FASHION’S ETHICAL DILEMMA

FASHION’S ETHICAL DILEMMA

I have been passionate about fashion ever since I can remember. When I was a little girl I used to pick out my own outfits to go to school at the young age of 6 already. My mom always tells me this story about how one day I proposed to her to go to school in multicolored leggings and wellies. According to my ever so slightly strict German mother leggings were not proper attire to go to school. Leggings classified as gymwear or sleepwear but never daywear! She always uses this story as a reference for the fact that she believes even back then I was already demonstrating a strong notion for fashion trends. Thinking about this always puts a smile on my face.

Many years later however, I find myself in a sort of ethical dilemma. I have successully pursued my dreams to work in fashion and I do love to create… I love to loose myself looking at colors, inspirational images, fabrics, you name it! I mean… Show me a bunch of awesome colors or patterns and my eyes may start to glister like the ones of a child in a candy shop!

But I can’t deny the truth about global warming either. Fact is that I have a very strong social or one might even say green vein. Personally I care about our planet and I worry that it won’t be inhabitable for future generations if we keep on going the way we do. And I know there are videos going around Facebook confronting the problem but honestly speaking I feel like nobody cares! Two likes? New profile picture: 50 likes? I can’t seem to wrap my head around why so few people seem to care about a problem that concerns each and every single one of us. And maybe it’s my personal perception but nobody really seems to want to talk about it either when the topic comes up.

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Maybe the problem for most of us is, that the challenge seems so big that we feel powerless. But this is absolutely not true. It’s one of those things where we all have to work together for a better future.

This clearly is easier said than done and it’s also where my personal dilemma comes into play:

  • I wanna shop at fast fashion stores like Zara, H&M or Mango even though I know that fast fashion is one of the major contributors of pollution, hence CO2 emissions and in return Global Warming
  • I want to exercise a job working in fashion but I know that the dying processes of leather and fabrics are some of the most toxic industrial processes there are, hence contributing to Climate Change
  • I want to travel the world but flying is another major contributor of CO2 emissions
  • Actually when you start to think about it, anything we do contributes to Global Warming but then you just go crazy…

So I remain dazed and confused, I go on with my work as a designer even though I know I am contributing to a toxic industry so this is where one might say ‘just stop then instead of just complaining about it’. But it’s not like I am complaining about my weight here and am refusing to go on a diet. The issue at hand is a little more complex. I wish I could just stop – just like that – but I also love the career I chose for myself and it is also my source of income and way to make a living. So I am not about to go live on the streets just because I care so much about global warming….

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska 9-2010

Admitting that there is a problem and that we are not doing enough to fix it because we are too caught up in our daily routines is hard. Potentially it may be the reason for nobody really wanting to talk about Climate Change. It’s this notion that we are all fault bearers but we don’t want to admit it’s true because admitting it would mean making drastic changes to our lives, which we are not prepared to do.

chasing-ice

I wonder if more people out there face the same dilemma I do today. Fashion certainly isn’t the only industry contributing to climate change.. There is the food industry.. And honestly almost all companies who produce any kind of product… (apart from artisanal ones and already ecofriendly ones maybe) So I hope that many people can share the feelings I share here today. In fact I hope that not only people but also companies face this dilemma. I don’t want to leave the fashion industry because fashion is, has been and always will be a huge passion of mine. But I hope for a future where more fashion brands will make active choices to become more eco-friendly and I wish for more consumers making smart choices.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi

So maybe we don’t have to do a drastic change today but maybe all together we can start making some choices which are better for the environment and don’t seem impossible to accomplish. Here are four easy suggestions I practice:

TAKE ACTION

  • Buy a bike, skateboard or some nice new kicks and get walking, stop contributing to pollution by cars! Personally I have a very stylish bike and I drive to work with that rain or shine! I believe a skateboard is a great option too. Imagine how cool you would look if you arrived to school / your office on a skateboard! SKILLS!
  • Turn the lights off. Only leave the lights on inside the room you are currently in. Why does your entire home need to be illuminated?
  • Become vegetarian. It sounds weird although many of your might already know this but cow poop releases methane. And methane gas is even worse for Global Warming than CO2 gases! Meat consumption however has increased tremendously over recent years and so we have way more cows in the world. These cows often live in terrible conditions and are pumped full with hormones so consuming their meat isn’t even healthy for us. So do yourself a favor and stop consuming meat. Better for you, better for the world!
  • Share as much about this topic as you can. Believe it or not but there are actually still some people out there who don’t believe Global Warming is real!!!

There are more large scale solutions to Global Warming as well of course. You can find a nice summary on this website. However, we all have to fight together to make politicians follow through with these large scale solutions! So if you are feeling particularly passionate I also think it’s time to take it to the streets and to partake in demonstrations!

WATCH

Here some documentaries and short clips on the topic that I really recommend!

You can find the documentary CHASING ICE on Netflix in high quality or on YouTube in unfortunately not so good quality. For me it’s a must see. It’s at the same time beautiful and frightening. A lot of amazing imagery in there.

Investing time to watch BEFORE THE FLOOD is the biggest favor you can do yourself today. It’s a movie made by Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Setvens about global warming and it is absolutely mind boggling. I am confident you can find the full movie on YouTube. I found it but the link has been removed, I am sure there are new ones being posted all the time.

This video sums up why I chose to become a Vegetarian. This is a very short video and will only take up about 2mins of your time.

Resources:
  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130613-antarctic-sea-ice-shelf-melt-glacier-ocean-science/
  • All the images in this article apart from the cover photo are from the movie ‘CHASING ICE’

3 Comments

  1. Greta by foodflowfem
    November 24, 2016 / 10:31 pm

    Brava! I totally relate to how you feel and am confronted by similar dilemmas. I refuse to let those ‘irritations’ go by unnoticed or even ignore them, rather I seed dialogue and that’s why I love your post!
    I can also recommend conspiracy if you haven’t seen it!
    Love and more conscious choices!!

    • November 24, 2016 / 10:36 pm

      Thank your for your feedback! It’s always good to know you’re not alone with your thoughts! (which strangely is what it sometimes feels like!) I will def check out conspiracy as well! Love and bacci

      • Greta by foodflowfem
        November 25, 2016 / 8:49 am

        sorry, was meant to mean COWspiracy 😀 stupid auto-correct :* baci