Vineeta and Tom Greenwood
“I have a habit of buying hoodies with bird designs.”
Vineeta: I like to buy stuff! But now I try to put my money in the right hands.
Tom: Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to buy clothes from smaller ethical brands rather than high street stores.
Vineeta: Until I met Tom the word ‘sustainable’ wasn’t in my vocabulary. But I had questions about waste from an early age. I grew up in Bombay, India and – even though it was an upmarket, expensive area – there were huge piles of rubbish on every street corner. At the time, I simply took it for granted. ‘Rag pickers’ would come and sift through the garbage looking for stuff that could be sold on, or dismantled and recycled. So I started to question what was thrown away and what was not thrown away.
Tom: The thing that really woke me up to sustainability was a long time ago – a geography lesson when I was at school. Our teacher showed us a map of the world now, and how it might look in a hundred years time given rising sea levels due to global warming. Even though he kind of skimmed over the subject, I was horrified.
Vineeta: I started thinking more about sustainability when Tom and I were planning our wedding. Tom encouraged me to believe I could do something about the things I cared about. So we made sure our wedding breakfast was locally sourced, and we stayed in an eco-hotel for our honeymoon. I bought my wedding dress on eBay. It cost me £30 and I sold it afterwards for £25, which I was really pleased about. And I liked the idea that my dress would be used again for another wedding.
Tom: Pretty much everything everyone does has some kind of environmental impact. So, we have to decide how far we want to push sustainability on a personal level. Fortunately it’s not too hard to find ethical men’s clothes. I’m really pleased with the jeans I’m wearing today. They’re from Freitag, who are probably better known for bags. But a few years ago, they set themselves a target to create 100% compostable clothes. Usually it’s the small details that stop jeans being biodegradable: polyester thread, and the metal buttons and zip. But Frietag jeans are made from a linen/hemp mix without rivets or synthetics. The only aspect that isn’t biodegradable is the fly button; but Freitag have designed it so it can be removed and re-used. My trainers are from Ethletic; they’re manufactured from Fairtrade cotton and FSC-certified natural rubber.
Vineeta: I bought some Ethletic trainers last year and Tom was jealous, so he got a pair for himself . . .
Tom: And my hoodie is from Armed Angels. I’ve realized I have a habit of buying hoodies with bird designs – I think it makes me feel ‘free’ in the same way as a bird which can fly where it likes without worrying about borders!
Vineeta: My denim tunic came from Bibico (a sustainable ‘slow’ fashion company). My boots are from Alternative Stores, who sell vegan footwear. They were good value. Though the boots I really wanted were from Beyond Skin, who also sell vegan footwear. But they were a lot more expensive so I’ll have to save up for those!
Wherestuffcomesfrom: I met Tom and Vineeta at a screening of the film True Cost, which explores the real cost of fast fashion. Tom and Vineeta are founder members of Ethical Film Club, which organises regular screenings of positive, inspiring documentary films covering a wide range of current issues. Screenings are held in Brockenhurst in the New Forest, and in London.
You can find out more about Freitag’s 100% biodegradable fabric below.