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  Fashion industry eyes green future

Wednesday 05 September 2007
peopleRepresentatives from the fashion and textile industry met this week with environmental groups and Government ministers to discuss the issue of ethical production and sustainability in the sector. The event was the first of its kind, and it is hoped will form the basis for a series of changes in the industry.

Last year in the UK, clothing and textiles created some 2m tonnes of waste, over 3m tonnes of CO2 and 70m tonnes of waste water. Just 10% of the clothing bought in the UK is manufactured domestically, with a host of economic, environmental and social impacts present in certain exporter countries.

“Increasingly, consumers really care about the environment and the social impacts associated with clothing. And clothes, almost more than any other product, fill magazines and get column inches. Not only are consumers really getting their teeth into this, but fashion journalists are increasingly keeping pact with the green game,” commented Minister for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Waste Joan Ruddock, opening the event. “There are plenty of examples in the industry of people already seeing sustainability as an opportunity, not a threat. There are people taking an active role in ethical sourcing, designing and producing clothing throughout the supply chain. That’s why Defra is aiming to work collaboratively with the clothing and fashion industry to improve the sustainability of clothing.”

Katharine Hamnett, influential designer, added; “Sustainable clothing doesn’t have to be more expensive. It can be more affordable and it should be more affordable.”

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