As well as designing stores, I’m always very interested to watch the products, trends and developments that evolve within the retail realm. I’ve long been aware of the culture of fast fashion we live in, some studies have found that women may wear items in their wardrobe as little as 7 times before discarding it. Waste clothing in land fill is a big concern for many countries.
The global consciousness of minimizing our footprints has seen technology created to re-use waste fabric to create new clothes.
But before you start imaging clothes sewn together like patchwork rugs, it’s actually a process involving shredding down the fabric and spinning new threads which are then woven into new bolts of fabric to be cut out again. A bit like the process of cutting cookies, where you keep re-rolling the dough as it gets smaller and smaller.
Quite a few clothing brands produce items with recycled fabric. Country Road have announced that they’re producing a range from their waste fabric left over during the manufacturing process. Buying a garment with a tag showing the recycled content has a feel good factor and I’m certainly happy to see innovations to reduce waste.
However there is a whole other dialog happening about whether textile stripping is as environmentally friendly as the marketing tells us. There is even a marketing term for it- “Greenwashing”. It means promoting items as eco friendly when they actually aren’t. Some arguments are that the origin of the fabric still has an ongoing impact ie. Synthetic fabrics still shred micro plastics into the environment regardless of whether they are recycled. The textile mills used to create the recycled or new fabrics have high energy consumption.
I’m staying optimistic and hoping that as technology evolves we’ll see advances in the recycling manufacturing process and changes in general to discarding clothing and making better purchase choices initially. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to assist with reducing clothing waste and going op shopping with a friend this weekend. I’ve been inspired by the costume designers on Sex and the City/ And Just Like That and hope to find some treasures that become wonderful vintage statement keepsakes.