Fighting fast fashion

During the 2000s, the apparel industry underwent an important shift. A number of factors, including moves towards cheaper synthetic fibres, resulted in today’s fast-fashion business model embodied in key corporate players such as Zara, Topshop and H&M.

Garments became cheaper, leading to a growing perception that they are disposable. In some circles, wearing a dress twice became a social faux pas. Australian figures show the average item of clothing is worn just seven times before being discarded.

Australia is second only to North America as a consumer of clothing and other textiles, equivalent to 27kg per person per year. This is roughly twice the global average of 13kg, which has in turn nearly doubled from 7kg between 1992 and 2013. New Zealand’s figure is probably a little lower.

Environmental consequences

Environmental impacts of the use of textiles include demand for resources such as water, greenhouse emissions and pollution discharges.

From a climate change perspective,

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