Why is SUSTAINABLE Fashion Week important? by Stacey Hieriem

In a world of consumer culture and fast fashion, it is easy to be dragged into the whirl wind of ‘need’ and ‘want’ whilst forgetting about the impact of your actions. But the impact is this – the fashion industry is the second most pollutant industry, only just before the oil industry.

How can it be the second most polluntant industry, you may ask yourself? Behind the fast fashion produced by the industry, there’s more than meets the eye. It takes 2,700 Litres of water to make just one cotton t-shirt. Not only that but we’re buying 60% more clothes and only keeping those clothes for half as long. This toxic consumer culture is increasing greed in our society and having a detrimental effect on our world.

Aside from the effect of a consumer culture, the actual production of fast fashion is also environmentally damaging. Over farming, using extensive amounts of cancerous fertilisers to enhance the rate of growth in materials as well as the tons of chemicals used in the manufacturing process, all contribute to seriously harm our environment by ruining the soil for future use and damaging the local water facilities.

Moreover, there are also larger human issues that arise out of the fast fashion process, that are undoubtedly unethical. Labourers work for extremely long hours, for extremely low wages in dangerous, harsh conditions with very little regulations. In the past, factory conditions have been so poor, due to the lack of regulations and greed for profit from the owners, explosions have happened causing workers to lose their lives. Factories have also been known to employ children. It is clear that companies are still so focused of profit that all care for human rights are still disregarded.

The UK is recognised worldwide for its quality of craftsmanship and so we should be producing and shopping high quality clothing made by people who get an honest wage for their talent. 

This is why it is more important than before to produce and shop sustainably and ethically which is promoted through Sustainable Fashion Week.

Sustainable London Fashion Week is a unique event combining workshops, displays, fashion shows to highlight the need for sustainable and ethical fashion. The event calls for everyone in the fashion industry, whatever their part, to understand the social responsibility they hold to ensure ethical and sustainable fashion as well as educates those who are unaware of the damage the modern fashion industry is creating on our environment.

During Sustainable London Fashion week, all events – workshops, displays, fashion shows and conferences are aimed to promote and educate the audience on the vitality of ethical, sustainable fashion. All collections use sustainable fibres and craftsmanship as well as promote ethical and sustainable production through treating their workers ethically. These matters however, are not just campaigned through the designers’ collections. Sustainable London Fashion Week will also hold conferences to educate and inform the public of the detrimental effects of failing to produce and shop sustainable fashion as well as reinforce to the designers, buyers and every other person who pays a part in our fashion industry that they should personally be fighting this battle to stop the damage we crate through our consumer culture ‘need’.

How can we move forward? What can we do?

Designers,  we speak directly to you. You need to use sustainable fabrics and natural dyes. You need to give your workers a safe working environment and more than low wages. The workers are the back bone of your business, they have vital skill which is so important to your business – value them. This need, is a true need unlike our consumer culture ‘need’. The change starts in the practices we carry out and the clothing we produce.

For the consumer, it is now time to get rid of that consumer culture ‘need’ mentality where we regularly buy cheap, fast fashion and get rid of it after not long. We need to be shopping ethically and sustainably, opting for quality. This way we know we are supporting those brands that made the change to the sustainable side of fashion, we are supporting the workers who deserve more than the lowest of wages.