Doha, Qatar – Seven highschool college students in Qatar are setting an eco-conscious development by remodeling worn and broken clothes into new style gadgets, reminiscent of luggage, face masks and scrunchies.
The Undertaking Upcycle has drawn consideration to the higher want for sustainability, whereas highlighting the issue of large waste within the style trade which, in response to analysis introduced on the Copenhagen Vogue Summit in 2018, a world occasion specializing in sustainability, creates roughly 92 million tonnes of waste materials disposed of in landfills.
The environmental penalties of this waste are devastating: Synthetic fibres reminiscent of polyester take wherever from 20 to 200 years to interrupt down.
The scholars of Birla Public College in Qatar are on a mission to lift consciousness of the environmental results of “quick style”.
Beneath the banner of “Undo, Uplift, Upcycle”, the scholars wished to highlight issues within the “quick style” trade the place mass-market retailers use low-quality and dangerous supplies to fulfill the rising demand for the newest developments and make increased earnings.
“We knew ‘quick style’ was not one thing that would simply disappear, particularly when so many individuals depend on it for garments as a result of its affordability,” mentioned Nandini Mathur, head of design and product improvement at Undertaking Upcycle.
“However such garments are designed and made for short-term use, therefore the massive quantities of garments disposed of yearly into landfills.
“We wished to create one thing that utilises that waste materials, reminiscent of outdated and torn garments, and create gadgets that folks can use for years. To make use of each piece to its most and make it sensible too,” Mathur added.
In January 2022, the workforce started accumulating outdated and torn garments, primarily from family and friends. As their marketing campaign gained momentum, they began receiving donations. Additionally they sought out garments rejected by charities since they had been broken.
The scholars create designs for luggage and different gadgets and provides them to The Stitching Studio, a neighborhood tailoring enterprise.
To promote their merchandise, they collaborated with the sustainable on-line retailer, Ecosouk Qatar.
They “wished to convey a tradition of upcycling to Qatar”, Mathur mentioned, including that the style trade is “one of many largest sources of worldwide warming and is usually ignored in conversations surrounding sustainability and different inexperienced points”.
“Our objective was to create one thing that may begin a dialog and contribute to an answer,” she added.
In February final yr, the scholars gained a International Act Affect Award (GAIA), as a part of The Hague Worldwide Mannequin United Nations (THIMUN) Qatar, for his or her venture.
Quick style and its impact
The UN Convention on Commerce and Growth (UNCTAD) has mentioned the “quick style” trade is the second-most polluting trade on the earth.
Information from the UN Surroundings Programme (UNEP) in 2018 present that making one pair of denims consumes about 7,500 litres of water – what a mean human consumes in seven years.
The identical information confirmed that this trillion-dollar trade can be answerable for about 10 p.c of the worldwide carbon footprint, greater than all worldwide flights and maritime transport mixed.
Past its environmental impact, the style trade can be answerable for poor, usually appalling, working circumstances, particularly for girls, as 80 p.c of the labour drive all through the provision chain are ladies, in response to a 2018 UN Financial Fee for Europe (UNECE) report.
Highlight on shopper consciousness
Whereas there may be rising consciousness of the necessity for sustainable style, shoppers don’t at all times think about shopping for upcycled merchandise.
“Most individuals have a really damaging mindset about utilizing upcycled merchandise on the preliminary levels,” mentioned Ivana Thomas of Undertaking Upcycle. “The principle query that crosses their thoughts is, ‘Why ought to I take advantage of merchandise made from outdated, used cloth?’”
The scholars speak about sustainability once they arrange impartial stalls at varied group occasions whereas motivating and educating prospects about sustainable style, mentioned Prashansa Oruganti, the venture’s head of social media.
She famous that individuals are usually “stunned by the truth that the standard of an outdated recycled materials was equivalent to that of an ordinary one”.