The long-term goal to develop and sustain a circular ecosystem in fashion is, sadly, years away. However, change makers like Stella McCartney are pioneering permanent change within the fashion industry and beyond. Recently at the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP28), Stella McCartney expressed a firm stance on Animal and Human Welfare, highlighting the ever present impact of poor practices. McCartney expressed the importance of taking part in progressive conversations stating, “there are different steps in finding solutions, and I think if you’re too extreme and too harsh, then you close the door down into a conversation.” It’s through these conversations that walk the line between a strong and assertive yet gentle approach, that meaningful change is initiated and the right minds are educated. Such conversations have resulted in the banning of unsold goods being destroyed, collaborations between luxury brands and upcycled initiatives, and the sky-high launch of upcycled brands like Better, run by Julie Pelipas, former fashion director of Vogue Ukraine.

The majority of us are just trying to do the best we can in order to make a positive contribution. Half of the battle for the everyday citizen is deciphering whether or not a brand is green-washing; a misleading and often discouraging game that causes the majority to give up and give in to the fast fashion brands. A keystone of this conversation is unveiling the illusion of perfection. With so many conflicting issues, perfection just isn’t possible, which is a factor that should be normalised. As mentioned by Stella McCartney at COP28, “there’s always a better solution for the better solution.” The goal is to make as many small changes as we can, in order to make a sizable contribution to the bigger picture. 

The Future of Garment Lifecycles in Tech

Technology and fashion are a divine pairing, driving significant change and bestowing the key to a bright future for conscious designers and innovators. AI-powered solutions have enabled the streamlining of textile sorting. Visionaries at the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel have developed the Smart Garment Sorting System for Recycling. Crafted for industrial use in textile recycling stations, the AI powered system analyses materials, providing data to inform more accurate decisions in the recycling process. This groundbreaking system has been awarded the 48th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2023), a gold medal at the 2023 Just Style Excellence Awards and won an additional award for Innovation in Textile Recycling. 

For years, digital marketplaces have become a trendy way to buy and resell pre-loved garments. Such platforms like Vestiaire Collective, have begun turning their attention away from fast-fashion brands in order to cease fueling the persistent cycle of unethical and unsustainable practices. 

The blockchain is being used to place a ‘digital tracker’ on garments, resulting in deeper insight and transparency of their lifecycle. The implementation of this technology will inevitably place a gigantic spotlight on both ethical and unethical brands.

Project Garment Revival

While all of the above can seem overwhelming and impossible to navigate, there is so much fun to be had in the world of upcycling. GLITCH encourages you to dig through your wardrobe, find pieces you haven’t worn for years or would have otherwise discarded, and ignite your imagination. Don’t add to the ever-growing garment piles in landfill, instead, keep your wardrobe alive year after year. As we enter a new year, it’s common to lean into change by buying an entirely new wardrobe. Before you hand over your cash, take another look and find alternative solutions. At GLITCH, we’ve compiled the ultimate recycled fashion mood board to draw inspiration from. However, retail therapy is the only way to go, try sourcing ethical and sustainable brands or platforms that are fighting for change within the fashion industry.  

One step at a time, we edge closer to a brighter, more honest, and cleaner future.

Words by Ashley Jade Callahan from GLITCH Magazine


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