Fast fashion is having a devastating effect on the earth. Each year an estimated 92 million tons of waste ends up in landfills or being burned. The UK alone contributes roughly £142 million worth of this clothing and textile waste each year.
Denim jeans are a staple in most wardrobes and many new styles or trends of jeans are released regularly. However, there are many environmental issues that surround the production of denim. As denim is made from cotton, a plant that requires a lot of water, it can take around 1,800 gallons of water to produce just one pair of jeans. During production of these garments, even the leftover scraps are often tossed as they cannot be used and are no longer needed. Additionally, the chemicals used to dye jeans and pesticides used in the production of cotton also cause harm to the environment. Not only is dye used to colour jeans, but some are even put through various chemical washes where chemicals and other toxins can leach into water streams.
The rate at which clothes are being produced and discarded in landfills, especially materials like denim, is seriously harmful to the environment and it must change. The best way to make this change is to engage in a circular fashion economy as opposed to the current linear fashion industry.
Currently the fashion industry is linear, where materials are taken from the earth, often unethically, to make products which are then thrown out when no longer wanted or when the trend has died.
Circular fashion is the idea that a garment will continue to circulate until it can no longer physically fulfil its purpose due to extreme wear and tear. In other words, the material or product will be kept circulating for as long as possible before ending up in a landfill. In the circular fashion industry, the materials of a garment must be sustainable and when the owner of the garment no longer has use for it, it should be repurposed or repaired rather than being thrown in the bin and then either sold on second hand, swapped or if repurposed then reused. The idea of this is to consume less, buy less and reduce the amount of clothing in landfills contributing to the climate crisis.
This is where the brand ReJean fills the gap in Scotland. ReJean is a circular fashion brand that repurposes denim to make jackets, skirts, scrunchies and even tote bags. The company is at the forefront of sustainable fashion in Glasgow. They have a core range of products, a made to order service and a repair shop where they offer to fix products either made by them or another brand. It gives the garment another lease of life and stops it from ending up in a landfill. When making their products, they source the denim from around the UK in a bid to keep carbon emissions low.
The brand states that “sustainability is not an add-on or a buzzword, it’s part of our DNA”, and they back this up with their products and transparency around their sustainability. This is a fresh take from other fashion brands who market themselves as sustainable due to using recycled materials, yet release new launches every other week. They are a zero waste fashion brand who ensure no more clothing waste ends up in landfills by repurposing garments and using scraps to make accessories or for patchwork. The products are solely produced in the East End studio they occupy by the founder Siobhan Mckenna.
While ReJean may have a high price point and many may find it unaffordable in their situation, the garments produced are of high quality. ReJean is made in Glasgow and is ethically and sustainably sourced, so if you do have the cash to spend it is definitely worth the price. However, for those wanting to contribute less to the toxic cycle that is fast fashion and shop more sustainably, there are other ways to do this, for example by shopping second hand. Alternative apps like Depop, Vinted and Vestaire allow individuals to purchase products second hand and sell on their own unwanted items.