Reet Aus: I will stop designing when there is no more fabric waste
Reet Aus, a fashion designer and senior researcher at the Estonian Academy of the Arts (EKA), told ERR's morning show "Hommik Anuga" that all of her creations are made from fabric scraps discarded by large factories.
Aus has implemented the principle of value-added recycling in her fashion house. "You take an existing material and give it new life through design, creating a new product," she said.
What makes her concept special is that her brand works with large factories, where they produce locally from the leftovers of a particular factory.
"It is still a new fabric that has become a surplus or leftover during the manufacturing process. What would otherwise go to the waste dump and from there either to the landfill or if we are talking about Bangladesh, for example, where there is no waste treatment, most of it actually ends up somewhere in the natural environment."
Aus' design clothing is currently manufactured in Poland, Turkey and Bangladesh.
Aus said that her entire business approach stems from an inner conflict she experienced when she recognized that the fashion industry she had studied did not align with her personal beliefs.
She said that the fashion industry, especially the mass fashion or fast fashion sector, is entirely meaningless.
From an environmental perspective, she argued, nothing will change unless the business practices of inexpensive multinational brands are altered.
In this regard, she said that it is irrelevant whether she would still be able to use the leftover fabrics: "I assure you that I stop designing as soon as there are no leftover fabric scraps!"
The designer said that the fashion sector has a larger impact on the environment than aviation and sea transport combined and that regulation can make a difference.
"When the burden falls on brands, corporations begin to rethink their entire business models; they would not be able to continue in the same way," Aus said, adding that it will likely come down to the manufacturer's liability.
"Whoever puts a product on the market will have to take it back afterwards," she said, adding that this will change the thinking about what to put on the market.
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Editor: Kristina Kersa