Chatting with Alice about all things fashion and sustainability, from microfibers and health to greenwashing and the status quo.
Alice is an active-wear designer she has worked with global brands such as Adidas, Sweaty Betty, H&M and the Rio Olympics. She now works with smaller ethical brands as a designer and sustainability consultant.
01:20 What was the industry like when we met 10 years ago?
02:40 What happened with your health and how did this affect your work in fashion?
04:20 What projects you been working on since?
05:24 In the fashion industry what are some of the main issues? (oil, microfibers, health)
06:24 Issues with recycling clothes, dyes, cotton and labour
08:50 The disconnect between where clothes are from, made of and consumers (fertilisers, water use)
10:15 How do we look for better-made things?
10:50 Is there any change going on in the fashion industry around these issues?
12:20 What do you look for in a fashion brand when buying? What tips do you have?
Active Alice Website: https://alicesainsbury.co.uk/
Active Alice Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/active_alice_design/
More information from Alice
The fashion industry is responsible for one-third of all the plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Textiles are the largest source of both primary and secondary synthetic microplastics, accounting for 34.8% of global microplastic production.
Biodiversity & toxins
Your fashion greatly impacts our delicate ecosystem. Toxins from the development of fibres to the dyes and finishes, to the way you wash and care for your clothes have devastating effects on our health and the health of the environment. Cotton production for your t-shirt completely strips the soil of its nutrients and kills all of the biodiversity in that area. 22.5% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides are used in cotton crop production. These chemicals greatly affect the health of the surrounding biodiversity and community. https://www.greenpeace.org/international/act/detox/
Water and soil health should be treated as the most important commodity to be cared for. But it is now greatly polluted with, microfibers, toxins and chemicals. Around 20 % of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment. Effecting the health of every living thing including us. The amount of water used in cotton production has reached 93 billion cubic metres of water per year, with 10,000 – 20,000 litres of water needed to make just 1kg of clothing. This places immense strain on the water supplies in Central Asia, China and India, countries which are already contending with water scarcity linked to climate change.
China is mentioned a lot here because for Europe the majority of our clothing production happens in China and other parts of Asia. The transportation between these continents in clothing production is responsible for significant carbon emissions. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If demand continues to grow at the current rate, the total carbon footprint of clothing would grow to 3,978 megatonnes by 2050.
Production in developing nations
Out of sight, out of mind. This is no longer an excuse. There is little to no regulation of chemicals or human exploitation in these areas. In Central Asian countries, the pressure to meet global cotton demand has birthed an “ecological, economic and social disaster,” the Aral Sea has been reduced to the desert in some areas. We need to help support humanitarian ethical and environmental standards in order to allow these communities to grow and thrive in a sustained way. You as the consumer can demand complete transparency. Overconsumption In the last 15 years, clothing production has doubled. In the U.K. more than 1.1 million tons of clothing was produced in 2016. Most of it is disposed of after one use and then ending up in landfill or as deadstock. Each year America buries 10.5 million tons of clothing in a landfill.
Who made my clothes?
We are designers, producers, makers, workers and consumers. We are academics, writers, business leaders, brands, retailers, trade unions and policymakers. We are the industry and the public. We are world citizens. We are a movement and a community. We are you. We love fashion. But we don’t want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet. We demand radical, revolutionary change. https://www.fashionrevolution.org
Thanks for watching,