FOR A MINDFUL FASHION
Clothing is a fundamental part of our everyday life and it is hard to imagine a world without textiles. Clothes are worn by everyone and are an important expression of individuality for many.
But the fashion industry has become the second most polluting industry in the world after the oil industry. Textile production is responsible for 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, more than international flights and marine traffic combined.
The world now consumes about 80 billion new articles of clothing every year.
Textile production (including cotton farming) also uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water annually, contributing to issues of particular concern in some water-scarce regions.
For example, it takes 20,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of cotton, the equivalent of a single pair of jeans!
It makes your head spin, doesn’t it?
The current system for producing, distributing, and using clothing operates in an almost completely linear way, resulting in considerable waste and extreme pollution. Large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for just a brief amount of time, after which the materials are largely lost to landfill or incineration.
Not only does this linear system put pressure on resources, polluting and degrading the natural environment and its ecosystems, it also has significant negative societal consequences on local, regional, and global scales. Furthermore, it leads to shameful abuses in the way humans and animals are treated.
I simply couldn’t bear the thought of creating a brand that would produce even more fabrics, thus contributing to the ever-increasing mountains of waste and to these other negative side-effects.
While researching possible solutions to improve this system, I realized that less than 1% of the fabrics produced and used to make clothes are recycled to make new ones.
The solution is staring us in the face!
It’s called upcycling: using and processing existing materials to make new consumer products. For me, this is ideal: more efficient than recycling, in total harmony with my philosophy of life, and a simple, elegant alternative to face one of the major challenges of our time.
But I wanted to go even further in my approach, at the risk of opposing the current mass-market trend proposed by the fashion industry: boldly and unapologetically offering my customers dresses made to order by exceptional seamstresses.
My clients can viscerally experience the time it takes to make a carefully made garment, and the special attention given to each dress, which they can then adorn proudly.
I envisioned Lena Klar couture with quality and durability in mind. Fashion yes, but not at any cost. We all have the power to change things, even on our small scale, and every intention counts today. The repercussions of our personal decisions are far greater than we imagine. Our choices have a “ripple effect” spreading out from us and touching the lives of many around us.
“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”
• Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future, (2017, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications)