Last week, the British Fashion Council (BFC) called for the government, the British fashion industry, and consumers like you and me to come together with a single aim: to ‘massively reduce’ the number of new clothes we purchase each year.
The reason behind this is clear: the fashion industry has a vast environmental footprint. The clothing industry accounts for 5% of global emissions - that's more than aviation. That's a huge impact on global climate change. The current production model uses 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources and creates 92 million tonnes of waste each year.
"Caroline Rush CEO, British Fashion Council said “The UK has all the ingredients needed to create a blueprint for a circular fashion economy that will deliver significant environmental, commercial and societal benefits." From Circular Online
The target of 50% reduction in consumer demand for new clothes will lead to job losses in retail etc, but hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be achieved by adopting new “circular” business models including second-hand, rental and subscription, and repairing old clothes that today end up in landfill.
This is our raison d'etre here at Green Heart Collective - to reduce waste to landfill. It's therefore great to see a body such as the British Fashion Council waking up to the heart of the issue and speaking out for change.
There are simply too many clothes already on the planet - that's the truth of it. I keep going back to Patrick Grant from the Great British Sewing Bee, who stated that the planet currently has enough items of clothing to clothe the next six generations of the human race.
If that is true, why are so many new clothes being produced every single day? It horrifies me. Most of the clothes manufactured are never sold in the original store. Many used to go to landfill but the industry now knows that the eyes of the world are on them. Charity shops are now becoming flooded with deadstock. Someone recounted to me the other day that the charity shop she was in was almost entirely stocked with brand new items from fashion giant Zara.
THERE ARE ENOUGH CLOTHES ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW. JUST STOP BUYING NEW.
That seems simple enough to me, but maybe I'm weird. I could not now contemplate buying new clothes. That would bring me no joy at all. Quite the opposite.
I disagree wholeheartedly with the fast fashion model. So why do I sell secondhand clothes from fast fashion brands? Because I refuse to send them to landfill, that's why.
However, here at Green Heart Collective, there have been some deep discussions going on. How do you decide which brands are fast fashion and which are not? Especially now some of the 'better' brands like Warehouse, Oasis, Wallis, River Island have been bought up by fast fashion giants ASOS and Boohoo!
We are transitioning to a new model for Green Heart Collective. We sell on various platforms and will be selling different collections on each platform. With our own website, we want to create a place where customers can come and buy the more sustainable brands which can be relied upon to produce better quality items that will fit better and last longer. Each item of clothing on our website will be in great condition with plenty of life left in it. We've removed all supermarket brands and others that produce low cost clothing like Primark, New Look, H&M, Matalan etc. We focus on brands such as NEXT and M&S, brands which are also far from perfect, but produce more tailored clothes from more planet conscious fabrics. Vinted is the place where we will sell cheaper, less sustainable brands. Depop is the place for more quirky, retro designs going forward. Our Green Heart Showcase on Gateshead High Street is the place that houses it all under one roof!
We hope that this change will help you in your shopping experience with us. We want to keep all clothes in circulation for as long as possible, but also want to show that buying better quality, longer lasting items is the way forward. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject too. We are a collective after all and value your ideas and feedback.