Ethical fashion is stylish and relevant, subverting trends by outlasting them.

Front Row Society and the Christian Aid Collective are showing the world how ethically sourced, sustainable products are not only helping the planet, but are fun, witty and fashion forward.

By working together we are looking to raise awareness of how the textiles industry is contributing to climate change, in support of Christian Aid’s work in the world’s poorest communities, where environmental changes are seriously affecting harvests and livelihoods. Through Fashion Deconstructed we want to highlight how fashion can be sustainable and challenge consumers’, corporations’ and politicians’ attitudes to “waste”.

The Problem:
  • 2.15 Million tonnes of clothes are purchased in the UK every year and approximately 1.2 million tonnes are thrown away.
  • The textile industry’s annual carbon footprint stands at 3.1 million tonnes
  • Every year it produces 2 million tonnes of rubbish and wastes 70 million tonnes of water

The Causes:

Disposable Fashion
Advertising and magazines have led to high levels of consumption within the fashion industry. There is a need to always be seen to be wearing what's new, with numerous trends swiftly moving in and out of fashion. Stores are able to produce and sell clothes so cheaply that we can now afford to wear items only once before discarding them. Every year in the UK we dispose of just under half the amount of clothes that we buy.

Increased demand for cheap clothes is putting a strain on natural resources. While cotton is a natural product, in order to grow enough to produce the clothes we wear, farmers use enormous amounts of pesticide – 25% of the world’s total annual pesticide usage goes on cotton. This is damaging to the environment, the farmers and the livestock that live near the crops. Similarly most garments have been chemically treated, or contain synthetic materials; releasing toxic gases, such as methane which is more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, as they decompose.

90% of clothes sold in the UK are sourced from abroad. Consequently a majority of garments that reach our shop windows have traveled around the world before ending up in our wardrobes, vastly contributing to CO2 output.

The Result:

The clothes we buy are having a devastating impact on the environment due to the carbon intensive processes of production, distribution and retail and contributing to climate change.

If global temperatures were to rise by more than 2ºC the experts predict we'll see:

  • Acute water shortages for 1-3 billion people – that’s a fifth to three-fifths of humanity
  • Sea levels increasing by up to 95cm by 2100, which will submerge 18% of Bangladesh
  • 40-60 million more people exposed to malaria in Africa
  • 30 million more people going hungry as agricultural yields diminish across the globe

The Response:

In order to avoid this, Christian Aid are calling for:

  • Emissions cuts - rich industrialised countries, the ones most responsible for the emissions that are changing the world’s climate, must commit to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. But these cuts need to be made at home, not ‘offset’ overseas. We should not be asking poorer countries to make our reductions for us
  • Binding global cuts paid for by industrialised countries - richer countries need to pay a greater share of the cost of global cuts, on top of the actions they are taking domestically
  • Sharing technology - technology that can help cut emissions while still allowing economic development must be made available to poorer countries to produce at a lower cost
  • Supporting adaptation - rich countries have to financially support poorer ones in adapting to climate change
  • Measurable cuts in poorer countries - developing countries also have to play their part by bringing in emission-cutting laws that can be measured, reported and verified

If you would like to get involved in Christian Aid's global climate change campaign please click here