At the beginning of the week, we focused on fashion and sustainability. This discussion really spoke measures to me and made me rethink the way our industry works. Since fashion is my future career path, I now feel a great responsibility to bring awareness on the excessiveness that is this industry. Everyone knows that fashion is a fast paced world. Trends come and go and popular styles may fade before a season has even ended. What does all of this mean? Simply put, fashion is a wasteful industry. We make hundreds of thousands of garments in a small time frame hoping to sell them all, but it never ends this way. Fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 mass produce stylish trends that sometimes don’t even make it out of the box.
Where does all the extra go? While a good majority is sold, retailers have no other choice than to destroy them in industrial-size shredders, which after will make it to a landfill or will be shredded and shipped off to recyclers to be re-purposed. Some items will also end up at discount stores or donated to places like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Although there are some brands refuse to let their products go to discount store because of the lowering of their “brand value” and not letting their products be accessed by the poor or poverty stricken. We can prevent excess waste from being collected in landfills by making our products out of more sustainable and biodegradable materials.
Besides the mass amount of product waste ending up in landfills, the production of clothes can be a very harsh process. The mass amount of water being used and chemicals can do a lot of damage in ways we don’t always see. The use of acid has caused acid rain and has caused stress an varies ecosystems. A lot of blame has been put on the poor for being forced into unsustainable environmental practices. They are forced into marginal farm lands and using their only natural resources available. This can be changed by partnering with local communities and engaging the poor, not just as beneficiaries and incentives for sustainable practices.