Sustainable fashion is often described as an oxymoron, how can something at the pinnacle of consumer driven growth with deeply entrenched “planned obsolescence” ever be thought of as sustainable? Well maybe there is no such thing as sustainable fashion, however as wearing clothes is an integral part of modern culture, it’s something we really need to think about.
There have been some valuable and interesting contributions to sustainable fashion mainly focusing on the supply chain, low impact materials such as organic or recycled, working conditions and even (over) consumption and disposal. However, considering the entire life cycle of a garment, the highest environmental impact is accrued at the use phase.
To focus on the use phase, my research is looking at what happens when people wash less, through a social lens. 31 volunteers and myself all wore the same pair of jeans for three months without traditional laundering techniques, questioning the need for cleanliness.
Below is a short video The University of Melbourne made about my research. Thanks to Ted Yu Shen Chen for his considered comments and Laura Soderlind, Clive Banfield and Rob Cross for such a professional production.