The following is a letter to the editor I wrote and submitted on October, 18th 2017.
To the Editor:
Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura highlights a key issue at the crux of the fast fashion crisis, excessive textile waste, but brushes over the environmental impacts of this ever increasing problem. Ironically, the garment manufacturing industry that these East African countries so desperately want to establish is the very cause of the waves of unwanted clothing arriving at their doorstep.
The booming fast fashion industry has pushed garment production into hyperdrive with little consideration for the end of product life-cycle. East Africa’s answer to the pitfalls of globalization should not be to follow the well trodden path of low cost manufacturing, but to monetize the clothing others see as waste by investing in textile recycling. How can East African countries capitalize on the growing trend of shifting the fashion business model from “take, make, waste” to “cradle to cradle”? The unrelenting consumer appetite for new trends and cheap clothing is unlikely to subside in the near future, and with major clothing brands like H&M, and Uniqlo implementing recycling programs, this is a growing market and an opportunity for development.
What do you think? Do you agree? I would love to hear from you, feel free to leave a comment.