The CREATE project starts with an analysis of the environmental pollution produced by the fashion industry, leading to a learning program that sees women of different ages, education, and nationalities co-create and produce sustainable clothing.
The sustainable collections are the result of a working methodology that allows the designer to eliminate waste by recycling fabrics or used clothes in the production process: the principle is that of circular fashion, where the impact of waste and pollution is planned and monitored with the aim of keeping products and materials as long as possible and to regenerate circulation systems. This objective is in contrast to that of fast-fashion, literally “Fast Fashion”, a production and consumption system in the clothing industry characterized by rapid creation cycles, with low prices, ever-changing trends, and significant impacts on the environment. Here are some clear points that highlight its effects:
- Excessive consumption of resources: fast fashion requires a large amount of natural goods such as water, energy, and materials, contributing to the overexploitation of the planet’s resources.
- Chemical pollution: the fast fashion industry uses numerous harmful products during the production process, such as toxic dyes and chemicals for the treatment of fabrics, which can contaminate water and air, damaging the surrounding ecosystems.
- Waste pollution: fast fashion produces a huge amount of waste, as clothing items are often made from low-quality materials designed to last a short time. These waste, often non-biodegradable, end up in landfills or are incinerated, contributing to pollution and accumulation.
- Precarious working conditions: To meet the demand for rapid and low-cost production, many fast fashion manufacturers rely on factories in developing countries, where labor standards are often poor. This leads to precarious working conditions, low wages, and human rights violations.
- Greenhouse gas emissions: the fast fashion production process, including the cultivation of raw materials, the processing of fabrics, transportation, and waste disposal, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating climate change.
Circular economy is the model for production that reduces or, in the best cases, avoids, the negative effects just listed, implying sharing, lending, reusing, repairing, reconditioning, and recycling of existing materials and products. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended, contributing to minimizing waste. Once the product has reached the end of its life, the materials of which it is made are in fact reintroduced, where possible, with recycling, so as to reuse them within the production cycle, generating further value.
The principle of the three “Rs” – reuse, recycle, reduce – is therefore opposed to the traditional linear model, based on the widespread scheme “extract, produce, use, and throw away”, which is the cornerstone of sustainable fashion proposed against the dependence on raw materials to give value to what already exists. Reusing a good means restoring the function of the object, with the same destination or with a completely different destination.
Recycling “brings back into the cycle” part of the material in processing to produce something new, similar or very different, to what it was originally used for. Finally, reducing leads to reusing and recycling a good (or part of it) to reduce waste by extending the product’s life. This leads to savings throughout the production chain (conception, creation, distribution).