Let’s Be Sustainable

Being a fashion merchandising major, it is important that I know about the industry that I will be working in. In today’s fashion scene, fast fashion and consumption are two large problems that we see talked about a lot. Along with those, textile waste is also a very large problem that affects our planet in a seriously negative way. After these three weeks, it has been interesting to do more research over these topics and learn new and creative solutions to deal with these issues. This is why I chose to do my investigative report over the problems and issues involving textile waste. In the society that we live in today, we have become demanding consumers who are always looking for the next new item. Yet we do not look at the repercussions from always demanding and wanting new, cheap, and trendy clothes. Manufacturers and brands have created so much damage to our environment from the production of garments, which are usually only worn a few times before being thrown away. This leads to an even greater problem. In fact, in the last 15 years, the demand for man made fibers such as polyester has doubled. The amounts of chemicals, water, gases, and oil that go into creating these has a long-lasting negative effect to our environment. This research has really opened my eyes to the large problem the textile industry is and just how bad it is. After reading the poverty reading, it really opened my eyes even wider at the negative impact we have. We put all of these harmful things such as trash, waste, and bad water on countries that are impoverished. Yet in places like these, they do not know what to do with it. We cannot blame people in poverty for creating this problem. Instead, we need to educate these people on ways to become more sustainable. It is our responsibility to fix this problem, and education is a powerful method to help with that.

This also leads me to wonder about new ways that we can stop this textile waste. Being in this major, I feel like it is my duty to help solve some of these problems. I need to be thinking of creative solutions such as making a new market, make more long lasting garments, or even just building better relationships with customers. One point that I found rather interesting was the concept of “farm to factory”.  Here, a customer would be able to see what happened throughout the whole process of a garment. What environment was it grown in, how was is shipped, was it made ethically, etc. If we established this idea and really educated the consumers on the importance of creating garments that are ethically made, maybe that would inspire them to consume less or pay more for a piece that they know was sustainably made. This is why I really admired the Ted Ten videos, especially the 8th one, which was “to design to reduce the need to consume”. Insead of creating fast fashion, what if we promoted DIY sessions or how people can upcycle? Since we are such so demanding as consumers, it would be neat to create a product or service that supports fashion and being trendy, but doing it in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.

Speaking of sustainability, I was actually very inspired by Leyla Acaraglu’s Ted Talk. In fact, I immediately thought about how I should really start bringing reusable bags when I go shopping. Anyways, we are SUCH a wasteful society. Consumption is actually the biggest problem. We take in more than we need, and we want more than we need. 40% of fresh food is wasted, and that food usually just goes straight to landfills. Food in landfills is only contributing to climate change. But what if we educated our society even more on the importance of sustainable practices? Consume less, recycle, compost, etc. We could see a huge shift! Along with education, design can be our best solution to this awful problem. There could be so many simple steps that could lead to successful and attainable designs that could change our lives. So as a merchandiser, I hope that through the years that I can do something to help with the issues that we are faced with today, and if I can’t do that, I at least can educate people on the problems. Overall, I think that I have become more motivated and inspired while being in this class to do something to change the world for the better. Earth is our only home, so why not protect it?

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