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Pen to Paper with… FUTURE GARBAGE

By January 26, 2018 Pen to Paper

‘Pen to Paper’ is a feature on TDP which involves an informal handwritten form of interview between myself and creatives –  from fashion designers, photographers, journalists, artists and musicians, to people who generally inspire me from day-to-day. 

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

FUTURE GARBAGE is a part fashion, part art project created by David Olson. David is originally from Los Angeles, California but moved to Stockholm, Sweden five years ago where he now works in marketing. 
FUTURE GARBAGE started in 2017 in response to H&M’s unethical fast-fashion practices. The first collection is available now with pieces starting from $5,000.


Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE


FUTURE GARBAGE created by David Olson was not something I was expecting to be so enthralled by. Often the essence of projects like these (it is essentially a project after all – perhaps a digital art installation more than anything else) don’t quite catch my attention or are simply too nuanced, leaving me feeling a little detached from the art I’m supposed to connect with.

It’s either my bias towards issues like this – the topic of fast-fashion and consumerism – or it’s the fact that David hit the nail on the head, creating something that is unique yet ultimately relatable for all who are interested in fashion and how it’s served to us in Western society.

As soon as I heard the words ‘future garbage by FUTURE GARBAGE’ spoken in a voice-over which felt eerily realistic and similar to those of chic, high-end campaigns; I was sold.

The concept is simple – what’s trendy today is trash tomorrow. We live in a world where what we’re sold will become future garbage, and I (quite obviously) agree with David that now is the time we need to change that.

We’ve known about sweatshops & 3rd-world exploitation for decades, but fast-fashion has taken them to a whole new level. And even though the internet has helped us to be better informed about the true price of our consumption, social media keeps us shopping because we feel increased pressure for our virtual personas to constantly stay “trendy”.

With future garbage, I wanted to hijack the tools of the industry to criticize its exploitative practices – whether its the exploitation of poverty in the third-world or the exploitation of our vanity/egos in the 1st-world.

Why does it feel like now is the right time to explore the issues of fast-fashion?

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

As disturbed and confused as I am by contemporary fashion & consumerism 🙂

How do you hope people come away feeling after experiencing FUTURE GARBAGE?

One thing that you’ll notice when browsing the FUTURE GARBAGE site and perusing the collection is that the prices for each garment seem to be absurdly overpriced. I knew straight away that this wasn’t a literal price tag; this was a statement about what we expect from our clothes in a world where brands like H&M exist.

In my communications with David, he explained it as a commentary on fast-fashion. Prices may be low but there is still a high-profit margin due to the fact that wages along the supply chain are extremely low.

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

However, David (in his own words) is a “westerner” who has a different “standard of life” than people in third world countries making sweatshop wages.

The price, therefore, reflects that. David asked himself how much profit – he, a middle-class westerner – should be making if “a shirt made by someone who earns $2/day costs $10”. What does that price look like for him? Roughly $10,000 for a denim jacket. Shocked? Well, that’s the point too. How much are you really willing to pay for something in a world where we’re so accustomed to low prices?

Any $$$ that I make with FG I plan to re-invest in the project. I’m not a CEO or politician or even an “influencer” so it’s not really possible for me to initiate any real change. So the best I can do is try to share my ideas and encourage others to reflect on the issues that concern me, in hopes that more people will start to demand real change. Of course, we have a long way to go, but I plan to contribute in whatever ways that I can. And there’s still a shitload more future garbage to be made 🙂

Although the $10,000 price tag is more of a statement than anything else - what would you do with the money if somebody decided to buy an item?

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

Any way they want!!! The problem isn’t in how to introduce these practices, but rather whether they’re willing to make a sacrifice in order to help others. The most difficult part of making a “difference” is being okay with something DIFFERENT (such as, being less rich). Change itself is not hard to do. It’s being willing to accept change (TRUE CHANGE! not just superficial ones) that’s the tricky part…

How do you think brands or celebrities should go about introducing ethics and sustainability into the mainstream?

David hasn’t just covered the usual aspects of ethics and sustainability though, he’s also covered the issues surrounding diversity and feminism which is refreshing (although it shouldn’t be; these things are vital and should be factored in no matter what).

One of my favourite pieces of FUTURE GARBAGE ‘propaganda’ involves David touching upon the hypocrisy that can be found with the likes of Beyonce – if girls run the world and if her Ivy Park collection is supposed to empower women, how come the female workers who produce her sportswear, are suffering? 

Interview with David Olson of FUTURE GARBAGE

One of the other short films created for ‘future garbage by FUTURE GARBAGE’ centres around David himself, dressed up as a woman. The voice-over says, “Look, everyone, it’s a transgender model. Or maybe a drag-queen. We’re not really sure, I don’t think we ever asked.”, highlighting the fact that the fast-fashion industry is not only ignorant to just garment workers; it’s even ignorant to understanding those who they choose to dress.

If ethics are to do with morals – then when we talk about ethical fashion it has to mean more than just a vague statement or policy here and there. It needs to mean complete change overall and it needs to happen now. Or yesterday. Definitely, yesterday. 

