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Fashion Pollution

Visual Communication and Social Change

Workgroup C
Terry Marvin
Yulia Pak
Rhea Moufarrej
Masters in Visual and Digital Media

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Table of Contents

1. Problem Overview and Specific Issue
2. Name, Mark and Key Image
3. Advocacy Campaign
4. Persuasive Communication Strategies
5. Social Change Theory
6. Mode of Environmental Advocacy

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Problem Overview and Specific Issue

Humans rely on clean water to survive, but now we are moving towards a water crisis.
Water pollution is the contamination of lakes, oceans, rivers and all water bodies. There are
many causes that lead to water pollution, such as chemicals and pathogens. We are going to
concentrate one of specific cause, which comes from the fashion industry. The issue we are
going to work with is Fashion Pollution.
What happens behind the beautiful clothes, models, catwalks and designers in this billion-
dollar industry? The worlds public waterways are being destroyed: its a global chain of
toxic pollution. Greenpeace tested clothing items and found that two-thirds contained
hazardous chemicals, and those chemicals are released back into the water bodies of the
These top fashion brands (Zara, Levis, Nike, H&M, Adidas) are directly linked to the
water pollution that happens in countries across the world: China and Indonesia. These
brands are exploiting the wastewater system and are trying to hide their manufacturing
process. They are responsible for the most toxic testing results that have been found in these
water bodies. This is particular bad for the locals of China and Indonesia as they are
concerned with their health and they cant rely on their water anymore. The hazardous
chemicals are dispersed into water systems not only when the clothes are manufactured, but
also after they are sold.
All these fashion brands have a duty to focus on both their international supply chain
management and also on the public disclosure with regards to their use of toxic chemicals.
Our aim is twofold: we first want to raise awareness of this environmental issue to our target
market and the people that go shopping at these brands and second, we want to try to reach
and access these companies and get them to commit to toxic-free fashion.
Greenpeace already organized a campaign for this environmental issue, but we want to go
further and raise awareness in this area of the world. Greenpeace organized a fashion show
for the launch of Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up, when they found a lot of
toxic chemicals from leading fashion brands.
Nonetheless, fashion brands continue to use these hazardous chemicals. We want to
persuade and encourage (at least raise awareness) the fashion industry to be more
environmental-friendly regarding the fabrics they use. These chemicals that are used in

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clothes production have many complications: they can be carcinogenic, they can influence
the hormonal system, they threaten the drinking water standards and they also kill the
marine life that is exposed to this polluted water.
These fashion brands are making us fashion victims by consciously selling us these clothes
that contain hazardous and toxic chemicals that play a very important role in water
pollution, across the world.

Name, Mark, and Key Image
The name of our advocacy campaign is Fashion Pollution which integrates both aspects
of our campaign: water pollution and the fashion industry. This term is quite unknown and
not often heard, which is an advantage as it will entice more people to research it and see
what it is really about. The key image was taken by Greenpeace when they did their
campaign for Toxic Glamour Fashion. We used the following image because it portrays
the relationship between the model and her high-end fashion clothes while she is resting on
a lake that represents where they discharge all their hazardous chemicals. During our
campaign, we will have photographs that resemble this one and put them up as posters with
a simple sentence to communicate our message and cause to the audience. This type of

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image fits perfectly the objective of our campaign, which is to raise awareness and attract
peoples attention, which will work quite well with such photographs as there is a big
contrast between the beautiful, well-dressed model in color, compared to the background
which has darker and colder colors that represent that importance and danger of the
The mark is the following logo that is still in the making, as we want to find something that
will be able to represent the entire cause we are fighting for in an elegant, fashion-related
way. It will still be fixed by the end of the campaign, it is just provisionary.

The mark, image and title are used as elements of visual rhetoric as we are trying to
persuade our target market and get them interested and active in this cause by showing them
such images and enticing them with such a title and image.

Advocacy Campaign (purpose, time limit, target market, communication activities)

Fashion shouldnt cost the earth and its clean water. Everyone is a part of this problem if
you buy your clothes from big corporation stores, such as Zara, Levis, Victorias Secret,
H&M, Adidas and many, many more. These shops are very popular, especially amongst
young adults, which is why they are our main target market. We want to address these
young adults (ranging from teens to adults) that shop in such areas. We want to raise
awareness on such an issue that isnt very known to most people and create knowledge
regarding this problem among this target market. Targeting such a broad audience means
that we must find various ways of reaching them. Our campaign will be accessible to all
through different means: we will be using posters, videos, shocking images, word of mouth,
opinion leaders and social media.

