The rise of brief trends over classic style and shoddy workmanship at cheap prices in the fashion industry is damaging both our planet and its people. I'm a 25 year old designer and I wanted to share with you the story of how a t-shirt could be what's needed to engage the mass market with sustainable fashion.
Thanks to fast fashion our industry is currently the world's most polluting after oil. 25% of the world's chemicals are used for textile production and 10% of the world's carbon emissions result from the apparel industry. As a result more toxic chemicals are released into our air, water and soil, and greenhouse gases are created that deplete our water and fossil fuel energy resources.
The Rana Plaza disaster of 2013 also illustrates the grave social and economic problems with the fast fashion model. Over 1,100 people were killed when the building they were working in, making cheap clothing for fast fashion retailers, collapsed. Corners had been cut in terms of cost of production and, tragically, health and safety had not been considered a priority.
I believe we can engage the mainstream customer in sustainable fashion through The 30 Year T-Shirt. I designed this t-shirt as a wardrobe staple to be made so durably that we could guarantee it for 30 years. My manufacturing team in Serra da Estrela, Portugal have been making beautiful clothing since 1964 and we based the design of The 30 Year T-Shirt on some t-shirts they made in the 1970s that were still in perfect condition. We double reinforce all seams, use 360 grams per metre Italian cotton and treat the t-shirts against shrinking with silicon.
The "30 Year" concept is immediately eye-catching but has far reaching and crucial benefits:
The 30 Year T-Shirt at £35 is cheaper in terms cost per wear than its fast fashion equivalent of a plain coloured tee. It is also a garment that is made to a world class standard, delivered online direct-to-customer at a value price point. The customer, therefore, looks better and saves money at the same time.
The 30 Year T-Shirt is a sustainable fashion campaign fighting fast fashion, aiming to encourage people to shop sustainably and to lead an industry trend into protecting our natural resources by producing truly durable clothing.
Now is the time for everyone to start thinking about fashion differently, before it's too late. So, even if not through The 30 Year T-Shirt campaign, do think carefully about how you're shopping for fashion. Buy less, buy better.