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Gospel Value - Service & Fast Fashion

By Steve Read | Posted: Tuesday May 7, 2019

Greetings, Kia ora, Talofa, Malo e lei

We are hopeful that Kavanagh College's core Gospel values of Respect, Service, Justice and Truth will guide us in our actions and help us do the right thing. Let me take one of the values – Service.

You will find the following in our staff and student diaries.

We Serve our World
- Through making responsible, informed choices
- Through responding to the needs of our world

I believe an important aspect of a Catholic Education is making people more aware and, in some cases, encourage them to challenge the status quo. This week at assembly I challenged students to think about the impact fast fashion can have on the environment, resource use and their wallet.

Fast fashion describes cheap trendy clothing that are very quickly coming in and going out of style.

Fast fashion retailers are creating the demand as it is profitable business. Fuelling this demand is advertising such as Instagram promos and fashion magazines, that help generate the desire for items that are in vogue one month, and out the next.

Instead of replenishing their stock they replace the items that sell out with new items of a different style making our older clothes seem out dated and unfashionable. Also making us want to keep shopping for new trendier clothes.

The low cost means that fashion has come to be regarded as a disposable product, and externalities are not factored into the cost of production, hence there are various negative social costs not being accounted for.

They often use cheap labour in sweatshops, can cause chemical contamination in waterways and higher greenhouse gas emissions due to markets being distant from manufacturing sites.

Fast fashion also comes at a huge environmental cost. Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon and acrylic shed plastic fibres into the environment.

Because fast fashion is so cheap and disposable consumers are throwing their clothes away at unprecedented rates. According to the “Economist”, in Britain more than 300,000 tons of clothes end up in landfills each year.

Some brands also choose to incinerate their old stock rather than donate it because they claim it ruins their image.

The amount of waste the industry generates, as well as how much water and resources it uses, is increasing. Cotton production is a heavy user of water.

Buying ethical brands is also gaining traction with apps like “Good on You” giving brands ratings in terms of labour, environmental and animal standards.

Consider buying less or renting for special occasions. The mantra “reduce before recycle” comes to mind.

Food for thought and I hope this promotes some discussion around the dinner table.

God Bless

Steve Read
Acting Principal