The fashion industry is not one to jump on trends. It prefers to start them.But that’s not the case when it comes to vegan leather, a material that owes its zeitgeist stamp to the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and sustainable living.Because as more people reduce the amount of animal products on their plates, they’re beginning to take a similar approach to their wardrobes, prompting greater demand for “vegan” garments such as leather. And the brands that are taking note have flourished as a result.Earlier this week, shoe brand Dr Martens announced its profits had surged by 70 per cent in the year to the end of March thanks to the success of its vegan range of boots.The British label follows in the cruelty-free footsteps of Topshop and Adidas, both of whom have added vegan shoes to its collections in the last year. Meanwhile, labels that have always championed vegan leather, such as Veja, continue to be prosper among the street style set.Ethically, it makes sense to choose faux leather over the real thing, with animal rights campaigners pointing to the treatment of cattle that are farmed for beef and milk, of which leather is a byproduct. It's environmentally dubious too, given that no animal is reared purely for its leather and therefore producing it leads to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation just like beef and milk production. And that's before you’ve considered the consequences of tanning leather. While methods have improved, there are still some tanneries around the world, such as in Bangladesh, that use noxious chemicals such as chromium to tan their leather, which are filled in giant vats and often dumped into rivers once the process is complete.But vegan leather is also problematic, least of all because the term itself is an oxymoron. “There is no such thing as vegan leather,” says Dr Kerry Senior, director at the UK’s leather trade federation, Leather UK. “The term leather is defined by British, European and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and refers only to the skins or hides of animals, tanned to be imputrescible,” Senior tells The Independent, describing the phrase as an “abuse of the term leather” that continues to be a bugbear for those working in the leather trade.Amy Powney, creative director of sustainable luxury label Mother of Pearl, explains that most leather alternatives are made using synthetic materials, hence why she prefers to use real leather instead. “If you are buying faux leather then you need to consider you are buying plastic,” she tells The Independent, adding how she prefers to use “best practice leather” that is long-lasting and has been made using natural tanning agents.In October, Patrick Grant, creative director of Saville Row tailors Norton & Sons made a similar remark when he criticised eco-conscious brands such as Stella McCartney for "encouraging us to use plastic instead of leather".> There is no such thing as vegan leatherDr Kerry Senior, Leather UKPlastic polymers polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are the most commonly used to produce faux leather fabrics thanks to their supple, vinyl and sometimes wrinkled texture. But both pose serious environmental threats given that they are usually manufactured from fossil fuels and are not biodegradable. Equally, these garments tend to have a short lifespan, meaning consumers may dispose of their faux leather items faster than a long-lasting hand-me-down, resulting in them being sent to landfill.Stella McCartney has admitted to using polyurethane and polyester as an alternative to leather in its products, which it says on its website are “not without concern”. But by using recycled polyester and producing garments that are not machine washable (meaning it avoids the issue of microfibre shedding), the brand claims to have a lower environmental impact than labels who choose to use real leather, citing a calculation from its Environmental Profit and Loss account. > View this post on Instagram> > Super-skinny Alter-Nappa boots with platform crepe soles, captured behind-the-scenes of the Winter 2019 Runway Show in Paris. Dedicated to the ones we love in the past, present and future. ThereSheGrows> > A post shared by Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney) on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:01am PSTThat said, like many others, the luxury British label is looking into new ways of producing faux leather fabrics that aren’t quite so environmentally questionable. These include lab-grown leather, which is being spearheaded by biofabrication companies such as Modern Meadow. Elsewhere, there’s Piñatex, a leather alternative made from the cellulose fibre of pineapple leaves that was recently used by H&M in its latest Conscious Collection.But there is development happening in the real leather trade as well.> Leather ticks all the boxes for a sustainable materialRachel Garwood, University of NorthamptonRachel Garwood, director at the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies at the University of Northampton, tells The Independent genuine leather is nowadays far more environmentally friendly than faux alternatives.