“The fashion industry accounts for 10 per cent of annual global carbon emissions,” said Dr Verity Jones, Associate Professor of Education at UWE Bristol. “It uses 93 billion cubic metres of water each year. 20 per cent of all waste water comes from fabric dying, and half a million tonnes of microfibres are washed away into the oceans every year. This industry is having a devastating impact on people and the planet.”
How do we make people, especially the youth, interested in this crisis to come up with viable solutions?
Free Teaching Resources
As mentioned before on this blog, many of us do not engage with the production processes of the clothes we wear. This applies to most children and adults alike. However, we are seeing more of the youth take an interest in climate change and sustainability.
Young people are looking for viable solutions to save the planet from overheating and dying due to our actions. Students could benefit from free sustainable fashion education courses to enhance their sustainable fashion knowledge and advance the movement.
The plan would equip teachers with access to information and activities to promote discussion and critical thinking. The resources should be well researched providing insight into fashion production processes and numerous departments, whilst enabling young people to make choices about the clothes they wear.
Providing practical solutions
Sustainable fashion education will provide the confidence needed to challenge normalised production and consumption patterns in the fashion industry. The youth/ learners will use the knowledge to influence the industry to value people, the environment, creativity and profit. It is imperative that sustainable fashion not replicate the patterns of old, and to ensure that the three p’s of environmental awareness are upheld.
The learners will also gain knowledge and practical skills surrounding the global economy and how fashion production influences it. Fast fashion production has provided consumers with more affordable alternatives to high fashion pieces. As a result, this has allowed the industry to accommodate rapid changes and demands of the market without considering human rights or environmental awareness. Therefore, encouraging learners to demand policy changes through activism and discourse.
Active global citizens
Investing in free sustainable fashion education will encourage more young minds to consider themselves as active global citizens who can enable change. Free educational resources will encourage the exploration of the interdependence of fashion production processes. Learners will explore fashion departments, their resources and the people upon which the supply chain relies on.
The courses provided will help learners investigate their own clothing, focusing more on the brands they buy from. They will also learn to identify and employ search techniques for investigating policies employed by clothing brands, and they human stories behind them. And lastly, they will be encouraged to reflect on how their findings can influence positive sustainable change on brands.
We can enhance sustainable fashion education by providing more educational resources through public channels such as schools and libraries. The youth needs our help and we ought to provide it.