Saturday 13 April 2019

Re-Fashion (about fashion lines & circular fashion)

Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model

We wear clothes for a season and then look for some new ones. Fast fashion items are designed to be replaced quickly. Between 2000 and 2014, clothing production worldwide doubled. This rapid consumption causes rapid growth of pollution. And pollution isn't limited to production. Every year around 7.000.000- 12.000.000 tons of clothes are thrown away (not more than 12% of this amount is recycled).

Not only production and not only waste affect the environment. Every time we wash synthetic clothes thousands of plastic fibers shed down the drain. Plastic microfibers are found in the depth of the oceans and in tap water everywhere around the world. Unfortunately using natural fibers such as wool, silk or cotton is not a solution as well. Mass-produced natural fabrics have ethical issues and environmental impact. For example, a large amount of fertilizers, pesticides, and water is required for cotton production.

Society is consuming fashion at a rate like never before, thinking it's our need, buying impulsively from sales or following new fashion trends. At the same time, many wardrobes are full of unworn clothes. People wear some things once or a couple of times and don’t want to wear them anymore… The moment someone’s dress or jeans stay idle - someone wants exactly the same dress or jeans and buys the new ones. And... According to WWF, it takes more than 20,000 liters (5,283 gallons) of water to produce just 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cotton, which roughly equals one T-shirt and a pair of jeans (WWF). If you drink 2 liters per day, 20,000 liters would be enough for you for 10,000 days - approximately 27 years. (7-10,000 liters for jeans + 2,500 liters for a T-Shirt according to Greenpeace (here))

I think, if I (or my daughter) really needed or wanted to buy a fashionable item, I probably wouldn’t prohibit myself from traditional shopping, but I haven’t done it for a couple of years, as there are so many better options to dress up well:

• choosing timeless things that fit me well (things that won’t become obsolete the next season) • knowing who made my clothes. 
• giving new life to things by swapping or secondhand shopping.

Here are some ideas for different tastes:
A • Getting clothes from ethical brands and /or from amazing designers:
Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model
B • Getting clothes from talented people around me: young passionate designers, skillful hobbyists, grandmothers for whom knitting is like a meditation. They often waste their skills and talents. These people create things with love and care, and things are not designed to fall apart quickly. Of course, they can't compete with speedy mass production... but we've already produced a lot...
Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model

Reusing: buying second-hand items, sharing, swapping…  
Honestly, before I didn’t like the idea of wearing pre-used clothes… I didn’t want things with “a story” behind... How surprised I was to find out that new things also have a story behind...

Facts from other sources:
• 250,000-300,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15-20 years due to the stress of debt they accumulated through buying genetically modified cotton seeds to keep up with demand. ( 
One of the most serious challenges facing fashion is Modern Day Slavery. Several owners of the fashion brands are in the list of Forbes richest people, while Garment Workers are often paid less than a minimum wage (reducing the production cost) and exposed to health and safety concerns on factories: long working hours, hazardous chemicals, punishments. Using the toilet during a 10-hour shift in a garment factory can cause a major uproar from managers.
• Farmers working close to garment factories can predict the color of a season by seeing the color of the water in the nearby rivers.
• Fast fashion giants make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with sales and will do anything to make you buy more clothes.

Recently I had a photoshoot with a stylist, who collects vintage clothes. She confirmed that it’s obvious that the quality was much better before, and a lot of things made twenty-thirty years ago still look like new. These things can be reused even today and still look nice and stylish:
Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model
 2018: wearing things made 20-50 years ago.
Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model 
Some fashion businesses are already moving to a more circular economy. But individuals can also support this big circle by creating smaller circles: extending the time when a thing is in use, by choosing timeless designs, and connecting with other people (to swap, share, reuse). 

Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model

A thing made with love will make happy its creator and its owner. Made with care it will last for long, and if the owner is tired of wearing it - he/she can pass it to someone else. Creators don’t waste their talents and make long lasting high-quality things, that we can reuse, share, swap, making new friends, reducing the waste...

• The fashion industry is one of the major polluting and most impactful industries in the world (environmental, social, and cultural impacts). Synthetic clothes pollute the environment in the process of production, usage (plastic micro-fibers), and after they are thrown away. At the same time, mass-produced natural fabrics have ethical issues and environmental impact.
• A number of companies start aiming to preserve the resources and reduce waste. A circular fashion as a part of a circular economy is meant to extend the life of products and materials by making them ‘circulate’ longer in the economy, reducing the amount of raw materials and newly produced goods, and as a result reducing their environmental impact.
• We often want to wear something new, and get rid of things that we don’t want anymore. Natural fabrics often have a long lifespan (wool, animal hairs, cotton) and besides natural fabrics are really pleasant to wear. Rather than throwing stuff away (billions of tons per annually worldwide) or keeping them idle in the wardrobes, we can extend the lifetime of quality things through swapping, borrowing, sharing. (thanks to the sharing economy).

So, we: A - share, B - reduce waste, and - DANCE, connecting with people we like, always having something new and beautiful to wear… 

Inessa Kraft - actress, sustainable fashion model