“It ticks all the boxes for a sustainable material. The problem leather has is that it retains the stigma of historical production methods,” she says, pointing to contemporary methods used by modern tanneries – such as vegetable tanning – that are far less harmful than previous chemical-based processes involved in leather production.“Chemical companies and tanners are working closely with brands to offer reassurance of the clean technology and ethics in leather manufacturing,” Garwood adds, noting that various initiatives such as the Leather Working Group (LWG) rate tanneries on their environmental and ethical practices that help retailers and brands to better identify good practice in their supply chain.> View this post on Instagram> > Looking to complete your Nisolo collection? Our Summer Warehouse Sale begins tomorrow in Nashville. Follow @nisoloshowroom for live updates and consider a road trip to save on exclusive styles this weekend only. 📸: @stylethislife> > A post shared by Nisolo (@nisoloshoes) on Aug 9, 2019 at 10:40am PDTMatt Stockamp, impact associate at US-based footwear brand Nisolo, is constantly trying to improve his supply chain to ensure the leather he uses is ethically sourced and durable. “We know that a lot of our leather comes from farms in the US and northern Mexico,” he tells The Independent. “The majority of our tanneries are also certified by the LWG for their social and environmental practices, which includes a regular, thorough inspection of their water treatment facilities. Diving further into this is an ongoing priority of ours for 2019.” Nisolo’s leather products are designed to last for many years, Stockamp adds. “We’ll need to conduct thorough testing to make sure that any vegan materials also meet our brand’s standards for quality and longevity.”If you want to invest in a real, long-lasting leather garment but you’re not sure about the company’s supply chain, Leigh Mcalea, head of communications at anti-waste organisation Traid tells The Independent the best way forward it to forget about buying something new altogether. Instead, she advises championing circularity by making the most of the ample secondhand options available at charity and vintage shops: “Choosing secondhand displaces the loss of life to animals, environmental destruction and worker exploitation.”
Mothercare is recalling baby sleeping bags labelled with the incorrect tog rating amid fears they may cause infants to overheat.The retailer issued the recall because a care labelling error stated he bags have a tog rating of 1, instead of 2.5.Togs are a measurement to determine how warm bedding and clothes are. The scale ranges from 1 tog (the coolest) to 15 tog (the warmest).The recalled product in question is the company's 2.5 tog grey star sleep bag which was sold separately and in a pack of two in Mothercare stores and online from May 2019.The products are labelled with the style numbers RA184 0-6 months and RA185 6-18 month.The sleeping bag is a white colour printed with grey stars and a grey trim. In a set, it is paired with a plain grey sleeping bag.In a warning published on the brand’s website, the recall states that the tog rating of the bags can be found on the care label under the words BS8510:2009.Mothercare warns customers who purchased the bags to check the care label. If the label states 2.5 tog, the retailer says that the product is “not affected”.However, if the care label states 1 tog, customers are advised to stop using the product “with immediate effect”.Shoppers are instructed to return the product to a Mothercare store for a full refund.A spokesperson from Mothercare tells The Independent: “The safety and well-being of our customers and their children is Mothercare's top priority, as a precautionary measure we have recalled a small number of sleeping bags with the incorrect labels.They continued, adding that the recall was a precaution against customers unknowingly using the incorrect tog of sleeping bag for their children.“We have engaged with Trading Standards to ensure we are taking the right action for our customers. We have taken this action to ensure that customers are fully informed to make the appropriate decisions regarding the tog rating of sleeping bags for their children,” they added.Customers with any queries are advised to contact Mothercare's customer services on 0344 875 5111.The two pack of '1 tog' sleeping bags for infants up to six months have been reduced in price from £32 to £16, while those sold for babies aged six to 18 months are now on sale for £18, as opposed to £36.According to the NHS, overheating can increase a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).The organisation states that a folded blanket counts as two blankets on an infant and that lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bags are a good choice.“Babies lose excess heat through their heads, so make sure their heads can't be covered by bedclothes while they're asleep,” it adds.Earlier this year, Cow & Gate recalled jars of baby food over fears they may contain pieces of rubber.The baby food company said fragments of a thin blue rubber glove had been found in some jars of its Cheesy Broccoli Bake, made for babies over the age of 10 months.The recalled batch of baby food affected had the code 28122020 and a best before date of 28/12/2020.The jars were sold in a number of major supermarkets, including Asda, Boots, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, and Tesco.