Sustainable development in fashion: clothing can also be ecological
Most classrooms have blue recycling bins. But as the threat of climate change looms, sustainability practices should move beyond paper and plastic, says Professor Tasha Lewis, an expert in fiber science and clothing design.
His research – on brand behavior and the importance of social responsibility – is at the forefront of creating a sustainable fashion industry, echoing a wider movement towards more eco-friendly clothing. ‘environment. Recent protests led by the Cornell Vegan Society, for example, have prompted Cornellians to reflect on the ethical implications of their clothing choices.
“Working in the industry has opened my eyes to many sustainability and ethical issues related to fashion,” said Lewis, whose work in the clothing industry after graduation inspired her. to get involved in this cause.
Lewis explained that it is often difficult to integrate sustainable practices into the clothing supply chain, or the movement of fabrics and materials into clothing. The chain is fragmented, divided into several hundred distinct suppliers, distributors and retailers.
“All… parts of the supply chain are important and can affect the environment,” Lewis said of the industry, including raw materials, land use and oil for transportation and l ‘packaging.
But despite these structural problems, efforts to make the garment industry greener have benefited from changing consumer preferences – who increasingly demand “more transparency when it comes to where. come their clothes, ”Lewis explained, adding that the use of sustainability ratings for businesses can also“ encourage greater uptake ”of environmentally friendly practices.
To meet both buyers ‘- and environmental – demand for solutions to better mitigate the negative effects of the garment industry, Lewis’ research is now focused on testing the viability of the production processes of scalable clothing, such as transforming textile waste into new products to reduce waste.
“We can start to approach the use of pristine resources to create fashion,” said Lewis, describing a goal of developing sustainable recycling methods by reducing the use of new fabrics and fibers in clothing.
While researching practical solutions, Lewis addressed environmental issues in the garment industry in the classroom, teaching courses such as FSAD 2310: Fashion Product Management and FSAD 4440: Global Fashion Management that address sustainability and social responsibility.
As climate change begins to escalate in media and society, Lewis expects more fashion brands to combine sustainability and style.