Circularity in Fashion
"Ethical Fashion is not a trend. It's a necessity." Livia Firth
Have you considered the following?
1) If we abide by the Paris agreement's aim to reduce global warming to 1.5C, we should be purchasing five new garments a year. Instead, we consume more and more at cheaper prices, and with shorter usage time per item. Guess where the clothes bought primarily in the USA, UK and Australia are ending up?
Here's a photo of islands made of unwanted clothing in Ghana. Our 'donations' are washing up on shore, filling the beaches, feeding the wildlife. Shocking, isn't it? This is from a BBC feature, which months after watching, is still fresh in front of my eyes.
What if we focused on buying quality as opposed to quantity? What if we wore our jeans for years on end? Washed them at 30C and skipped one in three washes?
What if like incredible Cate Blanchett we re-used garments for red carpets and special occasions? What if we focused on buying less and buying smarter?
2) What is your clothes made of?
According to a study conducted by the European Union, the production of synthetic fibers emits around 5.6 kg of CO2 per kg of fiber produced. This is significantly higher than the carbon footprint of natural fibers such as cotton, which emits around 2.6 kg of CO2 per kg of fiber produced. Yes, synthetic garments are durable, versatile, and affordable, but they're made from non-renewable resources such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas, and they're non-biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to decompose. When these fibers are disposed of in landfills such as the one above, they release methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than CO2.
Guess how much of our clothing is made from synthetics? 60%!! Can we do better as a consumer by focusing on natural materials?
3) Circularity in fashion refers to the practice of creating a closed-loop system where materials and products are continuously reused and recycled. It involves designing and producing garments, accessories, and other fashion products with the aim of keeping them in use for as long as possible, ensuring that they have a minimal impact on the environment and society. The goal is to reduce waste, limit the use of natural resources, and ultimately create a more sustainable industry.
Brands like Valentino are launching initiatives where their dead stock is reused by other brands, or sold to the public for upcycling. Imagine buying haute couture fabric from Valentino and creating a masterpiece?
There're also companies around the world that are creating recycled yarn. Just today the Boston Globe surprised me with Boston's own recycling of clothing initiative for spring cleaning.
There're things to be done, if we as a consumer become more educated and more vigilant about how we treat our garments. Let's start paying close attention.