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Decoding Waste in Fashion

with Christina Dean

Stats vary when it comes to fashion waste. But we all agree that production and consumption is always followed by increased waste.

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According the the Ellen McArthur Foundation, there is the equivalent of 1 dumper truck of textiles either incinerated or sent to landfill every second around the world! At the current rate of consumption, textile waste is likely to be 60% worse by 2030.
Christina Dean has made a career as a fashion waste warrior: she is the founder of Redress, a pioneering Hong Kong-based NGO that seeks to reduce textile waste and promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by educating two main stakeholder groups: designers & consumers.
Christina is a former-journalist and the co-author of Dress [with] Sense (a consumer guide for the conscious closet), as well as the host of documentary series, Frontline Fashion.

‘No clothes should truly have an end of life. I’ve realised that others’ people discarded clothes are better than my own’
Christina Dean

HOW IT ALL STARTED 

Christina has always been passionate by public health and while she was a journalist in China, she realised there was a strong link between the fashion’s industry impact on the environment with publich health.

She started a project called 365 Challenge where every single day for a whole year, she wore other people’s discarded clothes sourced from a giant sorting warehouse outside of Hong Kong. Looking at the fashion waste, she felt disappointed and this is when her new path began. After going from hope to anger, Christina has reached a reality check, she doesn’t oscillate between anger and hope and anymore, she lives in a much more educated area and has a healthy respect for the fashion industry.

‘Clothing is part of our armoury of emotional wellbeing’
Christina Dean

REDRESS was founded by Christina in 2007. At that time it was Asia’s first and only environmental NGO focused on on the fashion industry. Its mission is to reduce waste in the fashion industry by educating 2 main stakeholders: designers & consumers.

‘We want to inform & inspire: cultivate a much more considerate and conscious culture around clothes, how they are designed, produced and worn’
Christina Dean

THE REDRESS DESIGN AWARD 

The world’s largest design competition with 140 university partners from around the world, 60 countries applying. The competition is in its 11th cycle.

This year Jessica Chang, won the Redress Design Award 2021 First Prize with Timberland. ‘The Wall’, the collection she presented, explores the different forms of walls that form protection or barriers, from those existing in nature, to man-made architecture and emotional walls we built to protect our hearts. Jessica upcycles industry surplus textiles and secondhand clothing into garments, adding breathable window detailing, with the aim to reduce the frequency of garment washing.

‘Evolving recycling advancement enables us to reuse materials that weren’t possible in the past; therefore, utilising existing materials and problem-solving are things we must consider as responsible designers’
Jessica Chang

THE R COLLECTIVE

Founded in 2017, The R Collective is a social impact brand. Christina wanted to show that a sustainable fashion brand was indeed possible and profitable. The R Collective was born out of pure frustration and she already has access to waste through Redress and designers through the Awards.https://www.youtube.com/embed/RAcgkD7bFbw?feature=oembed

ReCircle is the latest collection by The R Collective: they rescued luxury IP-sensitive silk fabric waste, which is often routinely incinerated due to its highly sensitive branding and patterns, from a global leading luxury brand. 

WHAT CAN WE DO 

Christina is the co-author of Dress with Sense where she gives us easy tips to start having a conscious relationship with your clothes. One of her main advice is to do a closet edit: dedicate some time to edit your existing wardrobe and sort what you do and don’t wear. Take care of your clothes, think of the work that it took as well as the individuals behind them.

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