THE FASHION industry is the world’s second largest polluter.
Now, Southern New England Landcare coordinator Sara Schmude is making up-cycling trendy – with a secondhand clothing swap.
“The thing that’s driving me is the fashion industry, it’s the second biggest polluter in the world and the environmental implications in Asia alone are devastating,” Ms Schmude said.
“Their rivers are running blue with dye from denim manufacturing – that’s a toxin that will stay in the community for a long time and all the communities along that water system suffer.
“We’re driving that, our dependence on having the latest and greatest fashion.”
In Australia, the fast fashion industry is sending more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather to landfill each year.
It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind – and Ms Schmude is determined to see the issue brought to the forefront of the community.
“I want to ask why we need to be a part of this fast fashion industry that says every year we need to have the latest shoes, clothes, everything,” she said.
“This clothes swap is effectively something that will raise awareness about the fact that clothes don’t need to be new, we can find great exchanges among ourselves.”
The swap will run as part of Black Gully Music Festival this year, in the slow fashion precinct.
It will involve charity shops like One of a Kind, Vinnies, Pastish, and mainstream fashion retailers – as long as they promote slow fashion and good quality.
”There’s three waste streams, clothes either go to charity, to rags which then go to landfill, or to landfill,” Ms Schmude said.
“I know that Council here doesn’t have any control over the amount of fabric that goes into landfill, so we’ve got to do something from a community perspective.
“Unless you read the label and you know enough or are concerned enough to ask the questions about what’s in the clothing – if it’s not a pure, natural fibre it won’t break down.”
The Black Gully Music Festival clothes swap will also offer up-cycling workshops and involve local schools.