doing to the planet. The realities of climate change are becoming scarier with every news article we read. It leaves us wondering what we can possibly do to combat the current state of our planet.                                           

The fashion industry has one of the largest effects on climate change as a result of greenhouse emissions and the use of unsustainable materials. That’s what makes sustainable fashion so important. One of the ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint is by spending our money on products that are sustainable, efficient, and that use recycled materials.

Therefore, we’ve curated some of the most energy efficient (and stylish) luxury sportswear brands that represent that the fashion industry is taking strides in becoming more circular. These companies remind us that sportswear doesn’t have to compromise style for sustainability.

1. Sundried Activewear:

According to Sundried–an active sportswear company focused on sustainable fashion–275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, which is about 15 million bottles per day. That why as Sundried, their ethos surrounds “leaving the planet in a better state than how it was found.” In order to achieve this goal, Sundried has created ethical activewear that is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Three plastic water bottles go into each piece of their recycled collection, such as the women’s training vest (£35) and men’s gym shorts (£50).

Model wears sustainable sports top made from recycled coffee fabric

But the sustainable products don’t just stop there; they also have a line called Eco Charge which boasts recycled activewear made from bottles and recycled coffee grounds. And these products aren’t only sustainable; they claim to be “fast-drying, sweat-wicking, and de-odorising” which means they aren’t compromising their effectiveness for the sake of sustainability. The fast-drying qualities of the Sundried products are quite innovative, in that they don’t need to be tumble dried and dry fast enough that they can be used soon after washing.  Another element they aren’t compromising on is style. The Sundried recycled collections manage to maintain a chic and modern look that any fitness enthusiast will gravitate towards. The designs are fitted and conform to your body so you can feel comfortable being as active as possible.

Our Star Buy: Sundried Piz Ela Sports Bra (£40)

This sports bra is our Star Buy because it is truly astounding in the fact that it’s made from 100% plastic water bottles, yet it manages to be breathable and lightweight. It boasts having sweat-wicking, multi-way stretch, and temperature control, and its high neck gives support and a “locked-in feeling”, perfect for those especially active gym days. The neon red trim is detailed and eye-catching and the racerback style will make you want to sport it with nothing but your confidence.

Sundried Activewear

 

2. Form:

Form is a UK based retailer of carbon negative, sustainable yoga mats. They seek to make “sustainable thinking the standard, not the exception,” with the aim of “taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we put into it.” The company is known for their beautiful carbon-negative yoga mats that are made out of completely recycled materials. They boast their mats being made out of the best quality materials, giving the mat user an efficient and comfortable experience that is slip-free as a result of the high-performance, grippable materials, as well as it being alignment improving. And again, the style is not compromised by the attention to sustainability.

 

Their newest line, The Pro Collection, is nature themed, with images of the cosmos, galaxies, snow, and water, and they are just as a dreamy as you’d imagine; the purples, blues, and greens will certainly propel you into a state of serenity as you’re stretching and downward-facing-dog-ing. Form has recently introduced a circular-shaped mat, which they claim “shows positive effects on the human mind, with circles shown to help increase focus and evoke feelings of completeness – ideal for those practicing yoga and meditation.” The price of this sustainable fashion ranges from £59 to £84.

Our Star Buy: Spring – Pro Round Mat (£79)

This gorgeous yoga mat with its detailed image of greens will catapult you into a state of serenity. Why chose this particular design? According to Form, “Spring invites you to take on a new perspective by zooming into details that we may often miss in our everyday lives. By taking a moment to acknowledge our surroundings we can become more mindful, improving the quality of our lives.” Form is proudly presenting their new–and quite unique– round mats, that they claim helps you create your own space and improve your focus. The mat is recyclable, carbon negative and made from durable recycled material, and simultaneously helps with gripping and alignment, and is portable and machine washable.

