Fashion matters to our economy, to society, to art & creativity, and to each of us personally. Fashion is, besides a multi-billion-dollar industry, the most intimate form of art and self-expression. BUT, it has its dark side: environmental impact (after oil world's 2nd most polluted industry), exploitation of workers, and impact on self-image (eating disorders, age, lack of ethnic representation, etc.). Fashion faces severe global environmental and social challenges, which will only be increasing as the world population is expected to reach 9.2 billion in 2050 and the number of middle-class consumers to triple by 2030. Particularly from the use of water and chemicals in cotton cultivation and production.
“IS THE AMOUNT OF RUBBISH WE GENERATE A FAIR INDICATION OF HOW MUCH WE CONSUME? OR DO WE MAKE BAD CHOICES BECAUSE WE ARE RUBBISH AT SHOPPING?"
How can we wear fashion as close and intimate as to our skin, but turn a blind eye to the exploitation of the people who made those clothes and the effect it has on the environment? By wearing fashion, we express who we are and our view of the world. If today fashion is about showing our support of unsustainable consumption, behaviour and unawareness, then tomorrow it is a powerful tool to spread awareness of sustainability. We need to inspire and encourage through the subject of fashion the public and the fashion industry to improve insight and engages on the topic sustainability. How? By starting to make an actual connection between what we (need to) value and what we wear, and by re-establishing the (sustainable) connection between creator and consumer.
As the industry is dominated by the power of the consumer, the consumer is a crucial key in this. Also looking at future technologies that might/will shift the roles of designers, producers and consumers, and enables the consumer to design, manufacture and sell their product. We need to focus on increasing and strengthening the consumer awareness of negative social and environmental effects of the fashion industry. Not just by using marketing labels such as “green”, “sustainable”, “eco” or “ethical” to target "conscious" consumers, but by using the strengths of fashion itself to generate the dialogue, to tell the story and to create awareness. To make 'Fashion'-sense.
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