Must-Read Roundup #3
A record of worthwhile reading
We’re seeing more fast fashion than ever, with companies like H&M, Zara and Topshop rapidly expanding across countries and releasing new garments to stores on a weekly basis. It’s bonkers to think how many clothes are being produced and even more how quickly they’re disposed of. Despite offering a recycling program, H&M isn’t able to actually re-use these garments in an effective way yet. Fashion and textile designer Mark Liu writes a bit about his journey from the catwalk into the science lab—after conquering zero-waste fashion design and still seeking better ways to address the over-consumption and wastage issue of the industry.
“Many of the promising new technologies require getting bacteria or fungi to grow or biodegrade the fabrics for us – this is a shift to researching the fundamental technologies behind fashion items. For example, it takes 2700L of water and over 120 days to grow enough cotton to make a T-shirt. However, in nature, bacteria such as ‘acetobacter xylinum’ can grow a sheet of cellulose in hours…Fabrics can be generated from milk, seaweed, crab shells, banana waste or coconut waste.”
“To address these complex issues [around fashion waste], collaboration between designers, scientists, engineers and business people has become essential,” states Mark.
There are plenty of tips and tricks out there suggesting ways to shop more consciously, but this list is pretty spot on if you ask us. Realistic and achievable—yes, please!
How we care for our clothes is actually one of the most environmentally intensive aspects of fashion, especially with a tumble dryer in the mix—and is more likely to damage your clothing over time. “Our ancestors knew a thing or two about laundry and were keen to get the best results with the least expense or labour… UV light kills the bacteria that may survive a cool wash, both those that might have a health impact and those that cause clothes to smell.” Reading a little history of how our washing habits have changed over time has inspired us to dig into this topic a little more!
Alistair Birrell from Mr Draper in Melbourne, Australia, shares some helpful insights into starting your maker business. Small and nimble is key, and not to get too swept up in having every little detailed ironed out before you start selling your very first products.
An impressive and inspiring feat for one of London’s most popular food markets, who have introduced free drinking fountains and have a long-term aim to achieve zero landfill from their daily trade.
“A new global study published yesterday broke new ground by presenting the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastic ever manufactured. Study authors Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck, and Kara Lavender Law estimated that 8,300 million metric tons of plastics have been produced to date and the vast majority has ended up in our environment.”
The most hard-hitting fact pulled from the study for us was that 91% of plastics aren’t recycled.
“If current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 metric tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.”