Have you ever stopped to think about the true cost of fashion? We mean the environmental cost. Did you know that fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the planet? This beautiful art installation brings attention to this using abandoned clothing from a bankrupt clothing factory in Cambodia.
Clothing The Loop is a collaboration between Laura Francois and Von Wong. Laura is on a mission to take a stand against fast fashion. Von Wong creates meaningful images that tell a story. We have previously featured his Mermaids Hate Plastic campaign. They have teamed up to show the true cost of fashion.
They discovered the Tak Fak factory in Cambodia. This factory went bankrupt in 2009 leaving 5000 workers jobless. Thousands and thousands of pounds of unfinished clothing were also abandonded.
Laura and Von Wong decided to give life to 2,500kg of clothing by creating 3 sculptures that demonstrate the true cost of fashion. Each piece of clothing we buy has a hidden environmental cost on the planet and air, water and trees. The average personal wears 2,500kg of clothing over their lifetime!
To begin their quest, Von Wong and Laura reached out to the local community. Volunteers came from as far as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. They spent days crawling around a dusty, mosquito-infested factory with no ventilation, in order to collaboratively build 3 story tall structures.
The truth is, there was enough abandoned fabric for them to make hundreds of art structures. Thousands of barrels of clothing were left there, untouched for a decade. The team started by sorting through the bags of rat-infested clothing and arranging them by colour. They then attached the fabric to fishnets. They hung the fishnets up with scaffolding to create a waterfall effect.
The True Cost of Fashion: Water
The waterfall sculpture speaks to how incredibly water intensive the fashion industry is. Cotton requires a crazy amount of water to grow. It takes 2700L of water to produce one shirt! But that’s not all. Dying and treating clothing requires even more water. Also, factories often dispose of the toxic water into the neighbouring rivers waterways, compromising clean drinking water.
IT TAKES 2700 LITRES OF WATER TO PRODUCE ONE COTTON T-SHIRT.
The True Cost of Fashion: Trees
The tree sculpture speaks to the trees that the fashion industry cuts down to create fibres for clothing.
70 MILLION TREES ARE CUT DOWN EVERY YEAR TO CREATE THE FIBRE FOR OUR CLOTHING.
The True Cost of Fashion: Air
CLOTHING IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 2.8 BILLION TONS OF CO2 PER YEAR BY 2030.
(THAT’S MORE THAN 230 MILLION CARS)
This staggering figure is largely due to processing. Our favourite materials like cotton and leather create a huge energy footprint. Also, petroleum-based materials like nylon and polyester emit damaging volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times more potent than CO2.
The good news is that every one of us has the power to buy and wear fewer clothes. Wear what you already have. When you’re looking for fresh additions, have clothing swaps, or shop secondhand. When you want something brand new be sure to support sustainable, ethical and upcycled clothing brands. Our clothing goes through a lot to get here, so love and use the clothes you have for as long as you can.
See more: Clothing The Loop