Fast fashion angst

6th December, 2017

Charitable recyclers are well aware that fast fashion is both speeding up and dumbing down, while eroding the value of the secondhand experience. Slow fashion, also known as sustainable fashion, ensures quality inputs and manufacturing to lengthen the life of the garment. Slow fashion has greater value, is designed for longevity and therefore more merchantable in the second hand economy.

Recently released reports by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Greenpeace demonstrate the global angst on the ecological footprint that fast fashion has managed to make in recent years, though both recommend step change that may take years.

Redesigning fashion’s future

Cover Greenpeace report Fashion at the Crossroads Sept 2017

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new report “A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future” confirms members’ views that the steady production growth in fast fashion is
intrinsically linked to a decline in utilisation per item, leading to an incredible amount of waste.

It is estimated that more than half of fast fashion production is disposed of in under a year, and one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second.

This ‘take-make-dispose’ system is not only extremely wasteful, but also very polluting. The report predicts that if nothing is done these severe weaknesses are expected to grow exponentially with dramatic environmental, societal and economic consequences, ultimately putting industry profitability at risk. The report proposes four actions:

  1. Phase out substances of concern and microfibre release
  2. Transform the way clothes are designed, sold, & used to break from their increasingly disposable nature
  3. Radically improve recycling by transforming clothing design, collection, and reprocessing
  4. Make effective use of resources and move to renewable inputs

The full report can be found at this link…

Fashion at the crossroads – Greenpeace

Greenpeace also recently released a report “Fashion at the crossroads” at the Milan Fashion Week, criticising fashion brands for pledging to move to a circular economy, essentially designing out waste and creating an endless lifecycle for their products.

While mostly a positive acknowledgement of sustainability initiatives, the research reveals some examples where brands are emphasising recycling, of polyester mostly, without consideration for closing the loop, or for slowing down the consumption of raw materials.

Read the report here …