Thursday 22 April 2021

Fixing Fashion: The future of fashion the Earth needs

Fixing Fashion
is a new global platform aiming to teach and share knowledge to users for free about the best and most efficient ways to care, repair and upgrade their clothing and to create a strong community of clothing wearers that prolong the use of their clothes.

One Army (Precious Plastic, Phonebloks, Project Kamp) has created a platform made to normalise the act of properly caring and repairing clothing. All knowledge is online for free within an easy to follow Academy which allows people to teach and empower themselves to make their clothes last longer.

The fashion industry creates a copious amount of waste and, with the rise of fast fashion brands (H&M, Zara, Uniqlo), it seems to be getting larger and larger. According to the BBC, the average American throws away 37kg of clothing a year. An extremely high number that shocks most when heard. By 2050, we are estimated to be discarding more than 134 million tonnes of textiles a year (Ellen Macarthur Foundation).

The overall waste is shocking. We know our current model needs to change. Most of the garments produced now will never be worn or only a few times. There is more clothing now in landfills than what we actually wear. Many sustainable fashion efforts focus on the origin of garments. They promote solutions to be purchased, but this still has left a gap in methods for the conscious use and end of clothing ownership. Only knowing about these issues won't solve the problem. We must cooperate, act and change the way we see clothes for the precious objects they are. 

By approaching the consumer and giving them the tools for free to repair and care for their clothes we can exclude the clothing waste stream. With a repair or swap business model, discussed under the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020, WRAP determined that if 5-10% of clothing sales are via these models to extend their active life, the savings could be 30 - 50 million cubic metres of water and 80,000 - 160,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. These methods extended the average garment’s life from 3.3 years to 4.5 years. If this amount is brought to the current American waste stream 1.22 million tonnes of textile waste could be saved yearly. 

Fixing Fashion has researched for over two years, including interventions, interviews, workshops and field trips through Kantamanto in Accra, Ghana with the OR Foundation and several donations and sorting centres through Europe. Learning from the community the best practices and methods to recycle and repair discarded clothing. Then applying this research into easy to understand techniques and videos.

With this knowledge and platform, Fixing Fashion aims to empower people to create a global network of existing and new repairers and upgraders. Fixing Fashion will provide tools so people can freely exchange knowledge and learn as the community grows, giving repairers a platform to start a business, so more repairing and second-hand clothing trading occurs more often.

In this first version, Fixing Fashion aims to have people learn the basic techniques of sewing, caring, repairing and upgrading and wear their fixes proudly. To take ownership of their clothes and show the world that they did not want to add to the oversaturated waste stream. This way of seeing clothes diminishes the need for new production and denies the existence of waste. We have all that we need around us, we just have to use it.
About One Army:
One Army (previously Dave Hakkens) is an NGO starting and developing sustainable projects to help better the environment. Whether tackling technological waste through Phonebloks or local open-source plastic recycling with Precious Plastic or prototyping an alternative way of living via Project Kamp, One Army consistently tries to find workable open-source solutions to some of the world’s most dire environmental problems. Fixing Fashion is the latest project by One Army aiming to tackle the ever-growing waste of the fashion industry.



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