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Short Bio:

Natalia Marsellés is a 23-year old Master’s student in Sustainable Business and Innovation in Barcelona, Spain, and a member of the social media team of WEAll Youth. 

Have you ever thought about where your clothes come from? Who made them? What is the real cost of your wardrobe, not only economically speaking but its social and environmental impact?

Fashion Revolution Week is a time when we come together as a global community to think about the fashion industry practices and raise awareness to demand a better fashion industry.

In 2013 we saw one of the worst industrial disasters in history following the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh. Sadly, more than 1100 people died and another 2500 were injured. This is when Fashion Revolution was born, quickly becoming the largest fashion activism movement in the world. Fashion Revolution envisions a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.

During the Fashion Revolution Week, a clear and decisive message is launched, with hashtags that have now become a symbol of revindication and the confrontation against fast fashion: #WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

This year’s Fashion Revolution Week theme “Rights, Relationships, and Revolution” promotes the connection between human rights and the natural world. The campaign aims to amplify unheard voices within the fashion industry while exploring innovative solutions to promote sustainability. 

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To delve into the meaning of Fashion Revolution week and learn more about sustainable fashion, I sat down with Dr. Federica Massa Saluzzo. Dr Saluzzo holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from IESE Business School, a post-doc from the University of Bologna, and teaches strategic management at EADA Business School. 

Her research interests include social value creation, sustainable fashion, and social innovation, and shared with WEALL Youth her thoughts on the fashion industry. 

1. What does fashion mean to you?

For me, it is a way to express your authentic identity, your culture, and your values. Just like your language or the design of your home, for me, fashion is a language that speaks up for you and who you are. 

2. What are your views on fast fashion?

Ah! I am not fast in general! see the benefits of enabling a large number of people to access “some” kind of fashion, but since for me fashion is a means to communicate your culture and authenticity, nothing fast can convey culture and authenticity effectively. Fast fashion may provide the illusion of being fashionable but it does not truly sell fashion. What is sold through fast fashion is something else:  it does not sell authenticity, because a lot of the trends are copied from smaller brands,  it does not sell quality, because anyone who does not pay a decent salary to any of the actors of the supply chain cannot speak of high quality, and it does not sell uniqueness, because no matter how quick you are, there are thousands of copies of the same garments. 

3. What does sustainability mean for you?

If I avoid citing all the literature defining sustainability and only speak my mind, sustainability means caring. Caring for the people whose work makes my life so easy, and caring for the planet that offers us everything a human being needs.

4. Is fast fashion sustainable? Can it be sustainable?

Well, no! 

5. What is the future of fast fashion? In spite of the growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, most consumers don’t want to pay more for it. So, what’s the solution?

I work in education, so I believe that education is the way. Through the Asociacion Moda Sostenible Barcelona, a great effort in educating the Spanish market is in place.  They have organized the MODS (Moda + Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS)), short and cheap podcasts for whoever feels they can make a change through sustainable fashion, they also have a sustainability dictionary initiative in their social networks, where they explain the real meaning of some of the key buzzwords in sustainable fashion, and they constantly strive to sum efforts to make sustainable fashion relevant. 

6. What can we, as consumers, do to change this trend?

Reuse, recycle, reduce, restyle.  When you are about to buy something ask “where does it come from? Where will it go?” And then decide, maybe you can look for something more sustainable, maybe you don’t need to buy, maybe you can learn to stitch or maybe you can just add a unique detail to something you already own…and make it truly yours. 

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This week, WEAll Youth joins the Fashion Revolution movement by sharing our members’ thoughts on fast fashion and the transition towards a more ethical and sustainable garment industry for all of us. 

What do you think about fast fashion? Share your ideas with us and join the revolution! 

#WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

#theworldyouwant #fashionrevolution #slowfashion #weall #weallyouth #wellbeingeconomy #peopleandplanet #peoplebeforeprofit #planetbeforeprofit #neweconomy #circulareconomy #youth #changemakers #makeachange #ethical #sustainable #fair

By Pien Gerards, WEAll Youth

Fashion, you can find it anywhere: on the streets, TV, Social Media and in school. It can make you feel great; you can express yourself and show the world who you are or just make yourself feel comfortable and relaxed. There is something for everyone and nowadays you can change your fashion any day and anytime.

