On October 22 of this year, I began my first ever online college course for Sustainability. Back in the day when I was in school for my BFA, online courses did not exist, and the internet was in its infancy. It initially felt really strange for me to log on to a website to read documents, watch videos, listen to talks from professors, and use comment walls to interact with other students. It's like social media, but for learning. I was still required to take quizzes and submit assignments which also felt odd, but I guess I didn't know what to expect. Or I've just been out of school for a really long time.
We went into depth on 4 Agendas of Sustainability – Social, Economic, Ecological, And Cultural. The environment is something I've always cared deeply about. That struck my interest and became my area of focus. I'm generally sensitive to chemicals and pesticides so it's also something I've been very aware of from an early age. We all know the earth is not in good shape; there is a massive garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, landfills are growing larger every day, the air we breathe in the cities is full of all kinds of pollution, there are micro-plastics in our food and bodies, billions of people around the world don't have access to clean water, and the weather is changing. Did you know how much of this is due to the fashion and apparel industry? And cotton production specifically? (See previous post here - https://www.developapparel.com/post/the-life-cycle-of-a-t-shirt ) It's one of the biggest culprits of pollution on Earth.
That is what drew me to this course. This industry is not kind to the world so what can I do better? I will be looking for and offering organic cotton fabrics, recycled polyester (RPET), and sustainable certified fabrics with any new sourcing projects when possible. The raw materials that a product is made from are one of the factors that have a major environmental impact that we can control.
If you are interested in reading more, have a look at http://sustainable-fashion.com/ Please also watch The True Cost on Netflix if you haven’t already. It’s about a few of the agendas listed above in the fashion industry and it's very moving.