• The best part of VERY 20 is that we can celebrate twenty years of independence. Two decades of a voice that can be heard, seen and read. Times have changed, but my stance hasn’t. So often now I think about the early issues, when based in New York, gun violence kept coming to the fore, in my mind and in my magazine. Some things we desperately want to change, why, just why don’t they.

    In 1997 making magazines, clothes and running a gallery at the same time was a cool thing, and new. This was early days of laptops and pre-mobile phones. Can you imagine?

    One of the many things that gets me wide-eyed lately is that multinational chains blatantly try and sell us ‘individuality’ – which defeats the very concept – and that people seem to buy into it.

    Joining Orsola de Castro for the Raindance launch of ‘RiverBlue’ I passed Leicester Square, something I rarely do. In drizzling darkness I cycled right up to huge illuminated signs of  'be individual’ —‘create your own individualized smarties’ ... seriously? We know that clothing giants equate (confuse) the ‘race to buy the same thing as everyone else’ with individuation, but evidently there is simply no ceiling to this phenomenon.

    Succumbing to the ‘electric eel syndrome.' our human-sheep culture makes ducks look smart: by way of my son’s l homework I learned that eels make a circle - connecting head to tail - to load their electrical charge from their own ‘battery cells’. 
  • That’s exactly what our capitalist system of perpetuated greed is doing: biting our own tail and multiplying self destruction exponentially.

    Langlands & Bell’s series Infinite Loop : Internet giants brilliantly exposes the current phase of overt hypocrisy that carries on from marketing your brand, family and/or trade by owning wings  in gothic cathedrals. Swedish Industrialist Alfred Nobel not only invented dynamite, but also contributed to the inventions of synthetic rubber, artificial silk, and synthetic leather, and held more than 350 patents.

    His name standing for peace and ‘nobility’ today is a coup to copy, as Langlands & Bell elegantly represent in looking through the murky waters of clear glass panes in modern architecture of industry leaders today.

    Read Maria Arceo ‘s recount of finding leather shoe soles from Tudor and even Roman times on the banks of River Thames – and follow it up with viewing the ‘River Blue’ trailer highlighting the unfathomable toxicity of clothing production, leading to the direct death of nature and (!) of those poor people forced to make the unimaginable pile of internationally wasted garments.

    Most of the clothes are never even worn or many not even sold. People and nature die for absolutely nothing but for the absurdity of vanity and an obsolete concept that fills landfills
    – and the pockets of a few.  

  • The RiverBlue Distressed Denim Atrocity is a must-read, as all of us own denim, but few of us know how ‘stone wash’ and ‘distressed denim’ hurts the world. Why buy newly distressed toxic jeans that look old, when you can just wear them out yourself?

    Thank you Orsola de Castro and Fashion Revolution for taking the global lead in exposing the fashion industry’s and pressing for this to change. We have to stop binging on fast fashion and start loving clothes that last. And I can talk, actually. I am lucky enough to be close in size to my mother... but aren’t many of us?

    Seeing this evidence should be enough to never want to buy a pair of shoes or Jeans again. Maria Arceo’s ‘Future Dust’ then shows another layer of the over-production-consumption issue. Glaciers and mountain springs now contain microplastics  - as detailed here by The Guardian - we need to stop creating petrochemical plastics, reduce packaging and buy no more bottled water for one.

    Of course I am working on ‘how to’ articles on the issue. In the meantime, get the Fashion Revolution booklet to see how you personally can help bring down the global clothing pile. Every non-purchase counts!!

    While plastic garbage is allowed to freely migrate anywhere in the world, people aren’t. One terrifying example is the ‘land of freedom’ with a misleading ‘statue of liberty’ guarding the port. 

  • Kids torn from their families, held in camps, in a so-called ‘free country’ where the prison-part of the justice system is not only privatized but constitutes a good chunk of the GNP! And, where did I read that the US hold 25% of all global prisoners?

    In the border area, many of the prisoners held indefinitely is minors who have not done anything wrong at all. Erika Harrsch’s evocative piece ‘Under the Same Sky ... We dream’ brings us closer to the reality of innocent children who are severed from their roots and trapped in a system of meshed wire.

    My intention is not to bring horrific stories to the fore.  The general news do that very well and I want no part in it. VERY for me is positively contributing to the world giving a voice to those who personally choose to do, create and expose, investing their own lives. We need to be informed to be able to make the right choices and the world a better place.

    Moving onto hope and connecting the dots rather than head and tail, read about the astounding  recent discoveries of the human microbiome and gut health; discover Egor Indiani’s film ‘curadores.‘ To find wisdom and how to overcome challenge we might have to go to the end of the earth, like Egor,... or,  can simply watch his film.

    Talking to Egor reminded and  inspired me to look back at my own  trip to the Amazonian jungle last year. Rich in experiences up, surprises and rewards I called the story ‘Find me in Hell’ as 

  • we tracked down the elusive lady Ayahuasca in Infierno [meaning ‘hell’].

    ‘Let there be Hemp’ is about man’s best friend that we have inconveniently forgotten about: 100 years ago, hemp was traded all across the globe, bringing wealth and health. Queen Victoria was famously used hemp (less famously for menstrual cramps). Since, sadly the Western world has chosen to ignore hemp’s multitude of benefits.

    Hemp cleans air and soil (even used in Chernobyl), and its CBD compound  (cannabidiol) is the direct match for the millions of receptors of our ‘ECS’ system. This ECS (endocannabinoid system) is responsible for balancing fundamental systems within us: the ‘psychological / emotional / physical / immune systems, hence regulating anything from depression, inflammation to cell repair.

    Hemp is nutritious as well as healing: hemp’s CBD incites cell reproduction and (!) provides all amino acids to actually do the work.  

    Not stopping here, industrial hemp supplies us with pulp for paper, building construction materials, and ... the basics for ‘hemp-plastics’ for lack of better word. There is actually no need for petrochemical plastics to contaminate the world, no need for oil wars — hemp is not only the natural equivalent, it actually does the work better. Be ready to be amazed, then watch the video of Henry Ford’s Hemp-plastic hemp-fuelled car presented in 1941!
  • Starting our ‘how to’ series then, the first thing I did is open a little hemp shop at VERY in Bayswater, representing the fantastic Hempen Cooperative in Oxfordshire; their organic hemp quality ranks amongst the purest in the world.

    To improve your health and happiness, you can order CBD and other hemp products directly from the source at Hempen online, pop by a farmers market on a Sunday, or shop by appointment at VERY during the week

    Uscha Pohl

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