IN THE fashion industry where products are created based on what's on trend, which changes per season, having unsold items is unavoidable.
Although there are brands that opted to have some of their items on sale, there are also some, mostly the big and well-known brands, which choose to throw away or incinerate these unsold clothes to protect the brand's exclusivity and value.
According to a 2017 Ellen MacArthur Foundation report, the fashion industry pumps out more carbon dioxide than international flights and shipping combined. And as we all know, carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas.
These brands are not the only one who contribute, albeit indirectly, to global warming and environmental destruction through clothes. Consumers, who buy clothes practically every season just to be on trend, also play a part in harming our beloved Mother Earth.
Some consumers, who have too many clothes in their closet and are quick to find some of their items dull, tend to dispose of the clothes they don’t need.
Maybe some were donated to those in need of clothing, some might be recycled for other uses, but there are also others that end up in the landfill to rot, which perhaps will take a lot of years.
Yes, we do have begun addressing the problem of plastic, but how about the problem on clothes?
Angela Soriano, one of Cagayan de Oro City's well-known fashion designer, may have the solution.
Solving the problem with clothes
"As a designer I want to promote also the importance of having good quality clothes for each person who's actually willing or able to buy, not necessarily expensive clothes but has a good quality than having a lot of clothes in your closet that are cheap and has poor quality," Soriano said.
"This can cover a lot of issues: monetary, environment and quality of life you have," she added.
Soriano has been in the fashion industry for more than four years. A former hotelier, she found herself drawn to designing and creating clothes due to her grandmother's influence.
A "kikay" herself when she was still young, Soriano has experienced owning and keeping several clothes in her closet.
"As you could see a lot of women spend a lot of time going though their closet, spending too much time to think what to wear, and then spend another extra hour or two for their make-up and hair," Soriano said.
In terms of monetary, women, especially the millennial, tend to buy a lot of clothes that are on trend, according to Soriano.
"But you also have to think that if you always keep up with the trend, you're losing a lot of money and then you'll be wasting all those clothes also," she said.
She added that unless you can give it to someone who can actually make use of the clothes, people have the option to throw them away.
"In the city, we still don't have good solid waste management plan, even though we're doing this as plastic-free city. As a designer, and most especially the business owners, are still not convinced that they have a very good plan for that," Soriano said.
As a couture fashion designer that creates custom-made gowns and suits used for special occasions, Soriano said she is willing to help in the movement to promote the purchase and use of quality clothes that lasts for several years to address the issue concerning time, money, and most especially the environment.
"I'm willing to help and inform the people that this affects everything, the environment, your finances, and the quality of life," she said.
Say yes to quality clothes
"You have to have a good, few, quality clothes in your closet that you could use for the next five or ten years. When you have a child already, you can give it to them," Soriano said, as she shared some of her ideas on how to reduce clothing waste.
According to her, people should be conscious on how they spend their money. Some brands are very expensive but their items could last for several years. There are also affordable and have good quality, she added.
"Every time I have a meeting or I meet new clients, we discuss about it and, of course, they do agree with me also cause these people are very conscious about how they spend," Soriano said.
"For now, what we can do is to educate people what's the disadvantages of having this kind of lifestyle," Soriano said.
Soriano shared that they have plans to work with the media and coordinate with the local government unit to "let the people know the importance of having good quality clothes, not necessarily expensive, in their closet to save money, save the environment and have a good quality of life."
It may not have that huge effect to the people or brands in the fast fashion industry, however, Soriano said that it will start the change in how people choose their clothes and improve their quality of life.