XR successfully pressured the UK parliament into declaring a “climate emergency”- a definition backed by leading scientists. XR advocates for drastic reductions in consumption and the fostering of a regenerative culture in all aspects of life. It is generally accepted that reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions will require far-reaching changes in human activity, which in fashion terms includes changing both the way we produce clothes and how we consume them. We know that reducing our fashion footprint is a critical step that needs to be taken to reduce carbon emissions, so why do we find it so difficult to give up our ASOS addictions in favour of more ethical practices?

Fashion Footprints

by Laragh McCann
IG: @100percentreloved_

The fact of the matter is fast fashion is an addiction. Billions of pounds are spent in order to bombard people (mostly women) with imagery on our phones, on billboards, on magazines. Of course its difficult for us to see through this carefully designed deep, desirable fog.  Sometimes it feels easiest to compare fast fashion to other addictions to understand it and our part as consumers clearly.

When it comes to the tobacco industry who do you hold responsible for the problem; the smoker, or the tobacco company? The smoker needs to take responsibility yes but ultimately you wish that the billion dollar businesses behind making smoking desirable would stop manipulating the masses to continue addictive and incredibly harmful behaviour.

The same rules apply to the fashion industry. 

Last night I googled the CEO of every fast fashion brand I could think of and every single one was a man. Which is frankly scandalous when you think about it. My guess is that these men don’t care about fashion, they care about business. As is the nature of the capitalist systems they have created they will do anything to earn more zeros. These CEOs have to realise the natural world will never be able to fill the void that capitalism craves, as we can see from our deteriorating planet.

In order for these business moguls to get richer, women are put under slave labour conditions on one side – according to the most recent Global Slavery Index garments are the second highest at risk industry for slave labour with 80% being women – and on the other, women are being intensely manipulated with imagery perpetuating a one dimensional idea that our looks are our most significant feature.

Since basically nobody (including the models themselves) looks like the images we see, we constantly feel badly about ourselves – leading to eating disorders, depression and low self esteem. Ie. the fuel to buy more. The biggest loss in this design is the wealth of untapped female potential that was usurped from us when we spent all our energy and money catering to our external appearances instead of what else we could provide to the world.

We are finally starting to realise that our planet and our selves are not commodities; we are living, breathing, life-giving entities.

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