Doha, Qatar – A group of high school students in Qatar are setting an eco-friendly trend by turning worn and damaged clothing into new fashion items such as bags, face masks and scrunchies.
Project Upcycling is a global event focused on sustainability, according to research presented at the 2018 Copenhagen Fashion Summit, highlighting the problem of large amounts of waste in the fashion industry while also promoting sustainability. attention to the greater need for Amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
The environmental impact of this waste is catastrophic. Man-made fibers such as polyester take 20 to 200 years to decompose.
Students at Qatar’s Birla Public School are on a mission to raise awareness of the environmental impact of ‘fast fashion’.
Under the banner of ‘Undo, Uplift, Upcycle’, students will see mass market retailers using low-quality and hazardous materials to meet the growing demand for the latest trends and make higher profits. We wanted to shine a spotlight on issues in the “fast fashion” industry that .
Nandini Mathur, Head of Design and Product Development at Project Upcycle, said:
“However, because such clothing is designed and manufactured for short-term use, large amounts of clothing end up in landfills each year.
“We wanted to make use of waste materials such as old and torn clothes and create something that could last for years. To make the most of every item and make it practical,” adds Mathur. I was.
In January 2022, the team began collecting old and torn clothes, mostly from friends and family. As their campaign gained momentum, they began receiving donations. They also searched for clothing that was rejected by charity because it was damaged.
Students create designs for bags and other items and submit them to local tailors, The Sewing Studio.
To sell our products, we worked with Ecosouk Qatar, a sustainable online store.
They “wanted to bring a culture of upcycling to Qatar,” Mathur said, adding that the fashion industry “is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and is often in conversations around sustainability and other environmental issues.” It’s been ignored,” he added.
“Our goal was to create something that would start a conversation and contribute to resolution,” she added.
Last February, students received the Global Act Impact Award (GAIA) as part of the Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Qatar project.
Fast fashion and its influence
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says the “fast fashion” industry is the second most polluting industry in the world.
According to 2018 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) data, about 7,500 liters of water are consumed to make one pair of jeans. This is the amount an average human consumes in her seven years.
The same data also show that this trillion-dollar industry accounts for about 10% of the world’s carbon footprint, more than all international flights and shipping combined.
Beyond its environmental impact, the fashion industry is responsible for poor and often appalling working conditions, especially for women, according to the 2018 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Because her 80% of the workforce across the supply chain is female. report.
Consumer awareness spotlight
While there is a growing awareness of the need for sustainable fashion, consumers are not always considering buying upcycled products.
“Most people have a very negative mindset about using upcycled products in the early days,” says Ivana Thomas of Project Upcycle. “The main question that goes through their minds is, ‘Why should we use products made from old post-consumer fabrics?
According to Prashansa Oruganti, the project’s head of social media, students will set up independent stalls at various community events to talk about sustainability while motivating and educating customers about sustainable fashion. .
She pointed out that people are often “surprised by the fact that the quality of old recycled materials is the same as that of standard materials.”