According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the fashion industry has grown spectacularly in the early 21st century. Between 2000 and 2014, clothing production doubled with the average consumer buying 60 percent more pieces of garment compared to 15 years prior. Yet, each clothing item is now kept half as long – truly an era of “fast fashion”.
This is evident in the amount of textile waste that winds up in U.S. landfills. In the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Sustainable Materials Management report, over 17 million tons of textiles were generated in 2018. Of this amount, over 66% ended up in landfills in the U.S. This textile waste accounts for almost 8% of all MSW landfill.
On top of this, the fashion industry is one of the most water-intensive industries in the world with cotton production and textile processing requiring substantial inputs of water. Fashion production is also responsible for 2 to 8 percent of global carbon emissions. Awareness of the fashion industry’s impact on the environment has grown in the past decade. Many fashion schools and universities have revised their curricula.1 Students are taught about the seven R’s of Sustainable Fashion: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Resell, Rent and, as a last resort, Recycle.
Exploring the R's of Sustainable Fashion
For Silicon Valley Reads 2024, Saratoga Library will explore two of these strategies to end fashion waste: Repairing and Reusing in a series of three workshops on how to end fashion waste. The first two workshops will focus on introductory textile repair techniques presented by lifelong seamstress Frances Cooke:
- February 11, 2024, 2 to 3:30 PM: Mend to End Waste - Darning
- March 10, 2024, 2 to 3:30 PM: Mend to End Waste - Embroidery & Patching
Frances will focus on different techniques to repair holes in garments that celebrate the repair. Registration is required for both events.
On March 24 at 2 PM, the third workshop will focus on reusing clothes you already have. Join Alyce Parsons, image consultant and author of numerous style and image books, to learn how to make your closet new again. In her program, Shop in your Closet and Discover the Latest Trends, she will discuss:
- fashion trends
- the waste associated with fast fashion
- how to give your closet a makeover
Feel free to bring a much neglected item from your closet so that Alyce can demonstrate how to make it current and perhaps the hottest thing in your wardrobe again.
Here are some library resources to learn more about mending techniques, textile repair, upcycling and sustainable fashion: