Whilst the fashion industry is much loved for its creativity and its freedom of expression, it also has been responsible for negative environmental impact, particularly in China, which produces more than one-third of the world’s clothing yet where regulation and enforcement are lax.
The emergence in the 1990s of so-called fast fashion meant the need for quick turnaround by manufacturers who were expected to produce regular but low-cost collections, hooking consumers on cheap goods. The prices squeezed producers, leading to unsustainable design and markets were flooded with low-quality and disposable clothing. The knock on effect of this is that the quantity of textiles discarded into landfills has risen drastically in recent years.
Apart from this excess textile waste, the fashion industry makes extensive use of water, energy and raw materials throughout the garment supply chain. At the same time, the textile industry has evolved in a way in China that is highly polluting, with little enforcement of even lax standards. China has become the producer to the world and in return has absorbed much of our pollution. In conventional production, there is a heavy chemical load, both in creating the raw materials and in the manufacturing of garments. Add to this, the actual use phase of a garment’s lifecycle, during which it is worn and re-washed, is often classified as having significant environmental impact through its washing, drying and ironing.
Part of the problem is that in today’s complex global supply chains, with clothing produced worldwide, the consumer has become further removed from the origin of its product and its producers. Consumers don’t see the pollution caused by their fast fashion habits.
Despite the industry’s challenges, fashion can become more sustainable and people involved in the apparel supply chain can benefit fairly. But in order to create an environmentally sustainable fashion industry we need to rethink the way we design, produce, consume and dispose of fashion. We need to redress fashion.
Enter the upstart non-profit, Redress, a Hong Kong based NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. The organisation works to achieve its mission by promoting sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, competitions, seminars, research, creating certifications and via media outreach.
Redress’ independent profile allows the non-profit to collaborate with a wide range of organisations, industry groups and companies that collectively help to create fashion. To date, Redress has worked with multiple fashion designers, garment and textile manufacturers, fashion retailers, secondary schools and universities, multilateral organisations, government, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations.
- ADMCF has provided strategic and other support to Redress since its inception as Green 2 Greener in 2007. Additionally, Redress as a small non-profit start up in expensive Hong Kong, needed office space, which ADMCF has provided.