The Dark Shadow of Fashion
This exhibit, entitled Y WASTE? The Dark Shadow of Fashion, and which was on display in Hong Kong’s K11 Mall from July 7-20, 2015, was a collaborative effort between fashion nonprofit Redress and appliance company Miele. It was designed by students from Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts. It is made up of 360 kg (793.67 lbs) of clothing, which represents the amount of used clothing that enters the area’s landfills every two minutes. That adds up to nearly 12 tons per hour–about the same weight at 2 elephants.
12 tons every hour. Shocking, isn’t it? Over the course of a year, that adds up to approximately 108,633 tons (98550 metric tons)…roughly the same weight as 15 Eiffel Towers! But it isn’t just in Hong Kong where used clothing is treated as a disposable good, rather than the durable good is has historically been. It’s happening across the globe.
According to their website, Redress is a Hong-Kong based corporation “with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption”. Christina Dean, Founder of Redress, said, “Clothing and textile waste rates around the world are now at horrific levels, which we need tackle urgently. We are now buying and treating clothes like disposable goods. When we consume so much, we tend to dispose of more and this unpalatable pattern of clothing waste, which we see in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world, is creating vast negative environmental and social impacts.”
Over-consumption is certainly a major contributing factor to the used clothing waste epidemic, but it’s not the only one. Lack of knowledge in how to properly launder and care for clothing items is also a reason many used clothing items are discarded prematurely.
Richard Green, who is the Hong Kong marketing director for appliance company Miele, stated that the company keenly advocates “better consumer care when it comes to clothing, and hope that fashion consumers are increasingly motivated to keep their clothes in use for longer, through better care and thus out of landfills.”
When clothing and textile items are discarded and sent to the landfill (in essence wasted), then too all the man power, the raw materials, and the energy and resources expended in the production of the clothing and textiles–they are all wasted as well. As a global society we simply cannot allow this to continue; we cannot afford to allow it to continue.
Artistic representations such as Y WASTE? are important and their message is clear, but for many people it is not enough motivation for them to take a look at their own consumption habits and make the changes necessary to effect environmental and societal change. And so the question becomes, “What will it take?” If a thoughtfully designed public exhibit doesn’t motivate the general public, how desperate and dire must the situation become before society at large becomes more mindful in their consumption and disposal of clothing, shoes, towels, curtains/drapes, blankets, and bed linens?
EcoGoodz is a wholesale used clothing supplier in the USA. We provide shipments of credential clothing and mixed rags (as well as other goods) by the truckload and container load. For more information about wholesale used clothing and shoes, please contact us.