Repurposing Aesthetic: the Decora Edit journey.
How producing new products has become an outdated strategy. Over the course of the past years, a different light has been brought to the once fully glamorous and idealized world
How producing new products has become an outdated strategy.
Over the course of the past years, a different light has been brought to the once fully glamorous and idealized world of the fashion industry. Suddenly conversations about the most wanted seasonal pieces and best trends got replaced by stories of a hidden and dark reality: from basic human right exploitation to disastrous environmental impacts.
Following the collapse of a fast-fashion garment factory in Bangladesh in April 2013 – also referred as Rana Plaza disaster -, where over one thousand people died and thousands more were injured due to the poor working conditions within the factory, garments acquired a different and possibly uncomfortable meaning. Since that tragedy, more and more activism has been emerging in order to bring awareness to the fashion audience in regard to an overflow of bad practices brought out by the fast-fashion industry and yet, the way towards a global ethic revolution still seems too unclear.
When it comes to the environment, the fashion industry is considered the second largest polluter in the world only after the oil industry. Toxic chemicals used within materials, wastewater contaminated by production substances and microfiber released by synthetic materials, overall water consumption and greenhouse gases emissions from production, manufacturing and transportation are just some of the causes.
Furthermore, the majority of garments produced are linearly designed and therefore can’t be re-purposed or biodegraded, leading to a serious waste issue which adds to the overproduction issue: the higher the quantity of items produced, the smaller the final cost. This practice has led over the years fast-fashion companies to overproduce seasonal collections in order to keep costs at the lowest and increase profitability generating an excessive turnover of cheap items – over 150 billion garments produced a year, accounting for about 20 per person. And with overproduction there is also a further issue related to waste: waste of dead stock fabric and unsold inventory.
30% of items produced end up unsold and their journey is not circular in fact, 12.8 tonnes of clothes are sent to land fields annually, accounting for 1.2 billion tonnes of gas emissions – data from Fashion United.
Although conversations on sustainability have become more prominent within the industry, for some it simply means a new marketing strategy targeted to the consumer, also defined as Greenwashing. Brands claim sustainability with the use of ‘organic materials’ as a unique selling point, without incorporating sustainable practices across all aspects of the business.
Producing new materials and products doesn’t seem the most affecting path towards an impactful change within the industry as the real issue is overproduction of goods. I do believe that all the necessary resources are already available for us, and it is just a matter of repurposing and tailored them to our essential needs, and possibly taste too.
To be part of the change, I have started my journey into upcycling second hand garments. I have been locally sourcing good quality pieces and repurposing them using my own aesthetic while supporting local people, the journey will be documented here too.
Trends come and go but what really matters is the meaning behind what we invest into. Creating trust and support to build a better system within the industry starts from recognizing human importance and care for the surrounding as a simple piece of clothing can hold a significant story behind.
words and visual by Giulia Mummolo
ShareCloth (Olena Rudenko)
(via The Rana Plaza Arrangement)