For this week’s edition of ‘8Shades Of’, we’re talking to Christina Dean – the unstoppable founder of pioneering Hong Kong-based NGO Redress, whose mission is to reduce waste in the fashion industry.
Redress advocates for sustainable fashion in all forms, from educational programmes and collecting unwanted clothing to creating their own upcycled fashion brand The R Collective and opening a second-hand clothes boutique, The Redressed Closet, in Sham Shui Po.
We chat to Christina about how she become interested in sustainable fashion, her tips for reducing waste in your wardrobe and what changes fashion brands should be making to help the environment.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I am a sustainable fashion advocate who loves nothing better than rescuing, reusing and recycling textile waste in order to make fashion more sustainable and responsible.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I love fashion and I think it can be a wonderful creative force for good. Currently, that’s not happening enough and instead, fashion is wreaking havoc on the planet. I got into this work because of my previous careers; I was a dentist with a love of public health and I was a journalist writing about environmental issues. When I discovered how polluting the fashion industry is – which has an impact on public health inadvertently – I became passionate about raising awareness about sustainability in fashion.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
I only wear reused or recycled textile clothes, so I avoid virgin materials with a passion. My not-so-green one is that I have four kids!
4. Favourite eco brand?
Being completely biased, I’d have to say The R Collective! Further from home, I love all charity shops, including The Redressed Closet in Hong Kong.
5. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?
Anything pumped with tofu!
6. What is something about waste in the fashion industry that you think more Hong Kongers should be aware of?
That every second the equivalent of one dumper truck of textiles is either landfilled or incinerated around the world, and that WE – as in, all people – are part of this problem and, more importantly, the solution.
7. What are some simple tips for people looking to have a more sustainable wardrobe? And what changes would you like to see fashion brands themselves making in terms of sustainability?
There are so many approaches to a sustainable wardrobe but the simplest answer is to keep the clothes you own in active use for as long as possible – have fun with restyling and get repairing, caring or swapping clothes to keep them out of landfill.
Meanwhile, I’d love to see more brands taking courageous decisions to pilot, innovate and bring in new sustainable business practices – from the product, like integrating sustainable raw materials and making their items better quality and more durable; to other customer services, like starting clothing takebacks for customers through to offering more repair and resale services.
8. What shade of green are you and why?
I’m a pop of bright green – optimistic, enthusiastic and with a determined smile on my face to shine more light onto all things green!
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