Code Red for Humanity - Why Fashion Needs to Wake Up

The IPCC's landmark report on climate change has warned in no uncertain terms that we are at a point of extreme urgency in regards to stemming the rate at which the Earth is warming. Unsurprisingly human activity is "unequivocally" responsible for raising global temperatures at an even faster rate than previously forecast, with some changes already inevitable and irreversible. 

As a brand we have been talking about the impact that fashion has on climate change since day one and, in all honesty, it pains us deeply that after 7 years the shocking headlines continue and despite so many protestations from big brands about taking responsibility and doing things better, systemic change within fashion is still desperately, urgently needed.

There is no doubt that the production of and way we consume clothes has a direct impact on the environment, and it is time that both consumers and brands make wholesale changes. Fashion Roundtable's Cleaning Up Fashion report - details just how bit that impact is:

"Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined, consumes vast quantities of water and is a significant contributor to plastic and chemical pollution."

Fashion Roundtable Cleaning Up Fashion Report

Over the past few years we have all become more and more aware of this impact but the urgency of the report highlights the fact that the actions of governments, brands and yes, us as consumers, in response is still not enough. In the fashion industry in particular "Sustainable Fashion" has become almost a buzz word - for years ethical fashion was not seen as desirable or cool in anyway - but in more  recent times every single fashion brand out there is pushing out 'sustainable collections' and highlighting their 'green' credentials. 

As a retailer who works with genuinely small scale brands for whom sustainability and making fashion cleaner, fairer, better is at the very core of their businesses, it is hard to see huge fast fashion brands using 'sustainable fashion' ranges as a marketing tool just to sell even more. It is literally adding fuel to the fire.  We need to consume far less but better. And that just isn't compatible with the fast fashion model that the vast majority of widely available clothing brands are built on. Greta Thunberg stated was damning, but hit the nail no the head in her analysis of the fashion industry in a recent interview with Vogue Scandinavia... 

"Many are making it look as if the fashion industry are starting to take responsibility, by spending fantasy amounts on campaigns where they portray themselves as 'sustainable,' 'ethical,' 'green,' 'climate neutral' and 'fair', but let's be clear: This is almost never anything but pure greenwashing."

Greta Thunberg

So what can we do to make things better? It might sound strange as obviously we are a retailer and our purpose is to deliver you beautiful clothing that we hope you want to buy. But our pledge is and always has been to do this in a responsible way. Buy things that you love and will wear time after time. Buy things that have been made in the least damaging way possible. Do your research and ask questions about the production of your clothing. Always look for second hand. And don't take big brand promises of sustainability at face value. 

The headlines are shocking and we are absolutely in the midst of a climate emergency, but we must have hope and we must act, as consumers, as brands and as global citizens. Fashion matters - it is down to us all to hold it's players, big and small to account.