Thứ Năm, Tháng Bảy 25, 2024
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[Mp4] Fashion’s toxic threads

From the high street to haute couture, fashion is a 1.3-trillion-dollar industry, but it comes with a hefty environmental price tag.

 

Cotton production is being blamed for depleting water sources and contaminating the environment with pesticides. Chemical waste from clothes manufacturing has devastated rivers in Asia, and some estimates suggest the fashion industry is on course to create 1/4 of projected global carbon emissions by 2050.

 

If you take design, a lot of it is “take, make, dispose.”

 

There’s another looming threat for the fashion industry, and it’s going to put clothing materials under the microscope like never before.

 

This man is known as the godfather of microplastic research. In fact, Professor Richard Thompson invented the term.

 

“Microplastics are basically just small fragments of plastic that are accumulating in the environment.”

 

His latest research has uncovered something that has sent shock waves around the fashion industry.

 

“The data we’ve collected show significant increase in the quantities of microplastic in the environment, and a lot of what we found in that study was plastic fibers.”

 

Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic are made of plastic fibers. These degrade and break up in a washing machine cycle.

 

“If we take a domestic washing load, that could release up to 700,000 fibers in a single wash. Now that’s gonna go to waste water treatment. Some of those fibers will be intercepted in waste water treatment, but a good number will potentially escape to the environment. The data suggests that they are accumulating year on year.”

 

Between 2000 and 2016, the use of polyester by the global garment industry increased from 8.3 to 21.3 million tons annually.

 

“1/3 of the fish that I collect from a sample in the English Channel near to here have got synthetic pieces in their guts. In 10, 20, 30 years time, the quantities in those organisms is only going be greater.”

 

The long term effects of these plastics in the food chain, and even in humans, are still unknown. But Professor Thompson’s discovery is ringing alarm bells.

 

“When I talk to designers, they tell me that shedding of fibers, and indeed, end-of-life recyclability was never part of the design brief.”

 

Environmental considerations like these are making some fashion brands go back to the drawing board.

 

Tom Kay has spent his life around the ocean. In 2003, he launched a brand that creates functional and sustainable products for those that share a love of the sea. His company is experimenting with different design processes in order to lessen its environmental impact.

 

“If you take design, a lot of it at the minute, is take, make, dispose. That is totally unsustainable. We really have to address the root of the problem, and that’s redesigning out harmful fibers, harmful fabrics, harmful processes.”

 

The company uses only organic cotton. It’s developed a recycled polyester insulation for jackets, and has created its very own wetsuit recycling program.

 

“Polymer, polyester, you can take it back and recycle it time, time and time again.”

 

Finisterre’s design team has also returned to one of the oldest materials known to man.

 

“This is really nice. I actually really love it in the navy.”

 

“We’ve been big fans of wool since we started. It’s a great fiber. It’s a natural fiber. It’s biodegradable and it’s fully traceable.

 

Finisterre is one of 2,700 B Corp approved Companies. Members, spanning many industries, are assessed on their environmental performance and have a legally binding commitment to put sustainability before profit.

 

“It isn’t a done deal, we want fifty years to deliver this. It’s the thing we work at every day to kinda improve on and get better at.”

 

One designer is turning fashions plastic problem on its head. Javier Goyeneche runs ECOALF. He’s taking plastics out of the ocean and turning them into shoes.

 

“These sneakers is the result of more than two years of R&D. They’re active, urban, comfortable. All the upper is made from 100% plastic bottles from the bottom of the ocean. The outsole is made from algae.”

 

And his shoes rarely go through a washing cycle. He’s limiting the plastic microfibers that end up in the ocean.

 

ECOALF is creating high-end fashion from household and industrial waste, sourced from fisherman in the Mediterranean and Thailand.

 

“We started working with three fishermen off the east coast of Spain and now we have nearly 3,000 fishermen taking waste out of the ocean every day. We’ve taken already 250 tons, which we then convert into polymer yarn, fabric, and products.”

 

But Javier’s also pioneering a new synthetic material made from recycled plastic that doesn’t shed fibers in the same way as current materials.

 

“We started a project one year ago, which is with the yarn we’re getting from the ocean, we want to start investing in how can we create a yarn that doesn’t throw microfilament to the system again?”

 

Javier is one of a growing number of boutique brands using recycled plastics.

 

“The way we do things are much more complicated, not only much more expensive, and at the end of the day, it’s much easier to go a fabric show, buy a fabric, produce a garment, and sell it.”

 

The sooner bigger fashion labels and brands follow suit, the cheaper this environmentally friendly clothing will become.

 

There are few laws regulating the use of synthetic materials in the fashion industry.

