Brisbane is the first city in the world to host a pop-up secondhand fashion festival as a waste minimization strategy, to the best of my knowledge. I (Jane Milburn) checked with New York refashion academic Sass Brown and Sass knows of no other. Do tell if you know of another.
Stiltwalkers showcase refashion at the 2016 Revive event in the heart of Brisbane. Photo by Brisbane City Council
Revive is in its second year and pops up again on 18 August 2017 at South Bank Forecourt from noon to 9pm. Hats off to Brisbane City Council, Cr Peter Matic and Cr David McLachlan for leadership. With textiles being one of the fastest growing domestic waste streams, fuelled by fast-fashion turnover, I am proud to have been in the room at its conception. Thank you to Cr Matic for acknowledging my contribution.
The advent of Revive followed a 2015 opportunity I had to address a council meeting on a matter of public importance. Here’s the link to my 2015 address (including Hansard pdf) when I spoke of the need to develop a more sustainable clothing culture. Revive is a huge step in this direction. Continue reading →
Australians buy an average of 27 kilograms of new textiles each year and then discard about 23 kilograms* into landfill – and two-thirds of those discards are manmade synthetic/plastic fibres that may never breakdown.
Sustainability consultant Jane Milburn said Australians are the second-largest consumers of new textiles after north Americans who annually buy 37kg each, and ahead of Western Europeans at 22kg while consumption in Africa, the Middle East and India averages just 5 kg per person. These figures are sourced from north American magazine Textile World.
“There’s been a transformational shift in the way we source, use and discard our clothing which has major social and environmental implications. Fast fashion produced from global supply chains is driving purchasing of excessive new clothing, often discarded after a few wears,” Ms Milburn said.
“In the same way we’ve become aware of our food – we are becoming more conscious of our clothing.
Today you are either wearing natural-fibres – or synthetic fibres derived from petroleum. I’m wearing a shift created with rescued wool suits that were one step away from becoming landfill. As a natural-fibre champion with a background in issues-based communication, I am seeking to help create a more sustainable clothing culture.
Thank you for this opportunity to raise the matter at this Brisbane City Council meeting.The past decade has seen a transformational shift in where and how our clothing is made – which raises ethical issues such as:
Consumption increase – in two decades, individual annual fibre use across the globe has doubled from 7 to 13 kg each
Fibre change – a decade ago, half of new clothes were natural fibres and half synthetics. Now 2/3 of new clothing are synthetic – and research shows they shed microplastic particles with every wash.