Kerrie Argent, fashion waste art
EcoJustice Radio

The Steep Environmental and Social Costs of the Fashion Industry


EcoJustice RadioWhen we get dressed in the morning, most don’t consider fashion industry environmental costs and human rights issues that may be attached to the clothing on our bodies. Jessica Aldridge interviews two women who have made it their business to not only consider how to clean up the global fashion industry, advocating for environmentally-supportive and equitable solutions to water pollution, pesticides, microfibers, and waste associated with making, washing, and disposing of our clothing.

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Kerrie Argent, fashion waste art
Kerrie Argent’s installation ‘6,000 kilograms of fashion waste’ for every ten minutes in Australia.

Fast Fashion, Long Environmental Impacts

When walking around throughout the day, we aren’t thinking about the synthetic chemicals and carcinogens or the water pollution and pesticides that went into making our t-shirt. And then when we wash our clothes, not many of us think about the 1.4 million trillion microfibers that have shed from our garments and ended up in the ocean. (that’s 200 million microfibers per person.)

And when the life of that garment is over, it’s either beyond repair or it no longer fits our interest, how do we dispose of it. Is it actually recyclable? Where do you drop it off? Are there better solutions to respect and sustain the chain of value and human resources that went into making that article of clothing? So then WHO is responsible, is it the consumers, designers, manufacturers?

The ecological impact and the human rights issues associated with the global fashion industry is daunting. It is ranked as one of the dirtiest industries in the world and it is literally connected to most of us every day of our lives.

Our speakers on this show not only address the issues, they speak to new developments, philosophies, and necessary solutions that are driving a more environmentally supportive and equitable fashion industry.

STORY: LA’s Sweatshops & the Fight for Garment Workers – EcoJustice Radio

Andrea Plell – For over a decade San Francisco Bay Area based writer and sustainable fashion consultant, Andrea Plell, has fostered community in the effort of supporting systemic change in the apparel industry. In 2016, she co-founded The Sustainable Fashion Alliance a member-based organization designed to empower small and mid-sized sustainable brands with resources, shared opportunities and creative avenues to market. She is also the West Coast Regional Coordinator for Fashion Revolution, a not-for-profit international movement that calls for greater transparency in the global supply chain.

Jennifer Gilbert is a respected fashion recycling industry expert and is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of I:CO (short for I:Collect), a leading global solutions provider for the collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of apparel, footwear and other textiles. In her role, she works with some of the largest fashion brands to take on end-of-use product responsibility and help them transition towards a more circular fashion industry.

Jessica Aldridge, co-host of EcoJustice Radio, is a long-time environmental steward, non-profit and community organizer, and waste industry leader. As Director of Sustainability and Zero Waste Programs for Athens Services, a waste hauler in Los Angeles County, Jessica works closely with businesses, schools and municipalities to provide closed-loop solutions, paying special attention to program design, employee training, and customer education. As founder of Adventures in Waste, she also consults with major corporate brands on their waste reduction efforts.

Instagram – @jenniferdgilbert @icospirit @Fash_revusa @sustainablefashionalliance @ecologiqfashion
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Interview by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 30

Updated 23 February 2021

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