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which can lead to severe physical and mental problems if not diagnosed at an early stage.Individuals who spend the majority of their time outdoors are most at risk of being exposed to the ticks which spread the disease, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states.While certain regions have a higher reported incidence of Lyme disease, such as south-east England, south-west England and Scotland, NICE outlines that the disease can be caught in any area of the UK.So, what is Lyme disease and how is it transmitted?Here's everything you need to know: What is Lyme disease?Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.It is typically spread to humans via infected ticks, which will have already bitten an infected animal such as deer, mouse, vole or hedgehog. Other insects also carry the disease. Ticks with Lyme disease can be found across the UK, but are most prevalent in grassy, wooded areas.They are most active between March and October.The disease was first reported in the US in 1977 in Old Lyme, Connecticut, hence how it acquired its name. What are the symptoms?Symptoms can differ from person to person, but many people with Lyme disease will develop a circular red "bullseye" rash around the tick bite within four weeks of being bitten.However, not all those infected will develop a rash, the NHS states, with some people experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain and a high temperature.According to new draft guidance published by NICE in February, doctors are advised not to wait for a potential Lyme disease patient's blood test results if they have a "bullseye" rash."If a characteristic bull's eye rash is present, healthcare professionals should feel confident in diagnosing Lyme disease," said Professor Gillian Leng, director of health and social care at Nice.While most tick bites are harmless, you are advised to seek help from your GP if you’ve recently been bitten by a tick and subsequently experience the aforementioned symptoms.Research has also linked Lyme disease to a series of neuropsychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety. How is it treated?Lyme disease, when recognised, is usually treated with a course of antibiotics prescribed by a GP.Those experiencing severe symptoms - such as extreme fatigue, chronic pain and/or depression - may be referred to a specialist for stronger antibiotics.The majority of those infected will make a full recovery within a few months.However, infection does not lead to lifelong immunity and it is possible for sufferers to be re-infected and develop the disease again. How can you prevent it?The NHS advises covering your skin when walking in wooded and grassy areas, suggesting tucking your trousers into your socks.Insect repellant can also be helpful in detracting ticks, while wearing light-coloured clothing can make them easier to spot and brush off. What to do if you’re bitten by a tickIf you are bitten by a tick, you may not necessarily notice it as they aren’t always painful.If you spot one on your skin, you should use either tweezers or a specialist tick-removal tool to pull it upwards and out of your skin, the NHS recommends.Dispose of the tick safely, ensuring you do not squeeze it, and clean the bitten area with antiseptic. How common is it?According to Public Health England, around 1,000 cases of Lyme disease are serologically diagnosed in England and Wales every year.Incidents of Lyme disease may also be confirmed without any need for testing in a laboratory.NICE adds that the "true number of cases is currently unknown".The NHS states that symptoms of Lyme disease can develop in anyone, anywhere. However, researchers from the University of Liverpool recently found that older women living in more affluent rural areas in the UK are among the most at risk of contracting the condition.The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, analysed the data of more than 2,000 hospital patients across England and Wales and found that people aged between 61 and 65, as well as children aged six to 10, were more likely to be diagnosed with the tick-borne condition.John Tulloch, an author of the study and researcher at the University of Liverpool, said that while the data shows a predominance of cases among white women over the age of 60, the reasons for this are “hard to explain”.Tulloch added that the findings could be related to differences in health-seeking behaviour between women and men and an increased exposure to tick habitats due to leisure activities in children and older people.The findings also showed that the local UK authorities with the highest number of cases were Purbeck, with 3.13 cases per 100,000 people per year, New Forest (2.58 cases) and East Dorset (2.32 cases).
Parents of toddlers are increasingly taking their children to A&E;, as they say securing a GP appointment is too difficult, research suggests.
