All over the world, designers and businessmen are trying to bring fashion in line with the rules of a sustainable economy, encouraging customers to move away from the principles of “fast consumption”. One of the effective solutions is the trashion concept which has become a buzzword not only among celebrities.
The world produces a huge amount of waste. According to a UN report, about 300 million tons of plastic waste alone are produced per year. That being said, only 5% of plastic is efficiently recycled: most of it is simply burned or thrown away. Approximately a third of the garbage ends up in the environment, poisoning the ocean and the soil with harmful substances such as benzene, methane, or hydrogen sulfide. A sound approach to how we use plastic helps us to mitigate the existing environmental crisis. One way to give garbage a new lease of life is to modernize clothing manufacturing.
Designers and entrepreneurs across many countries have stopped perceiving garbage as just waste, instead, they have begun to see it as a potential resource of taking recycling to the next level and make the fashion industry less profligate. According to CV writers from Resumes on Time, these days, fashion industry employers are increasingly interested in talents that could contribute to the introduction of the sustainable concept into their business. Sustainable Fashion Schools, opening the doors to the future professional of a new era of fashion, inspire a lot of confidence in this. The idea itself is not unfounded as the production of clothing generates a huge amount of waste which makes it a real goldmine for taking initial practical steps. Besides, synthetic clothing takes decades to decompose, and polyester, which is present in 60% of all manufactured clothing, is notorious for emitting three times more greenhouse gases than cotton when decomposed. At the same time, creating clothes takes a huge amount of energy and raw materials, and the production of items harms the environment even before they turn into trash. Gases, pesticides, and chemicals released into the water due to cotton growing and fabric dyeing cause irreplaceable damage to the environment. One of the ways to make the fashion industry more sustainable is to combine it with recycling while creating innovative designs, which has become the concept of trashion.
What is trashion?
The term is formed from two words – trash and fashion – meaning clothes, shoes, or accessories made from waste. The main principle of trashion is not to throw anything away at all, and to make the reuse of things not only practical but also aesthetic. This being the case, the garbage can be absolutely anything from old jeans to plastic bottles. Initially, the concept of trashion was used by conservationists in art events as a form of protest against the culture of consumption. Later, avant-garde artists became interested in this, thanks to them trashion has turned into a fashionable subculture and a brand-new direction of art. At first, the concept was associated with high fashion, since the aesthetic component was at the forefront, forgetting the practical use. However, over time, garbage has metamorphosed from quirky outfits to comfortable everyday items.
How can trashion contribute to global ecology?
- Reduction of the raw materials consumption: trashion items are made from already created materials
- Reduction of waste: garbage is not sent to landfills but used to make new articles of clothing
- Driving innovation: The fashion for alternative ways of making clothes encourages the search for more sustainable ways of production
- Supporting the “mindfulness” trend: trashion encourages customers around the world to think about how their purchases affect the environment.
How is trashion different from “responsible fashion”?
Today responsible fashion manufacturers create garments using materials made of highly recycled waste. A perfect example could be the plastic bottles which after grinding become parts of the purses. Although, with trashion garments, the situation is slightly different. Every item is created from the garbage in the current state, subjecting it to minimal processing. By doing so, we save energy and reduce harmful emissions.
How long has trashion been around?
People have been making articles of clothing from garbage even before the term trashion was coined. African tribes, for example, designed bags from juice packages, Haitians made jewelry from cans. If talking in terms of fashion and art direction, the concept of trashion has been developing since the 1990s. At the time American artist Ann Weiser designed a series of costumes made completely from plastic waste and dedicated it to Earth Day. Since 2004, trashion has grown in popularity through fancy parties in New York: Plan B began hosting interactive art exhibitions featuring art made from trash. The monthly Trashion Faceoff competition was also held there – two designers competed for the title of “King of Trash Fashion”. In 2006, artist Julia Genatossio opened the Monsoon Vermont design house. The company launched the production of umbrellas, shower curtains, and backpacks made exclusively of the waste collected throughout Indonesia. This is where the commercial path of trashion has begun.
Real adepts of the trashion
Numerous famous designers have made successful attempts to turn garbage into high fashion items. Belgian Martin Margiela used sails, baseball gloves, and even doorknobs for his 2012 fashion show. Following this, the designer released a series of down jackets produced from garbage bags only. In the same year, Christian Louboutin joined trashion flow to create a collection of shoes made of wastes called Trash Shoes.
Today, activists and state environmental committees run contests and fashion shows to encourage designers and residents to make the fashion industry less wasteful.
- The Bainbridge Island Trashion Show, holding in the United States, promotes awareness of consumption, recycling, and waste reduction. The organizers have established an annual fashion show and student Trashion Awards.
- The Environmental Protection Committee of the American city of Bloomington has created the annual Trashion Refashion Runway charity show. There, locals of all ages and professions can put before the public their designs made of garbage. The funds raised at the show go to help the Center for Sustainable Development.
Designers and manufacturers around the world are trying to make fashion an expression of eco-awareness.
- Australian artist Marina DeBris turns garbage floating in the ocean or thrown onto the beach into clothing. The designer speaks out against ocean pollution and hopes that with her art she can show how the waste we produce continues to haunt us.
- American designer Daniel Silverstein, working under the pseudonym Zero Waste Daniel, creates clothes from the waste of the New York garment industry, adhering to the principle of “zero waste”. Indonesian company XSProject pays money to residences for garbage collection and then creates bags and wallets from this material. The company directs part of the proceeds from the sale of accessories to improve education and housing in the country.
- Chilean Modulab Studio uses old banner ads to make bags. The same raw materials are processed by the KaCaMa design laboratory in Hong Kong to create interior items. Elvis & Kress gives a second life to discarded firehoses, boat sails, and parachutes, in consequence, they turn into bags and belts.
Can trashion be an effective business model?
The concept’s ability to generate income is well illustrated by the case of Trashion company, founded by housewife Yanti Ardis from Jakarta. First of all, the firm creates new jobs for people without specialization or other employment opportunities. After all, no special skills are required to create dresses from garbage, so housewives and young people with no education are the most frequent among the employees. In addition, the company cooperates with garbage collectors: they collect suitable plastic for the company and receive additional income for this. The concept has turned out to be beneficial for the founders as well as the waste from the landfill is free. For a kilogram of plastic collected by the garbage man, the company gives 300 rupees and the price of the final Trashion product, say a wallet or a bag, varies from 15 thousand to 400 thousand rupees. Trashion has passed Unilever quality control, gained international recognition, and now receives orders from Singapore, the Philippines, India, the Netherlands, England, and the United States.
Caring for the environment rests squarely on our shoulders – we have created the problems, so it’s up to us to solve them. The main thing is to be creative to involve as many participants as possible. Hopefully, with the concept of trashion, the recovery of the ecosystem will be not long in coming.
Author’s bio:Carmella Andersson works as a copywriter and a resume writer for Write My Resumes. It gives her an opportunity to improve her critical and creative thinking skills.