So guys – I just got off a really important zoom call with members of the Planetary Systems Alliance on the subject of ‘Recycling’. And there seems to be some confusion. By which I mean to say that The Earth is confused about the human concept of ‘Recycling’. They did all that ‘Thanks everyone for coming,’ and ‘Bio-diversity Manager sends their apologies but they’re dealing with a crisis right now. Etc etc’ And then they were like – “Alice, could you tell us a bit about ‘Recycling’?”
Which I wasn’t really prepared for because I design lingerie, not manage waste disposal or anything. So I had to kind of explain, without a PowerPoint or what-have-you, that we put our ‘rubbish’ into different boxes, and then the council picks it up, and it gets taken to some…
But the Representative for Tropical Flora interrupted and was like, “What’s rubbish?” and I was like, “Well it’s mostly packaging etc that people buy food or Amazon products in. In fact everything comes in…’
At which point they interrupted AGAIN and were like, ‘food already has packaging”: from their perspective they’d invented ‘peel’ like a billion years ago. And I was like ‘it has to stay fresh, though’ and they were almost a bit angry and kind of laughing. And the Minister for Grasslands butts in and says that some rich people own all the land now so we can’t just pick the vegetables fresh, we have to put them on trucks and drive them around. And they kind of all shake their heads in this way of how stupid we are but kind of cute and a bit tragic.
So, I’m trying to manage a serious PR emergency that I see on the horizon here so I’m like, ‘actually it’s pretty cool, sometimes we recycle the packaging, like plastic bottles and stuff, into LEGGINGS.’ And I’m waiting for them to cheer or at least nod. But instead, Planetary Vibe manager looks tired and says “Mushroom, do you want to take this one”. The Mushroom unmutes and shares his screen and it’s loads of images of really tiny polyester fibres in the water and the soil and they’ve got, like, tiny mean faces and they’re gathering bacteria up to start a whole heap of trouble against us. He says (with notable disappointment) that WE KNOW about this, that we call them microfibres and microplastics, but we just keep on doing it anyway. So unfair.
The Mushroom goes to page 5 and it’s a cool training camp where they’re training up new Mushrooms to eat the tiny fibres. But then the next page is this image of an ant with a fungus growing out of its brain and they say how they really think Planetary Vibes department should reconsider their veto, because this would be a quicker and more efficient option, were it upscaled to a larger species.
And, like, Evolution Manager unmutes and is like, “Well we didn’t think it was a great idea to give those enormous ants fire in the first place”, and a lot of the delegates do the wavy hands emoji.
Planetary Vibes kind of steps in and reminds everyone about Free Form Jazz (I’m like, woah, most of us don’t even like Free Form Jazz, but I keep quiet). And then shows a couple of videos of us dancing and is like, this is better than ants.
And then Decay Manager addresses me directly, but basically as if I’m a four year old, and is like “Look, the thing is WE ALREADY HAD RECYCLING ON LOCK. Have you noticed how everything before plastic just breaks down in the soil?” But then someone puts in the chat that maybe you’ve never seen compost because of the rich land owning thing from earlier, and a load of them write LOL. Which is patronising AF. And I say, well yes, I did know about composting actually, but it’s just not very, well, I dunno, like techy or something. And the timeline manager is like, “Maybe this is an issue with your WHOLE WAY OF THINKING” I mean, SERIOUSLY?? THESE GUYS.
“Maybe you’re stuck in straight line thinking, and you forgot that it’s all circles and that that plastic rubbish is coming back to bite you on the ass really soon.”
So I’m like. ‘Well look- if you guys know so much about it, why don’t you do something to stop us??? Huuuhhhh??’ Which in hindsight was maybe not helpful. And the Mushroom just like holds up its laptop with the picture of the exploded ant brain fungus and raises its eyebrows. And the moon puts in the chat, That’s not helpful, I dunno, the Moon and the Mushroom seem to have history or something.
I’m feeling a bit got at tbh, so I’m all defensive; “I’m just one person, what can I do? I don’t even work in waste management!”
And Planetary Vibes is like, looking all indulgent and proud and says, “But what if you applied that mindset shift we just mentioned to the thing you do do? You are a very creative species, you can find ways of not wrapping vegetables, or your bodies, in plastic. Each one of you has unique skills and talents, just use those gifts for not using plastic, instead of evil.”
And Chief Coastal Habitat Monitor is like “You know, most of that rubbish, that you put in the box, it just goes on a truck and gets burnt, or shipped off somewhere else”, which is a bit shocking tbh.
‘We know it’s hard for you guys, but honestly just ask us, we’ve been doing recycling since you lot were in fish scales. It doesn’t have to be so complicated, you could spend a lot more time dancing and playing that sweet jazz…” (again I bite my tongue) “If you just worked with the systems already in place, on a hyperlocal level, and stop driving stuff around everywhere!”
Alice Holloway has been beavering away in the Sustainable Fashion space since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2008. Its not an easy space to work in. The skills and expertise of makers and practitioners has been really degraded by the rise of fast fashion and neo-liberalism.
Last year Alice completed an MA in Design for the Cultural Commons where we was energised by rediscovering her peasant ancestors who were so skilled, so resilient and tbh, having such a good time. Alice is on a mission bring us back into conversation with a way of life in balance with nature, and in balance with our own brains – which seem to really crave a deeper connection to each other and to nature.
Alice is the founder of Brixton-based bespoke lingerie brand Little Black Pants Club producing little handmade garments with big post-capitalist dreams.
We all want to make it.
Make it in our chosen career. Maybe make it big.
Sometimes perhaps just make it to pay day.
But whatever our ambition, what unites us all is the desire to thrive, be recognised – and be supported.
And that’s what Lambeth’s Creative Enterprise Zone is all about. Supporting creative people to do amazing creative things without having to leave our amazingly creative corner of south London.
Because we all want to make it – of course – but more than that, we want to Make It in Brixton.
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