Have you ever wondered what your local neighbourhood would look like without small boutiques, cafes, hairdressers, bakeries, barbers, restaurants, newsagents, delis, nick-knack shops and the likes?
I get it! Your preferred shopping mall offers all the conveniences under one roof. All the big brand label stores, the fast-food courts and a department store or two stocking everything you can think of and then some.
Actually, NO! I don’t get it!
All these (mega) malls try to outdo each other by becoming the next biggest and most upmarket but there really is little or no variety between one mall and the next. Every mall hosts the same big name retail brands stocking the same items and products. Where is the variety? Do we all want to look and buy the same? What’s more, where do you think the money you spend at a mall goes to? Local employment wages aside, ultimately the largest part of every dollar you spend at a mall goes to the corporations and their shareholders, which often means your money disappears overseas.
Instead of driving to a mall to support shareholders, I shop at and support the small and independent businesses in my area. Here are some reasons why:
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centres, linking neighbours in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices and variety.
Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenised world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centres require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and (mega) shopping malls.
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centres, which in turn are essential to reducing urban sprawl, car use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation, variety and competitive prices over the long-term.
Entrepreneurship and small businesses fuel Australia’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serve as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Keep the soul of your unique community alive and take up the cause of supporting your local small businesses.
Polyester Gets a High-End Makeover
Man-made fibers—including, yes, polyester—are an increasingly important component of high fashion. Polyester remains a dirty word to most people, so designers cloak non-natural textiles in euphemisms like “technical fabric.” Christina Binkley has details. (courtesy of WSJ.com)
The New High-End Eco Fabric
Demand for high quality recycled polyester is now outstripping supply, thanks to growing use by diverse brands such as Armani, H&M, Patagonia and Esprit, which are using the material in an increasingly diverse range of applications. The opinion of the fashion world seems unanimous - fashion retailers across the world have expressed optimism about the recycled polyester fibre market.
Recovery and recycling of polyester provides important environmental benefits that cannot be overlooked. Textiles present particular problems in landfills, as synthetic fibres will not decompose, while woollen garments decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming. Recycling polyester significantly reduces the need for landfill space in this capacity. Recycled polyester also reduces pressure on virgin resources and results in less pollution, as fibres do not have to be manufactured or transported from abroad.
Polyester textile recycling has been developed using the clear plastic water bottles, or PET as the raw material. The most common form of textiles made using recycled polyester is fleece, a knitted pile fabric often used by outdoor clothing companies to make jackets. Patagonia are the most well-known promoters of polyester recycling and have partnered up with Teijin, a Japanese company who have developed their own closed-loop polyester recycling system.
Fabrics made from recycled items are now becoming more commonplace, with recycled polyester made from recycled drinks bottles now being made by companies such as Marks and Spencer, EcoSimple and Armani jeans.
Armani have been incorporating eco fabrics and design since the mid 90’s. Their first eco project started in 1995 with the development of a process to recycle denim. This was revolutionary for the time and the jeans were displayed at the Science and Technology Museum of Milan. Later that year, Armani Jeans developed new materials using 60% recycled wool and recycled cross dyed cotton and introduced hemp eco washes into the collection. This experimentation has continued with the production of an organic knitwear range, the use of pure alpaca and the engagement with fair-trade cotton projects in Peru and Bolivia and recycled polyester.
EcoSimple is another company whose fabrics are a blend of recycled cotton and RPET, which is made from plastic bottles. These fabrics are available in a rich assortment of hues, and seamlessly combine beauty and functionality while supporting environmentally- and socially-responsible business practices. EcoSimple’s fabrics are impressive examples of how eco-friendly textile production and incredible design are not mutually exclusive. Along with a growing number of clothing manufacturers, they have made a commitment to innovation, social responsibility, and high-quality fabrics that draws conscientious designers the world over.
(courtesy of Le | Souk)
In Australia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition of giving gifts to mothers on Mother's Day in Australia was started by Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local schoolchildren and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Every year thereafter, Mrs. Heyden raised increasing support for the project from local businesses and even the local Mayor. The day has since become commercialised. Traditionally, the chrysanthemum is given to mothers for Mother's Day as the flower is naturally in season during May and ends in "mum". Men often used to wear a chrysanthemum in their lapels in honour of their mothers, a practice sadly discontinued in the modern age.
The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the era of ancient Greeks and Romans. But the roots of Mother's Day history can also be traced in UK where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of day in Australia. However, the celebration of the festival as it is seen today is a recent phenomenon and not even a hundred years old.
It is thanks to the hard work of the pioneering women of their times, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, that the day came into existence. Today the festival of Mother’s Day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates) and is a hugely popular affair. Millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honour their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well-wisher.
Earliest History of Mother's Day
The earliest history of Mother's Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honour Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.
Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honour of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England, the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.
Present Day Celebrations
Nowadays, Mother’s Day is celebrated in several countries including US, UK, India, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and the Netherlands. People take the day as an opportunity to pay tribute to their mothers and thank them for all their love and support. The day has become hugely popular and in several countries phone lines witness maximum traffic. There is also a tradition of gifting flowers, cards and others gift to mothers on this day. The festival has become commercialised to a great extent. Florists, card manufacturers and gift sellers see huge business potential and make good money through a rigorous advertising campaign
Here’s to all mothers around the world!