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Focus on fashion’s impacts on the environment

A more ethical approach in consumer habit and of shopping and consuming fashion would benefit the environment in the long run by making use of the power of recycling and reusing instead of just disposing, said Dawn Lee of La Vida Sdn Bhd. She made these comments at the Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) Eco-Chat Series.

BIBD through SME 360 Series of the Sustainable Nation Campaign, recently brought the curtain down on its Eco Chat Series with a final dialogue session that discussed the fast fashion and its negative impacts on the environment.

The forum featured prominent speakers such as Susannah Jaffer, Founder of Zerrin (Singapore); Farhanna Pura, President of Fashion Designers Alliance (FDA) and founder of Naforrer; Jasmine Tuan, Creative Brand Consultant and Sustainable Fashion Advocate of Smiles Like Green Spirit and Cloop (Singapore), Dawn Lee, La Vida Sdn Bhd; Aisyah Azlan, Designer of Etah Studio; and Wan Wia’am of Thryffy Brunei.

The panel highlighted the negative impact of fast fashion which focusses on mass production of cheap, poor quality and disposable clothing – devastating and damaging the environment and planet in the long run.

Farhanna of Naforrer emphasised that the fashion industry represents an important part of the economy and that it can play a big role in advancing the local and global sustainability agenda through ethical design and production practices.

Lee from La Vida also pointed out that while the fashion sector is booming, increasing attention has been brought to the wide range of negative environmental impacts that the industry is responsible for.

The Eco Chat speakers discussing fast fashion. PHOTO: BIBD

Aisyah of Etah Studio said it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure the creation of a circular fashion industry and its economy by utilising well existing resources to avoid waste.

Renowned Singapore-based sustainable fashion advocate Jasmine Tuan said the future of fashion should not be manipulated by trend but rather inspired by genuine and responsible designs and production methods.

Wan of Thryffy Brunei seconded the notion and said that consumers have grown to realise the importance of sustainability and tend to support pure, genuine and mindful business ideas.

Another speaker from Singapore, Susannah Jaffer also expressed her belief that the fashion industry should remain circular and independent.

Towards the end of the forum, the speakers noted that conscious fashion is still a relatively young concept in Brunei and that raising awareness about the issue is the first step in tackling the overall problem in fast fashion.

A holistic approach and intervention from all stakeholders needs to be implemented in the supply chain to ensure that the issue of sustainability is effectively addressed, and that the environment is protected by the fashion industry.

The Eco Chat Series was a five-series dialogue sessions which was run in partnership between Community for Brunei and ASEAN Youth Advocates Network (AYAN) Brunei and was intended to be a cataylst for change and education by starting a conversation and educating the public with industry experts and stakeholders.

Among the topics covered in the Eco Chat Series were climate crisis, sustainable development goals, plastic pollution and fast fashion. The series, which was opened to the public and live-streamed to the wider community, featured speakers from BIBD, the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat, Green Brunei, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Shell LiveWIRE Brunei, and sustainability and environmental advocates from neighbouring countries.

Within one of BIBD’s Sustainability Framework pillar – Responsible Entrepreneurship, BIBD SME360 hopes to provide this platform for businesses to learn and understand their business model and how they can partake towards building a business that helps create a sustainable nation, and support His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adatul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Government aim of Net Zero by 2050.