Earlier this week we read Fashion and Sustainability. I really liked reading this because my major is Apparel Merchandising. One of the things I learned is that the ‘cons’ of fashion in design are primarily associated with how it can detrimentally affect our values. Without some form of restraint, the emphasis on newness, novelty, and innovation can become equally, if not more, damaging to people and the environment than a system that stagnates. However on the ‘pro’ side, it can be said that fashion in design fosters creativity and the exploration of new, previously untried solutions. Fashion oriented design captures our aesthetic interest and imagination. I also learned that it is also very important to have a balanced approach that embraces economic viability, social well being and environmental gains. To achieve this, sustainable principles point to a more locally based manufacturing system.
The TED Talk we watched in class this week was sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu. She discussed thinking bigger in order to create systems and products that ease strain on the planet. I think one of the most interesting things she talked about is biodegradability. She said that it is a material property, not a definition of environmental benefit like most people think. However what I found most shocking was that all the energy it takes to boil the extra water from over filling tea kettles is enough to light all of the streetlights in England for a night! It is such a small action that causes such huge problems. I personally feel that if more people knew about how much the little things in life impact the environment, they would be more conscious of their actions.
When doing Activity 3, I have been able to learn so much more than I thought I would. I decided to research about the issue of fabric waste in the apparel industry because it directly affects the industry that I am planning on working in after college. I have discovered that the issue is much deeper than I ever expected. I couldn’t believe that more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year, and that number is continuing to rise. Also, out of that 15 million, about 11 million tons are sent to landfills. I am still confused on why that ratio is so high and I think it is partly due to the fact that people are just unaware. The average American throws away about 80 pounds of used clothes in their lifetime and if even half of American people could cut that number down to 40, I think it would make a huge difference.
Over the course of this week I have really been able to see in what areas I can make a difference in my field of work. Whether it be through educating others or researching more about the effects of textile waste that harm our environment, I think I can make a small impact that won’t fix everything, but can help an issue that needs to be solved asap!