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Fashion’s Mounting Problem

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A recent McKinsey insight article said, “Nearly three-fifths of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made”. The article also said, “number of garments produced annually has doubled since 2000 and exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2014”. Let’s put the two statements together and think about it for a second – an estimated 60 billion pieces of clothing may end up landfilled or incinerated every year.
The dynamics of fast fashion while enviably profitable can be environmentally deadly, without even taking into account the environmental impact of fiber production and manufacturing. Consumers are certainly becoming more aware and several budding brands are being built with this conscience.
Recently Magnifeco, a popular digital platform bringing together eco-conscious designers and consumers launched their first ‘EcoSession’ in Los Angeles. The session focused on creating awareness around the menace of fashion waste and overconsumption. The panel included a dynamic, knowledgeable and passionate group of individuals who talked about their start-ups that focused on doing their part in fixing the problem.
Co-Founder of Atelier & Repair, Maurizio Donadi, said that his company’s mission is to go out of business. The company upcycles, recreates and repairs used, leftover or defective clothing – both modern and vintage – to give a life to clothing that would have otherwise been discarded. He says that their success will be measured by when there is nothing left for the company to source. Jeff Denby, co-Founder of The Renewable Workshop, also endeavors to fix the same problem by working with world-renowned apparel brands and retailers to upcycle unsellable returns and excess inventory. They operate in a state of the art process factory and also advice these brands on product design and material use to minimize a stockpile of these ‘unsellable’ items. Sharleen Ernster, creator of Hot-As-Hell, talked about her brand that creates long lasting, washable, wearable and most importantly eco-conscious line of swimwear and lingerie. Having worked with major brands in global supply chains, she shed light on how people in the so-called developing countries, from where most of US garments are sourced, might be more aware of the problem of fashion waste than us back home because they see these dumps in their own backyard.
Clean recently did a study on fashion waste for our newest client YSTR, based in downtown Los Angeles. The company adopts a state-of-the-art cutting technology that minimizes cutting waste by about 10-15% more than an adept designer could. YSTR’s highlight is that the company holds zero inventory, manufacturing only on order. Check out these amazing brands and let’s do our part in eliminating fashion waste.

CATEGORIES: Apparel/Fashion, Circular Economy, Green Industry, Waste Management