Podcast: Why we need to slow fast fashion – and how we do it
The fashion industry has now become an economy unto itself, emitting as much greenhouse gas each year as France, Germany and the UK combined.
From the agricultural production of natural textile materials to the manufacturing processes required to create our garments to transport at each step of the supply chain, ‘fast’ fashion comes at a high cost. Beyond these emissions, the industry also drains water supplies, deprives natural ecosystems of land, and produces thousands of kilos of waste textile materials annually.
But there are entrepreneurs looking to change the perceptions around what’s fashionable and how the sector approaches the production and second-life cycles of apparel all over the world.
Anthony Marino, president of thredUP, founded his startup to target the groundswell of support for ‘slower’, more sustainable and more ethical fashion consumption.
Consumers are now looking for brands that use sustainable materials in manufacturing — McKinsey research shows that recycling textiles produced for clothing into new apparel is a US$100 billion-per-year opportunity — or that use their profits to support ethical causes. These consumers are also looking for companies that make buying local or second-hand items, upcycling, and swapping clothes with others easier.
“Shoppers are drawn to brands willing to sell used items of their own brands alongside new products because it signals to shoppers that the brand believes in the quality of the product,” said Anthony.
Greener startups working hand-in-hand with more sustainability conscious consumers should deliver a message to producers that the market will no longer support disposable clothing, which in turn should naturally reduce the amount of waste in landfill. Anthony was also positive about the potential to turn the dial on the speed of fashion in a more sustainable direction.
“Over time this should make producers think more about the inputs into their goods and customers should start to think of shopping not so much as purchasing, wearing and disposing, but instead think of it as ‘buy it, wear it and then sell it’. This should drive market change.”
Anthony Marino, president of thredUP, was in conversation with Jennifer Crichton, founder, editor and presenter at The Flock, at Web Summit 2021.
Source: Blog Web summit