– Your Issue / Your Idea –
Behind the seams of the fashion industry
Fast fashion creates a vicious cycle where clothes are made and thrown away very quickly and without considering the environmental impact they have. We live an excessive lifestyle that is taking a toll on the environment and people living in those conditions. The fashion and textile industry is the second largest in the world right behind oil. With such a large industry, many shortcuts are made in order to produce quick and cheap garments. Not a single textile, fabric or piece of clothing is completely sustainable or ethical. For instance, cotton, known as the “fabric of our lives,” is grown with the use of harsh pesticides. These pesticides negatively impact the soil and the health of the farmers. In many cases, genetically modified cotton has lead to many deaths. In addition, it takes 700 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make one t-shirt or a pair of jeans. From fabric production to manufacturing, to retail and then maintenance, a piece of clothing’s lifespan can be very problematic.
I think that it is definitely an individual’s responsibility to be at least aware of the issues in his or her community especially when they contribute to the issue. I do feel responsible for contributing to the problems of the fashion industry because I have been an active consumer of fast fashion clothing and I admire the fashion industry so much despite its harmful effects on people and the environment. Since I was young I wanted to be a part of the fashion community but I was not aware of the harsh realities that come along with making cheap, low-quality clothing. I think that anyone going into a new field, like I am in fashion, has to take on the responsibility of doing the necessary research to fully understand the industry, not just the money or the success. We are all active consumers in this society so I think it is crucial that we all be aware of the issues and how we can work towards a better and cleaner future. My love for fashion stems deeper than the glamour and the clothes. Fashion has a real impact on people throughout the world. It is such a large industry that can bring great pleasure but also a lot of suffering which is what I have had to come to terms with. I hope to develop a clothing piece or accessory that integrates technology and sustainable practices to create a wearable, useful, and fashionable garment. By using fair trade and sustainable practices to develop clothing and accessories, will hopefully lessen the impact on the environment. I think it is also important to develop a piece that is cherished by the consumer so that it is not easily disposed of.
For my infographic, I wanted to make something that was interactive and really engaged people in order to get the best response. Entitled “Whats Your Waste Size?” my infographic tries to explain the lifespan of a piece of clothing from development to disposal. There is room for improvement in every aspect of the fashion industry and I wanted to highlight that.
The infographic even includes QR codes that you can scan to learn more about each subject and how you can help on all levels.
For a possible solution, I developed a bag prototype that uses recycled materials in a new and fashionable way. I wanted to be able to “elevate the paper bag” by laser cutting cardboard scraps and creating a beautiful but still sustainable reusable bag. I wanted the bag to be versatile enough that it could be used as a handbag, shopping bag, or tote in order to maximize its impact.