The fashion industry is the sector that comes in second in terms of human trafficking globally, only behind the sex industry. Children, men and women from developing counties work under unhygienic conditions, with slave wages and exhausting working hours. What’s more, they face sexual, verbal and physical violence, zero quality of life and racial and gender discrimination.
Believe it or not, the fashion industry is also the second greatest polluter of the environment, following the oil industry. For a garment to be made, it goes through many stages, the so-called supply chain. In all these stages, there are massive polluting processes, such as pesticides and huge quantities of water during farming, washing, dying of the raw material needed to make the fabric.
There are toxic chemicals and dyes, whose waste ends up in rivers, oceans and drinking waters. Produce is burned because of no-longer-needed stock or because of a cancellation of an order. And most of us are probably guilty of throwing away clothes after wearing them a few times and they end up in landfills, taking years to decompose.
“Our planet is suffocating because of fashion,” say organisers of the Fashion Awareness Festival taking place in Nicosia from Friday to Sunday. Local designers, artisans and artists, including the Agora Project community, are joining forces in an expression of solidarity and love for fashion.
The power lies in changing our purchasing habits to turn the fashion industry into a force of good, the organisers say. With a circular economy and sustainability in mind “at the festival at Agora Project, you will be informed about the dark pages of the fashion industry. You will learn easy and fun ways to extend the life of your clothes.”
The festival will consist of a pop-up market where the public will be able to meet the artisans and their creations, a books and clothes swap bazaar and an art and costume exhibition with installations and costumes inspired by the values of Fashion Revolution. These will be consistent throughout the three days yet each day will bring something different to the table.
Friday will introduce the notion of the festival with a film screening of The True Cost of Fashion, followed by a networking party. On Saturday there will be recycling and upcycling workshops for kids and adults based on traditional Cypriot techniques, along with performances, discussions and another film screening.
The final day will continue with the workshops and the live entertainment along with veg-friendly food stalls. The highlight of the day will be the sustainable catwalk, different from the usual as it features new, ethical and sustainable designers of Cyprus who aim to showcase the future of fashion.
“It’s our vision with a fresh perspective. It is hope. It’ s a celebration of our funky, ethical, handmade clothes and accessories, worn by people of all sizes,” comment the team.
Fashion Awareness Festival
A celebration of solidarity and love for fashion. Part of the Fashion Revolution Week in Cyprus. April 19-21. Old Municipal Market, Nicosia. Tel: 99-180549