In the spring, the BBC released Fashion's Dirty Secrets, a pivotal film in the perception of the damage done to the planet by large-scale production and rash clothing consumption. Journalist Stacey Dooley revealed little-known facts about the state of the environment, showing how chemical waste from textile industries pollutes the Chitarum River, whose waters are used for domestic needs by millions of Indonesians, and how the Aral Sea, the fourth largest lake, dried up due to irrigation of giant cotton farms in Uzbekistan. in the world. Even judging by Stacey Dooley's interactions with passers-by, many do not know that fashion remains one of the main sources of pollution along with transportation and coal mining, and do not think that the situation can be changed by stopping buying clothes in large quantities. No demand - no supply.
“The phenomenon of fast fashion encourages us to buy more clothes than we need,” says another journalist, Lucy Siegle, in the film. - Previously, we had autumn, winter, spring and summer collections, but now we have 52 or more collections a year. Some brands release two or three collections a week, and if you don't buy them now, then later you won't be able to - the released models do not repeat. The desire to buy right now has taken root in us - while it is possible, while the thing is in trend."
© Shot from the movie "Shopaholic"
The global trend towards conscious consumption has spawned many books on how to effectively disassemble your wardrobe and stop buying unnecessary items. Keith Flanders, the author of A Year Without Shopping (MYTH, 2019), suggests that you completely abandon unnecessary spending for a certain time. To do this, first of all, you need to audit all things and throw away (or better, distribute) what you no longer use. “Decluttering will help you see how much junk you've already bought. This will motivate you not to spend money,”writes Flanders. From what is left, it is worth making lists of things: of which you have a lot (black T-shirts, skinny jeans and shirts for every day of the working week), which are constantly running out (nylon tights and white socks),which you have to buy (a swimsuit for travel and boots for the winter) and without which you can easily do without (the same handbag as a friend's). These lists will help protect yourself from unnecessary temptations, and if you do decide to make an unplanned purchase, come up with at least three different looks with the things you already have.
If you show unexplained shopping impulses, then only in relation to things made from natural fabrics or with a minimal admixture of synthetics. Polyester, viscose, nylon, acrylic and elastane - albeit easy to care for, UV resistant, almost wrinkle-free and cheap - quickly deteriorate, which means they go to landfill. According to statistics from The Times, more than 300 thousand tons of clothing are sent there annually, and microfibers, washed out of artificial fabrics, significantly litter our rivers and seas.
The production and consumption of synthetics harms not only the environment, but also human health. Talking about the state of the Chitarum River, which, with the advent of textile factories, turned from a pure watercourse into a purple, foul-smelling and even foaming stream, Stacey Dooley sent a water sample to one of the Indonesian universities for research. As a result, it turned out that water contains heavy metals: mercury (disrupts the functioning of the brain), cadmium (causes pathologies of the respiratory tract), lead (reduces the child's IQ level) and arsenic (destroys the central nervous system). Residents of nearby regions continue to wash things in it, use it in cooking and wash themselves daily - for lack of alternatives.
How did heavy metals appear in factories and then in water? Arsenic, for example, has been found in cheap dyes that have been used in clothing since Victorian England. It can harm health not only through water and, as a result, food, but also directly - entering the body of a fan of synthetics of bright colors through the respiratory tract. It is also impossible to be sure that toxic chemicals are not used at all when creating discreet clothes from natural materials. But at least it serves not for a couple of seasons, but for several years, eliminating the need to buy and throw away often and a lot.
© Still from the film "Dirty Secrets of the Fashion World"
Choose sustainable brands
Green jeans and sneakers have become the most sought-after products in recent months, according to research by Lyst. The former can be found, for example, at Uniqlo: in 2016, the Japanese brand opened an Innovation Center in Los Angeles, which is constantly improving the production of denim products. To be comfortable to wear, the fabric must go through several stages of washing, which significantly depletes water resources. However, Uniqlo has been able to reduce water consumption by 90% (and in some cases by 99%), while maintaining the comfort, durability and distinctive look of denim.
Sneakers, the creation process of which is environmentally friendly and, moreover, based on existing resources, now boasts not only adidas (they have pairs of ocean debris, developed with the organization Parley for the Oceans), but also Converse. This year, the brand unveiled sneakers made from recycled plastic and denim, and next year it will showcase a version of cotton that is left over from shoe production and usually goes to landfill.
