By Sofia Cacerez Valenzuela
Fashion is like an iceberg. In short, this industry is much more than what we can see. On the surface, it seems that the only thing that matters is talked about is clothes, models and art. It is a trivial industry for a lot of people. Even the majority most people feels alien to this world full of eccentricities because the imaginary the common belief is that this sector is simply in charge of producing clothes we wear to cover our bodies. Those who think so can only see the tip of the iceberg, because fashion is much more than that.
If you look a little below the iceberg you will find, as Gabrielle Chanel said: ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. that fashion does not only exist in dresses (...) fashion has to do with ideas, with the way we live, with what is happening.’ What is more, you will notice that there is a business full of opportunities and challenges. It is one of the sectors with the largest manufacturing in the world, which is why it is one of the industries that generates the most jobs worldwide. However, if you keep diving towards that place where the light doesn't reach, you will find the dark side of fashion.
Things that nobody wants to see happen in this place. It is here where we can see that a company wastes 2,000 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans, and where it is clear that the CO02 emissions produced by the sector are greater than those generated globally by the entire transport system globally. It is here where 1 bin of textile waste is burned every second. This is a dark place where we can see that the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of water waste, whereas garment production is in charge of 8% of greenhouse gases. This is a place where there is labor exploitation, child labor and many hidden truths.
It is the young people who, in the future, will assume the consequences of the actions taken today. For this reason, they are the ones who are risking immersing themselves in this iceberg in order to know and change what nobody wants to see. Many have joined their voices to drive action on climate change. These young people are questioning everything and, in turn, they are looking for solutions to achieve a lasting and positive impact.
More and more people are joining this movement. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to give young people new meeting spaces where the planet will be the first on the agenda. Hecho por Nosotros held the "Youth for Youth”-Hecho por Nosotros- Leading Change Through Collaboration in Regenerative Models” on April 18th with the aim aiming for the discussion of possible solutions to issues of equity, biodiversity, more sustainable value chains, and the climate impact of fashion industry.
The event sought to demonstrate that collaboration can be an ideal mechanism to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which is why, Hecho por Nosotros invited young leaders in the fashion industry, agents of global change, students and experts. The agenda consisted of an initial presentation by the invited experts, and four panels with different discussion topics. Such influential people in the field as Paulo Vasconi Spetoni (Coordinator of Youth Leadership & Innovation at PRME), Rachel Cernansky (Senior Sustainability editor at Vogue Business), and Trincia Langman (Design thinking & Circular Fashion Specialist) attended the event. In each panel, the experts gave a brief speech on their subject topic and then opened a space for questions where the participants discussed solutions to the exposed problem. At the end of each panel, the guests gathered in the same place to socialize the conclusions of the discussion.
The forum concluded that fashion is a social phenomenon with a lot of responsibility. There are more and more allies who are moved by a common goal: to make the fashion industry a sustainable sector. However, in order to achieve lasting change, we need to get new generations to actively participate actively in the conservation and restoration of the impact generated by this monstrous iceberg that is known as fashion.
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