Is it possible to balance raising a baby with saving the planet?

Raising a baby while striving to be sustainable is not something that typically goes hand-in-hand. Where babies are concerned, much waste is produced just from everyday life whether that be from nappies, dummies or clothes they have outgrown.

Climate change has become increasingly prominent in the minds of people throughout the country, so it should come as no surprise that many parents have turned to eco-friendlier ways to raise their children.

The environmental cost of having a child is significant and as a result, more parents are taking the initiative to try and limit the impact their child has on the the planet’s health. Being environmentally conscious is not an easy feat – but it is possible.

Credit: The Bebe Hive

Mum of one, Fiona McKay, has bought most of her daughter’s essentials second-hand.

“I want my daughter to grow up in a world better than the one she came into. I’ve been pretty aware of overconsumption and climate change for a long time, but getting pregnant really focused me.”

As well as taking the necessary steps in her own purchases, she has also asked her family to do the same when it comes to presents. “We’ve asked for second-hand or wooden toys when people have asked about gifts. We also bought her cot, changing table, buggy, bouncer chair, etc., second-hand.”

“People feel they need to buy presents for a baby and although we’ve been very good at not buying things ourselves,” she admitted, “it’s crazy the number of new things we still received.”

When it comes to the cost of raising her daughter this way, Fiona said that although it might be more expensive to begin with, it ends up working out cheaper in the long-run.

Credit: The Bebe Hive

The Bebe Hive is one shop that has successfully catered to this market since 2017. This online shop is run by mother of two, Lauren Rigby, and works together with many different ethical and sustainable businesses from across the globe in order to bring its customers great, high-quality products to help them become eco-friendlier.

Rigby’s shop aims to allow its customers to shop “consciously and sustainably for their little people” and this is highlighted by the products that they sell, such as: rubber dummies, silicone bibs, and wooden and sustainable-based toys.

 

Laura understands that parenting is stressful enough without trying to be completely sustainable but she stresses that “little changes will make a big difference.”

“I do think if people understood more about the choices they make and the options and alternatives available, then they would be more willing to prioritise the topic of sustainability.”

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle whilst raising your children is not easy but it is definitely possible if you have the means and determination to do it.

Daniela Groza: Carving a Sustainable Future in Jewellery Design

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One of Daniela Groza’s designs. (Credit: Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu)

Independent jewellery designer and co-founder of the R Sustainable Fashion Show; Daniela Groza is the perfect example of how the younger generation is grasping at the potential of an increasingly sustainable future.

Currently a third year Jewellery Design student at the Edinburgh College of Art, Daniela is passionate about sustainability and conscious clothing, often repurposing her old items into new jewellery pieces.

Through combining her creative skills and knowledge of both design and science, the inspiring student is hoping to propose solutions and raise awareness of the environmental and social implications of our fast fashion and consumerist based tendencies.

For Daniela, jewellery has always been a passion. From making duct tape wallets at the age of 10, her abilities soon developed towards taking bead-work and wire-work jewellery classes near her home in Romania. Leading to her selling her own designs over Facebook at the age of 14.

Back then she was young and unaware of the negative implications behind the Textile and Mining Industries.

“It was only when I came to Edinburgh University that I started to learn about sustainability within fashion. By taking part in a Sustainable Fashion Show, organised by the student association, I got to experiment with waste materials such as polystyrene, phone cables, cardboard, by turning them into sculptural pieces of jewellery for the runway show,” she explains.

Since then, Daniela has been elected by the ECA to be a student Ambassador for the Ethical Making Pledge, raising awareness of the importance of using recycled metals and natural dyes as a practicing jeweller.

Her role is to make the workshop a safer and more eco-friendly environment by implementing natural substitutes for the chemical-based solutions that we use in jewellery making.

“AEON is my latest collection of jewellery, released right before Christmas 2018. Inspired by Architecture, the concept behind it was the idea of preserving ancient artefacts through incorporating modern features, by using the process of digital fabrication and 3D printing.  I created a series of architectural landscapes to be adorned on the body, giving life to unique fashion statements.

“I have begun to turn towards a more ethical and conscious practice, using recycled silver and natural dyes. For this collection, I used silver dust and scrap that I had gathered in a jar since my 1st year of University.

“Another process used is called Electro-forming, which is growing a layer of metal onto a surface, using electricity. Using this technique, I grew copper textures onto my 3D printed objects, giving them an antique finish. I also used natural dyes such as Charcoal,” she says.

 

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Daniela’s university career has been busy – not that she minds. When she’s not designing new pieces for future collections, she’s simultaneously running her online shop and arranging future events to follow last years hugely successful show and exhibition – R Sustainable Fashion Show.

“I am very lucky to have found my passion from a young age, therefore I decided to turn it into a career by joining the Jewellery and Silversmithing programme at Edinburgh College of Art.

“Currently in year 3, the collections I create are both for my course and for my online store, this way I combine my studies with my personal business,” she says.

The R Sustainable Fashion Show is a professional platform through which student designers and artists can engage with the wider audience on matters related to sustainability, by presenting their work publicly.

“We are constantly working towards the R Sustainable Fashion Show 2019 and so we will be doubling the number of attendants for this year’s event and are aiming for an audience of at least 400 people. The event will take place on March 24th at the Jam House, Edinburgh,” Daniela explains.

This years event is a chance to fundraise for One Cherry, a local startup that digitalises local charity shops by implementing an online platform for their products to be advertised, encouraging online charity shopping.

The event consists of a runway show including student designers, and will end with a preview of “the best of” One Cherry charity shop outfits.

Amidst all this planning, Daniela is learning Japanese ahead of her study abroad term in Osaka this April.

“I chose Japan because I want to travel to a place where I have never been to experience and taste a new culture. I think it’s a cool language and I am very excited to meet people, share ideas, explore new approaches to design, and learn new skills!” she says.

With new ventures on the horizon Daniela is undoubtedly acing the student come business women act, successfully creating an authentic and unique business model based on renewable principles.

“There is always room for improvement when it comes to sustainability. We’re really hoping to raise awareness of the future of fashion, sustainable material manipulation, and ethical practices, through our Exhibition and Runway showcase RSFS 2019.”

Shop Daniela’s latest jewellery collection here.

Photos by Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu

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