Independent section of the last unit from year one, consisting of a fashion news story about Orsola de Castro's new book all about caring for clothes to make them last and a feature on mental health and the pandemic.

((News Story))
Orsola de Castro’s new book all about caring for your clothes has just dropped, add it to your bookshelf.
Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution turned author, Orsola de Castro is providing eco-warriors with the skills to mend their clothes to make them last, as well as the history behind it all.

((Body Copy))
Through her new book, titled ‘Loved Clothes Last’, Orsola de Castro is tackling one of the biggest problems facing the fashion industry: sustainability. Throughout the ten chapters, de Castro acts as a teacher offering tough love to all her readers on how to rewear, repair and love the clothes that are already in their wardrobes. Published in February by Penguin Life, the book, which grew from a Fashion Revolution zine of the same title, has come out at the perfect time for readers to reflect on their wardrobes whilst at home.

Design & Alter, a London based alteration business helps their clients repair, rewear and love their pre-owned clothes. Eva Baumont a Fashion Fitter at Design & Alter says: “It is always worth having your clothes altered to fit. You should weigh up how important things are to you. It is not about how expensive the clothes are, it is about how they value to you.” She says: “If something is valuable to you, it is so important to care and make it last longer.”

A reader and an experienced Goodreads book reviewer Annie said: “This book changed my life and my perception of myself.” she goes onto write: “I’ve realised that actually, I do love my clothes.” After leaving the book a five-star review on the site.

This book and other efforts to promote mending, rewearing and loving clothes already owned is an important message which through ‘Loved Clothes Last’ and the likes of it, is a message that is reaching the mainstream.

((First Feature))
How to switch off from social media
Turn your phone off and breath the fresh air in.

((Body Copy))
Social media has one purpose, to communicate. The interactive and immediate nature of social media lends itself perfectly to the pandemic. Through a few clicks of a button, news from all over the world can be accessed and what the pandemic seems to have illustrated is that this is a blessing and a curse.

Being forced inside and forced online left no other option. Addictive 60-second Tik Tok clips, perfect Instagram feeds and Snapchat stories were a cure and an escape. Yet with the pressures of social media and tragic news being reported every hour, it is necessary to know how to switch off from social media.

But it is easier said than done. No matter how bad social media can be, the one thing it is good at is knowing it’s audience. All social media apps have algorithms which trap users in by retaining information about the user’s habits whilst on the app. Then, apps can tailor content as they know what the user wants to see. So, when an app is opened, it is not closed until hours later. This is a pattern Molly-Mae Hague falls into, posting on Twitter to her 362k followers she said: “You know when clicking on TikTok after midnight that it’s just a slippery slope from there…”

After turning to social media in the pandemic, there are 4.20 billion daily active social media users which is up from 3.5 billion in 2019. 4.15 billion of these daily users access social media from their mobile phone and, the typical social media user spends two hours and 25 minutes on social media each day, according to Data Reportal’s 2021 global overview report. So, if you struggle with finding the perfect balance between the real world and the online world, just know, you are not alone.

Even though it sounds simple to put your phone down, it is not that straight forward, as Lia Thompson, a student, says: “I probably spend accumulatively six hours a day on social media, probably more and it definitely went up in the pandemic as I needed to interact with my friends as I didn’t see them in person.”

However, as a coping mechanism, Lia turned to other forms of entertainment during the pandemic, she goes onto say: “At the beginning of the lockdown it was hard to spend my free time doing the things I would usually do because it got quite repetitive, so I started to do different things and I picked up a lot of new hobbies.” These hobbies included creative outlets as she says: “Having a creative outlet is really good for someone's mental health especially when it's not to do with technology, by being away from your phone and just being able to dissociate from this online space, you can just be yourself.”

The relationship between social media and mental health can be a tricky one. It will be different for everyone and the pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works as, the amount of news reported about death and tragedy has increased. Work coach for people with mental health and learning disabilities, Leanne Buss says: “Prior to the pandemic, we did not have daily headlines telling us of the amount of people who had died, so we were unprepared for news everyday of deaths around the country.”

Most social media users may not even think about their consumption of news and online content, yet they may be noticing a difference in their mental health due to the pandemic. This is where hobbies can come in and shake things up. Hobbies such as reading and yoga can have relaxing impacts whereas hobbies like roller skating and running can increase heart rates, but all seem to better mental health.

The unstable relationship between keeping up with world news while still keeping a positive mental health is explained by mental health social worker Nicole Tumilty who says: “Early on in the pandemic, most people were hungry for news and COVID felt all consuming. It was particularly difficult for those unable to go to work or those that had a restricted social circle. I think everyone’s worlds got a bit smaller.”

A word of warning about social media is given by Nicole, she says: “Instagram and other sharing media’s only show a carefully polished version of a person’s life. It is very easy to see everyone else’s life as perfect and feel yours, in comparison, is inadequate.” She goes onto say: “Time away from social media and focussing on something enjoyable, can stop you looking inwards and the opportunity to connect with something more positive and help you feel better about yourself. Try to engage in something ‘real’, a conversation with a friend, a bath with scented bubbles, or a walk with the dog.”

The constant pressures of posting and keeping up with what is going on in the online world can be intense and no one knows this more than physician, television personality and UK youth mental health ambassador for the Department for Education, Dr Alex George. Dr Alex strives to make the online world a better place ever since going onto Love Island in 2018, and sadly losing his brother Llyr to suicide earlier this year. In a tweet Alex pleaded to his 234k followers: “Please can we all try to be a little kinder to each other online? We are all doing our best, life right now is pretty tough for all of us… never forget it’s a human being with real emotions and feelings at the end of the phone.”

So, it seems as if the perfect balance is required to enjoy social media and consume news, whilst also switching off from the online world when it is time. The World Health Organisation suggest minimising newsfeeds to reduce anxiety and feeling distressed. For further guidance and to keep up with the World Health Organisation, follow their #HealthyAtHome initiative to see how social media if used productively can have a positive impact.

So next time you reach for your phone, take a deep breath and switch it off to put you and your mental health first.

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