We are also targeting the corporations in the fashion industry that are aware of the damage
they are causing, but arent reacting. These companies must take responsibility for their
toxic footprint and we want to make them aware of this issue, at least in Madrid, a city

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where not many people know about this topic. We want to be able to convince such
companies to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their products and their supply chain.
Many companies have already started to respond to this problem (Valentino, H&M), so it
might just be a matter of time and knowledge before the rest catch on to this competitive
advantage, we want to speed up this process. We want to propose that they work in
collaboration with their suppliers and the chemical industry in order to develop solutions
and try to create a growing marketplace and environment for non-hazardous alternatives.
Our purpose is well-defined in this report, we defined our time limit to work on this
campaign to be approximately 4 months from January to April, which will give us enough
time to spread the word, reach out to our target markets, fix our logo mark, film a proper
campaign video and finish all of our communication activities.

Persuasive Communication Strategies
We have many different ideas of how we will be able to cut through the clutter and be able
to reach both our target audiences. We will do so by creating an environmental campaign
video about the cause in general (water pollution) and then going into more details about
our specific issue (toxic and polluted fashion). The aim of the video will be to attract
peoples attention by using sounds, images, effects and a voice over message to show how
severe the issue has become. We will also put up posters around the neighborhood where
these shops are (in Salamanca, Gran Via, Sol ) in order to catch the shoppers attention.
Since we are targeting young adults, the genre of our campaign will be modern: it will be
very minimalist. The posters will just include an image and a quick, blunt and to-the-point
message that will leave them shocked and keep them interested in the issue. We will also try
to talk to an opinion leader, maybe a Spanish blogger or fashionista, who will be able to
help us get this message through. With all the importance and weight these opinion leaders
have, we are hoping to be able to raise more awareness through them and incite word of
mouth about our issue and our fashion revolution. Last but not least, we also want to try to
get in contact with other NGOs that have dealt with this issue in other parts of the world
and see what their campaign consisted of. We will try to adapt their concepts to a Spanish
preference and try to use their successful methods in order to do the same here. It will be
helpful as we could use their data and market research, as we dont have the means or
budget to do such intensive, yet important, research.
In the case of a local Spanish brand, Zara, Greenpeace found a pair of jeans from Pakistan
contained carcinogenic substances derived from azodyes. A children's jacket also contained
alkylphenol ethoxylates (known as APEs), a group of chemicals which affects hormones.

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This is why we must raise awareness to the Spanish population about what is happening
and who it is affecting. They might feel more compelled to act and help if part of the
problem is from their home country. Both humans and animals are affected by the release of
these chemicals into the water supplies, it has become a serious matter now and more
people have to join in this Fashion revolution in order to help and play their part for our
Furthermore, the use of visual rhetoric will be quite essential as we will use visual images
that represent nature and we will emphasize on angles, frames, composition and shots.
These will help us get our message through to our target audience, especially through our
posters. With the help of these visual rhetorics, we will be able to influence their perception
of how they see the environment: they will influence the meaning.

Social Change Theory

The social change theory we are associating with is slow, steady, harmonious theory of
chinese philosophical, Dao De Jing. The Daoist theory uses a metaphor of water. Water
because it is soft, will eventually wear away stone. This is so because this environmental
issue has been known for a few years now and some major corporations in the fashion
industry have been trying to make changes and help this process along, but it is just going at
a very slow pace. We want to involve more people, shoppers, and companies in order to
speed up this process and stop wasting time as the matter keeps getting worse everyday,
especially for the locals in China and Indonesia. The change in such a model has to be
natural, harmonious and steady but it will still happen.
Mode of environmental advocacy
We will use a mode of advocacy that appeals directly to the public audience: media events.
This will help us spread the word faster, as we also want to involve an opinion leader that
has many followers or fans that will listen or be attracted by whatever he or she says. As we
create publicity, word of mouth, which is all free advertising, we will try to cut through the
clutter and communicate our message to the audience. Additionally, we will also target the
corporations, so we will use another mode of advocacy: corporate accountability. We will
do so because we want to try to influence and persuade corporate behavior (to stop using
toxic chemicals in their clothes and to take responsibility for what they are destroying)
through either trying to communicate directly with the corporations (shareholder actions) or
through consumer protests.

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Works Cited
! Greer, Linda. Top clothing brands linked to water pollution scandal in China. China Dialogue, October 9, 2012. Web. December 19,
! Heinrich Ahrens, Ralph. Top fashions leave trail of contamination.
Deutsche Welle (DW), June 10, 2013. Web. December 19, 2013.
! Heinrich, Peta. Taking the Toxic out of Fast Fashion: Hazardous chemicals found
in Clothing Supply Chains. China Mag. Web. December 19,
! Hines, Alice. Major Retailers Contribute To Severe Water Pollution In China:
Report. Huffington Post (US Edition), April 23, 2012.
Web. December 19, 2013.
! Lee, Racheal. Fashion brands linked to water pollution in Indonesia. PR Week, April 19, 2013. Web. September 19, 2013.
! Ma, Tianjie. World Water Day: 10 facts you ought to know. Greenpeace Blogs, March 22, 2013. Web. December
19, 2013.
! Tremschnig, Tristan. Big fashion brands hide toxic pollution scandal in China. Greenpeace Organization, December 4, 2012. Web. December
19, 2013.