6 inspiring TED talks that will make you rethink your fashion choices

These 6 powerful TED talks will inspire you to recycle, reuse and re-invent your wardrobe in ways that reduce the impact of your style on the environment.

This section on Ethical Fashion is made possible with the support of Bhu:Sattva

In a world where Fast Fashion has been gaining exponential momentum, sustainable fashion has become an urgent need and a responsibility to be shared by fashion brands, designer labels, and customers alike – by making conscious production and consumption choices.

These inspiring TED talks by innovative designers from around the world could just be what you needed for motivation to recycle, reuse and re-invent your wardrobe in a way that reduce the impact of your style on the environment.


1. Wearing nothing new – Jessi Arrington

Jessi‘s luggage for a week long trip comprised of only 7 pairs of underwear. No more, no less. A designer by profession and a fan of playing dress-up, she spent her time thriftshopping in LA and putting together outfits for TEDActive. Secondhand shopping allows her an adventure a day, and also helps reduce her carbon footprint, she says. The video reveals how Jessi puts together unique looks, sometimes for just 50 USD! Each crazy, colourful outfit is a win.


2. Growing your own clothes – Suzanne Lee

In this highly informative video, designer Suzanne Lee, Director of the BioCouture Project shares her experiments in collaborating with scientists to grow living, bio-based materials that can be used to make clothing.. The process itself is enthralling and the results are beautiful. Growing your own fabric may not be as practical as buying pre-owned clothes but it definitely has a lot of potential in a world that is toying with innovative fabrics and materials.

3. Redressing the fashion industry – Orsola De Castro

Orsola de Castro is the founder of From Somewhere, a UK based brand that recycles clothing scraps and fabric remnants from the luxury garment industry to create unique and eclectic garments. In this very insightful talk, she hails upcycling as a design solution to an environmental problem of massive proportions. An up-cycling pioneer, she believes in transforming what’s seemingly useless into avant-garde fashion, fostering in the process, a healthier attitude towards sustainability in fashion. Having collaborated with retail giants like ASOS and Topshop, she is now mentoring young designers under the initiative Esthetica.



4. A solution for a sustainable fashion industry – Fredrik Wikholm

“Every year we throw away 30 kilos of clothes, and the textile industry is one of the world’s top 5 polluters. So, how can we make the fashion industry more sustainable?” Co-founder and creative director of Uniforms for the Dedicated, Fredrik Wikholm challenges the fashion world to take action now with his new innovation “The Rag Bag”-a recycling scheme developed to educate customers about textile recycling, help them recycle clothing, shoes and handbags, which in turn assists schools in the UK raise funds.

5. You are what you wear – Dr. Christina Dean

Dr. Christina Dean talks about how she noticed, one day, that she owned 19 pairs of jeans! – an observation that got her thinking about what resources go into manufacturing a single pair of jeans. Denim jeans are manufactured using cotton, one of the world’s thirstiest crops. About 6000 litres of water are required to produce 680 grams of cotton used to make a single pair. That’s a lot of water! Now, look into your own wardrobe and do the math. Does fashion really have to cost the earth? Christina goes on to talk about how all textiles are a hundred percent recyclable. It is absolutely unreasonable to fill up landfills when we can reuse or donate our old clothes.



6. Changing the world through fashion – Eva Kruse

Can a fashion lover truly be sustainable when all she wants is style? A pioneer of sustainable fashion, Eva Kruse heads the Danish Fashion Institute where she advocates that style and sustainability can be great bedfellows. She is also the brain behind the world’s largest sustainable fashion event, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. In this powerful talk, she draws attention to the gravely polluting and exploitative nature of the global fast fashion industry while also suggesting how individuals, societies, and the industry can help transform it.


Featured image is a Youtube video screengrab


The Sustainable Fashion Hub is a series that examines shifts in the the global fashion industry to more sustainable and ethical practices and processes, with a special focus on India. It explores what goes into creating a just and sustainable fashion value chain – from the creation of garments and lifestyle accessories to making them available to consumers. All content on the hub is produced with 100% editorial independence by The Alternative. 

The Hub is supported by logo, India’s first certified organic designer apparel brand. With products that are directly sourced from organic cotton farmers at fair trade terms. Bhu:Sattva® uses natural colours, vegetable and herb dyes and goes further to work on reviving various forms of traditional weaving and handloom. Information on its products and processes can be found at http://www.bhusattva.com


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