Dress the Dream! Innovation from the Youth

Thai NDCThe youth at COP are simply awe inspiring. The Thailand Pavilion held a Youth Leaders panel that consisted of youth leaders from Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand. For this post, I want to focus more on the presentation from Thai youth leader, Putthisak Panomsarnnarin, also known as Philips. In Thailand and in other Asian countries, fast fashion has caused great concern because of how quickly it produces waste and GHGs. According to Philips, fashion companies rotate their clothing lineup every two weeks, discarding the unsold stock in landfills. This causes large amounts of clothes ending up in the trash, but even worse is that the material of the clothing is usually made of synthetic, non-biodegradable fibers such as polyester because of the cheap production costs. Furthermore, the affordability of these clothes makes shopping very attractive and leads to more fashion consumption.Dress the DreamTo tackle this issue, a group of Thai students initiated Dress the Dream, a second-hand clothing non-profit aiming to reform the culture of fast fashion. Generally, Asian countries have a negative view of second-hand clothing as lesser. Dress the Dream hopes to change this view by taking discarded clothing and donations and showcasing and selling the clothes at its events. 70 percent of the revenue generated from the sales is invested into researching the negative impacts of fast fashion. Afterward, Dress the Dream provides reports to the government to encourage policy-makers to enact regulations against fast fashion. Through activities that attract the youth, such as fashion pop-ups and social media, Dress the Dream hopes to also influence future generations to rethink their fashion consumption and rebrand second-hand clothing as cool and environmentally friendly.

Amazingly, Dress the Dream has partnered with many organizations to join and expand the effort to eliminate wasteful fast fashion and support recycling clothing. Seeing how the youth may be involved in the fight against climate change and helping a country reach its Nationally Determined Contribution goals is astonishing. These youth initiatives are essential in providing an innovative prospective to spread awareness of climate change and tackle climate change issues. Sponsors of Dress the Dream

Green is the new black

cotton_largeWe all know that “the fabric of our lives“ is cotton. But new, innovative approaches to the fashion industry might give cotton a run for its money (at least in terms of attention). After all, wouldn’t you want to have a scarf or dress made out of the cellulose extracted from orange peels, instead?

Although the approach to using orange juice byproducts by the startup Orange Fiber is resourceful, the fashion industry’s carbon footprint has a long way to go in dropping a size. The rise of fast fashion drives up consumption and increases the amount of clothing thrown away, thus threatening sustainable practices. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group presented at a COP side event this Wednesday, the fashion industry scores a 32/100 in terms of sustainability. Even simple fabrics have an enormous impact: producing one kilogram of cotton fabric takes 3,000 liters of water and 1 kilogram of chemicals, and emits 16 kilograms of CO2 (not to mention energy for raw materials, production, and transport).

The fashion industry needs to address sustainability at all levels, from the shopping cart to the washing machine and ending in the recycling bin. Consumers, too, need to think twice about what it means to be fashionable if they don’t want to commit a climate change faux-pas. But with a transformation to a Green Carpet, maybe consumers–and fashion skeptics–can be convinced that glamor and eco-manufacturing go together like a hand and a glove.