"For some reason the fashion industry is often ignored, or cast aside as if it was an irrelevance"...
You might know Livia Firth because she's married to Mr.Darcy (every woman's idea of the most charming, handsome Englishman on the planet, Colin Firth) but there's a lot more to this vivacious Italian and eco-warrior.
Livia Firth, is the co-founder of the Green Carpet Challenge and creative director of Eco Age . The successful Green Carpet Challenge launched in 2009, is a dynamic project working with A-list designers and globally recognised celebrities, to catapult sustainable fashion into the spotlight at the world's most high profile events.
In an article by Ecouterre predicting the sustainable fashion trends this year, Firth said she believes 2015 will be the year:
"We all finally realise that the one action we perform every day—getting dressed—matters not only because of the way it makes us look or feel, but mostly because of the massive repercussions on the environment and the people at the end of its supply chain."- Livia Firth
The sustainable fashion industry is gaining momentum, moving from strength to strength with small and large designers coming on board. Unfortunately, however, fashion as a whole is often still ignored when it comes to thinking about an ecologically sound existence and future for us all.
This needs to change says Firth, because fashion...
"is a full-spectrum industry. It extends from the farmers that grow cotton to the women beading in ateliers, it encompasses millions of people from agriculture to the creative marketing and selling. It is also dependent on the animal kingdom and some of the most fragile ecosystems on earth. Therefore fashion touches on every great environmental theme: climate change, declining available resources, lost wilderness, flooding, through to the flip side of flooding: drought. And, of course, all of these are interconnected."
Approximately 80 billion garments are produced new every year.
Imagine all the resources that this requires. Plus, it impacts directly on millions of peoples lives, from those picking the cotton to others working on sewing machines in huge factories. More often than not in less than ethical conditions.
Firth believes the existing fashion system is no longer acceptable, as do others after tragedies such as the 2013 catastrophe in Bangladesh when the eight-story Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed and killed more than 1,100 people—predominantly women.
We need to work towards a fashion industry where ethics and glamour co-exist, and make sure fashion solutions to environmental and humanitarian issues - such as climate change and sweatshop labour - are given greater recognition.
Ethical and sustainable fashion is also starting to reach a "tipping point across all price points and taste levels, where no one has to ask the question: 'Where do I find ethical fashionable alternatives that fit my price point or my style?'" says Sass Brown, from Eco Fashion Talk.
Her prediction for 2015 being...
"I think that collectively people are beginning to revalue clothing as an investment instead of a throw away commodity to be worn once and discarded. We are at the early stages of seeing "mass consumerism" and "fast fashion" becoming dirty words and dirty deeds."
The fast fashion mentality has got to go.
This will happen as more consumers start to realise the power they have through their purchasing choices, and, "will instead seek to invest their hard earned dollars on cool, cutting-edge fashions that support local designers, or far flung artisans, thereby building a material connection to their purchases, making it much more likely to repair or re-gift than discard them," says Brown.
Our lives are full of stuff we don't need, especially clothes, and each thing has an environmental cost. Over-consumption and waste in our throwaway society are placing an intolerable strain on the planet's natural resources and environment, with climate change a major symptom of the problem.
We hope 2015 is the year of more thoughtful buying – quality over quantity, slow over fast - and remember before you buy anything to always ask 'Do I really need it?'
What you can do
Did you know? By reducing what you buy, and always asking: Do I really need this? you could save an estimated...
17kg per month (200kg per year) of CO2 You can reduce your overall consumption by questioning all significant purchases and resisting impulse buying. Before purchasing, give yourself at least a day or two to cool off.