Unravelau on BNN

Unravelau shows collection during "Make Holland Great Again"

By BNN on October 28, 2020

The average Dutch person buys 46 pieces of clothing every year. According to research, 71% of these clothes are not worn. From the 46 pieces of clothing bought by each person, 40 of those are thrown away.

The Dutch broadcasting association BNNVARA hosted Laura Meijering, the founder and creative director of Unravelau, to talk about the negative environmental impact of the fashion industry and the bad working conditions it leads. 

Below is a summarized transcription of their conversation 

Interviewer (Sahil):  We all buy a lot of unnecessary clothing.

Laura: Yes, that is right, and we throw a lot out. My atelier is in the Upcycle Centre of Almere where there is a textile donation container. This year, just in Almere, almost 1 million kilos of textiles have been collected here.

Interviewer (Sahil): 1 million kilos of textiles?! If we throw out that much clothing, why do we buy so much?

Laura: Nowadays we buy a lot, it hangs in our wardrobes, we don't wear the items and then we throw them out. This is what we call fast fashion. There used to be four collections a year, and now it could be 52, which is reflected in our wardrobe. It is a real problem because, for example, when a pair of denim jeans costs 10 euros, and 20 people have worked on it, they are only able to be paid 50 cents per person. There are also bad working conditions, causing the fashion industry to have the highest rate of recorded suicide waves. Besides that, fashion is the industry with the most pollution in the world, after the oil industry.

Narrator: For one pair of jeans, 8 thousand litres of water is used. A person could shower with that amount of water for 200 days. Your fashionable bargain is also the reason for dried out rivers, chemical water pollution and worldwide water shortage.    

Have you ever questioned yourself how much air pollution one sexy evening dress causes? The fashion industry emits more CO2 than air and ship trafficking together worldwide. This makes it the second most polluting industry worldwide. Our demand for colourful skirts like these takes all colour from life for the hard-working, underpaid workers who make the clothing.  Inhumane working conditions drive these people to hopeless despair.

In the last 16 years, there have been over 300,000 registered suicides of cotton farmers in India. That is one farmer every half hour!

Sahil: So let's get some facts straight. The fashion industry emits more CO2 than air and ship trafficking together. Immense quantities of water are used and get polluted. And it also causes the highest suicide rate in history. These things are not great.  The clothing we all buy and wear, drenched in the blood and sweat of the people that produce it, all this so we can score the latest item. 

Fenna: What Sahil just said is very true. GR8 doesn’t exist; it is set up as a call for attention to show what fast fashion actually does to the world. These clothes are made of other clothes people thought didn’t have a purpose anymore. Even for people who are currently sitting in this room. And so you see, it is definitely worth a second life.

Sahil (to other guests): Did anyone know how polluting the fashion industry is? Who has lots of clothing at home but doesn’t actually wear it? 

Guest 1: When I stand in front of my closet at home and see that I actually have lots of clothes, and I realize I don’t need something new for every party.

Guest 2: I may be wearing one item five items every week, and then I think, what do I need the rest for?   

Guest 3: If these are real problems, you'll think twice before buying something in a store.

Guest 4: I didn't know about the things that were shown on the screen.

Guest 5: I really didn't know about the suicide rates 

Guest 6: I really find it shocking. It got me thinking, I'm just a spoiled girl from The Netherlands who buys a new outfit every time I want a nice new dress.

Guest 7: I think something has to be done about certain stores selling cheap clothes. But I can imagine that if you don't have a lot to spend every month, you might still end up going to those stores.

Guest 4: I think that when you're standing in a store, and you see a garment, you might now think about where it might be from and how the people who made it are treated. It really made me think.