GREENWASHING ENABLED BY CELEBRITY HYPE

Long gone are the days when I didn’t research my favorite celebrities. One such favorite was Emma Watson, who was announced as the new muse and ambassador for Prada on August 18th, after asking on their Instagram stories ‘’who is she?’’ as if we didn’t see her the last 20 years, she is not a newbie.

My first thought was ‘’wait, Prada was rated by Goodonyouapp as Not Good Enough, so the perfume must be shady as well’’ and I was right. Prada’s fragrances are not cruelty-free, not even the latest release called Paradoxe, as in they could be tested on animals such as bunnies whether directly by the brand or indirectly by suppliers or third-party, they even sell in mainland China, where such tests are still required by law.

Emma Watson and Prada wanted to come across as sustainable in the new behind the scenes video. Yet, only the 100ml bottle of the perfume is refillable. Ethically all available 30 and 50ml bottles should also be refillable in Prada stores(later edit: Prada customer service confirmed via chat support that all sizes are refillable, a refill is sold separately and offer refills in stores). They failed to explain what exactly is sustainable about Emma’s self-image campaign advert, which barely featured the perfume(Paradoxe) she was expected to sell/promote(later edit: in Emma Watson’s refill tutorial she says a % of glass, metal, plastic and cardboard are saved).

Three photos of Emma leaked already, which is surprising to me, even the behind the scenes video was not posted by official accounts which showed lack of professionalism handling the campaign(later edit, only the teaser and bts were posted by the muse). Emma Watson did fire her Prosper PR team after she received backlash over black squares posted on her Instagram account. She must have thought she has the last word when she posted black squares recently, on the same Instagram account.

All so called luxury brands want to be perceived as sophisticated, expensive, yet testing on animals is an unnecessary practice, they could have easily said a firm ‘’NO’’ to selling their products where such practices are still required, but one can guess business and profits are above the ‘’do not harm’’ principle. If they wanted to be sustainable they would have taken action in that direction. This is another example of greenwashing enabled by celebrity hype. Is it really luxury if animals are slaughtered for a perfume?

Photo by Mack Breeden.

Emma herself is not an (eco)activist as she flew during the pandemic for leisure, nor a feminist(slut-shamed women at 17 and was named in the Panama Papers with an off-shore company among many other unethical things) or anything close to sustainable(she is mostly papped shopping for fast fashion for which there’s plenty of photographic evidence, never for a book, music or art supplies).

I wonder what happened to ”we have so much power to change the world just by being careful in what we buy”(February 2019 on Goodonyou) and ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’  or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction.”(Vogue UK 2020) as most of her sartorial choices were rated Not Good Enough by the same company she endorsed(search a brand here).

Lack of a PR team means that news of her relationship with Brandon Green(son of Arcadia Group owner P. Green) overshadowed the news of her Prada collaboration instead of the ad. A paradox – so the name of the fragrance fits Emma like a glove. The only ones who publicly spoke about Emma are other actors like Jessie Cave(who played Lavender in you know which film), festival staff.

I’m not falling for greenwashing enabled by celebrity hype anymore.

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RETURN TO HOGWARTS

The Harry Potter reunion broke the internet on 16th of November. The news were posted by news outlets like Film Updates, Variety, Wizarding World as well as some of the HP cast. The HBO Max special is titled ‘’Return to Hogwarts’’ celebrating 20 years of the beloved franchise, set to premiere on New Year’s Day, 1st of January 2022. I didn’t feel that old until that news!

‘’I’ll believe it when I see it’’ I said on @emmawatsonnet twitter account upon seeing the news, yet I didn’t quite believe it, even when Emma Watson confirmed it on her Instagram feed and stories. Me and other fans(@hpana on twitter) felt the reunion was somehow spoilt by J. K. Rowling’s transphobia from recent years.

Cast and crew of Harry Potter. Emma Watson, Instagram.

The fact that Rowling won’t take part in the special didn’t go down well with the TERFs(acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist who are anti-trans groups) who criticized the decision of going ahead with the reunion without the author.