Form Recycled Yoga Mat

Form

3. H&M: Conscious

The well-known high street Swedish fashion retailer, H&M, released their very first line of sustainable fashion in 2016, called Conscious, and it includes a wide range of sportswear to choose from. According to H&M, the collection is made from organic and recycled materials, and the exclusive seeks to “prove that there’s no contradiction in loving beautiful clothing and living a sustainable life.” Their goal is to offer 100% sustainable clothing, and  to create a “closed loop for textiles in which unwanted clothes can be reused or recycled into new treasures, with the ultimate goal that by 2030 all of its products will be made of more sustainable or recycled materials.”

Some of the sportswear includes Yoga Tights (£19.99), Shaping Waist Tights (£24.99), a Running Hat (£8.99), and more. And, just as H&M always is, this line is sleek and simple, offering buyers products that they know will be comfortable and reliable, while simultaneously allowing them to sleep well knowing they are doing their part by giving their money to the circular economy fashion market.

Our Star Buy: The Running Top (£17.99)

The Running Top is simple and sleek with its basic long sleeve cut and rounded hem, and is offered in the colours Petrol and Black/Light Pink. H&M claims that the fabric is fast-drying (which makes washing and wearing it a breeze) and includes recycled polyester and ventilating mesh sections.

H&M Conscious 

4. Protest:

Protest is a luxury sportswear brand based in the Netherlands that offers anything sportswear you can think of– fleeces, bikinis, bags, hats, and even thermo underwear, all of which are available for women, men, and kids. Their mission is to end stigmas surrounding snowboarding and to make activewear available for all people – especially those living in Holland, which they deem to be home to “exactly five hills and fourteen waves.” AKA, one of the flattest place in the world. 

However, what makes Protest distinct is their desire to incorporate eco-friendly materials and fabrics into their pieces, without compromising style or function. GeoGreen is their label that is the most heavily focused on circular fashion, the products all being made from recycled products or sustainable fabrics. Indeed, their focus on sustainability does not compromise their dedication to fashion and style; Protest makes products for the more “fashion focused”, and they offer three families of colours: winter berry, sky blue, and grass green.

Our Star Buy: The Sloane Jacket (£179.99)

Not only is it our Star Buy, but Protest, themselves, are quite fond of the the Sloane jacket, as well. They claim that it is was “made from biodegradable bamboo-blend with mechanical stretch and waterproof breathable hydrophilic lamination.” According to Protest, bamboo is “a sustainable resource which is also moisture wicking, breathable and stretchy.” This particular jacket comes in “True Black” and “Concrete”– the Concrete is a gorgeous navy blue colour with a coral coloured zipper. They call is the must have piece of the year.

Protest

Research and writing by Cassidy Anthony. Cassidy is studying for an MA in Journalism at Kingston University, London.

 

Rami Malek as rock icon Freddie Mercury in the 20th Century Fox/New Regency Film - Bohemian Rhapsody.

As a result of the mixed reviews being published about Bohemian Rhapsody, I went into the cinema unsure of what to expect. I had heard the pace was slow, the content was exaggerated, and most of all, that it hid Freddie Mercury’s bisexuality.

But for me, those reviews couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Queen is incredibly special to England—if you ask any English person about their taste in music, chances are they will mention Queen. Even if they don’t regularly listen to them, they’ll more than likely have an understanding and respect for what Queen means to England. Their music embodies a sort of rebellion and rise against convention that is often found at the heart of English culture, and Freddie Mercury himself symbolizes a defiance against stereotypes in his unabashed existence.

Gwilyn Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Jo Mazzello as (John Deacon) in the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Credit Twentieth Century Fox

As a result, it would make sense that reviews about Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody would be particularly critical, as audiences more than likely went in with very high expectations and had hoped that the film would uphold a certain image of Queen.

As for me, I couldn’t have possibly enjoyed the film more if I tried. It was one of the best movie theater experiences I’ve had this year.

Malek as Mercury

Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Gwilym Lee (Brian May star in Twentieth Century Fox

First and foremost, it is safe to say that Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury was perhaps the role he was born to play. This is a constant that most critics seem to agree upon, regardless of overall opinions of the film. Malek embodies Mercury from head to toe; from teeth prosthetics to handlebar mustache. His confidence is nothing short of the confidence that Mercury, himself, appeared to exude on stage and in public.

