THREADING FASHION’S PROBLEMS
The industry has cra ed guidelines for a sustainable future, finally
FOR ALL ITS GLAMOUR and covetable products, fashion is the fourth largest contributor of greenhouse gases and water pollution in the world. Fully four per cent of the world’s trash is from the industry. What happens to un-bought goods? They often end up in the incinerator. Luxury fashion has a better environmental footprint, but global fast fashion players like H&M and Topshop are losing popularity due to the disposable nature of their products. This is despite their crowing of bigger celebrity and fashion partnerships to corral public consumption.
The Danish non-profit organisation Global Fashion Agenda recently established the Copenhagen
Fashion Summit outlining what fashion CEOs need to do to ensure a more sustainable fashion future. Seven ideas were put forth. These were: supply chain traceability; water, energy and chemical use efficiency; respectful and secure work environments; using sustainable materials and resources; developing a closed-loop fashion cycle; improving wage systems downstream and employing new technologies to drive the other six aims.
Some of them are common sense. But an important point is the push for a closed-loop fashion cycle, unlike today’s linear ‘create and dispose’ fashion attitude. It’s a problem that starts from fashion’s creative leaders and goes down to the consumers. Designers today produce four to six collections a year. Fast fashion brands replace their windows weekly. Online platforms have a ceaseless repertoire to offer. Our sped-up lifestyle is the root of this issue, but fashion’s response has been to churn out more, and rapidly.
The result is over-consumption on every level of fashion. Closing the fashion cycle loop will slow it down. The result will be a more responsible, efficient and socially responsible industry. It’s time that the fashion industry stopped milking models, poorly paid interns and Mother Nature just so we can have a new It bag next season. AM