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Let's Co-Create a Better Fashion Industry

Mary Alice Duff

Posted on July 20 2020

A few weeks ago, a sustainable fashion website with a massive following posted about a collaboration with a new clothing rental service. Hundreds of people commented on the post, excited about this new sustainable option. The post came across my feed and with just a click, I discovered who their parent company was. One of the biggest corporations in Philadelphia that’s been charged with not paying their garment workers during a global pandemic; forcing their warehouse workers to work during COVID-19 citing their rental service as an “essential service”; persistent racism and discrimination experienced both inside their company and towards customers shopping in their stores; and a billionaire CEO who proudly funnels money to political candidates adverse to sustainable and ethical anything. How can we allow this business to call themselves sustainable or ethical? Short answer: we can’t.

 

The fashion industry’s destruction of people and the planet is vast and well understood. Fueled by the fashion industry’s relentless pursuit of exceptional profits, the world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year- 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago (The True Cost) and sixty percent of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made. For the people who make our clothes, there isn’t a single, multi-national company who pays their garment workers a living wage, and 85% of the world’s garment workers are young women. When we look at sizing and exclusionary fit practices, plus size women, who make up 68% of the US population, have just 2% of available apparel options and an incalculabe, microscopic amount available in sustainable and ethical options.

 

The billionaires and fashion elite who run and fund these brands know these facts. This is not new information. They just have no incentive to change and every incentive to stay the same.

 

We must stop waiting on mythical, benevolent billionaires to finally do the right thing and save us from a morally bankrupt, exploitative and exclusionary fashion industry. There is no white knight, riding in their eco-friendly car, wearing their recycled leggings, arriving to save us from the mess that they have created.

 

When envisioning our event, Redesigning Fashion, we were adamant about the verbiage we used to define this event: CO-CREATION. Why? Because we can not continue to wait on someone else to solve this problem. With collective resources and enough outside the box thinking, WE can CO-CREATE a fashion system that merits our time, talents, money and energy.

 

Instead of banging on the door of mainstream brands, begging to have a seat at the table, begging for our calls for justice and equity to be heard, WE can co-create a system worthy of each and every one of us.

 

I hope you’ll co-create with us at our revolutionary event, Redesigning Fashion, and join us at our table. We’ll save you a seat.  

 

To learn more and purchase tickets visit our event page here. 

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