World leaders faced fashion’s ‘Generation of Waste’ at COP26



Sustainable fashion collective confronted COP26 delegates with ambitious Blue Zone exhibition

Scotland’s ‘Generation of Waste’ sustainable fashion collective ensured fashion’s destructive contribution to the climate crisis cannot be ignored at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference with a towering installation demanding attention and action in the delegates-only Blue Zone.

Generation of Waste is a Scotland-based collective united for COP26. Sustainable Fashion Scotland, Zero Waste Design Online Collective, and luxury brand Beira have united in a bid to influence climate actions agreed upon by world leaders and help accelerate global systemic change for fashion.

Heriot-Watt University was represented by Dr Antoinette Fionda-Douglas and Professor Marylyn Carrigan.

Speaking about the exhibition, Dr Antoinette Fionda-Douglas said: “We really are so grateful for the support of our #GenerationofWaste project. The ‘voice’ of Heriot-Watt in terms of sustainable fashion has now been heard at COP26.

“From the beginning our aim has been to highlight the problem of textile waste, showcase best practice in sustainable fashion and demand a CALL TO ACTION to the policy makers and global leaders to make the fashion industry more accountable and I think we have achieved that.”

Generation of Waste’s towering bar chart exhibit communicates the scale of global textile waste throughout the lifecycle of clothing, from Design to End of Life. Evidenced policy call-to-actions will urge delegates to hold fashion accountable to the planet and to the various people employed at each stage of the textile value chain.

Dr Antoinette Fionda-Douglas, co-founder of Beira, explains, “Each pillar represents a different stage in the fashion lifecycle, showcasing the problems, solutions and key climate actions we need to take to address the industry’s catastrophic climate impact. Focusing on fashion’s generation of waste, the installation will tell the stories of inspiring initiatives across the globe, amplifying the incredible work already going on to tackle fashion’s environmental and social crisis at its root.”

57 million tonnes of textile waste generated globally per year pre-consumer (Runnel 2020);

92 million tonnes of textile waste generated globally per year post consumer (Niinimäki 2020);

Combined, approx. 144 million tonnes of textile waste is generated globally per year by fashion, equivalent to 2975 Hydro buildings.

Extending the legacy and impact of the project, an interactive digital representation of the installation will be created online, preceding a travelling tour of the physical sculpture to reach audiences beyond the Blue Zone during and after COP26.

The exhibition has been kindly sponsored by Ratti (innovative manufacturer of printed, plain, yarn-dyed and jacquard fabrics, featured as one of the sustainable solutions in the physical installation’s content), Heriot-Watt University, Zero Waste Scotland, Creative Informatics, AND Digital, and August Oosterbroek-Belanger.

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Susan Kerr