This generation’s obsession with fast fashion is described as one of the leading causes of pollution, with specialists urging change. we talk to the Leeds firm that’s making a difference.
By Chris Boyle
The fashion industry is under scrutiny after BBC research revealed that quickly-produced mass fashion is causing grave damage to the planet.
An estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions were produced by the global fashion industry in 2015. Some 235 million items of clothing were sent to landfill last year alone.
“Matter of urgency”
Mary Creagh, chair of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, told the BBC: “They will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change by 2020”, deeming this a matter of urgency.
The wasted materials and effects of production of fast fashion’s unsustainable clothing is a major source of greenhouse gases. These gases are one of the main causes of global warming.
Esther Pugh, a fashion and vintage clothing expert, told Leeds Hacks: “The manufacture of these clothes is unsustainable in its use of natural resources and also unethical its employment process.” Esther suggests looking towards charity and vintage retailers as a more sustainable way to shop. “They are sources of pre-loved clothes with authenticity and with stories that will satisfy or consumption needs.”
Ethical fashion in Leeds
Leeds company ZaraMia Ava is a fashion designer and retail producer which offers a unique take on fashion and how it can be ethically sourced. They believe fast fashion industries are “the second most polluting industry in the world.”
ZaraMia Ava has set goals to “make a difference and raise awareness”. She told Leeds Hacks: “We don’t want to harm the planet anymore than it already is.”
The fashion designer stresses the need to “step up and make a change,” exclaiming how the increasingly evident damage to the planet is “preventable.”
Make a difference
ZaraMia Ava offers her take on how companies and we as people, should strive to make a difference:
- Reduce the consumption of disposable fashion
- use factories that care about the environment and people
- to use organic/ Eco sustainable materials with no toxins or chemicals
- to use less water to produce garments
- to have recycling schemes in place for customers.”
Reinforcing what Esther Pugh suggested earlier, ZaraMia Ava also suggest charity/ or vintage clothes shopping as “a great way to find fashion, preventing items going to landfill”. She adds: “Vintage clothing is normally more durable.” But what do mass market retailers have to say?
Pressing for action
Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the British Retail consortium told the BBC: “We know more needs to be done, but the best answers will be achieved with collaborative global actions.”
MPs have written to the UK’s biggest fashion businesses addressing the issue and pressing for action, saying: “Three in five garments end in landfill or incinerators within a year – that’s expensive fuel! Half a million tonnes of microfibres a year enter the ocean. Doing nothing is not an option.”
The BBC predicts that the committee’s report to government could include a call for the fashion industry to create less pollution, a demand for longer life for garments and a ban on dumping clothes in landfill.