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Designer fashions climate-friendly model

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-30 07:09

LONDON - The fashion industry urgently needs to reform its wasteful, polluting ways, British designer Stella McCartney and record-breaking sailor Ellen MacArthur said on Tuesday.

With global clothing sales doubling since 2000, people now wear each item far fewer times, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said, calling for items ranging from T-shirts to jeans to be designed differently and reused more.

The charity, established in 2010, has pioneered a shift toward a "circular economy" in which raw materials and products are repeatedly reused to reduce waste and pollution.

"Fashion is allowed to be fun and sexy. The reality is we just need to be a bit more mindful and curious about the way we're consuming and have a level of responsibility," said McCartney, daughter of the Beatles' Paul McCartney.

The fashion industry is worth about $2.4 trillion a year, according to the global consultancy McKinsey.

The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second, and less than 1 percent of clothing is recycled into new clothes, MacArthur's foundation said in a report.

"We need to radically change the way that clothing is designed, used, made and recovered so that we end up with a system that is restorative and regenerative," MacArthur said.

If nothing changes, the fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world's annual carbon budget by 2050, it said, referring to the emissions the world can make while keeping the global temperature rise at no more than 1.5 C.

Innovative solutions

Fashion must abandon its "take-make-dispose" model, where unwanted clothes are sent to landfill sites or incinerated, and start using nonpolluting materials that are designed to last and could save the industry $500 billion, it said.

The report presents a road map for creating better businesses and more innovative solutions, said McCartney, a longtime vegetarian who does not use leather, PVC or fur in her clothing.

Textile production emits 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, the report said.

Clothes also release half a million tons of plastic microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles, it said.

Several major brands said they support the initiative, including Swedish fashion retailer H&M and sports giant Nike.

"(It) is aligned with our efforts in making sure that economic and social development can happen in a way that the planet can afford," H&M's chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.


(China Daily 11/30/2017 page10)

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