My love for vintage clothing and clothing, in general, was taking over my wardrobe and then I had to stop – not because yes I had run out of space or the fact the husband said I did not need any more clothes. (He was probably right, but I do not agree). I had to stop buying once I learnt what the fashion industry was doing to our planet. It was quite shocking and the fact that I used to work and love that industry made me feel so sad.
I certainly decided that I was not going to shop my season’s favourites from the high street, especially as I did not know where my clothes were coming from. I started to unravel from research the shops that we always shop at do not care about the impact the production has on the planet. It is all about money and sales. My love for vintage did not need to stop, as long as I was shopping sustainably then I was not funding those companies who are costing the planet.
LINC: The Leukaemia & Intensive Chemotherapy Fund is a charitable organisation whose mission is to work towards improving the care of cancer patients in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. I was asked to share the impacts that the fashion industry had on the environment and how we could help at LINC’s Cinderella Couture Fashion Show. I am not good at public speaking so this was out of my comfort zone.
The fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluting industry in the world and the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows. Fast fashion is an inexpensive mass production causing global clothing production to double since 2000. Catwalk trends are quickly available and affordable as a result we buy cheaper, poor quality clothing that is worn less and discarded when they are not trendy anymore.
Every year the world collectively consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing – 40% of clothes are rarely or never worn. The western world throws away an average of 30 kilograms of clothing a year. Only 15% is recycled or donated, the rest goes into landfill.
It does not stop there, 72% of clothing contains synthetic fibres making our clothes non-biodegradable taking 200 years to decompose.
This industry is also a major water consumer. Used for dyeing and production processes the consumption of high quantities of water draining seas, rivers and lakes. It takes 2,720 litres of water to make a t-shirt – 1 T-SHIRT! That is how much we normally drink over a three year period.
Every time we wash a synthetic garment approx 1,900 individual microfibres are released into the water, making their way to the oceans.
So, how can we help? The easiest and the most affordable way to ditch fast fashion is to shop secondhand. Why?
- Occasionally, it is of higher quality. It has already survived a life cycle from its previous owner.
- Most of the time it has been barely worn or even unworn – so it is as good as new, if not new!
- You will find unique pieces, keeping them out of the landfill but most importantly you will be supporting a wonderful charity like LINC.
In this fashion show, we showcased how you can reinvent and add life to clothing without adding it to landfill. Designs from fashion designers local to Cheltenham reinvented pieces from their own collections and to pieces from the LINC charity shop on the Bath Road.
If you would like to find out more information about LINC or donate you can do here: http://www.lincfund.org/
- Melissa Antonious
- Jan Knibbs of Atelier 19
- Fashion Show Photography by Marcus Rice