Is It Time to Rethink Our Wardrobes?

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What Happens Next?

The Handmaid’s Tale. Brave New World. Mad Max. Fictional dystopias have never seemed so close to becoming reality. Is it too late to change our course 
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You take the bus to work, you turn off the lights when you’re not using them, and you’ve embraced meatless Mondays. You’re doing your part to save the planet. But there’s one massive issue that many of us overlook, even though it surrounds us – textile waste.

From furniture and home decor to toy manufacturing, medical supplies and more, textiles are literally the fabric of our lives. Unless you’re a dedicated nudist, you’re covered in them from head to toe. And when it comes to truly making a difference for the planet on an individual level, our wardrobes are a great place to start.

Consider your t-shirts, for example. More than 15 billion t-shirts are produced worldwide each year. More than half of these are disposed of in under 12 months, contributing to more than 315,000 tonnes of textile waste per year in Australia. When the entire supply chain of a single item of clothing is taken into account, including supplies, labour, and eventual disposal, our casual attitude towards clothing is truly shocking. It's time to reconsider our relationship with clothing.

‘What Happens Next?’ returns this week with a new topic – slow fashion. How is the way we currently consume fashion pressuring the environment and supply chain? Where will we find ourselves in 50 years if our behaviours don’t change? And importantly… what will we wear?

This week on Monash University’s podcast, host Dr Susan Carland is joined by MSDI’s Aleasha McCallion and Julie Boulton; Dr Eloise Zoppos, an applied researcher at the Australian Consumer and Retail Studies Unit in the Monash Business School; fashion editor Janice Breen Burns; and designer and Instagram influencer Nicole McLaughlin.

Nicole’s Instagram account

A full transcription of this episode is available on Monash Lens.

‘What Happens Next?’ will be back next Friday with part two of this series, “Can We Put the Brakes on Fast Fashion?”. In the meantime, go on an interactive journey with a circular fashion-friendly t-shirt.

If you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe on your favourite podcast app, and rate or review ‘What Happens Next?’ to help listeners like yourself discover it.

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What Happens Next?

A Monash University podcast that examines some of the biggest challenges facing our world and asks t 
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