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An ethical fashion industry: is it possible? Can technology help?

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Fast fashion, it’s one of the most controversial and hottest topics in the world today. The average western consumer is buying and wearing through cheaply-made clothes at an incredible rate. The numbers are eye-wateringly painful to witness.

The clothing industry is currently producing almost 100 million (92 million) tonnes of waste per year, and uses approximately 1.5 trillion (yes, trillion) tonnes of water a year.

The average British consumer is a big part of the problem. UK shoppers buy an average of 59lbs (27kg) every year now and that number is expected to continue rising in the years to come. But the crazy numbers don’t stop there… the fashion industry now accounts for more than 10% of the 1.7 billion tonnes of global CO2 emissions every year, and textile treatment and dyeing processes involved are responsible for a third of the micro-plastic pollution in the oceans (around 190,000 tonnes per year).

And perhaps most unforgivable of all (for us Brits), UK consumers are spending approximately £2.7 billion a year on items we only wear once…

Once! Just once.

But environmental costs aren’t the only problem. There is a terrible human cost. Dirt cheap clothing results in horrendous working conditions and barely believable wages for workers.
As an example, see this short video below from our friends at Veshin Factory highlighting the human cost of fast fashion:

Clearly, things need to change…but how?!

Well, to answer that we’re going to need some help. Expert advice is essential here. So we’ve assembled a panel of specialists to tackle the key issues head-on. We’ll look at the problems of fast fashion, what ‘ethical fashion’ actually means, and examine the role of technology. Can tech innovation help us out of this mess? The panel will be in action live on May 25th during our ‘Ethical Fashion’ event (the latest in our ‘Tech For Good’ series). Tickets available:

We are so excited to give you a bit of an intro to our awesome panel that includes the following ethical/sustainable fashion champions:

Michaela Larosse

Michaela, is Head of Content & Strategy for The Fabricant, the world’s first digital fashion house. The Fabricant is focused on building a new non-physical fashion industry, which creates a more innovative and sustainable fashion future – their digital-only garments waste nothing but data and exploit nothing but imagination.

With a background as both a features writer and conceptual creative for the advertising industry, in her role at The Fabricant Michaela shapes its brand philosophy, conceptual storytelling and communications strategy.

Kresse Wesling

Kresse, is a multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur. After first meeting the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Kresse launched Elvis & Kresse, which rescues and transforms decommissioned fire hose into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to the Fire Fighters Charity.

The company now collects 12 different waste streams and has several charitable partnerships and collaborations across industries.

Joey Pringle, Founder of Veshin

Joey’s first break in fashion came in Melbourne, Australia, as an accessories designer for Crumpler. After graduating with a BA Honours in furniture and product design, Joey relocated to Vancouver, Canada. It was during this time at tentree where he started working with factories across Vietnam and China.

On a business trip to China in 2018, Joey met with a factory in Guangzhou. It was on this trip where the conversation to start a green factory model developed. After another trip to China In late 2019, Joey decided to quit his job in Canada and relocate to China to start Veshin. Veshin is an original equipment/ design manufacture specialising in luxury vegan leather and premium recycled synthetics, bags and accessories. Built on a philosophy centred around sustainability, transparency and raising consciousness, Joey’s team are on a mission to change the industry forever.

Tony Dunkerley

Tony, is a Co-Founder of Justice in Fashion, whose mission is to reduce the exploitation and imbalance in the fashion industry, focusing on women and gender equality. Tony also works with international companies and global supply chain managers to help prevent forced labour from infiltrating their supply chains.

Tony is a former UK police detective and Covert Intelligence Officer, focusing on human trafficking. Tony is now an international law enforcement advisor on human trafficking and people smuggling to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in East Africa.

So there you have it – our champion league lineup for the panel, so make sure you don’t miss this one! We’ll be delving into all the difficult questions and looking for clear solutions to the crisis wherever possible.

To learn more about our green and ethically-focussed events, visit our Ignite program page, and keep an eye out for more research, reports and panel events from our team. Throughout 2021 and beyond, we will be launching more initiatives and research findings, so make sure you follow our journey. And if your company, NGO, or if you personally would like to get involved and collaborate with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

And to stay up to date with all future announcements, green-focused events, research findings, blog posts, future partnerships, and new services, make sure you’re following us on our social media channels!

Published on May 19, 2021, last updated on May 19, 2021

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