What do you think of FUTURE GARBAGE? How much are you willing to pay for a piece from the collection? Let’s discuss in the comments. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Why I Want to Fight Harder for What I Believe In

By November 17, 2016 DIY & Lifestyle

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s the fact that life can throw things at you that are totally out of your control, and that with that, there’s a big difference between knowing/believing in something and actually experiencing it. Just like there’s a big difference between believing in something and actually fighting for it.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

I haven’t really had the chance to update anyone other than on Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media platforms that only allow a few words or paragraphs, but unfortunately, the account of my earthquake experience I wrote in August, wasn’t my last experience of one. At the end of October, Italy was hit with another three earthquakes within the space of 5 days. It was exactly three months and two days after the first one that I was hiding under a desk again, and another few days after that, I was sleeping in a tent and seeing our Italian home once again turn to ruin.

I know this isn’t something for a fashion blog, and has probably bored you to death if you have seen my updates elsewhere, but it genuinely has been a huge and traumatic part of my life recently. Falling into a routine of having to deal with aftershocks and your belongings breaking around you is not something normal to deal with.

But I’m a part believer in taking something out of everything, which means I’ve decided to take a lesson from all of this. If there are tragic things in life we can’t control, then the things we can control should be the things we fight and push on for.

It seems like a bizarre thing to compare it to, and I, of course, know I came out of the situation in a far safer and luckier place, but I now have empathy for those who have been through similar situations, specifically relating to issues which I believe in, like those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster for example. Although I can’t really compare the two, there are many accounts which state it felt like an earthquake coming on – all the machines rattling and the building starting to cave in on itself.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

But the harsh reality and the unfortunate truth of that disaster was that it was avoidable. It was somebody’s fault that thousands died and were injured. It’s nobody’s fault that an earthquake happens; it’s just the earth being the earth.

We have the power to make change and to use our voice so that avoidable tragedies are just that – avoidable. Factories shouldn’t collapse because the managers are being forced to risk it. Factories shouldn’t catch on fire because of poor working conditions. Workers shouldn’t die because there are no fire exits. Workers shouldn’t die because their only source of income is working in a factory that is ready to collapse.

I have the ability to inspire others to try and fight for change, and that’s exactly what it should be – a fight. The end goal of every fight is to win, and now I want to fight harder because I know what it’s like to feel helpless.

There’s nothing you can do when an earthquake strikes other than to drop, cover and hold. But there is so much to be done when it comes to human rights, the environment and equality, especially across an industry which exploits all three (and more). When a factory catches fire, there should be fire exits and extinguishers and there should be people fighting to put out the flames and never let them light up again.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

The photos in this blog post were taken in Italy. The confetti photos were taken during the carnival in Ascoli Piceno – one of the local towns which I came to know and love, and which I know is still dealing with the after-effects of the 2016 earthquakes. 

There are ways to stop and change the outcome of certain scenarios, even if it takes time and effort. It’s worth it. That’s one similarity between a natural disaster and something man-made. We can put precautions in place. We can make buildings stronger and we can stop people from going inside of them if the risk is too high, because we know profit isn’t worth people’s lives.

‘We’  is anyone who contributes to the way things are already – the consumers who buy from these exploitive brands and send out the signal that they’re doing a good job; the buyers in charge of sourcing factories; the designers and teams that decide on the high numbers of collections per year; the managers of the factories being exploited by the teams providing those high numbers.

But mainly, it’s us, the consumers and believers which need to start building the momentum.

We need to start moving and show those in charge that we will cause a huge wave of power if they don’t start getting prepared. We can start building up the pressure (just like in an earthquake) so that they have no choice but to let things release and start making the change to deal with all the changes. There is so much they (the brands, the manufacturers, the governments in charge of laws and legislations) could be doing, so we need to show them that there is actually a rhyme and a reason to making it happen.

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

This is also a good time for me to touch on politics and the current situation with the President-Elect in the US. It might not have been the decision that a lot of us/you, in America, wanted, but it’s what we have. That doesn’t mean to say it has to stay that way, though, or that we have to settle for it. We should take the same attitude for issues we believe in, across the board. Stand up, voice your opinions and your concerns – fight (without violence and causing damage that is.)

fighting or what you believe in - ethical fashion

I can’t say exactly how I’m going to up the ante in my personal fighting because as I have mentioned several times throughout this post, the past few months have been quite stressful and I haven’t quite got my blogging/activist/ethical advocate head straight, but I know that for sure I won’t let something natural and uncontrollable get in my way. It’s a bit like what I said about influencers using their voicesif you have the ability to make a change, try your very best to actually make it happen.

Don’t just sit and stay still unless you physically can’t. Don’t leave it to ‘everyone else’ because there are helpless people out there who need you to be their help.

For those of you somewhat interested, I can update you all by saying that I am now on my way to (or by the time you read this, already am in) Sardinia. It’s a less earthquake-prone Italian island, where I’ll be spending a few months to get back on my feet and experience yet another culture. The past few weeks have been ones of uncertainty, but hopefully, this time will resolve that. 2016 hasn’t been perfect for the most of us, but we still have a bit of time to try again. Who’s with me?

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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