The fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter behind the oil industry. Here are 7 ways to think differently and act differently about fashion to help transform the industry.
1) If you are a designer you can recycle material scraps at FAB Scrap: http://fabscrap.org
Fabric offcuts represent only 15 per cent of waste. There is a mountain of waste at the consumer level, some of which is identified: from the rolls to the remnants and all the runs of garments that are either damaged or over-ordered. 80 billion garments are delivered out of factories annually worldwide.
-Orsola de Castro, Founder of From Somewhere, which makes clothes out of recycled offcuts from luxury fabric
2) Donate unworn clothing to those in need to your local women’s center. In Nevada City, one resource is: http://www.women-of-worth.org
3) Go back to basics by buying less, and buying a few key pieces that are meant to last. When you purchase a piece of clothing, how many times do you plan to wear it? A good rule of thumb is at least 3o times.
Finding a new way of doing fashion means talking about trade in general, about how we treat people and how we treat the earth. We need to change our trading system completely. I think we need a complete transformation. I think we need to educate people about the problem of overconsumption, which is a contributing factor the fast fashion industry.
-Dana Geffner, Executive director of US-based consumer organization Fair World Project
4) Shop vintage to find quality, well-made, lasting clothes. If anyone finds a pair of bloomers from the 1800's, let me know.
5) If you like to sew, up-cycle old clothing into something new. Alabama Chanin has a pattern for turning a t-shirt into a corset tank top in the book Studio Patterns:
6) One can lower the carbon footprint of clothing in the use phase of a garment’s life cycle by air dry clothing. Less energy is used, and the piece of clothing will last longer.
7) Support and buy from companies who can trace their supply chain, are using fair trade and organic material, and pay their workers a living wage. People Tree is one company, and there are many more: http://www.peopletree.co.uk
People Tree supports hundreds of women, and many have become heads of their households. Buying fair trade helps families and children build a way out of poverty and exploitation in other countries. Women can afford to send their children to school, instead of a factory to work. Fair trade and organic manufacturing protects women with improved working conditions without hazardous circumstances with toxic chemicals.
Exploitation of the voiceless leads to wars and migration. People need to be able to grow and develop or they are forever stuck in the same relationship with the West (often of suppliers of raw materials). If trade is really to become fair, people need the chance to learn new and better ways of doing the same thing, and eventually they need to be able to start doing something else. If communities have the chance to develop new products, market them and invest in new ways of producing new things, then they can truly be sustainable, able to adapt to a changing world.
-Seyi Rhodes, TV reporter and investigative journalist
I never understood the size and scale of fashion’s impact on our world. It is at the heart of the struggle for human rights and environmental protection and yet in so many ways we don’t take it seriously. The reality is that as human beings we make choices, and the choices we make around what we wear are having profound implications for our planet as well as for some of our most vulnerable fellow human beings.
-Andrew Morgan, Director of The True Cost
For more information on the environmental benefits of organic versus traditional cotton, study 34 has an article: https://www.study34.co.uk/blogs/discover-responsible-fashion-blog/what-is-organic-cotton
For more information on women leading the revolution with new technologies and sustainable innovation in fashion, check out Miroslava Duma at Fashion Tech Lab: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/bof-exclusive/miroslava-duma-fashion-tech-lab-with-50-million-to-invest
It would be a big step if people stopped thinking of themselves as consumers and instead thought of themselves as citizens, activists and change makers.
-Tansy Hoskins, author of Stitched Up – The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion