Blog: Leonie BarrieRecycled textile fashion shows

Leonie Barrie | 15 July 2010

A catwalk show with a difference is being planned for September as up-and-coming eco-designers show off the latest looks made from items salvaged from the UK's waste system. The event will no doubt liven up proceedings at the Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition, where it's due to take place.

Of course there's a serious undertone to the show. Fast fashion comes at a price to the environment, and according to the Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK buys over two million tonnes of clothes each year (worth a staggering GBP34bn) but nearly half of this ends up in landfill where it slowly biodegrades producing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Just 24% is currently recycled.

As a consequence the recycled materials market is thriving, thanks to companies and organisations which collect textiles on behalf of local authorities, waste management companies and charities. Between them they save thousands of tonnes of clothes, shoes and household textiles from landfill, while raising money for charity and setting new trends in eco-friendly fashion.

The Salvation Army Trading Company Limited (SATCoL) is the UK's largest textile recycler. Of the 3,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing donated to SATCoL every month, only five tonnes go to landfill and 96% is reused or recycled.

The Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition takes place from 14-16 September at the NEC, Birmingham. The RWM Catwalk and Forum will feature three fashion shows each day and host live industry debates and exhibitor presentations.


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