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Talk: The Dirty Side of the Clothing Industry: Is Fast Fashion Sustainable?

  • 3 Feb 2024
  • 1:15 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion

Registration is closed


Dr. Marlea Clarke is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She specialises in Comparative politics and the Global South (Africa). She is passionate about this topic and presents in a very engaging way. 

Dr. Clarke's talk will focus on the potential economic benefits of clothing production for the ‘fast fashion’ industry for workers and countries in Africa, while also drawing attention to the ‘dirty’ side of the global clothing industry – the environmental and health problems associated with the growth of fast fashion. The expansion of ‘fast fashion’ and growth of clothing production has raised some important and uncomfortable questions about the global clothing industry. On the one hand, the industry offers potential benefits in terms of creating employment and economic growth for individual countries, especially global south countries with limited manufacturing capacities. At the same time, the growth of the industry is hurting the planet and negatively affecting millions of workers. Indeed, the garment industry has a complex global supply chain with a massive ecological footprint from start-to-finish through resource production and extraction, the consumption of large amounts of water (for cotton cultivation, fabric dyeing and finishing) to the global transportation & distribution of garments. And what is bad for the environment is generally bad for workers’ health. Not only are workers threatened by unsafe buildings, but the use of chemicals also makes garment and textile factory work unsafe - even dangerous for many workers. This talk explores these issues, and highlights what workers, international organisations and clothing producers are trying to do to address the environmental and health effects of ‘fast fashion’.

It is hoped that attendees will bring a small donation (suggested $5) to be part of this session. The collected funds will be donated to the SLF in Dr. Clarke's name.

This book would be a great pre-read, if you like that kind of thing. It's called Worn: A People's History of Clothing by Sofi Thanhauser-1065014877 (1).epub. (To open this you need to have either a) the Apple Books app loaded onto your Mac or iPhone or iPad, or b) the willingness to download Adobe Digital Edition onto your PC:  https://www.adobe.com/solutions/ebook/digital-editions/download.html.)

(It's also available from the public library. :))

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