Event Title

Environmental and Social Concerns in Fashion Textile Production

Date

April 2022

Location

Schewel 232

Description

Fibers and materials used for textiles have positive and negative social, economic, and environmental impacts in each stage of their life cycle; polyester may have promising recyclability qualities but releases microplastics. Leather and fur are deemed more biodegradable, but generate concerns over animal welfare and chemical effluent in the production processes. Cotton production presents struggles regarding the regulation of chemicals and concerns over forced labor. Major strides have been made to encourage designers and companies to establish better social and environmental responsibility practices through projects such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and The U.N. Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, as well as legislation such as New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Accountability Act. Due to opaque manufacturing practices, consumers are left with few options to make ethically informed decisions regarding the apparel they choose to buy. This presentation argues that in order to create a socially and environmentally responsible apparel industry, designers and brands must consider every detail of the materials they plan to use, employ innovative practices to minimize their negative impacts, and provide consumers with a transparent understanding of the products they buy and how to care for them throughout their life cycle.

Presentation Type

Presentation

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Environmental and Social Concerns in Fashion Textile Production

Schewel 232

Fibers and materials used for textiles have positive and negative social, economic, and environmental impacts in each stage of their life cycle; polyester may have promising recyclability qualities but releases microplastics. Leather and fur are deemed more biodegradable, but generate concerns over animal welfare and chemical effluent in the production processes. Cotton production presents struggles regarding the regulation of chemicals and concerns over forced labor. Major strides have been made to encourage designers and companies to establish better social and environmental responsibility practices through projects such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and The U.N. Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, as well as legislation such as New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Accountability Act. Due to opaque manufacturing practices, consumers are left with few options to make ethically informed decisions regarding the apparel they choose to buy. This presentation argues that in order to create a socially and environmentally responsible apparel industry, designers and brands must consider every detail of the materials they plan to use, employ innovative practices to minimize their negative impacts, and provide consumers with a transparent understanding of the products they buy and how to care for them throughout their life cycle.