Moreso, @emmawatsonnet was mentioned by Neil Sean, (Media correspondent and Filmmaker for Westminster Live), in a Twitter post in which he expresses his feelings of Rowling not being included in the reunion titled: ’’No magic left for Harry Potter thanks to woke mob’’. The post is leading to a Youtube video, where he said that the actors are ’’very rich, very successful, and of course, very wealthy, all thanks to the powerful pen of J.K. Rowling’’ who he believes saved the British Film.

Afshan Azad was the only actor of the cast I have seen to thank J.K. Rowling on social media, who wrote: ‘’I owe everything to @jk_rowling, the casting agents and the Potter films. #20’’ as a result she was love-bombed by anti-trans accounts, where one user called her ‘’a gracious young woman who appreciates those who gave you your big break.’’ Of course the rest of the cast had received backlash for not thanking the author.

The films were made in active collaboration with J.K. in a time when her transphobia wasn’t yet public, or else could have the series become such a successful one? I dare write that it wouldn’t have been as big of a success otherwise. The actors of the series don’t have to thank her because for 10 years of their lives they worked their bums off, from early morning till it got very dark once they were old enough, often sleeping where they could on sets, in between takes. They earned their money fairly, paid by the studio.

Now, I recognized the author as a highly intelligent woman who created and wrote the universe Harry Potter, of course. That until she showed support to Maya Forstater who got fired after her employer got complaints because she was openly transphobic at work(NBC News, 2019). She’s went on to following LGB Alliance, who ‘’promote the rights of lesbians, bisexuals & gay men, as recognised by biological sex’’ – and of course there’s an issue with that, and their #SexNotGender hashtag. The main cast was clear: Trans men are men, and trans women are women.

J.K. claimed that only women menstruate in a tweet from 2020: ’‘ ’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’’ but I’d like to tell her that my cousin was born a woman, has premature menopause and yes, does not menstruate and very much a fully fledged woman, yet trans women can menstruate too, even capable to give birth. Why is she afraid of trans people in public bathrooms? Of all places?!

In other news, it took Bonnie Wright 12 days to delete a post which contained highly offensive words ”killgays” in her custom URL leading to her website. She was promoting her newsletter. I didn’t take her apology for it either, sorry, as she claimed to have used a link shortener, who appears to be blamed for the mishap and not her team for not having spotted the error quicker than the fans. Bonnie, a bit.ly account is free! Not the woke mob again!

REFERENCES:

Afshan Azad, 2021. When the Philosophers Stone film came out.. Twitter. Viewed on 12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/afshan_azad/status/1460699041092747264

Bonnie Wright, 2021. Apology. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from:  https://twitter.com/thisisbwright/status/1459174408157863940

Dr. Veronica Ivy, 2019. J.K. Rowling’s Maya Forstater tweets support hostile work environments, not free speech. NBC News. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/j-k-rowling-s-maya-forstater-tweets-support-hostile-work-ncna1105201

Emma Watson, 2020. Trans people are who they say they are..Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatson/status/1270826851070619649?lang=en

Emma Watson, 2021. Harry Potter was my home (..). Instagram. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWWGFOXLZYs/

Emma-Watson.net, 2021. I’ll believe it when I see it. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1460656614336344073

J.K. Rowling, 2020. ‘People who menstruate.’ Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from:  https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1269382518362509313?lang=en

Neil Sean, 2021. No magic left for Harry Potter thanks to woke mob. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/neilseanshowbiz/status/1461293237822529545

THE FASHION INDUSTRY SHOULD BE A MAJOR DISRUPTOR

The fashion industry as we know it is a major polluter. ECOCULT reported that it is responsible for 4-8% of global emissions, and it is interesting to see a parallel with the natural gas and oil sectors who are responsible for 3.9%.

I saw someone on Twitter posting that Emma Watson’s dress is sustainable(referring to the time she wore Alexander McQueen Resort 2020 collection on the cover of VOGUE UK December 2019). Couture is often not sustainable, far from it. Then, I had the inspiration to look at Goodonyou_app, a company who analyzes brands, looking at areas such as People, Planet and Animals. They rate brands from lowest’’We avoid’’, ’’Not good enough’’, ’’It’s a start’’, ’’Good ’’, to highest ’’Great ’’. Alexander McQueen’s rating is ’’It’s a Start’’ which is not good enough considering how big and popular the fashion house is, and surely they have to have the resources to accelerate their progress.

