Research Documents


    1. Bangladeshi garment worker gives a talk about the unethical standards in working for a fast fashion garment factory. She was only paid around $6 a month and was physically abused by her supervisor.
    1. An online M-commerce app designed to provide brands the opportunity to foster their sustainable image. Bringing sustainable fashion brands to the attention of customers who are not accustomed to it or would not usually seek it.
    1. Luxury fashion brands headed towards a more sustainable future and possibly creating a universal logo to put on all garments that have been ethically made. Not only fashion being sustainable, but also jewelry as well.
    1. Short film about the fast fashion brand “Primark” and exposing the poor conditions of the garment workers. In response to the protests, Primark tries to fix their ethics.
    1. A thorough list of toxic chemicals used to treat clothing. Some cause health implications and birth defects to those who handle them



    1. “Econyl is a form of nylon that is made entirely from waste products. It is made from a range of post-consumer waste including abandoned fishing nets, carpets and rigid textiles and aims to be a green alternative to the original product which is made from a derivative of oil.”
    1. “Hemp fabrics kill bacteria, making them naturally anti-microbial, have the best heat capacity ratio compared to all other fibres, merge easily with dyes and do not discolour easily. Extremely versatile and keep the wearer of nettle clothing cool in the summer and warm in winter.”
    1. Lab grown textiles using non-toxic chemicals for a more eco-friendly approach. This lab company also create bio-leather and spider silk.
    1. Tech company creates a textile dyeing machine that uses CO2 instead of water. Cuts down on water waste because not a single drop of water is used. Instead, liquid CO2 is used to dye the fabric
    1. Rainfed cotton offers an alternative to diverted and irrigated water supplies. However, this type of cotton often tends to produce irregular fiber qualities. 




This is an extensive list of toxic chemicals used to treat fabric. It also explains the hazardous effects that it imposes on those who wear it. The process of treating fabrics is done with most textiles that are not labeled as sustainable. Chemicals such as benzene and carbon disulphide are used in the production of making different types of synthetic fabrics can cause side effects including aplastic anemia, acute leukemia, bone marrow cancer, convulsions, and respiratory paralysis. This are a small percentage of the common chemicals used to treat textiles. It is reported that “over ten commonly and widely used chemicals in clothing affect fertility and reproduction in humans.” It is also noted that “one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer” in correlation to exposure.

This article and talk discusses the unethical treatment of the garment workers in Bangladesh, the second largest apparel producer in the world after China. This is a problem because the garment workers, who are young women, are abused physically and mentally. They are forced to handle these dangerous chemicals, as previously discussed in my first resource, and their wages are criminally low for the hours/work that they put in.

This is an examination of how natural fibers and synthetic fibers compare in their environmental impact. Neither is better than the other. Actually, the best option would be to use recycled fibers. In the table on the last page, it shows common synthetic and natural fibers used in clothing and their impact on the environment. For example, although organic cotton may sound ethical, it causes a large amount of pollution loading from the dyeing process.

This article discusses luxury fashion brands taking a new direction in having a sustainable future. They discuss possible coming up with a universal label to identify clothing that was ethically made. This would be an interesting approach to also include in non-luxury brands, so that consumers who are not aware of the implications associated with the fast fashion industry are exposed to it and can learn more about it.

This article is a broader scope about different textiles used in the fashion industry and how they impact the environment. It reflects on the fabrics used in the fast fashion industry as well as other conventional fabrics used throughout the fashion industry. The article discusses why certain fibers such as synthetics, wool, cotton and linen negatively impact the environment.

This article discusses the expendable mindset associated with fast fashion and how toxic that is for the environment. It explains how we are on the brink of collapse due to our cheaply made clothing and how if we continue this cycle, our environment will face detrimental effects. Things such as the increase of the amount of textiles being produced and harsh chemicals used to treat them examined in this article.

I found this article to be interesting because it depicts designers experimenting with biodegradable textiles grown within live organisms. By using alga-based fabric, designers can use other plant-based dyes to create a new aesthetically pleasing piece.



For my invention, I am thinking of creating a garment or a textile that is recycled from either paper or plastics. I thought of this idea because when researching the topic of fast fashion, many of the resources I read mentioned the water pollution that is associated with the textiles used. Both the process of treating/dyeing the fabric while the garment is being made and the washing of the garment from the consumer contributes to the pollution of the water supply. In order to combat this, I want to create a textile or a garment that reduced this problem.


I am debating on whether to experiment with using recycled materials, such as plastics and paper or find natural fibers to create an ethical textile that does not pollute the water supply when washed. In terms of already existing inventions like this, there have been textiles made from clear plastics, but the chemicals used to remove the stickers from the bottle is very dangerous. I want to create a process that eliminates these chemicals in order to create a recycled fiber that can be made into fabric.


My idea is an adaptation from an already existing idea, but I want to refine this process to make it even more sustainable and effective. If I were to make a garment out of recycled plastics and/or paper, then the object wouldn’t necessarily be a ready-to-wear piece but a wearable piece of art. If I were to do this, I would want to take the ideas that I took note of at the Cooper Hewitt museum. Many of the designs and inventions that I enjoyed had a specific color pallete and were had a minimal graphic design approach. I could possibly dye the recycled paper with different plants/fruits and vegetables to create those colors.


Another idea for my object would be to take recycled scrap fabrics and sew them together to create a graphic design for a scarf or a ready-to-wear item. The idea is pre-existing, but I think I could take a different approach and make the pieces very bold and unique.  


  1. Clean Clothes Campaign
    1. The Clean Clothes Campaign is an organization that works to improve the hazardous working conditions for garment workers, as well as empowering them to ensure that their fundamental rights are being upheld. This organization also educates consumers about the poor conditions that garment workers are exploited to and mobilizes them to offer solidarity and support. A way that a viewer can get involved in this organization is to donate and to sign the petitions that they promote. The current petition is asking the viewer to take action on pushing H&M their commitment to their workers being paid a living wage.
  2. Textile Exchange
    1. Textile Exchange is a nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply network in order to transform the industry into one that uses sustainable fibers and textiles. As for viewer participation, the Textile Exchange offers you to become a member and donate to this organization which gives you access to industry experts, networking opportunities, one-on-one consulting, content standards, and the most comprehensive industry reports and tools in order to help you succeed as a sustainable brand.  
  3. Fair Wear
    1. Fair Wear is an organization that works with garment brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs and governments to transform the garment industry into one that is ethical and fair for everyone. For viewer participation, the organization offers memberships, in which brands that are looking to begin a sustainable journey can join and become apart of an influential network.
  4. Global Standard  
    1. Global Organic Textile Standard is a worldwide textile processing standard for organic fibers (ecological and social standards) by certification of the whole textile supply chain. There is not an explicit viewer participation opportunity for this organization, however, the site does offer an extensive amount of information about what qualifies as sustainable textiles/organic textiles.
  5. TRAID  
    1. TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being discarded by creating 191 clothes charity banks across the UK and bringing those reusable garments to into more communities for zero waste. A way for a viewer to get involved in this organization is to volunteer at the charity shops or to shop their banks and support their organization.
  6. Solidaridad
    1. Solidaridad is a worldwide network organization with partners  from all over to help create a system to distribute more sustainable textiles from producer to consumer. The company offers jobs and partnerships in order to help the supply chain of sustainable materials grow wider.

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