In the glamorous Schmatta (rag) biz this week, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association won a fight to keep a measly 40,000 low-paying jobs in America by continuing to dump our unwanted clothes onto African countries. The domestic apparel industries in these countries suffer terribly when used American clothing is so much cheaper than new locally-made clothing. So now we’re punishing Rwanda for not taking our trash. Trash we could turn into designer-level fashion fabric, if current textile recycling facilities weren’t so painfully outmoded. They don’t seem to realize circular fashion is what all the cool kids are wearing these days.
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Last week, while the world’s eyes were on Tesla’s big announcements, the Cradle to Cradle Institute’s Fashion Positive held a workshop on circular fashion. The workshop featured innovations with EVEN MORE potential to curb global warming! We heard from Lewis Perkins, President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, then Annie Gullingsrud, Director of the Textile and Apparel Sector. She’s also written the book on the subject — Fashion Fibers: Designing for Sustainability.
The industry’s biggest players are heavily involved in the move toward circular fashion. H&M and C&A seem to be doing the most, as they’ve got the volume to make it worthwhile. Both are putting their money into foundations designed to help the entire industry access these materials. H&M Foundation is helping fund recycling blended fibers, while C&A Foundation is working toward improving the environmental and social impacts of cotton production.
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