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Fashion + Plastic

This August, in partnership with Change Plastic For Good, we're looking at plastic, to break down its role in fashion, exploring how the material is polluting our planet and how we can move away from it.

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In recent years, we have begun to understand the true extent of the plastic crisis we are facing on a global scale. Plastic has only been around 80 or so years but in that time we have created 91 billion tonnes of it and only recycled 10%. In the 1950s polyester was introduced into men’s suits by chemical company DuPont and since then plastic has become a core part of much of our clothing. 


About 60% of material made into clothing is plastic. These synthetic fabrics are lightweight, durable, affordable and flexible. But they also take hundreds of years to decompose, release harmful toxins into the environment when they do, and are ending up in food chains. Scientists believe humans could be consuming roughly 5 grams of plastic each week, the effects of which on our health is still unclear


Plastic not only wound up in our clothing but is arguably fundamental as a material and concept to the iconography of trends of the early 2000s. Think Bratz dolls, Mean Girls ‘Plastics’, plastic chunky accessories and PVC jelly shoes. Whilst the era of plastic dominance is over, its legacy is one tainted by its problematic implications upon the environment and usage dependency, which remain prevalent today. The fashion industry has begun phasing out plastic in varying ways. But is it doing enough and acting quick enough?  What is the legacy of plastic in fashion?

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