What is Cop26, and what's it got to do with fashion?
Cop26 is short for Conference of the Parties and is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference which is happening from 31 October to 12 November 2021. The first was held in Berlin back in 1995, so you can understand what Greta Thunberg is getting at when she told the Youth4Climate conference in Milan that it’s all a lot of ‘blah blah’ and ‘empty words and promises’.
This year the world’s policy makers, business leaders, campaigners and NGOs are meeting in Glasgow, which is why, if you are in the UK, you’re probably hearing more about it than usual. It is being seen by many as a particularly important one as we are reaching the point of no return in terms of the ever increasing temperature of the planet and the disastrous implications caused by our desire to make and buy more and more stuff. From the clothes we wear to the phones we buy, from the flights we take to the meat we eat, they are all part of the problem that is causing our planet to overheat.
Does it mean I have to stop enjoying fashion?
Clothing and footwear production accounts for around 2-8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions according to the United Nations Fashion Alliance. So yes, buying less and better is, the number one call to action, but you can still have fun with your wardrobe by finding new ways to style the clothes you already own. Take care of your favourite staples by sewing a button or mending holes, and buy only when necessary.
The other most impactful thing we can do is wash our clothes less and better, too. Turn the temperature down to 30 degrees and line dry rather than tumble dry. Use a damp cloth to sponge off superficial stains rather than throwing an item straight into the washing machine.
How are we taking part?
We are proud to have been selected by YOOX and the UK's Department for International Trade in Italy as one of eight British brands for the 'UK Fashion for a Sustainable Future' pop-up gallery currently at YOOX.com in celebration of Cop26 twin host city Milan. The selection process was based on the UN sustainability criteria including innovation, design and manufacture to ensure product longevity, enabling repair, reuse and recycling, sustainable use of natural resources and sustainable and socially inclusive business models.
At Ninety Percent, we are constantly striving to reduce our impact, which means being responsible from the way we source our materials, ensuring we have safe and respectful working environments, making our clothing durable and long lasting, to our stewardship of water. We ensure that chemical contamination and microfibre pollution are mitigated at every stage. We also have internal commitments to limit unnecessary production deliveries and off-set against our customer deliveries. This is all work in progress but we want you to know what we are doing in an open and transparent way. You can read more on our Responsible Brand Commitment.
How can I get involved in Cop26?
You don’t have to be a politician. There are lots of ways to take part in events happening in Glasgow and online.
🌍 Check out the events page of the Climate Fringe website for a range of activities, events, film screenings and workshops both online and if you happen to be in Glasgow. You can also take part in the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice in both Glasgow and London on November 6.
🌍 Don’t miss the nine open studio events being hosted by Fashion Open Studio with the British Council’s The Climate Connection global programme. Designers from Turkey to Thailand have been selected to open up their studios virtually to talk about how they are working to reduce their impact and respond to the Cop26 themes of Adaptation and Resilience and Nature. Register for the digital events here.
Get inspired and be the change
If you want to do more to campaign about climate change, join an activism movement and make your voice heard. If you’re after a bit of inspiration, Extinction Rebellion founding member Tamsin Omonde has just written a short book called Do Earth where they tell the story of their life as an activist and outline healing strategies for humankind. They recommend a list of inspiring groups and people to follow including @chicksforclimate where feminism and environmentalism join forces. This makes complete sense because, according to the UN’s own research, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.
Image source: COP26