In transit from Bangladesh to Manchester, I walked past the luxury stores in Dubai airport, all of which have leather bags displayed in their windows. The spotlights in the store windows shine down on an array of beautiful bags, but I want to shine a spotlight on a darker story which needs to be revealed. The previous day I had visited the tanneries in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the leather used for many of the world's designer bags and shoes originates.
“Fashion is the second most polluted industry”. “No, it’s the fifth”. In both cases, what matters is that fashion is characterised by profound ethical, environmental and employment issues. As a consequence of the rapid acceleration of globalisation, the fashion industry has a highly competitive structure that not only puts pressure on costs, but also on the ability to offer the “newest” possible trend to the customers.
As one of the largest consumer industries, it's no secret that fashion plays a hefty role in the detriment of our planet. Firstly, there are the problems within the industry itself: fast fashion cycles, high output factories, and unsustainable clothing production practices. Not all of the blame can be shouldered by clothing brands and retailers, though; we as consumers and how we interact with clothing are equally responsible. How often and where we shop, and how we approach and care for our wardrobes are all important factors in our ecological footprint. The good news is, with a rapidly growing number of eco- and ethically-minded designers, changing our habits has never been easier.
It is not a brand synonymous with style, but WWF in Finland, a branch of the world’s biggest conservation group, is teaming up with the Nordic Fashion Week Organisation in a project that aims to produce a truly sustainable clothing range.
Those behind the project, codenamed “The New Normal” say a new way of producing textiles will become a necessity as global demand for clothing increases with population growth.
There is no doubt that the fashion industry is changing. While, for some of us, it may not be changing as quickly as we’d like, there is proof that consumer behavior is shifting, the role of the designer is growing and technology is at the forefront. Six experts in the sustainable fashion industry share the projects they’re most excited to watch in 2017.
Looking good can be bad for the planet. Massive amounts of energy, water and other resources are needed to make clothes. From the pesticides poured on cotton fields to the washes in which denim is dunked, making 1kg of fabric generates 23kg of greenhouse gases on average, reckons McKinsey, a consultancy. More than half of the fastest-fashion items made are chucked away within a year of production. But such rampant retail therapy costs the earth.
Adidas has invented a running shoe that will decompose in the sink. Once you’ve worn it out (the company recommends two years of use), you can immerse the shoes in water, add a digestion enzyme called proteinase, and let it work for 36 hours. It will cause the protein-based yarn to break down and the shoe will melt away.
Called 'the biggest environmental problem you've never heard of,' the shedding of plastic microfibers is a topic nobody wants to discuss.
Laundry is a surprising source of plastic pollution. Every time you wash synthetic clothes, such as fleeces, athletic wear, and leggings, minuscule plastic fibers are released into the wash water. These fibers, known as microplastics, are nearly impossible to filter out at wastewater plants and most end up in the ocean, to the detriment of marine life—and ultimately, inside humans, too.
With fast fashion speeding up trends and shortening seasons, your clothing is quite likely dated if it’s more than a year old. Many secondhand stores will reject items from fast-fashion chains like Forever 21, H&M, Zara and Topshop. The inexpensive clothing is poor quality, with low resale value, and there’s just too much of it.
Water has a special place in Indonesia’s culture. The expression for “homeland” in Bahasa Indonesia, the national language, is “Tanah Air Kita” – which translates as “Our Land and Water”, reflecting the fact that Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands.
This is the third edition of the Detox Catwalk, which assesses the steps taken by fashion brands to fulfil their commitments. This year the focus is on implementation; brands are evaluated from the point of view of their Detox 2020 deadline to eliminate hazardous chemicals, thinking backwards to assess if they have the necessary tools to be fit for 2020.
From jeans made from old Levi’s to Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘high-fashion ecology’, suddenly there’s nothing sexier than sustainability.
Conscious-Ness is happy to present you the Abu Dhabi Fashion
Luxury fashion designer, Giorgio Armani, has taken a stand against animal cruelty by pledging to end his company's relationship with fur.
If I asked you to picture the consumer luxury market, you might imagine jewels, sports cars, watches, premium drinks, high-end shoes and apparel, and so on.
At Chanel, the show starts long before the clothes appear. Karl Lagerfeld’s overture began a few days ahead of this collection with the show tickets: simple slabs of eco-friendly plywood looking nothing like haute couture’s traditional beribboned and gold-embossed invitations.
The overseas textile mills that make our clothes are incredibly wasteful and polluting. Through NRDC's Clean by Design program,
Linda Greer aims to change that.
What’s wrong with the materials I’m wearing now?
It’s likely that you’re wearing cotton or polyester, two of the fashion industry’s most popular fibres.
As the COP21 climate change talks are underway in Paris this week, it’s nice to see real progress on fronts rarely discussed. Lots of industries other than energy production are important sources of greenhouse gas emissions – agriculture, iron and metal smelting, cement production, waste treatment and…the fashion industry.
Few sectors are more emblematic of today’s consumer-driven growth model than the fashion industry. Ever more frequent overhauls of fashion ranges, psychological inducements to promote impulse buying, consumers who see shopping as their primary leisure activity, and of course – low prices.
“The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world...second only to oil,” the recipient of an environmental award told a stunned Manhattan audience earlier this year. “It’s a really nasty business...it’s a mess.”
There are over 7 billion people on this planet. 7 billion! If you count one number a second without stopping until you reach a billion, you’d be counting for 31 years, 259 days, 1 hours, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds.
That’s how much a billion is.
MADE-BY was launched in 2004 with a mission to improve environmental and social conditions in the fashion industry. One of the areas of focus has therefore always been fibres used in collections; aiming to use more environmentally friendly fibres and reduce the overall
environmental impact of products.