During New Zealand Fashion Week, I attended a panel hosted by Outliv, where our local ethical fashion industry was discussed. Interesting points were made and I left the discussion with a lot of questions on my mind; how can I make my knitwear more sustainable? What can I offer customers in the long run for their garment? How can I minimise my waste? What can I do to raise awareness without adding to the cause?
Ever since a trip to India in 2015, along with further research when we got back, I have been more aware and conscious of how much waste we produce and the impact that it has on the environment. But with fashion being the second largest polluting industry in the world, right behind fossil fuel, the demand for change has never been so needed. I have mixed feelings about fast fashion leading retailers, such as H&M, releasing "eco-conscious" ranges. On one hand, I think its great that they're raising awareness about the future of fashion, but on the other, they produce clothing and accessories at such high volumes that it defeats the purpose of the "eco-conscious" range in the first place.
During the panel, a concept that I hadn't heard of before was mentioned, the circular economy. It is where design is at the forefront of change - by designing waste out of the system and you "take, make and dispose". Each person worldwide produces an average of 25kg of textile waste per year! Natural fibres are important to me, which means they can biodegrade at the end of their life cycle. Alternative garments made out of polyester or nylon take approximately 40 years to degrade, whereas wool takes between six months to one year. The Sofija Sweater is hand-knitted with NZ mohair and wool with a tiny hint of nylon, which holds it together, but we're working on that so it can break down at the end of its life cycle. Stuff did a comparison test on degrading wool and a synthetic material, which you can read here.
I am currently researching more about the circular economy and how I can apply it to my knitwear - WINTER 2019 is going to be an interesting one! I could go on forever about ethics and sustainability, but we'll save that for another blog post!
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about ethical fashion and a slower way of living. Leave them in the comments below or send me a message!