Carbon reduction of 100 M tonnes "thanks to" COVID-19. Here's my take on the future of fashion
The heartbreaking outbreak of the COVID-19 (the type of Coronavirus) in China has been having a lethal effect on People, but simultaneously a positive impact on the Planet. The changes happening in the fashion industry because of it, I believe society will benefit from in the long run. How? I'm glad you asked!
Made in China
As you know, China is well-known for its apparel manufacturing activities. "Made in China" can be found in I bet a large percentage of your wardrobe (I sure am guilty as charged). These clothes have been made in fast paced production processes, which have been powering the Fast Fashion industry. But the tides are turning.
With the outbreak of the epidemic in Wuhan, the Chinese government has installed a lock-down for everyone in the area. This means that no one is allowed to leave their house. Everyone is ordered to stay inside and food delivered is to be picked up a couple of minutes after the courier has left. How do I know this? Well, I work with a Material Scientist whose family lives in Wuhan. She told me how her family is experiencing this as their new reality.
Clearly, change is happening to society, but also to the planet. Let's consider these two stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 outbreak: (1) the People, and (2) the Planet
But first, WHAT is the Coronavirus?
The new virus has been named SARS-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19.
Experts believe that an infected animal may have first transmitted the virus to people at a market that sold live fish, animals and birds in Wuhan. The market was later shut down and disinfected, making it nearly impossible to investigate which animal may have been the exact origin.
Bats are considered a possible source, because they have evolved to coexist with many viruses, and they were found to be the starting point for SARS. It is also possible that bats transmitted the virus to an intermediate animal, such as pangolins, which are consumed as a delicacy in parts of China, and may have then passed on the virus to humans.
The outbreak grew because of human-to-human transmission.
Symptoms of this infection include fever, cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. The illness causes lung lesions and pneumonia. But milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, making detection difficult.
(1) the People
The outbreak started in Wuhan because of
Time Magazine reports: "There were 72,436 confirmed cases of people infected with Coronavirus in mainland China as of Feb. 17, according to the National Health Commission with the death toll at 1,868"
Today, the virus has spread across Europe, from Italy to Finland and the UK. I live in Denmark and already the first patient diagnosed with the virus is in Roskilde, the city next to Copenhagen. Great...
Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Surgeons are ordered to wash their hands at least 3 minutes before going into surgery.
Sterile hands, people. Sterile hands. Kill those germs. A little OCD would not do harm.
(2) the Planet
Time Magazine recently reported that the outbreak of COVID-19 has cut China's Carbon Emissions by 100 Million Metric
Tons. That is about the same amount that the country Chile emits in an entire year.
The big question now is, what does this outbreak mean for the fashion industry?
My take on the future of fashion production
OK, let's talk about fashion shows. Every year, religiously, the European capital cities of Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Paris, and Milan are the scene for the latest collections of appointed fashion designers making or maintaining their name. It's a place where the world comes together.
Fashion Weeks 2020 and my absence of it
This year I've been to Berlin, Copenhagen, and London during the respective fashion weeks. Did I attend shows though? No, I could not be bothered as I just get upset seeing that this industry is not pushing the envelope enough to create a healthier ecosystem for circular fashion to thrive in. Instead, I went to trade shows and meetings to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and to bundle our strengths in a few new projects.
What will it take for me to become a big fan of watching fashion shows? I'm glad you asked! I can answer this in 2 words: Virtual Reality
If fashion shows become virtual, there will no longer be a 'need' to fly out the hundreds if not thousands of people that are involved in the events. Moreover, the clothes shown are fake, meaning that there has been no physical waste in the production process. There would also be no need to put models into hair & make-up (a super pollutive scenario because of all chemicals involved in the products).
The planet would be able to take a breather from fashion's hectic, and I belief the people as well. Imagine how exhausting all these events are altogether? Would you not rather be entertained from the comfort of your own home or a friend's house? At fashion shows people compare their own outfit with that of others. A constant (perhaps subconscious) activity that just exhausts your brains as it consumes significant amounts of your energy.
Should we be worried or delighted? I'll let you answer that.
China is also a major supplier of raw materials and fabrics to the European fashion industry. But the virus has seen parts of China put under quarantine, flights halted and many factories closed in early 2020.