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The fashion and clothing industry has developed into a system of 'Fast Fashion'. Every year, 100 billion new items of clothing are produced. A third of them are never worn, and end up shredded, burnt, or in landfills. The fashion industry is also responsible for 10% of the global CO2 emissions. Things need to change, but how?
Driven by the market, the fast fashion tread mill spits out new collections almost every week. The lead time between the catwalks in Paris, London and Milan, and the clothing racks of the major chains, such as H&M and Zara, becomes shorter and shorter, with one garment being even cheaper than the next. Surpluses of returned and unsold pieces are piling up. Africa countries no longer want our rejected new clothing, because the dumping destroys their own industries. Every second, somewhere, a truck load of new textile is burnt.
Five future fashion pioneers work on making their industry future-proof. Their 'fashion of the future' stretches far beyond sustainability alone. They also force us to look at new notions of beauty and the role that clothing plays in our lives. These fashion innovators are showing ways to change and to lead us out of the deadlock.
In London, the duo Vin + Omi shows an haute couture collection in new fabrics made of plants, cans, mushroom, and plastic bottles. Designer Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, changes the fashion game globally with the hashtag #whomademyclothes. At Parsons School of Design in New York City, writer Otto von Busch is educating a new generation of designers to think of garments as instruments of magical transformation. In Amsterdam, the Hacked By label of designers Francisco van Benthum and Alexander van Slobbe experiments with re-use and re-mix of surplus clothing, in cooperation with the large fashion chains that create the surpluses. In the near future, the Flemish Jasna Rok sees a new world where, every morning, we will put on a new item of clothing created by a 3D printer. Or will we, ultimately, only wear that one Ultimate Item, that changes along with our moods, protects us from bacteria, repairs itself, and never needs to be washed?