Fast Fashion: The Dark Sides of Fashion, conceived by the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, takes a critical look at the consequences of fashion consumption for its producers and the environment. It encourages visitors to rethink their consumer behaviour and to get involved in dealing with its impact. The Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK) supplements the examination of fast fashion with insights into the Berlin slow fashion world. As the hub of the international fair fashion world, Berlin is a source of numerous innovative ideas about how fashion can be used sustainably while still being fun.
The Global Fast Fashion Industry
The biggest “fashion sins” are committed even before garments reach the stores. The production of a single cotton T-shirt consumes 2700 litres of water, which regularly ends up spreading toxic pollutants into the rivers after being used in chemical dying processes. People living in countries such as Bangladesh suffer from persistent environmental pollution and contaminated ground water. In those countries women mostly earn their living as seamstresses in the clothing industry. Increasing numbers of consumers now classify the women’s working conditions and wages as unfair. How can a T-shirt cost less than a cappuccino? The section of the exhibition examining fast fashion explains how the global fast fashion industry functions and how producers and consumers are interconnected.
Fair and Sustainable: Slow Fashion
Public interest in fair fashion is increasing as a result of the public discourse about the consequences of fast fashion for people and the environment. The section of the exhibition about slow fashion provides information about the Berlin fair fashion scene. Neonyt, the world’s largest fair fashion fair, takes place in Berlin every year. Designers and creative minds set trends and develop innovative approaches and materials while seeking to slow down the fashion cycle. The MEK presents Berlin pioneers of fair and sustainable fashion who explain what they consider to be fair and sustainable – from environmentally friendly upcycling and fair production conditions to garments made out of certified fabrics and clothing exchange parties.