“People may wonder what the glamour world of fashion has to do with sustainability - the answer is a lot”. This was Greg Barker MP’s opening statement as he launched Hubbub’s Fashion Hub at the House of Commons.

To prove Greg’s point, journalist Lucy Siegle highlighted the full range of the industry’s impact from farmers’ growing cotton through to the turbo-charged consumerist catwalks. Baby and children’s retailer Laura Tenison posed the challenging question“Do we realise the impact we are having on manufacturers in Africa when we dump our unwanted clothing on their markets?” whilst leading designer Christopher Raeburn highlighted how a sustainable approach to design has opened up new markets for his fast growing enterprise.

Christopher Raeburn - "it all began with a military parachute".

The fashion industry contributes £26 billion to the UK economy and employs almost 5% of the total workforce, but is thought to be the world’s third most polluting industry. It creates excessive waste, 3 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions, often poor labour conditions and uses pesticides on cotton.

Fast fashion, which makes up 80% of the average person’s wardrobe, encapsulates the worst of our throw-away society. A typical UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, almost a third of which will not have been worn in the last year. Annually we throw away almost 1 million tonnes of textiles.

The aim of our newly launched Fashion Hub is to help the industry continue to make a positive contribution to the UK economy whilst reducing negative social and environmental impacts. Next year the Fashion Hub will:

  1. Provide new skills and opportunities for young people from excluded backgrounds helping them to create their own sustainable fashion initiatives.
  2. Broaden the debate about sustainable fashion. A new campaign called ‘Who gives a shirt?’ will delve into the back story of football shirts of which 1 million are thrown away annually.
  3. Create new opportunities for people to extend the lifespan of clothes. We will be launching ‘From a Mother to Another’ working with retailer JoJo Maman Bebe, making it easier for people to gift high quality children and baby clothing to families supported by Barnardos. Refashion Days will give people new skills that help make their clothes last longer.

The ambition is to create a new wave of people interested in changing the fashion industry so that it continues to be a creative centre of the UK economy but does so in a positive way for society and the environment. If you want to join us on this journey please do register with us below.