It’s hard to assess whether I judged the film as well as I should have, because I was almost too invested in Malek’s performance to give a critical eye to other areas of the film. I can’t necessarily comment on the film’s cinematography or mise-en-scéne, as I do with mostly every other film I watch.

Malek’s Performance Dominates Bohemian Rhapsody

But that truly was one of the most beautiful parts of the film; Malek’s performance was emotional, passionate, and fun, and everything else seemed to fall into place around him.

Some critics argue—and I agree—that there was a lot that this film glosses over in terms of the telling of Freddie Mercury’s life. But it’s important to remember that in an 134 minute biopic, there’s only so much that can be told—especially when it comes to Mercury, whose life would need an encyclopedia to tell in full.

Additionally, the film’s main focus is on Queen—it isn’t meant to tell only Mercury’s story. The film shows the audience how Queen came to be, the origins of their music, and the relationship between band members. I would argue that focusing solely on the events within Mercury’s life would be a disservice to Queen as a whole, because the band was made up of so much life. In addition, the members of the band were heavily involved in the making of the film, and specified what they did and didn’t want to be told.

Criticism

Critics aren’t pleased with the overall timeline accuracy of the film. While most moviegoers probably won’t pick up on these inaccuracies during the film, upon further research, will probably read about some errors such as Mercury’s diagnosis of AIDS not actually happening until two years after his 1985 Live Aid concert— in the film, he reveals this news to his bandmates before the concert. This was probably done as a way to increase cinematic drama and make his performance at Live Aid even more of a rising action, a subsequent depiction of his heroic acceptance of his diagnosis. Whatever the reason was, it wasn’t actually how the events took place in Mercury’s life, and viewers weren’t happy about it. It’s odd that details should be incorrect at all, as Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor helped with parts of the film production; perhaps they were focused more on the music and less on the intimate details.

Representation of sexuality

As for the details of Mercury’s sexuality, I believe that it beautifully painted a picture of the events that lead him to becoming the sexually confident rockstar that everyone knew him as. The first half of the film depicted the time he was married to Mary Austin, while simultaneously questioning his sexuality and attempting to shield his bisexual side.

A Love Letter to Queen

The second half of the film unabashedly demonstrates his acceptance of his sexuality and his catapult into life as a bisexual man. This half of his life (and subsequently, this half of the film) also shows his diagnosis of AIDS, which critics argue the film didn’t go into enough detail about. However, I appreciate the film for keeping out these details; the specificities of AIDS can often be incredibly gruesome, and fans of Queen know how much Mercury suffered during this time. The film stood as a love letter to Queen and therefore didn’t feel the need to convey extraneous details of his suffering.

Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen with the cast of Bohemian Rhapsody. Credit David Parry.PA Wire.

Many films depicting the lives of gay people will often resort to focusing on their suffering, perpetuating suffering as unavoidable side effect of gayness. This trope is incredibly common and is colloquially called “burying your gays”, otherwise known as a homophobic cliché of film and TV to kill off their gay characters. Therefore, I applaud Bohemian Rhapsody for respectfully conveying Mercury’s fight with AIDS, but simultaneously focusing on his life as the Queen he was.

I can’t recommend enough that you see Bohemian Rhapsody as soon as you can—if you get the chance, seeing it in cinemas feels like an actual rock concert.

You can buy tickets in the UK here and in the US here.

Review by Editorial Intern Cassidy Anthony. Cassidy is studying for an MA in Journalism at Kingston University.

Edited by Alison Jane Reid

Images Copyright 20th Century Fox 2018, All Rights Reserved. Strictly No Reproduction.

David Attenborough has done it again.