The Westminster Menswear Archive has announced that it is opening the most extensive exhibition devoted to menswear in the UK this autumn.Titled Invisible Men, the four-week long show will cover the last 120 years of predominately British menswear through the display of over 170 garments, the majority of which have never been seen on public display. The exhibition will include pieces designed by some of the fashion industry’s biggest names including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Craig Green, Liam Hodges and A Cold Wall*.Arranged into twelve sections, the show – which takes place between 21 October and 24 November – aims to explore the design language of menswear, which, the Westminster Menswear Archive says, mostly centres on functional garments for industrial, technical, or military use.Invisible Men will also look at how designers disrupt convention and how menswear has developed an almost fetishistic appreciation of “the working man in all his heroic iterations”, referencing the clothing of seafarers, soldiers, athletes, firefighters, road workers, and explorers. Professor Andrew Groves, the curator of Invisible Men, said he hopes the exhibition will help to tell the “untold story of menswear”, which he feels has been marginalised and excluded from the history of dress.“Both in museums of the decorative arts or dedicated fashion museums, menswear is significantly underrepresented,” Groves said.“I started the Westminster Menswear Archive in 2016 through frustration that students and designers in industry were unable to see historically important examples of menswear, which is not the case with womenswear which is readily available in exhibitions and galleries. > View this post on Instagram> > England Football Team Tracksuit Top 1990 Umbro navy zip-up long sleeved tracksuit top made by Replikit to replicate the England football team's 1990 kit. It features contrasting geometric ivory and red striped panelling all over the front body, including the letters 'FA' in reference to the Football Association. It has a navy zip closure with a silver square Umbro zip pull. There is a British coat of arms made up of the three lions shield design sewn onto the left chest. The collar is finished with a cotton blue and white stripe panel that runs around the top, ending in a white and red three lions motif embroidered onto the centre back of the collar. The back forms a diamond shape in ivory with a large Umbro logo in navy. It has ribbed cuffs and waistband. It comes with hexagonal cardboard Umbro Replikit swing tag attached with plastic Kimble to the zip (in object file). Country of Design: England Country of Manufacture: Thailand umbro umbrofootball england tracksuit englandfootball trackies sportswear universityofwestminster westminstermensweararchive football> > A post shared by Westminster Menswear Archive (@menswear_archive) on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:32am PDT“We are beginning now to tell the untold story of menswear, and I’m incredibly excited that this exhibition will allow the public to see highlights from the collection, most of which have never been on public display before.”Groves and Dr Danielle Sprecher, co-curator of the exhibition, state that highlights of Invisible Men include a section devoted to examples of Alexander McQueen’s early menswear designs covering the years from 1997 to 1999 and examples from contemporary British menswear designers including Craig Green, Burberry, and Palace.> View this post on Instagram> > C.P. Company Urban Protection Metropolis Jacket 2000 Black Dynafil jacket with multiple double opening wind protection pockets, large hood with a removable anti-smog face mask that was adjustable through openings in the hood. Detachable velcro fastening 'C.P. Company' brand patch. Made from Dynalfil TS-70 bonded to a nylon base. Designed by Moreno Ferrari the 'Metropolis' jacket, which the first piece in the C.P. Company Urban Protection line. Country of Design: Italy Country of Manufacture: Italy cpcompany urbanprotection up casualstyle menswear mensweararchive Dynalfil casuals wearables wearabletech casualoutfit> > A post shared by Westminster Menswear Archive (@menswear_archive) on Mar 9, 2019 at 3:54am PSTInvisible Men will run at the University of Westminster. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday 11am-7pm and admission is free.
Fans are speculating that Beyonce is pregnant after she posted a stomach cradling Instagram photoshoot during a picnic, sparking fan theories that the popstar is pregnant. And now, the Beyhive is buzzing.She, husband Jay-Z and their twins were seen in the Hamptons, where they are renting a $26 million, seven-bedroom East Hampton home. Fans speculated the ‘Crazy In Love’ singer was pregnant with her fourth child after she shared a photo on Instagram wearing a purple gingham wrap dress from Altuzarra. The dress is currently on sale for $1,186. > View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:56pm PDTCommenters thought it looked like she was hiding her stomach as she crossed her arms around her waist in one of the pictures. One fan theorized, “she’s been dropping clues the entire album. Purple is royalty... simba (King) (son) .. the lions curled up like a fetus.” Another wrote, "Sis you pregnant & I know you not supposed to say stuff like this to women, but you pregnant."> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:55pm PDTThe Lion King star already has her hands full with Blue Ivy Carter, 7, and twins Sir and Rumi, 2. Beyonce's mother Tina Knowles Lawson recently opened up about Blue during Beautycon. “I've bought Blue so many makeup kits, much to her dad's dismay!" Lawson told Entertainment Tonight. “Dads don’t like that,” she said about Jay-Z’s response. Lawson went on to call her granddaughter “quite a makeup artist” and say “she’s amazing,” adding that she can “do a perfect cat eye.” This isn’t the first time Blue Ivy has been in the public eye. She has a small part in the new Lion King song ‘Brown Skin Girl,’ in which she’s heard at the end singing along. She was also previously in the video for 'Formation.'