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Making Fashion Sustainable

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Catherine Hay

on 11 October 2017

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Transcript of Making Fashion Sustainable

Why should we bother to sew when we can just buy cheap clothes ?
The Dawn of the Industrial Revolution
making your own
buying second hand
recycling or redesigning
buying higher quality less often
buying from local designers
“One of the most profound shifts of the Web Age is that there is a new default of sharing online. If you do something, video it. If you video something, post it. If you post something, promote it to your friends. Projects shared online become inspiration for others and opportunities for collaboration”
Making Fashion Sustainable
Your Challenge:
Make something new from something old.
A Fashion Challenge:
Meet the ReFashionista
Everyday she takes something hideous like this:
and makes something cute like this:
I bought 6 dresses from a thrift store, washed them, and brought them in for you to refashion . . .
Before the Industrial Revolution, clothing was made at home or as part of a cottage industry.

Innovations in textiles and clothing production created a new industry.
The average person might have once owned 3 or 4 homemade pieces of clothing, but it was now possible for people to purchase many more items than they actually needed. In fact, the new economy depended on each citizen to consume at an ever-greater rate. So now, this . . .
has turned into . . .
When workers united and demanded fair conditions and fair pay, it was not long before owners moved production to other countries with less demanding workers. In China, for example, labour costs are 20 to 40 times lower than in Japan or the US.
Along with lower labour standards, the "race to the bottom" also includes lower environmental regulations. The production of textiles, especially cotton, uses huge quantities of water and dangerous pesticides. Yearly, tons of chemical dyes are dumped into waterways.
Water contamination from chemical dyes is one reason 300 million Chinese people no longer have access to clean drinking water.
Our clothing has further consequences at the end of a garment’s life cycle.
Typically, about 5-8% of the waste that goes into landfills is textiles. About 93% of that could have been recycled.
Donating used clothing to a charitable organization is better than sending it to a landfill, but problems also occur when charities are not able to re-sell the clothing. Stores such as Value Village, bale their unsold merchandise and sell it to developing countries.
This has a negative effect on the traditional crafts of these countries.
For example, many young people in Thailand have no interest in learning the traditional craft of raising silk worms, spinning the fibre, dying and weaving the beautiful Thai silks that their grandmother’s generation was so skilled at producing.
It’s cheaper, faster, and cooler, to buy second hand clothing from North America. As a result, these amazing skills are disappearing.
And of course, there are social and economic impacts here also. The huge global fashion industry makes it tough to be a small store owner. It's nearly impossible to compete with the chain stores.
This shirt was made from 2 old
T-shirts, and this cardigan was made from 4 old sweaters.

There is a new revolution happening around the world, the Do-It-Yourself culture, with creative people finding innovative ways to reduce the impact of their consumption.
Pinterest has tons of ideas that DIY
people post and share.
You can recycle your old clothes, then post your process and product on Pinterest.
SFU’s Banner Bag program gathers banners from all over the province and donates them to Textiles classes.
They also hold the Beyond the Bag design competition which comes with a cash prize and media attention for the students’ work.

Even if we stop using them today, there are still zillions of them that need to be recycled or reused.

Plastic Bags
The internet is full of fun ways to upcycle them.

Here are just two ideas: a plastic lined lunch bag, and an awesome sandwich wrapper.

The best part about the sandwich wrapper--it'll save you from buying any more plastic bags!
A woman dries plastic bags for recycling on the banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where authorities have clamped down on bag use. Photo: Reuters
Seems like a good deal? Well, the price you pay is not the true cost of the garment. There are other costs that get paid by other people.

But before we tell that story, we have to tell another story. . .
You've seen these banners around town. When they get taken down, they are thrown into a landfill, OR . . .
....Upcycled into reusable shopping bags.
Every year, literally trillions of plastic bags go into our global garbage heap. Many of them end up in our oceans and water ways, posing a terrible threat to animals.
by Catherine Hay
Full transcript