Early this morning, UN scientists released what is ostensibly their ‘biggest ever’ scientific report on climate change, which clearly states that humanity’s negative impact on the climate crisis is a ‘statement of fact’. In a timely fashion, last weekend, Greta Thunberg graced the cover of Vogue Scandinavia’s first ever issue, simultaneously slamming the fashion industry for its great contribution to the climate crisis. Focusing especially on fast fashion, Greta stated that ‘greenwashing’ is one of the prime culprits of the false narrative that brands utilise to make themselves seem more sustainable. In her Sunday evening tweet, she stated that “The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate-and ecological emergency, not to mention its impact on the countless workers and communities who are being exploited around the world in order for some to enjoy fast fashion that many treat as disposables.”

This comes as no surprise, as the document, which is comprised of a digest of reports that will be published periodically in the coming months, clearly states that ‘we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet.’ Taking into consideration the climate catastrophes that have taken place in the last five years and most recently the wildfires spread across Greece, paired with this summer’s global heatwave and massive floods, it becomes evident that we must act fast instead of procrastinating around the imminent climate crisis. According to the document, “the Arctic is likely to be practically ice-free in September at least once before 2050 in all scenarios assessed”. Among many other facts, it has also stated that the acidity levels in oceans, as well as their temperature, will increase, and extreme heatwaves will be more frequent.

As for fashion, it is imperative that an industry of such colossal size take large steps to reduce its carbon emissions. Delaying the matter will not help, and the UN’s report is hard, cold fact – large brands’ efforts are appreciated, but simply not enough. It is also important to understand that climate crisis is not politics, and there are no sides. It is factual, as the report has proven. Therefore, in our job as consumers and society as a whole, it seems appropriate that we reassess and rethink the way we see fashion and clothing consumption. Is the urge to buy a new piece so powerful that it absolutely overrides our desire to make a good impact? Us who preach and stand on the side of change but make no conscious effort as consumers to abolish the status quo? It is simply not enough to wait until our favourite brands make an attempt at becoming ‘more sustainable’ in order to binge buy. As consumers, it is time to shed our unhealthy habits when it comes to buying clothing. Change comes from within – we must be introspective in order to take individual steps towards our goal, because as the UN report states, “for many of these consequences, there’s no going back’”

Vogue Scandinavia N°1 August/September 2021. Greta Thunberg, photographed by Iris and Mattias Alexandrov Klum and styled by Konca Aykan

Sources: bbc.com, DW.com, voguescandinavia.com