Nermin Köse is a sustainable fashion designer and writer, lecturer for Istanbul Fashion Academy, and the founder of Denimlook and Away Denim.
Over the last 20 years, Turkey has become an increasingly significant actor in the ethical fashion world, particularly in sustainable cotton and denim production.
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The role of consumers
Turkish sustainable fashion consultant and designer Nermin Köse believes that apparel consumers have an important role to play by making choices that respect the Earth and the people living on it.
"We can say that there is a new consciousness among end-users in Turkey. But there is still much to do. We can share more information via sustainable fashion initiatives and bring suggestions to consumers about making choices that respect the environment and humanity.
I suggest that end users check the labels of their purchases and especially stay away from polyester-based products for their own health and to protect the environment. They are better off investing in sturdy, long-lasting products that they can wear for a long time, preferring goods made of organic cotton, and shopping from local brands and second-hand shops."
- Nermin Köse, Away Denim Founder, as told to TRT
Moving away from fast fashion
Since 2009, Nermin Köse has been working as a sustainable fashion consultant under the Creatix Agency, to help clients with the conception, evolution, execution, and implementation of global creative concepts and visual marketing programs, ranging from print media and to imagery digital presentations.
The Istanbul-based designer wasn't always aware of the importance of sustainable fashion and responsible production. But after working in fast fashion, she realized how destructive this business model can be. She tells TRT:
"I used to work for a fast-fashion company, so I know what that’s like, fast pace, cheap quality fabrics. The multi-season approach and fast trends are putting pressure on people and the environment both.
Sustainable fashion is against that. It aims to treat the world with a responsible view, and leave the next generations with resources they can rely on."
Promoting responsible production
Nermin Köse sustainable denim brand, Away Denim, takes inspiration from art, nature, music, and life itself to share clean esthetic and celebrate creativity.
It aims to bring back quality denim taste and uses responsible production to create jeans that you can wear for many years, maybe for a lifetime, independently from seasonal trends.
Nermin Köse is also a founding member of the Sustainable Fashion Platform, an independent platform sharing knowledge and ideas to create a textile and fashion ecosystem sensitive to the planet and society.
In 2019, she co-founded the Notion Collective, a creative association for sustainable fashion that produces seminars, talks, and podcasts on the social and environmental impact of the textile industry.
Fast fashion represents the culture of instant gratification, thousands of new styles produced and sold every week. But it causes serious issues that made the textile and apparel industry one of the largest polluters in the world.
Fast fashion isn't ethical or sustainable at all. Businesses in the textile and apparel industry often produce more than they can sell. It's very common for them to resort to seasonal sales and discounts to get rid of massive inventory.
Thankfully, more people are questioning the catastrophic social and environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. Sustainable fashion is rapidly gaining popularity. And that's a good thing.
Companies are trying to change and do better. They set new targets to reduce water and energy consumption or carbon emissions. But change needs to happen faster.
As an eco-conscious consumer, you need to stay educated on the matter and ask for more. You have the power to drive positive change in the fashion industry by voting with your money.
Demand more transparency, accountability, and sustainability from brands and retailers. And support fashion companies that make consistent efforts to reduce their impacts.
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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.