Podcast Ep. 63, FIGHTING FASHION WASTE - REDRESS'S CHRISTINA DEAN

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EPISODE 62 FEATURES CHRISTINA DEAN

Stats vary. Does the average woman discard a piece of clothing 4 or 7 times before she gets rid of it? Depends who you listen to, but it’s never good. Everyone agrees that clothing production is rising while usability is declining.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago. In the US clothes are only worn for around a quarter of the global average. The same pattern is emerging in China, where clothing utilisation has decreased by 70% over the last 15 years.

Despite this, clothing production has about doubled during this time. We now produce around 100 billion garments a year, and of this total fibre input that is used for clothing, 87% ends up landfilled or incinerated.

In Australia, we throw 6,000 kilograms of clothing and textiles into landfill every 10 mins. Aussies are the 2nd largest consumers of clothing and textiles per capita after North Americans - consuming on average 27 kilos a year, and binning 23 kilos.

This week’s guest has made her career out of trying to turn this doom and gloom around. Christina Dean is the founder of Redress, a pioneering Hong Kong-based NGO that seeks to reduce textile waste and promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry.

Christina is a former-journalist and the co-author of Dress [with] Sense (a consumer guide for the conscious closet), as well as the host of documentary series, Frontline Fashion.

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WHAT WE TALK ABOUT…

REDRESS was founded by Christina in 2007. At the time it was Asia’s first and only environmental NGO focussed on the fashion industry. Since then, Redress has partnered with the UN, launched the Redress Design Award and the R-Collective brand, and educated consumers and the industry on sustainable fashion.

The Hong Kong Research Institute for Textile and Apparel has just opened the HONG KONG MILL. Equipped with state of the art technology, the mill provides new solutions to waste, most notably for the reuse of textiles made from mixed fibres.

“87% clothes end up in landfill. What is wrong with us? That is disgusting. You mustn’t let it beat you, you’ve got to stay positive.” - Christina Dean


THE R-COLLECTIVE is an up-cycled social impact brand that collaborates with emerging design talent. Their goal is to transform the fashion industry’s modes of production into more sustainable models while harnessing young designers passionate about creating high-end clothing from fashion waste. Last year’s winner was CROP UK, a vegan knitwear label by designer Kate Morris. Kate says her desire to contribute to slow fashion came in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory disaster. Now’s a good time to listen to the ‘Beyond Rana Plaza’ podcast episode with Kalpona Akter.

KEVIN GERMANIER was also an R-Collective designer. The Central Saint Martens graduate has since partnered with Swarovski for an up cycled capsule collection and lists Matches Fashion as a stockist. He’s even dressed Björk.

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THE REDRESS AWARD…

The Redress Design Award (formerly the EcoChic Design Award) is the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition. This year Clare was a judge, along with Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro, designer Johanna Ho, Roger Lee, CEO of TAL, fashion journalist Bandana Tewari, and R Collective fashion director Denise Ho.

The 2018 finalists were:

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FIRST PRIZE - TESS WHITFORD

A 24-year-old from Melbourne who graduated last year with a bachelor degree in fashion design from Box Hill Institute. There were just five people in her class. The course has a strong focus on sustainability, she explains. “We were taught to think differently.” Read Clare’s Vogue story about Tess here.

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SECOND PRIZE - JESSE LEE

Hong Kong designer, Jesse Lee has won a tailored mentorship with distinguished sustainable fashion designer and competition judge, Orsola de Castro. Widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in sustainable fashion, Orsola has nurtured many of the pioneering names in sustainable fashion from their early designs through to their established brands. This mentorship opportunity will give Jesse expert and targeted support over a six-month period to propel his career in sustainable fashion design forwards and prepare him, his visions and collections for the competitive market of attracting fashion buyers and media – and ultimately securing success.

Find out more about The Redress Design Award 2018 mentorship with Orsola de Castro here.

SPECIAL PRIZE - SARAH JANE FERGUSSON

Sarah Jane impressed TV Host and Model, and Redress Ambassador, Cara G with her collection to win this award. The British-born, Tokyo based designer sourced vintage silk kimonos from Kyoto flea markets for her submission. You can read more about her designs, and her fascination with the Japanese concept of Mottainai here.

“fashion’s got to find its heart again - bring technology, bring the supply chain, bring the manufacturer, bring the designers - collaborate!” - Christina Dean


HOW CAN WE HELP?

Inspired by Christina’s 365 Challenge but not sure where to start? Christina suggests beginning with a closet edit. Dedicate some time to edit through your existing wardrobe and sort what you do and don’t wear. Then give yourself three months not to shop. Keep what you love and give new life to what you don’t.

A NOTE ON OUR MUSIC: IT IS BY OUR FRIEND MONTAIGNE, WHO SANG A SPECIAL ACOUSTIC VERSION OF "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" JUST FOR US. IT'S FROM HER ALBUM GLORIOUS HEIGHTS.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE WARDROBE CRISIS CONVERSATION. WE'LL HAVE A NEW EPISODE FOR YOU EVERY WEDNESDAY. CAN YOU HELP US SPREAD THE WORD? WE'D LOVE YOU TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS & LEAVE A REVIEW IN iTUNES.

Until next time,

Clare x