A look at the current landscape, challenges and innovative projects
The fashion industry’s environmental impact is very high, and evidence of this is calling for a rapid change of course. Sometimes, however, prime examples can come from the bottom up, like with some of the projects on display at Maker Faire Rome 2023. Take a look!
The fashion industry is grappling with some serious challenges and figures of its environmental impact that paint a dire picture in need of immediate changes. Today’s fashion industry is not sustainable. According to a UN report, it is said to be responsible for 8-10 percent of global CO2 emissions. Between 4 and 5 million tons per year. The only solution is to accelerate a transition to environmentally friendly, sustainable and zero-impact processes, practices and products.
In this article, we will explore the details of the current industrial landscape, analyze some of the main challenges of this industry, and discover some of the projects presented at Maker Faire Rome 2023, examples of smart, sustainable, and planet-friendly fashion.
A brief summary of the environmental impact of fashion
Let’s keep in mind that the fashion industry contributes to climate change. To understand how much, just consider that the greenhouse gas emissions from this industry each year are equal to those of the economies of France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined. To bring down its environmental impact, research from McKinseyreveals that the fashion industry should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1.1 billion metric tons of CO2 by 2030, yet calculations reveal that the sector is, unfortunately, set to double that, reaching 2.1 billion, unless it acts quickly to change this growing trend. In addition to the huge CO2 emissions, the sector is a major contributor to chemical pollution, used mainly in dyeing and tanning processes; uses industrial amounts of water second only to agriculture; and that’s not to mention the use of fossil fuel derivatives (such as polyester) in about 70 percent of textiles. These are just a few of the important issues to look out for if you are addressing this topic. The industry has been confronted with a hard truth that will require a profound reassessment of processes for the foreseeable future.
Global fragility, greenwashing and recycling
Global economic instability, climate crises, the pandemic and recent conflicts have created a delicate overall picture. Consumer behavior has become more cautious, often anticipating spending cuts, especially in clothing and accessories. This demands great adaptability and an undisputed increase in credibility from the major fashion houses, especially when it comes to sustainability. Consumers are no longer willing to accept greenwashing, which refers to a communication or marketing strategy that presents the activities of a company or institution as environmentally sustainable to cover up negative environmental impacts. Consumers today seek authenticity with concrete actions for the planet from brands and true transparency in cross-communication. Another hotly debated issue is that of waste. Data from the executive summary of Just Fashion Transition 2023, an event promoted by Confindustria Veneto Est, Sistema Moda Italia and The European House – Ambrosetti, shows that 5.2 to 7.5 million tons of textile waste are produced in Europe. That’s 26 billion pieces of clothing. But how many of these are actually recycled? Only three out of every thirty-five garments. And how many of those thirty-five are reused? Only one. The biggest challenge for the fashion industry, which also has an ugly record of exporting more waste than any other industry to non-OECD countries, is to make large-scale recycling and reuse possible. The research also points out that reuse can avoid up to 97 percent of CO2 emissions and reduce water consumption by 99 percent. Why not try?
The fashion world at Maker Faire Rome 2023
There is a solution! Reinventing the industry and seeking and finding change in innovative and virtuous projects. We learned about a few at the latest inspiring edition of Maker Faire Rome 2023, where fashion – in its most green and inclusive iteration – was a key issue.
- Acta, the eco-sustainable collection inspired by the Etruscans
The ACTA collection is an excellent example of eco-sustainable innovation in the fashion world. Inspired by the rich Etruscan history, ACTA skillfully combines tradition and technological influences in a genderless and contemporary vision. What makes this collection unique is its strong mark of inclusivity, abolishing size difference and awareness of gender, embracing a genderfluid, manwear and womanwear approach. Each garment is custom made and limited edition. The collection uses environmentally sustainable materials and is embellished with textural and technological embroidery through the innovative use of 3D printing. The creative process makes use of cutting-edge software such as CLO3D, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, demonstrating ACTA’s commitment to adopting advanced technologies for sustainable, cutting-edge fashion. The project is led by Beatrice Bocci: her experience includes a collaboration with Maison Gattinoni, contributions to innovative projects as well as numerous awards and recognitions, culminating in winning first prize in the fashion category at the biennial MArteLive 2022 with the Capsule Collection “Evolution.” ACTA stands out as a project that not only celebrates fashion, but promotes sustainability, innovation and inclusiveness.
- Glimoire teach us to give new life to objects, making them priceless gems
Glimoire – Gioielli d’altri tempi is the inspiring work of Marco Magliozzi that tells a story of rebirth and transformation. In 2010, after a long time working in the world of craftsmanship, Marco founded his small business inspired by an mistake he made while trying to repair an old wristwatch. The mistake in the repair turned out to be a creative epiphany, prompting Marco to transform those damaged gears into authentic works of art. Glimoire’s philosophy goes beyond simply recovering objects from the past: the goal is to give new life to ancient heirlooms by reinterpreting them with new forms and uses, creating accessories that are as original as they are unique. The processing of Glimoire jewelry takes place in several stages and uses semi-precious metals and specific artisan techniques. Recovered objects are restored and skillfully reworked, resulting in a reinterpretation of the material itself.
- Krocette and ethical fashion
Krocette embodies a fashion ethic based on principles of sustainability, respect for animals, and care for the environment. Since 2019, this reality is committed to demonstrating that a respectful lifestyle does not require sacrifices, but rather thoughtful decisions. As a new Italian brand of vegan and eco-sustainable accessories, Krocette works in direct collaboration with leading manufacturers in Italy to shape unique creations characterized by innovative style. Their dedication to sustainability is reflected in the exclusive use of plant-based materials, thus ensuring the highest quality products with zero impact on the health of the environment and animals.
In conclusion, if one thing is certain, it is that fashion still has a lot to learn and that only by aiming for a bottom-up revolution will it be possible to overturn the current paradigm. As consumers, we must make thoughtful choices, directing our spending toward businesses that respect the ecosystem in which they operate, renouncing the easy way out. These projects featured at Maker Faire reminded us of this.
Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since its very first editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.
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