Keeping Clothes Out of the Garbage [Via Anthropocene]

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“You aren’t imagining it: clothes have changed, and what has happened is a whodunit where the stakes are very, very high,” writes Veronique Greenwood in the September issue of Anthropocene magazine, in a piece about the rise of fast fashion and potential solutions to the environmental crisis that’s unfolded in its wake. “The industry, driven by fast fashion, has steadily become one of the most serious polluters in the world,” she writes, causing water and air pollution and a shocking amount of carbon emissions.

One fallout from fast fashion is emotional, rather than ecological. “As we’ve consumed so much,” reflects Christina Dean, founder of Hong Kong NGO Redress that’s focused on reducing waste in fashion, “we’ve lost the emotional attachment of clothes. And from a sustainability perspective, that’s what people want to bring back.”

Elizabeth Cline, author of The Conscious Closet, adds that when done right, owning clothes does involve a great deal of emotion. “What does it mean to create a functioning wardrobe you can get a lot of use out of?” she asks. This is a vastly important question for the future of sustainable fashion. Rather than focusing solely on buying clothes made ethically or with less waste, we should focus on transforming what we have into things that we actually want to wear for years into the future. As Greenwood describes the process of choosing a coat that is perfect for her, she experiences the transformation from frustrated fast fashion consumer to a more mindful consumer of clothing. “So you do love clothes,” Cline said, and a smile crept into her voice. “That’s the lesson of the story.”

So you do love clothes,” Cline said, and a smile crept into her voice. “That’s the lesson of the story.”

You can read the full piece here.

Elizabeth Cline