Dead white man’s clothes

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Who's doing any education about the baleful effects of the fast-fashion industry on the environment?  Not schools, it would seem, and not the industry either as they've a vested (pun not intended) interest in keeping shtum.

Research shows that since the millennium the number of clothes bought in Europe has increased by ~40%, while the average number of times a typical item is worn has reduced by the same amount.  I read that the average UK consumer now buys about 27kg of clothes a year, and the overall increase in demand is around 2% per annum.  Further, a recent survey of women in the UK found that, typically, they wore clothes only seven times.  This fast fashion business is thirsty work with every tonne of clothing made, needing 200 tonnes of water.  The waste problem is equally dire.  All such outcomes are externalised.  Back in April, the Times had a feature on what happens to the clothes we no longer want.   This was the opening paragraph:

"A sign reading “dead white man’s clothes” hangs above the entrance to one of Africa’s largest markets.  Yet many of the garments for sale inside show scant sign of wear and some still bear original price tags: testimony to the throwaway culture of the West."

Ideally, some say, would there be carbon tax to cover all this?  Maybe, but where's the educational initiative to explore the issues?

In the good old days (ie, about 25 years ago), somebody would have been producing educational packs, often funded by industry, in which the facts were laid bare, the sponsor got to make their case, and a range of educational activities were listed.  In other models, neutral funding would be available for packs with a similar focus but perhaps a more nuanced view of the issues.  This looks like a gap in the market ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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