Saving the earth in style
SALE! Every girl’s favourite word. When the big bold, often times, red letters S, A, L, E is placed on a store window, we run like our lives depended on it. Don’t laugh. We’re sure you have done exactly that. We are just as guilty.
But joking aside, do we really know what goes into making just one garment? What is the full lifecycle of a blouse for example? All we know is we see it in on a rack in a store and many of us think that signifies the birth of a piece of garment. Its lifecycle begins the moment we purchase it and bring it home. It lives a life hung in our closet and only breathes when we wear it out. Death comes when the trend ends, or its threads pull apart, or we gain weight and can’t fit in them anymore, or we just grow tired of it. What follows is a sad unmentioned burial in the dumpster.
Let’s rewind to how a piece of garment gets to the store in the first place. We, as consumers, tend to forget those first baby steps.
Before a garment gets made, raw materials like cotton are cultivated, collected and transported to factories to get them made into cloth. The cloth is then measured, cut and sewn into the garment. Now, not everything gets a final seal of approval. Pieces that spot defects are benched. Remaining pieces of cloth that don’t make it into the final piece are thrown into a garbage bin. Now let’s stop and ask ourselves, what happens to these pieces? Once in the bin, it’s out of our minds.
Ok, pause right there. Let’s go back to the ones that do make it out of the factory doors and into our closets. Once you’re done with them, where do they go? Ok, if you have a little sister or a family member, you would usually pass it on to the next generation but what if it can’t go into the hands of another? Just like any other trash we throw out, it ends up in,….yes…dumpsters. Now let’s multiply that one lifecycle by the number of clothes we own, and multiply that by the 7.4 billion people on the planet. Ok maybe 7.4 billion is taking it a little too far, far into the galaxy but you get our point.
So it’s no shocker to find out that fashion and textiles is the most polluting industry in the world, second to oil. Oil, people! We protest against oil spills, wars that are started over oil, we try to reduce our use of cars due to the gas that oil produces…yet, we sometimes fail to realise that our love for fashion may just be killing the earth just as bad as oil.
Redress, a Hong Kong based NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry, has released a documentary that focuses on this global issue. The documentary titled Frontline Fashion, follows 10 talented Asian and European emerging fashion designers determined to change the future of fashion for the better in the world’s biggest sustainable fashion design competition, The EcoChic Design Award.
The EcoChic Design Award challenges designers to create an entire collection out of thrown out clothes. From reusing the material to reusing the care tags from the garments. Yes, people, care tags! It’s mind blowing just watching these designers push the boundaries of creativity. We were at the Singapore screening of the documentary and it is a must-watch not just for consumers but designers as well.
We’re not saying you should stop loving fashion, stop buying clothes and live like a vagabond. Continue loving fashion, you beautiful fashionistas out there. But let’s love it a little more. Let’s give our clothes a little more TLC as if they have a life or a soul. If we do that, perhaps we may think twice about throwing things out too quickly.
Tap the video below to watch the documentary trailer. Full documentary is available on iTunes.
FRONTLINE FASHION - Official Trailer
About Redress: Redress is a Hong Kong based NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. We achieve this via educational sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, competitions, seminars, research and media outreach. Our unique profile allows us to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders. We work with multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, retailers, schools and universities, multilateral organizations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organizations.