The damage done to the environment as a result of the fashion industry is astounding. Often the ‘blame’ is put on consumers who buy ‘fast fashion’ (cheap, replications of designer items which are worn once and then thrown away). Although some designers have been championing sustainable fashion, the big players have been rather slow in showing their concern for the environment. However, the Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia, that took place during Milan Fashion Week, were a breath of fresh air showcasing innovative textiles including those created from food waste.
While these potential alternatives for the fashion industry sound promising, do we know how environmentally friendly or sustainable they really are? This was the topic of a discussion I was privileged to contribute to for BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth with Lucy Siegle, Associate Professor Richard Blackburn, Head of Sustainable Materials Research Group from the University of Leeds and Kieth James from wrap.org.uk. For some eye-watering stats, read Wrap’s report Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion.