I’m getting a great kick out of how the simple face mask has quickly become a fashion accessory. The other day, I saw a young lad in camo trousers with a matching camo mask. An elderly néni in a plain grey slack and shirt had accessorised with a bright orange pattern scarf and matching mask. At the supermarket checkout, the lady on the till was having a right laugh at something the young one ahead of me had written on her mask. I wasn’t quick enough to see it. Yes, face masks are the jewellery of the future. I’ve never been much on fashion. I’ve clothes in my wardrobe that have been there for 20 years. By the time I cotton on to a fashion trend it’s on the way out. I don’t read the fashion mags so I’ve no warning about what’s to come. Just about the only thing I notice is colours. I’m glad to see that royal blue is in this season. I might have some hope of finding a narrow blue belt that I’ve been looking for, for a couple of years now.
Of all the types of pollution out there, my bugbear is clothes pollution. From water pollution to water consumption. From microfibres in our oceans to the fossil fuels needed to make our synthetic materials… it reads like a horror story. If you’re interested, Sustain your Style has a good piece on the environment and fashion. According to Business Insider, the fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. The next time anyone gets on to me about the number of flights I take, I’ll have a quick look at what they’re wearing. That same article also notes:
Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. And washing some types of clothes sends thousands of bits of plastic into the ocean
I buy practically all my clothes secondhand. I’m all for recycling. If I buy new, I try to buy recycled, environmentally friendly materials. I know you can’t believe everything you read on a label but it eases my conscience a little. I draw the line at second-hand shoes though. If I’m walking in someone else’s shoes, I need to know who that someone is.
COVID-19 has its own pollution problems. Discarded gloves and masks litter the streets like crisp bags and chocolate wrappers. The disposable nature of the disease is going to cause problems down the road. Monday is World Ocean Day and a recent article in EuroNews tells of how the ocean floor is already littered with masks and gloves.
We really are a sad race of people who have never learned to pick up after ourselves. Spoiled. Irresponsible. Inconsiderate. Shameful.
Mask-wise though, my concern wasn’t fashion. It was fogging. Every mask I tried made my glasses fog up. Many of those photos in the media where people were castigated for having their noses exposed – they were mostly wearing glasses. If you’re bespectacled, you know what I’m talking about.
Then the lovely CJ found me a cloth mask with a filter. Happy days. I’m grateful I can see when I talk now. And no longer have to hold my breath in the supermarket so that I can read a label. Yep – it’s the little things in life that make it work.