Solutions journalism is news about how communities and organizations are responding to social and environmental problems. This collection contains solutions stories that spotlight efforts in the campaign for a sustainable fashion industry. Startup companies and innovative designers are experimenting with unconventional materials, including food waste and cow waste, to create clothing fibers. In Philadelphia, a farmer and designer are revitalizing the area's production of linen to localize the supply chain. Individuals and groups around the world are challenging the wasteful consumer culture using hashtags, forcing business transparency and favoring thrift and secondhand shops.
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The fashion industry has global impacts far beyond the clothes in the local mall. From the fiber production, to the manufacturing, to the disposal by the consumer, every step in the process causes environmental harm. The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of carbon emissions and 20% of the wastewater produced globally according to the UN Partnership on Sustainable Fashion. Not to mention the hazardous conditions in which garment workers are forced to labor. The development of "fast fashion" - the cheap production of large quantities of garments intended to keep pace with ever-changing fashion trends - is exacerbating this situation. Many clothing items purchased today are only worn a handful of times before being discarded. A very small percentage are recycled, but most end up in a landfill. Consequently, in the last 15 years, the global production of clothes has almost doubled. Awareness is growing that we need to change the global supply chain for clothes in addition to our habits of consuming clothing.