Russian brands also succeed in developing eco-friendly items: for example, Vatnique, which creates jackets from vintage and stock fabrics, Ozero Swimwear, which offers swimwear from recycled materials, Jeans Revision, which produces dresses from defective jeans, or Polyarus, which makes bags from car cameras., advertising banners and construction belts. You can recognize eco-conscious domestic brands not only by their labels: they are united in corners at fashion festivals and proudly put a “recycle” badge in their Instagram profile header.
1 of 5 NNedre X GO authentic sweatshirt made from recycled ocean debris © Press Office Vatnique Jacket with trim from recycled polyethylene bags © Press Service Jeans Revision Revision Bag in Recycled Denim © Press Service Polyarus Camera Bag © Press Service Ozero Swimwear from ecolaycra © press service
Give, not throw away
Along with separate collection in Russia and in the world, a system of receiving unnecessary things is developing, which are then sent to charity, sale or recycling. It includes second-hand shops, thrift stores, charities and their branded containers set up in courtyards or bus stops. From this year on, the location and sites of the collection points can be found on the 2GIS maps at the request “clothes collection point” or “clothes drop off”. As a rule, they are asked to bring things in good condition (they are sent to low-income families and orphanages) and clothes made from natural fabrics that are unsuitable for wearing (they are being recycled). So, the aforementioned Russian brand Jeans Revision creates collections of illiquid jeans with broken zippers or lost buttons, taking them from the collection points for old things "Thank you!"Lepta" and "Grinding".
Containers for collecting recyclable materials are also in stores of world brands. Since 2015, Uniqlo has installed recycling boxes, from which nervous and clean clothes - thanks to the company's cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees - are sent to people in difficult life situations. And the H&M brand gives bonuses for the next purchase for the handed over package of any things - be it an unpaired sock, a worn T-shirt or old sheets. After sorting, the things themselves go to second-hand stores, are used as materials for cleaning and are processed into textile fabric.
Some companies not only accept, but also pick up unnecessary things on their own. The Russian project Svalka, launched in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnoyarsk, takes out clothes, books, dishes, toys, appliances and furniture only on call. The only condition is that the recyclable materials must be in good condition. After all, then it is sent for sale to the second-hand of the same name.
© press service
Tie up with packages
A plastic bag from a store can decompose over 1000 years (longer than batteries and bottles), supplying the soil with harmful microplastics, which then gets into the water, and therefore into the body. Paper bags also do not save: making one container requires a lot of electricity, wood and water. All that remains is to go shopping with a mesh string bag or a reusable shopping bag, especially since some brands (for example, the Russian NNedre) offer a discount to everyone who has refused plastic packaging.
1 of 9 Nikita Gruzovik bag, 560 rubles. (showroom Nikita Gruzovik) © press service Bag “Aivazovsky. Moonlit Night on Capri ", 650 rubles. (Tretyakov Gallery) © Press Service Shopper “Lucas Cranach the Elder. Judith at a feast at Holofernes, 1200 rubles. (Pushkin Museum) © press service Shopper Arny Praht, 380 rubles. (Arny Praht stores) © press service of the Eco-bag NNedre, 280 rubles. (NNedre store) © press service Knitted bag Mirstores, 5990 rubles. (Mirstores store) © press office
This is the motto that Paul Dillinger, Levi's Director of Innovation, suggested in the same BBC film. “We are currently working on a solution that will recycle old items into new fabrics that are very cotton-like in appearance, feel and properties,” says Dillinger. “In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to use less water during the sewing and finishing phase. When we find how to reduce resource consumption, we share it with everyone, open up free access to all our developments. After all, fashion is a huge industry, one of the largest in the world, but so decentralized that it is almost impossible to change anything. Especially if people don't really want to change something. A decision is needed at the legislative level, without this there is nothing. Otherwise, we simply won't have enough water."
In August, François-Henri Pinault, the head of the fashion conglomerate Kering, which includes Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga, took up the discussion of the environmental problem at the legislative level. At the G7 Summit in Biarizza, he introduced the Eco Pact to leading luxury and mass-market brands, which mandates industries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, help save species and tackle ocean pollution. The international agreement has already been signed by 56 enterprises and 250 brands, including Prada, Chanel, Versace, Calvin Klein, Nike, Puma, Zara and H&M. This initiative will enable them to work collectively for the environment and set an example of joining, not competing, to solve today's biggest challenges.>