“I’m fine without you, guys”, — Nature.
Fashion, design, glamour — it often happens when these catchy signs of famous brands hide facts that are not customary to talk about. It is no secret, for example, that many clothing and accessories companies employ low-wage, almost slave labor in Third World countries. Moreover, the fashion industry is considered one of the largest polluters in the world by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. For example, every second the equivalent of 1 garbage truck is wasted in the world (19 garbage trucks were disposed of while you were reading this by the way).
An inconvenient truth
According to the UN, over the last 20 years, the volume of clothing production in the world has doubled, reaching 100 billion tons. Correspondingly, harmful choices have increased in the production and delivery of textile products to the end customer.
The fashion industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than civil aviation and shipping together. The volumes are huge. There is also a problem with water resources. For example, making one pair of jeans and one T-shirt requires the same amount of water as a person drinks for 13 years.
Fast fashion means environmental shock?
There is such a thing as “fast fashion” — a consumption model when clothes are cheap, but wear out faster, and accordingly require frequent updating of the wardrobe. Obviously, this approach causes huge damage to the environment. But there are also problems in the manufacture of designer items.
Orsola de Castro, the founder of the Fashion Revolution movement, says: “We do not make any distinction between brands that produce cheap clothes and luxury goods. In our movement, we believe that absolutely everyone in the fashion industry must have a responsibility to preserve the environment. “.
The problem has become so global that neither manufacturers nor consumers can turn a blind eye to it. Two years ago, a number of brands signed the so-called The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. They have pledged to cut emissions by 30% over the next ten years and plan to reach zero emissions by 2050. True, it is not yet clear what exact steps will be taken for this sake.
While contemplating this issue, I thought of the whole mechanism of waste production and utilization. I was trying to figure out the best possible way of a zero-waste existence and the first (and the best, I think) example of a perfect cycle of well-being is nature itself. It produces no waste and regenerates seasonally, forming the linear circulation of resources. Take the simplest example: the insect drinks nectar from the flower and gives it pollen in exchange, which allows the plant to produce a fertile seed. Sounds simple as ABC, doesn’t it?
Swapping resources for services is already an inalienable part of nature, but are there other ways to eliminate waste or not to produce it at all in the common industries of our everyday life? It was one of the first thoughts that motivated me to launch a business that can eliminate waste production in a sphere where it can be eliminated. In nature there is no waste, everything is a nutrient that is recycled and reused infinitely. Likewise, in DressX we use digital technology to adapt the positive impacts of deep interaction with nature. Mimicking these natural designs and processes, we are creating the garments of the future that eliminate waste and chemicals during production, and minimize carbon footprint, and what is most important, doesn’t create physical waste in the end of life.
We have shaped our main objectives and incentives for sustainable existence in a short but comprehensive approach:
“We strongly believe that the amount of clothing produced today is way greater than humanity needs. We share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, but we believe that there are ways to produce less, to produce more sustainably, and not to produce at all. At the current stage of DressX development, we aim to show that some clothes can exist only in their digital versions. Don’t shop less, shop digital fashion”.
Co-authored with Elena Saraniuk