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Can fast fashion and sustainability be compatible?



The fashion industry is a huge contributor to declining environmental health. The term 'fast fashion' is one which is gaining more and more attention. By definition it means 'inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends' - something we are seeing more and more of not only on our high streets, but on the ever-increasingly popular online retail world. The demand for constant wardrobe changes cannot be good news for the planet's health.


Inditex, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, have recently announced that 'Zara clothes [are] to be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025’ (The Guardian) after acknowledging the environmental impacts of their industry. According to NPR, Zara are committing to only use cotton, linen, and polyester that are organic, sustainable or recycled. Further, they are transitioning to 80% renewable energy and zero landfill waste. At a first glance this proposal seems an incredible step forward in the right direction, but can fast fashion and sustainability be truly compatible?


While we absolutely commend these ambitious targets by Inditex, we argue that systemic change is needed in the fashion industry and beyond. How can we work together to create a market shift so that high quality, lasting clothes are valued over the churn of fast fashion? We need to see more innovative solutions such as MudJeans "Lease a Jeans" programme if we are to be successful in transitioning to life within the planet's limits.


NPR:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/27/745418569/can-fast-fashion-and-sustainability-be-stitched-together


The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/jul/17/zara-collections-to-be-made-from-100-sustainable-fabrics


MudJeans:

https://mudjeans.eu/lease-a-jeans/



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Dr Kate Meyer

 

Tel: +64 22 6566213

kate@planetaryaccounting.org