Emma told Vogue in June 2020 that ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction’’. I admire that in Emma, but I am quite split between being upset over fashion houses not making progress fast enough despite resources they have available, that it is extremely difficult to only buy clothes from brands who are only rated ’’Good’’, or ’’Great’’, price being a factor to most citizens, but that clothing fabric composition often contains polyester even from designers who champion sustainability like Stella McCartney.

Emma does have the privilege to having a bigger budget than most of us, but she also has the power and influence to lobby and pressurize brands to fasten their seatbelts toward sustainability. She joined Kering’s Board of Directors in June 2020, also chairing their Sustainability Committe of the Board, so she can really use that to drive change.

I really feel that the fashion industry should be a major disruptor, because as ECOCULT showed, fashion involves other industries in their processes: cotton, linen, silk(produced by silkworms but there is a vegan alternative called lotus silk), plastic (which is often not recycled), leather(when vegan leather can be used instead). The most difficult thing would be to change the perception of the public, to influence them to change their behaviour and buying decision-making process.

When I discovered sustainably made fashion it was like discovering a whole new world 😉. I became an affiliate partner with Immaculate Vegan, after using items from their website into sustainable fashion dupes of Emma Watson’s outfits on Instagram. I thought I couldn’t do what a stylist does so ended up creating sustainable outfits and made friends with brands in the process. So, buying sustainably is possible but getting consumers on board is a whole other cake, just like getting people to wear their clothes more than once, except for Kate, she’s great at fashion repeats, she takes that #30wears seriously. Hats off to you humans, who wear their clothing(nudity not being an option in public).

Photo by FreeStocks.org for PEXELS

One simply can’t write a blog about fashion and not include the fabulosity which is Eco-Age, a consultancy agency, describing themselves as creative communicators and providing progressive sustainability solutions whose founder is Livia Firth. They started the challenge #30wears because fashion is oftentimes seasonal, based on trends. There’s an app too, and it wants you to ask yourself ’’will I wear it 30 times?’’ before you buy.

Back to polluters, the footwear and apparel together were reportedly responsible for 8% of global carbon equivalent emissions(Wicker, 2021). There are vegan leather options who look absolutely beautiful, you wouldn’t believe that they were made from Appleskin(one type of vegan leather made from apple waste). Other brands use recycled polyester, recycled and upcycled rubber. There are handbags made of Piñatex(textile made of waste leaf pineapple fibers). These products are fair priced, considering their natural leather counterparts. Just think of how often a woman changes her handbags, going after trends or because they wear off.

I have that hope in my heart that one day these vegan brands will be mainstream popular, as much as I hope that companies stop using so called virgin plastics in their clothing. Take the W’s Dynamic Tee as an example, sold by Houdini Sportwear, made of 100% polyester(plastic), and calling it recylable because you can send it back to them once it wears off.

They’ll be surprised that they’ll never run out of plastics to recycle, surely in my lifetime and theirs! Goodonyou_app showed in an entire post how brands are not putting in the effort to make changes and to show leadership, they reported brands getting a low score for environmental policies for example, only 11% of brands achieve the ’’Great’’ rating in that area. The fashion industry should be a major disruptor because they have what it takes, just not the motivation. It’s like with going to the gym, make yourself do it!

REFERENCES:

Alder Wicker, 2021. Fashion Is Not the 2nd Most Polluting Industry After Oil. But What Is It?. ECOCULT. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://ecocult.com/now-know-fashion-5th-polluting-industry-equal-livestock/

Anon. n.d. 30 wears app. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://30wears.app/

Anon. n.d. Immaculate Vegan. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://immaculatevegan.com/

Anon., n.d. Emma Watson – Independent Director. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://www.kering.com/en/group/our-governance/board-of-directors/emma-watson/

Elena Niculescu, 2021. Emma Watson’s fashion commitment. Vogue Uk. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1459561122785378315

Houdini Sportwear, 2021. W’s Dynamic Tee. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://houdinisportswear.com/en-eu/clothing/shirts-and-tops/ws-dynamic-tee-157524?color=157524907

Sophie Benson, 2021. Fashion Climate Inaction. Goodonyou. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/fashion-climate-inaction/