Thoughts during this Fashion Revolution Week
The current global events and challenges are forcing us to a reevaluate how we live our lives and present an opportunity to make some significant shifts to our individual behaviours. The economy is suffering, but the Earth is getting a long awaited reset. This crisis will hopefully show people and businesses that it is okay to slow down. Because if brands need to rethink their processes and take action, so do we as consumers. Now more than ever is a great time to rethink our lifestyle and our choices and how they impact the world around us. To celebrate Fashion Revolution Week, I decided to write about how I think the fashion industry needs to evolve and how we can all make an impact.
For those of you who might not know, Fashion Revolution Week started to honour and remember those who died on 24 April 2013, when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. More than 1,100 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. This event shined some light on the terrible practices behind many well-known fashion brands.
The Fashion Revolution movement has been growing over the years, with more people than ever wanting a more transparent fashion industry. Still, every year, 150 billion new items of clothing are produced while a truck full of clothing is burned or buried in a landfill every second. Every. Second. Moreover, 60% of these garments are made out of polyester, which is extremely harmful for the environment. This quantity has doubled since 2000.
What is terribly wrong with the current fashion industry?
The volumes of clothing produced and consumed are harmful to people and the planet:
We buy 60% more clothing now than we did 15 years ago, and only keep these garments for half as long. Around the world, we produce too much clothing, from unsustainable materials, much of which ends up incinerated or in landfill.
The composition of our clothing is degrading the environment:
Most clothes are made from materials and processes that require the extraction of natural, non-renewable resources and produce considerable negative environmental impacts. Each of the common materials we wear carries its own set of environmental issues, from the oil extraction required to create polyester, acrylic and nylon to the deforestation for viscose or heavy pesticide use in farming cotton.
Fashion Revolution calls for a fair, safe, clean and transparent fashion industry. We want an industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.
How to spot fast fashion?
Many, if not all of us, have already purchased something from Zara, H&M, Mango, Topshop or Asos. The affordability and appealing aspect of the clothing is for sure tempting. But several problems can be highlighted in a lot of fast fashion brands. Behind the low price point, there is a dark reality.
- Manufacturing uses workers on low wages without adequate rights or safety. Most of these workers are young women, who on top of getting unfair pay and dangerous working conditions, often suffer from workplace harassment.
- The supply chain is very complex and it is almost impossible to know where the fabrics or materials came from or who actually made the clothes. Often, this hides chemical pollution, depletion of natural resources and terrible work conditions.
- The materials are cheap and low-quality and the clothes will degrade after just a few wears and get thrown away, adding up to the landfills.
- These fast fashion stores have thousands of styles, covering all the latest trends. This means that the collections stay in store - and in our closets - for a very limited time. And guess where the clothes end up afterwards?
How Instance is trying to be as sustainable as possible:
We Use Dead Stock Fabric
AKA, excess and leftover fabric from other brands, who buy more than they might need. These are fabrics that get lost in a huge warehouse and would eventually end up in landfills.
Made with Love, Made to Last
The best kind of clothing is made to last. We pay careful attention to be sure the garment you take home will last you for years to come. Every piece is designed to stay beautiful and retain shape with each wear. Our quality will last.
Small, conscious production
We cut small quantities and design our collections in small batches. This also means our pieces are truly unique. You won’t see everyone wearing it! Even if I wouldn't mind to see that happen! We have no season and our pieces are available until they sell out. We reproduce some of them, others we don’t. There is absolutely no waste at Instance.
Cherishing talent and the local community:
Our clothes are 100% Made in Italy, ensuring the safe environment and fair pay our seamstresses are getting. Beside, you can see Mariarosa, one of our amazing seamstresses and Maria Alessandra, one of our incredible pattern makers. They are both amazingly talented and qualified and feel fulfilled and satisfied in their work. Moreover, most of the people who make Instance possible are women. Because #girlpower.
What YOU can do about it
As a community, I believe we must take action and understand the impact of our behaviour on the environment and on people. It is not about being perfect or zero waste. It’s about shifting mentalities and understanding that every bit counts and very simple things can make a big difference in the long run.
You can join the Fashion Revolution movement TODAY and ask your favourite brands "Who made your clothes".
There are three questions you can ask yourself when buying a new item of clothing :
- How much will I wear it?
- How much do I already own?
- How long will it last?
If after answering these questions you are still convinced you should buy it, then go ahead! Otherwise, it might not be a smart choice and you should reconsider.
Fewer, better things. That is the future of fashion. Look for “investment pieces”, things that might cost a bit more than what you are used to spending but that, as I like to say, will last in time and in style. And will be better for people and the planet.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article. Please leave a comment below!
The State of Fashion http://cdn.businessoffashion.com/reports/The_State_of_Fashion_2020_Coronavirus_Update.pdf
Fashion Revolution website https://www.fashionrevolution.org/. https://www.fashionrevolution.org/tag/who-made-my-clothes/