Yorkshire has a proud history at the forefront of fashion, dating back to when the region drove textile production for the nation through its countless cotton and wool mills.
Now the industry is entering a new chapter in which there is a growing tension between sustainable and environmentally-friendly producers of clothing and goods and so-called ‘fast fashion’ in which items are produced cheaply in financial terms but with the huge cost of being associated with both poor working conditions and high carbon emissions.
It is clear that the former needs to win out for the good of consumers, workers and the planet and there are already many wonderful examples in Yorkshire of sustainable fashion businesses run by talented and committed owners and staff.
But more needs to be done and not only by the industry itself.
Around 921,000 tonnes of used clothes are thrown out by households every year - indicating we should all strive more where possible to buy higher-quality and longer-lasting items than cheaper items that are often a false economy because of their disposable nature. That said, clothing a family on a budget is no easy task and it is no surprise shoppers turn to less-expensive options, particularly when there is so much of it on the market.
It is encouraging that high-street names like Primark signing up to a new initiative to cut their carbon emissions by 50 per cent in the coming years.
With shoppers increasingly environmentally-conscious, the region’s proud tradition of clothing manufacture and local businesses already leading the way, Yorkshire has an ideal chance to be at the forefront of a sustainable new future for fashion.
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