Dynasties, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

The BBC’s new nature documentary, Dynasties, tells the compelling and emotional stories of five endangered species and their respective families during particularly crucial moments in their lives. It is (of course) narrated by the world’s greatest living naturalist, David Attenborough, as he lends his recognizable voice and repertoire of knowledge to these emotional and compelling narratives. While the classic Attenborough documentaries – Blue Planet, Planet Earth, etc. – are all exquisitely filmed, there is something about Dynasties that is even more intimate and personal than any other nature documentary before.

Dynasties, Sir David Attenborough

Up Close and Personal with Lions, Tigers, Penguins and Chimps

While previous documentaries have focused mostly on being as informative as possible, Dynasties goal is to tell the stories of the families involved, which is highlighted by the powerfully intimate footage and close-up camera work. What Dynasties offers us is a unique twist on the conventional nature documentary by depicting perspectives of the animal kingdom that have never been told before. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the narrative and forget that this was actually captured in the wild. The intimacy of the cinematography is perpetuated by the love that the camera people have for these animals.

Dynasties, penguin chick huddle together for warmth, photographer Stefan Christmann

They filmed and followed them for a total of two years, after all, so their connection is almost palpable. After each episode, there is a segment called Dynasties: On Location which demonstrates the behind the scenes moments of filming. It is during these segments that we witness just how connected the camera people were to these animals over those two years, and how much they suffered when the animals suffered.

Lionesses Charm and Sienna photographed for Dynasties by Simon Blakeney

The Importance of Family

One of the most intimate parts of the series exists in the way that the footage captures just how similar the animals’ families are similar to our own. In one particular scene, two sister lionesses are reunited after months of being apart, and their reunion is not only moving, but it’s incredibly relatable. The way they run to each other is not unlike how we run to our loved ones after long periods of time apart. Truly, no one can argue the beauty of this documentary and the powerful message of the importance of our families and our clans.

But does Dynasties do enough?

Dynasties, Emperor penguins - photographer Stefan Christmann

Audiences are questioning the extent to which the series challenges the status quo of species loss and biodiversity. The David Attenborough nature documentaries have never been shy when it comes speaking about the drastic effects that climate change has had on the environment and surrounding ecosystems.

The Crisis in Nature – Does Attenborough Say Enough?

For example, there is a segment within Blue Planet that depicts a mother walrus and her baby struggling to find a section of ice to rest on as relief from their swimming. As we watch the walruses become more and more fatigued, Attenborough explains that situations such as these are becoming much more common as a result of climate change and the melting ice caps. He finds a way to effectively weave together the images of suffering animals and the direct effect that humans have on them.

Dynasties, hyenas leap, photographer Nick Lyon

Dynasties has similar moments, but never quite reaches the levels that other Attenborough documentaries do. But by virtue of the format of the series and the unique matter by which it tells its stories, it focuses more on sharing than teaching. Rather than focusing on a particular species, the series follows individual families and the dynamics of their group.

Attenborough touches on ideas pertaining to species loss and biodiversity, but he doesn’t take them as far as we’re used to seeing in BBC series. For example, in the episode about lions, the pride ventures into an area with poisoned cattle put there by farmers as a way to keep away predators. Attenborough briefly discusses the tragedy of this event and the danger of farmer created toxic meat. He mentions that audiences would be surprised to know that there are less than 2,000 lions left in Kenya. But he doesn’t quite express just how dire the situation is.

Dynasties, lioness Charm, photographer Simon Blakeney

According to LionAid, a UK charity working to save lions worldwide, approximately 93% of wild lion populations have been killed or have died in the last 50 years. In addition, every day, almost half a dozen lions are gunned down by trophy hunters each day.

Perhaps what the world needs right now is something more than aesthetically beautiful content. In a world where Iceland’s anti-palm oil advertisements are being banned on television for being ‘too political’, a nature documentary that speaks to the dangers that species and ecosystems are facing could be exactly what we need to see right now.

You can donate to LionAid here.

Written by Cassidy Anthony, an MA Student in Journalism at Kingston University, London.

Images courtesy of the BBC. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved.

Edited by Alison Jane Reid.