Overproduction, over-consumption - nowhere else does wastefulness rear its ugly head as much as in the fashion industry: thanks to fast fashion, more clothing floods the market at ever cheaper prices; garments are not valued anymore and either not worn at all or worn and thrown. This leads to 2.5 billion pounds of clothing going to landfills each and every year. A shocking fact. The Global Fashion Exchange (GFX), an international platform promoting sustainability in the fashion industry with inspiring forums, educational content and cultural events, uses interactive clothing swaps to empower consumers to stop this waste while stylishly renewing their wardrobes at the same time. FashionUnited has spoken with GFX co-founder Patrick Duffy in an interview (full version here) and has put together key points below.
For Duffy, overproduction and overconsumption go hand in hand: “That’s where you have to teach people if you buy less, brands need to produce less,” he says. “Because currently, what brands are doing, they are polluting the earth. So they have to innovate and take a look at what they’re doing. They have to focus on better quality but also circularity, creating products that are 100 percent circular.”
Just like consumers, brands play an important role in driving circularity and sustainability; they have to become educators. “They have to take responsibility alongside the consumer. Slowing down the production as fast fashion is choking the industry. Innovative materials are key, for example those made out of ocean plastics. Luckily, sustainability is a trend and hopefully one that is going to last,” says Duffy.
Amazingly, the large clothing swaps around the world are completely free, “because we do not want to exclude anyone because sustainability is a non-exclusionary topic,” says Duffy. Thus, venues, volunteers, models and exhibition space for sustainable organisations are free, united by the urge to get the message out and create a positive change.
And apart from being a fun experience and providing visitors with a fabulous, guilt-free new wardrobe, the clothing swaps also have a mind-changing effect. “Once people understand the problem - the fashion industry being the most polluting industry and consumers contributing to that - they can’t erase that. People may not change their lifestyle but they have received the information, and most of the times, people want to get involved. They become activists in their own way, they share through social media and proudly show their swapped items. That’s a positive development,” sums up Duffy.
How the Global Fashion Exchange came about and how to start a swap in your own town as well as links to related stories can be found in the full version of our interview with Patrick Duffy, GFX.
Photo: Global Fashion Exchange