The Steep Environmental and Social Costs of the Fashion Industry

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When we get dressed in the morning, most of us don’t consider the environmental costs and human rights issues that may be attached to the clothing on our bodies. Jessica Aldridge interviews two women who have made it their business to not only consider how to clean up the global fashion industry, advocating for environmentally-supportive and equitable solutions to water pollution, pesticides, microfibers, and waste associated with making, washing, and disposing of our clothing.

Kerrie Argent, fashion waste art

Kerrie Argent’s installation ‘6,000 kilograms of fashion waste’ for every ten minutes in Australia.

When walking around throughout the day, we aren’t thinking about the synthetic chemicals and carcinogens or the water pollution and pesticides that went into making our t-shirt. And then when we wash our clothes, not many of us think about the 1.4 million trillion microfibers that have shed from our garments and ended up in the ocean. (that’s 200 million microfibers per person.)

And when the life of that garment is over, it’s either beyond repair or it no longer fits our interest, how do we dispose of it. Is it actually recyclable? Where do you drop it off? Are there better solutions to respect and sustain the chain of value and human resources that went into making that article of clothing? So then WHO is responsible, is it the consumers, designers, manufacturers?

The ecological impact and the human rights issues associated with the global fashion industry is daunting. It is ranked as one of the dirtiest industries in the world and it is literally connected to most of us every day of our lives.

Our speakers on this show not only address the issues, they speak to new developments, philosophies, and necessary solutions that are driving a more environmentally supportive and equitable fashion industry.

Bios:
Andrea Plell – For over a decade San Francisco Bay Area based writer and sustainable fashion consultant, Andrea Plell, has fostered community in the effort of supporting systemic change in the apparel industry. In 2016, she co-founded The Sustainable Fashion Alliance a member-based organization designed to empower small and mid-sized sustainable brands with resources, shared opportunities and creative avenues to market. She is also the West Coast Regional Coordinator for Fashion Revolution, a not-for-profit international movement that calls for greater transparency in the global supply chain.

Jennifer Gilbert is a respected fashion recycling industry expert and is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of I:CO (short for I:Collect), a leading global solutions provider for the collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of apparel, footwear and other textiles. In her role, she works with some of the largest fashion brands to take on end-of-use product responsibility and help them transition towards a more circular fashion industry.

STORY: LA’s Sweatshops & the Fight for Garment Workers – EcoJustice Radio

Resources:
Instagram – @jenniferdgilbert @icospirit @Fash_revusa @sustainablefashionalliance @ecologiqfashion
Website – http://ecologiquefashion.com/ https://www.fashionrevolution.org/ https://www.sustainablefashionalliance.com/

Books:
Magnifeco: https://www.amazon.com/Magnifeco-Head-Toe-Ethical-Non-toxic/dp/0865717974
ECOrenaissance: https://www.amazon.com/ECOrenaissance-Lifestyle-Cocreating-Stylish-Sustainable/dp/1501123564
How to Shop for Shi(f)t: https://www.amazon.com/How-Shop-Shi-Shopping-healthier/dp/0692968709

Interview by Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 30

Updated 25 June 2019

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt