by Laragh McCann
Since 2018, Extinction Rebellion have been using non-violent direct action to demand the government ends its criminal inaction on the climate emergency. If you could advise government policy to set new sustainability standards for the fashion industry, where would you start? What changes are necessary for genuinely sustainable fashion?
On a political level, the government should immediately pull the emergency break and communicate that since there is a climate emergency all businesses will be seriously affected for the foreseeable future. Especially those we don’t fundamentally need.
With impending doom on the horizon, Fashion Week feels like a Trojan horse, its facade crumbling before our eyes to reveal its menacing interior. The reality is we don’t need it anymore, we never did.
I could go on about the need to enforce legal consequences around the burning of dead-stock, carbon budgets, production transparency, circular systems, education and more. But what’s most important is that we recognise that for fashion to be truly sustainable there needs to be a fundamental priority shift. And that means there needs to be more women in charge to recreate the bedrock of the industry and our society.
Thankfully, this seems to be happening naturally recently. More and more sustainable initiatives, sharing platforms, swap shops and mending workshops are forming, the majority of which are started by women.
Initiatives like these are excellent on many levels because they cause no further harm to the planet, they do not endorse slave labour and they are nourishing and educational to the consumer instead of addictive. Through these physical, grounding, community tasks we will be rewiring our beliefs surrounding the materials we wear and subconsciously strengthening our inner worlds which were neglected for so long.
It sounds simple but when we cultivate self love and connect to our community and the world around us it enables us to ascribe real meaning to the clothes we wear and have less need for the superficial parts of what the fashion industry provides.
This shift in self perception is the most powerful and radical thing we can do. We owe it to our earth to connect to ourselves, to be grateful to her, mourn for her and give her the dedicated attention to understand what she needs in order to survive.