On Tuesday night at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, British designer Stella McCartney and Dame Ellen MacArthur co-hosted a launch party for an idea that will revolutionize the fashion industry. On Tuesday, the two stated that it is time for the fashion industry to change its wasteful, polluting ways. With the help of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Fibers Initiative Report, “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future,” real change can become ignited into the fashion world.
According to the new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second. At the same time, less than 1 percent of old clothing is recycled into new garments.
“Today’s textile industry is built on an outdated linear, take-make-dispose model and is hugely wasteful and polluting,” MacArthur stated. “[This report] presents an ambitious vision of a new system, based on circular economy principles, that offers benefits to the economy, society, and the environment.”
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was founded in 2009 in Britain to serve as a way to redesign and rethink a positive future for a framework in a circular economy would look like for younger generations. Using raw materials and products would help reduce waste and pollution and overall make a greater positive impact.
An initiative to change wasteful ways is exciting because it will help the environment and teach other designers that a shift in clothes making is definitely needed in the fashion industry. The first step for change is changing the way we buy, source, make our clothes by removing all plastic microfibers. Plastic microfibers really hurt our planet and our health. The next step would be to design them to last longer and start buying to keep our clothes for a long time, not just one time. The third step would address how we recycle our old clothes by considering the fabric’s durability. Finally, cutting down the use of water in production methods and reusing fabric out cuts.
“What really excites me about [the report] is that it provides solutions to an industry that is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment,” McCartney said. “The report presents a roadmap for us to create better businesses and a better environment. It opens up the conversation that will allow us to find a way to work together to better our industry, for the future of fashion and the future of the planet.”
A survey this month from Britain’s WRAP reports that more than 2,000 British shoppers from waste advisory body WRAP reveal three-quarters of shoppers want their clothing to last. Still, only 63 percent say they look for durability when buying a piece of new clothing. Meanwhile, 29 percent of shoppers want clothes to be ethically produced, but only 23 percent actively lookout for ethical production information when out clothes shopping.
Nike, H&M, C&A, and Lenzing are some major brands backing up MacArthur and McCartney’s plans. With these big labels by their side, there is a real possibility for global change in the fashion industry in all aspects. McCartney and MacArthur have a promising initiative on their hands to create some real change.