But do we actually know where our clothes are made and what impact this has on the world?

Facts of the Fashion industry:

  • Environment

According to Marieke Eyskoot (2017), 10.000 litres of water are needed to produce 1 outfit (jeans and shirt), 85 Million trees are cut down every year to produce fabrics, but 140 Million kilo of the clothing we produce will be burned in the incinerator every year.  In addition, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the CO2 emissions world-wide.

  • People

According to Safia Minney (2017) 168 Million children are still working in child labour today. 21 Million other people are victims of forced labour within the industry. This is modern slavery. Children are used to work in supply chains of clothing and jewellery, but also on cotton fields and cacao plantations. Human trafficking, forced labour, excessive labour and bonded labour are happening today

  • Fast Fashion

All of this happens because of the consumerism culture of the current economic system. Fashion brands make you believe you need new clothing 12 or even more times a year. We throw away our clothes faster than ever and the quality of our clothes decreases.

Does this sound like a Wellbeing Economy to you?

Since 2000 the fashion industry became 4 times as big. Nowadays 80 Billion pieces of clothes are produced every year (Eyskoot, 2017), the fashion industry is the third biggest industry in the world (Minney, 2017), and it is part of the world’s biggest polluters.

Personally, I started thinking about my fashion choices because I really care about animals. My research about how animals are used within the fashion industry escalated into finding out all the horror stories going on in this industry, not only for animals but also for our environment and people working in this industry.

But I do not want to depress you with all the negative, there are so many solutions to this problem! Sustainable fashion can be fun and below you can find tips and tricks on how to increase your positive impact on the world through fashion.

What can we do?
  • Do not support fast fashion: Quality above quantity, go for your own style instead of following the forever and fast changing trends.
  • Remake your clothes: Is the zipper of your favourite jeans broken? Repair it instead of buying a new one, as well as this being better for the environment this is also a lot cheaper.
  • Recycle: Do you really want something else? Ask friends, family or co-workers for all the stuff they do not use anymore and organize a clothing swap. This way your ‘trash’ turns into someone else’s treasure. Personally, I am also a big fan of Thrift shopping. Many modern cities have second hand or vintage stores.
  • Ask why before you buy: Do you really need something new? There are (speaking from personal experience) so many items in your closet that can be reused! Check out everything you have before you decided to buy something new, and ask yourself, will this really bring extra value to my life.
  • Support Ethical brands: There are a lot of initiatives rising up who want to show a good example. Below in recommendations a few ethical brands are named. But see which one are close to you! Also you can download the apps ‘rank a brand’ or ‘good on you’ to check if your favourite brand are ethical.
  • Act: Join the Fashion Revolution. The Fashion revolution organisation is campaigning for “a fashion industry that conserves and restores our environment and gives people, especially woman, a voice” (Fashion Revolution , 2019). Fashion revolution starts the 22nd of April! You can see on their website if there are event in your neighbourhood.

Sustainable fashion certainly does not have to be more expensive. Buying new shirts every month for 5 euros of bad quality which you can throw away after using it a few times… or buying one good quality shirt for 50 euros which will last years is something to consider!

A quote that really stuck with me was,

If you do not pay the price someone else will

 

Pien’s recommendations:

Books:

Slave to fashion – Safia Minney

This is a good guide – Marieke Eyskoot

Documentaries:

The true cost (Netflix)

Minimalism (Netflix)

Websites:

Fashionrevolution.org

Ethical fashion websites/brands:

Reformation

Geitenwollenwinkel

Goat Organic Apparel

Know the origin

Less too late

Veja

Hara the label

And there are so much more!!

References:

Eyskoot, M. (2017). Dit is een goede gids. Amsterdam: Keff & Dessing Publishing.

Fashion Revolution . (2019). Home. Retrieved from fashionrevolution.org: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/

Minney, S. (2017). Slave to fashion. New International Publications Ltd.