The Museum of European Cultures in Berlin, Germany is holding an exhibition called Fast Fashion: The Dark Sides of Fashion. It takes a critical look at the consequences of fashion consumption for its producers and the environment.
The exhibition was conceived by the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, a museum of fine, applied and decorative arts in Hamburg, Germany.
It encourages visitors to rethink their consumer behavior and to get involved in reducing the impact of fast fashion. By revealing insights into the Berlin slow fashion world, the exhibition showcases how sustainability can still be fun.
Fast fashion is everywhere. It's a global and highly successful phenomenon that has gained massive popularity over the last 20 years. It was created to answer the rising consumers' demand for new trendy and affordable clothing.
Unfortunately, it pushed the fashion industry to become the second-largest polluter globally. More than 80% of all clothing produced ends up in landfills, as reported by the Global Fashion Agenda.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveals that more than 16.9 million tons of used textile wastes are generated every year in the United States. Only 15.2% of all textile was recycled in the U.S. in 2017.
The fashion industry also produces 17-20% of all wastewater worldwide, according to the World Bank. And the United Nations reports that only 20% of globally produced wastewater receives proper treatment.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of cotton, the equivalent of one T-shirt and one pair of jeans.
Excessive clothing consumption led by fast fashion has a catastrophic impact on the environment. McKinsey reports that Water consumption is expected to increase by 20% from 2015 to 2025 due to the fast-growing fashion industry.
The apparel and footwear industry employs more than 300 million farmers and garment factory workers around the world, most of them in low-income countries, where labor is shockingly cheap, as reported by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The demand for quickly and cheaply produced clothing caused the catastrophic Dhaka garment factory fire in 2012 and the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. Combined, these events killed over 1,200 factory workers and injured over 2,700.
It's time to rethink completely how we produce and consume clothes to prevent irreversible damage to people, animals, and the planet.
As conscious consumers, the first thing we can do is to get informed about the issues in the current wasteful fashion industry.
The exhibition exposes the truth about fast fashion, the dark sides of fashion. It explains how the global fast fashion industry functions and how producers and consumers are interconnected.
As more people are becoming aware of the consequences of fast fashion for people and the environment, the interest for slow fashion rises. It's a more mindful alternative to fast fashion.
Today, many designers and creative minds around the world and in Berlin set trends and develop innovative approaches and materials to slow down the fashion cycle.
They drive change in the fashion system in favor of ethical and sustainable fashion, environmentally friendly upcycling, fair production conditions, certified fabrics, and clothing swap parties.
The exhibition also presents conversations with pioneers of slow fashion who encourage people to change their fashion consumption. You can listen to the following insights:
- Designer Rut Meyburg on upcycling
- Fashion label founder Verena Paul-Benz on fairly and locally produced fashion
- Influencer Alf-Tobias Zahn on minimalism and reducing fashion consumption
- Jenna Stein, organizer of clothing swap parties, on the fashion cycle
Visit the exhibition called Fast Fashion: The Dark Sides of Fashion at the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin, Germany from 27.09.2019 to 31.01.2021.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.