Helloooooooo my Wandering Journo tribe!!!
Did you know that this fabulous indie podcast and newsletter written, produced and edited by little old me from Brisbane, Australia, is about to tick over its 100th episode?
Streets of Your Town wants to hear from you—my listeners from all around the world—and use your voice in the 100th celebration episode.
Have you got a favourite episode? A favourite interview that you would like to know where they are now? Or would you like to tell us what you love about this podcast and where you’d like it go next?
It’s as easy as recording your voice on your phone and sending it to me on my email email@example.com. If you have an Apple device, you can use the “Voice Memos” app, or something similar on whatever device you use. If the file is too large, send me an email and I’ll send you a dropbox link. It’s easy!
It’s your time to shine on Streets of Your Town!
And now for the latest episode!!!
This week’s Streets of Your Town takes you into the world of fast and slow fashion, and what we can all do to lessen the burden of clothes waste on the world.
Have you ever looked down at what you’re wearing, or into your wardrobe, and wondered where those materials came from? Who made your outfit, and at what cost to them compared to the cost you paid for it?
Or pondered what the true cost of that bargain t-shirt is when fast fashion wastage is taken into account?
These questions are what drive sustainability consultant Jane Milburn on her quest to get as many people as possible thinking about the way they dress, and how to make better choices to become independent of fast fashion.
She tells us on Streets of Your Town how low cost unethical clothes are creating waste and pollution and contributing to modern day slavery.
“It’s all behind closed doors away in countries we don’t see,” Jane says.
“We’ve got slavery combined with the rise in synthetic fibres leading to more consumption.
“And then we’ve got the waste and pollution, which we saw on ABC’s War on Waste, and also a loss of skills and knowledge.
“And I think that’s the big area that we can all take action in, is regenerating our agency around clothes instead of thinking, oh, they know best. Oh, I’ll just go and buy that and then turn around and toss it out the door.
“We think donating is useful, and in some ways it is. Charities raise money for good works, from the resale options, but there’s a whole lot, only 10 to 15% of donated clothes in Australia is sold as clothing in OpShops.
“The rest of it might become industrial rags. Up to 25% goes straight to landfill that you donate. So you have to be careful about what you donate to not burden the charities. And then nearly half of it goes to overseas countries.”
Jane asks all of us to think about where our clothing is made, and what we can all do in our own lives to tackle this problem
She recently returned from her Churchill Fellowship travels through the US, UK and New Zealand, meeting and interviewing a diverse selection of 55 slow fashion practitioners.
“You get to travel for up to two months overseas to research your favourite topic or what project you want, and then you bring that back and share it with the Australian people to benefit society really,” Jane says.
“So my particular project built on 10 years of work that I’ve been doing around Slow Clothing as the antidote to fast fashion.
“We’ve realised the last two decades, the whole clothing fashion cycle sped up, and now we’ve actually got ultra-fast fashion. We’ve got online purchasing. I don’t understand how anybody could buy something that they haven’t touched or felt or tried on, but there we are. That’s the way it’s done now.
“The great thing for me in doing my Churchill Fellowship is it affirmed my approach. I met people like me. Really it comes down to the leading researcher Professor Kate Fletcher, who I met in the UK. She coined the term Slow Fashion 20 years ago, and nothing much has changed over time, even though people are aware, there’s conversations happening, our behaviours haven’t changed enough and it’s become urgent.
“Her new body of work is called Earth Logic as opposed to growth logic, ongoing endless growth, which is just not sustainable.”
Jane found one of the keys to disrupting the fashion system is through realising our power as consumers. Her book Slow Clothing, which is available in many libraries, also highlights this.
“The big impact that I found was everyone who was engaged in their wardrobes spoke about the wellbeing aspects, it made them feel good,” she said.
“They felt they had agency or they were empowered. They could present themselves in a way they wanted to, rather than just buying what was available or choosing what was available and wearing brands and all this sort of stuff. You become your own personality if you can work with your own hands.
“And that is one of our needs, our psychosocial needs, is to be able to work with our hands and be creative, have creative opportunities. So being engaged in your wardrobe enables you to have that.”
And with applications for the next round of Churchill Fellowships due at the beginning of May, Jane is also encouraging all Australians to think about whether our passion could also take us on a trip around the world.
“Your reporting is your responsibility when you come back as a fellow. They’re all online at churchilltrust.com and there’s a fascinating array every year,” she says.
“There’s really no limit on it, but you’ve just got to put together a good pitch and think about the benefit to the Australian people and how you’re going to share things when you get back.
“So I guess, Nance, you’ve helped me with the sharing because I’ve been able to talk about my Churchill findings and why we want to get more involved with our wardrobes.”
In other news
And it’s the last weekend of Hamilton in Brisbane! We say farewell to this merry band of performers, who brought the great writer and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda into our midst for a visit as well!
I loved talking to Julian Kuo backstage and finding out about his lifelong love of performing and his work not only as a swing in the cast of Hamilton, but also his part Hamilton’s social justice organisations Ham4Progress and The Racial Justice Taskforce.
And I absolutely loved being in the room where it happens for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s press conference and bringing you his take on the worldwide juggernaut that is Hamilton.
And I loved the insights that we gained from the rapport I had with incredible Wiradjuri performer Callan Purcell on bringing his First Nations perspective to the lead role of Aaron Burr for the Brisbane season.
Here’s all the stories I’ve been lucky enough to bring you from this remarkable show, on Streets of Your Town.
Looking forward to hearing YOUR stories soon!
xx The Wandering Journo—Nance