I recently had the opportunity to look more closely at some of our textiles industry sustainability issues through a workshop by Resyntex. Those of us who read the news and follow the relevant websites, will know that waste in the fashion industry is a serious problem and if you are in the industry you owe it to yourself to educate yourself on what’s going on out there. There is no excuse for ignorance in our modern age. Everything is at your fingertips.
Even so, I heard figures mentioned that really made me wonder where fashion in the future is heading. The industry is heading from some serious problems if we don’t start looking at how we use resources, manpower and production.
More concerning were the comments that I heard around the room. I was glad that people were there because they wanted to know more but a little concerned at the lack of prior knowledge that they had of the industry they were either already in, or were about to enter.
I wondered where all the those campaigns (SCHWOP, Fashion Revolution) and all the devices designed to help us recycle (textiles banks, clothing donation bags, make do and mend weeks, charity shops) were aiming their campaigns. Here, were people who should not have been asking these basic questions but already educating others. Instead, they were the audience, asking the questions.
It occured to me towards the end that you can’t make people question what is right in front of them. People do not naturally understand the correlation between cheap and industry ethics. I realise that I, for all my inquisitve nature and need to understand why things are as they are, am not your average Joe on the street, or your average fashion designer, or indeed your average fashion shopper. Most of the people around me should have already been questioning the things I had been for years. And it concerns me that for all the technology we have, we just don’t use it to our advantage.
As I walked home I asked myself what was the point of what I was doing. It’s something that has been slowly creeping over me for a while now, and continues to nag at me on a regular basis. I try to be a small brand created as a direct reaction to problems with our fashion fashion industry. But what for? Is anyone taking any notice? Should I be taking my efforts and putting them somewhere else? Surely there has to be a better way to get the message across than being the little man who is so often overlooked because the high street brand on the corner is a quarter of the price.
I like what I do. I am creative. I am hardwired for it. But is there really any advantage to it beyond self service. It worries me that I could I take the knowledge I have and put it to better use? But how would I do that and is it really possible to change the world?