Textile industry: fair fashion instead of “fast fashion”

Status: 01/13/2022 12:33 p.m.

In the fashion industry, more and more collections are brought onto the market every year. The “Fair Fashion Week” aims to focus attention on sustainability, climate issues and conditions in the production countries.

What could be nicer than shopping. Buying is satisfying, buying is fun. But when buying clothes, the money is often thrown past the closet and straight out of the window. 40 to 70 items of clothing are bought per capita per year in Germany. But 40 percent of it is worn a maximum of twice. “Fast fashion” means: bought quickly and quickly sorted out. When it comes to consumption, environmental aspects and, in some cases, inhumane production conditions are often ignored.

Factory collapse attracted attention

“Since the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh, the question of the working conditions under which our clothes are made has attracted a lot of attention,” says Ursula Artmann, managing director of the “Weltladen” in Frankfurt and member of the “Fair Fashion Week” organization group. In 2013, 1,134 people lost their lives in Dhaka when an eight-story textile factory building collapsed. More than 30 western companies had textiles and clothing produced in Rana Plaza, including five German ones.

“Fair trade also stands for safe production, it offers more than just an alternative,” says Artmann. The Frankfurt “Fair Fashion Week” also shows current insights into the production conditions in Bangladesh. The film evening “Made in Bangladesh” outlines the story of a young Bengali woman who works as a seamstress.

More than 20 collections a year

For a long time there have not only been four clothing collections per year. A number of intermediate versions have been added to the spring, summer, autumn and winter collections. Large textile companies present over 20 collections a year for quick access. In addition, advertising ensures dominance in the market.

“Many unsustainable fashion chains go to great lengths to ensure that we buy fashion that we actually don’t need and don’t want to buy,” says sustainability researcher Jacob Hörisch. “These providers try to draw our attention to other criteria in order to encourage people to buy items that are not actually needed. This happens, for example, through discount campaigns on ‘Black Friday’. This diverts our attention from social and ecological considerations.”

“For many a question of price”

There is still a gap between knowledge and action when it comes to textile consumption. “To close this one needs more points of contact – that means more fashion stores and designs – that are sustainably produced. This has to be communicated in an understandable way,” says Marlene Haas, managing partner of the consulting firm “Lust for a better life”. “For many consumers this is also a question of price and usage. Political framework conditions such as the Supply Chain Act can help to make unsustainable companies responsible so that sustainable fashion is no longer more expensive.”

From January 13th to 21st, offers on the topic of sustainability are planned for the “Fair Fashion Week”: for example a clothes swap party, discussion rounds on the business model “Fast Fashion” or an upcycling workshop, in which clothes can be made afloat again under supervision .

Warning as a deterrent?

The awareness of sustainability in fashion is now relatively high. According to the Federal Environment Agency, 88 percent of consumers state that fashion brands should campaign for environmental protection, while three quarters consider sustainability to be fundamentally important when it comes to fashion consumption. But only a third consider environmental criteria before and when actually buying a piece of clothing.

“It would be a real game changer to introduce mandatory negative labels,” says sustainability researcher Hörisch. “In other areas of consumption – for example in electrical appliances – we see that customers are very reluctant to buy products that obviously have a poor environmental balance and poor energy efficiency a note ‘May contain child labor’, the consumption would not decrease significantly as sustainable certified fashion “, so Hörisch.

“Still a long way to go to sustainable fashion consumption”

The range of sustainable fashion is increasing in stationary retail – also in normal department stores. “But the truth is also that this increase comes from a very low starting point. So there is still a long way to go towards sustainable fashion consumption,” says Hörisch.

Industry expert Haas wants a rethink – or rather a “rethinking”: “‘Do I really need that? Isn’t a pair of sneakers enough and then sustainable?’ – So that the trend becomes the cultural standard. ” The “Fair Fashion Week” in Frankfurt is intended to provide assistance.

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