(Hope Without Optimism)
The fashion industry today is awash with good intentions. It’s ‘organic’, ‘ethical’, ‘sustainable’, ‘fairtrade’ and ‘handmade’. But what good do well-intentioned swing tags do, when it remains one of the planet’s most destructive polluters, devastating natural resources, producing 10% of global carbon emissions, and filling landfill sites the world over? And if you are complicit in it – buying, wearing or desiring its output, or, moreover, working as part of the monumental machine which sells it season after season – how do you begin to address the climate crisis?
This spring, after global climate collective Extinction Rebellion staged a weeks-long protest throughout London, we met with members Clare Farrell and Sara Arnold – a designer and activist, and the founder of fashion rental company Higher Studio, respectively – to talk about the real ramifications of fast fashion, and the intersection of ambition and hypocrisy in a capitalist society. The truth is, we’re in serious trouble.