 

“Of course I’m concerned about the natural environment. I’m a marine biologist that works in marine habitats. Microplastics are consistent and we know that they’re accumulating and we know that we’re finding marine life encountering them on a regular basis.”

 

More research is needed into the potential harm caused by microplastics. But their very presence in the natural environment poses serious concerns and challenges for the fashion industry.

 

Can businesses accused of putting style over substance get to grip with the materials their using and impact they may be having on the planet?

 

Source: The Economist

WORD BANK:

the high street /ˈhaɪ ˌstriːt/ (n): thời trang phổ thông hoặc thời trang đường phố có chất lượng cao

haute couture /ˌəʊt kuːˈtjʊər/ (n): thời cao cấp

hefty /ˈhef.ti/ (adj): to lớn

deplete /dɪˈpliːt/ (v): làm cạn kiệt

devastate /ˈdev.ə.steɪt/ (v): tàn phá

be on course to do sth (v): dự kiến sẽ làm gì

dispose /dɪˈspəʊz/ (v): vứt bỏ

loom /luːm/ [C2] (v): rình rập

put sth under the microscope (idiom): cẩn thận xem xét cái gì

godfather /ˈɡɑdˌfɑð·ər/ (n – informal): người đầu tiên phát triển cái gì

microplastic /ˈmaɪ.krəʊˌplæs.tɪk/ (n): vi nhựa

term /tɜːm/ [B2] (v): thuật ngữ

fragment /ˈfræɡ.mənt/ (n): mảnh

accumulate /əˈkjuː.mjə.leɪt/ [C2] (v): tích tụ

shock wave /ˈʃɒk ˌweɪv/ (n): cơn chấn động

fiber /ˈfaɪ.bər/ (n): sợi nhựa

synthetic /sɪnˈθet.ɪk/ (adj): tổng hợp

degrade /dɪˈɡreɪd/ (v): phân hủy

intercept /ˌɪn.təˈsept/ (v): chặn lại

garment /ˈɡɑː.mənt/ [C1] (n): ngành may mặc

gut /ɡʌt/ (n): ruột

shed /ʃed/ (v): loại bỏ

recyclability (n): khả năng tái chế

brief /briːf/ [B1] (n): bản tóm tắt

back to the drawing board (idiom): phải làm lại từ đầu

functional /ˈfʌŋk.ʃən.əl/ (adj): hữu dụng

sustainable /səˈsteɪ.nə.bəl/ [C1] (adj): bền vững

experiment /ɪkˈsper.ɪ.mənt/ [B1] (v): thử nghiệm

at the minute (idiom): ngày nay

fabric /ˈfæb.rɪk/ [C1] (n): vải

organic /ɔːˈɡæn.ɪk/ [B2] (adj): hữu cơ

insulation /ˌɪn.sjəˈleɪ.ʃən/ (n): cách nhiệt

wetsuit /ˈwet.suːt/ (n): đồ lặn

a big fan of sth (idiom): thực sự yêu thích cái gì

biodegradable /ˌbaɪ.əʊ.dɪˈɡreɪ.də.bəl/ (adj): có thể phân hủy sinh học

traceable /ˈtreɪ.sə.bəl/ (adj): có thể truy xuất nguồn gốc

assess /əˈses/ [B2] (v): đánh giá

legally binding /ˈli.ɡə.li ˈbaɪn.dɪŋ/ (adj): có ràng buộc về mặt pháp lý

commitment /kəˈmɪt.mənt/ (n): cam kết

turn sth on its head (idiom): hoàn toàn thay đổi cái gì

R&D (n): nghiên cứu và phát triển

urban /ˈɜː.bən/ [B2] (adj): hiện đại

outsole /ˈaʊt.səʊl/ (n): đế ngoài (giày)

algae /ˈæl.ɡiː/ (n): tảo

high-end /ˌhaɪˈend/ (adj): cao cấp

yarn /jɑːn/ (n): sợi len

pioneer /ˌpaɪəˈnɪər/ [C2] (v): đi tiên phong

microfilament /ˈmaɪ.krəʊ ˈfɪl.ə.mənt/ (n): vi sợi

boutique /buːˈtiːk/ (n): cửa thời trang nhỏ

at the end of the day (idiom): rốt cục thì

follow suit (idiom): làm theo

regulate /ˈreɡ.jə.leɪt/ [C1] (v): quy định

pose /pəʊz/ [C1] (v): gây ra (khó khăn / thách thức)

accuse sb of sb /əˈkjuːz/ [B2] (v): buộc tội ai về điều gì

get to grip with sth (v): nắm bắt, hiểu rõ về cái gì


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