( from the article published at Sportswear International Magazine )

After the unusual days of the pandemic, I felt overwhelmed with witnessing the vulnerability of the fashion system and questioned the pre-COVID perception and practices around sustainable fashion. Despite the trauma, I feel motivated and optimistic about initiating a positive movement, looking for ways to rewriting the fashion industry and spreading this spirit.

Sustainability might be accepted as one of the most misused words of the century. Although one of the loudest industries speaking of it, the fashion industry is still the biggest supporter of unconscious consumerism and contributor to waste. I believe there is no better time to recognize this truth, and honestly ask ourselves:

why do the majority of the fashion industry fail on sustainability?

Basically, on the existing model, this massive conflict occurs between the growth-obsessed system and the sustainability targets. When we compare these targets’ positive impact with the consequence of the constant growth, the system is far from offering a long-lasting solution. …

My intention is definitely NOT writing an article on what sustainability is and what is not, however, some new thoughts have arisen during these period that I want to share.

Sustainability might be accepted as one of the most misused words of the century. Being a person who had chosen to work in this area some years ago, when the topic was not such popular at all and completely contrasts with economic concerns, recently, I am extremely puzzled about the term sustainability.

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photo by Sinem Celik

Just before the world was hit by the coronavirus, almost all industries, and mainly the fashion world, seemed to be extremely concentrated on decreasing their environmental impacts and tackle the waste problem, to halt climate catastrophe. Not a single day was passing without reading another brand or companies’ targets and success stories on sustainability. …

We are experiencing an extraordinary period in our lives. Being extremely depressed and concerned, I am passing through these quarantine days with one single focus on the well-being of my loved ones and the healing of the world.
Only during very rare times of concentration when I think about the aftermath of this pandemic, I have mixed feelings.
On one side, I am worried about my near future as most of us; on the other, I try to notice the spiritual lessons and environmental benefits this virus carries. I wanted to share some of my thoughts, which I scribbled recently.

If I’d describe my generation and the community by three words, those would be: busy, individual, and consumption-addict.

I am writing this column in a café in Amsterdam on an afternoon in late July, dazed by the very unusual heatwave that has taken over the city.

This reminds me of the question that’s been at the forefront lately: what is happening to our Earth? It’s no wonder that, from ordinary people in the streets anywhere in the world to economists and politicians, climate change is a part of our daily routine now.

Being one of the significant contributors to environmental issues, the fashion industry never found itself heavily under the spotlight until now. Out of the whole industry’s output, denim for sure is the most popular, both by having one of the filthiest productions and also due to the rebel soul in its roots. …


Sinem Celik

sustainability change agent and lecturer

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