Through the last week of October, Atlantans will have the opportunity to see how they can look good, save money – and make a positive impact on the environment.
Event creator Tanjuria Willis said that the first annual Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta will offer “fashion shows from amazing designers, international panelists including the U.K., German Fashion Council and African Fashion Guide, demonstrations and pop-up boutiques where you can shop the sustainable brands.”
Willis is the owner of eKlozet Designer Consignment Boutique. She explained that the store offers up to 70% off retail on gently used designer brand clothing while providing a personal shopping experience for each customer.
The purchase of pre-owned clothing makes sense for customers and for the planet. “Buying secondhand clothing that already exists slows the fashion cycle and keeps clothes out of landfills by giving them new life,” Willis said.
She was inspired by her 8-year-old daughter to create Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Through it, Willis hopes to make Atlanta – and the world – better for the next generation by helping “increase consumer awareness of sustainable and upcycle clothing and educate consumers while creating a platform for sustainable designers to showcase their collections.”
Fashion and the environment
A BBC article in March 2020 reported that the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater. Fashion also uses more energy than both aviation and shipping combined.
A big part of the problem is “fast fashion.” Consumers are pushed to buy new clothing seasonally to stay on trend while they dispose of barely used items.
“Textiles are the second largest pollutant to the landfills, most of which is fast fashion that is made using non-sustainable products and, in most cases, in toxic manufacturing plants offering low paying wages,” Willis explained. “This is contributing to global warming and is detrimental to the survival of future generations.”
In 2018, more than 17 billion tons of textile went into landfills, according to the EPA, and those textiles can take over 200 years to decompose, as documented in a Roadrunner article by Rachel Brown in January 2021.
“Our goal is to continue to grow Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta to a full week of events with additional events throughout the year, bridging the gap between sustainable brands and mainstream stores,” Willis said. She added that she hopes Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta will help consumers shop sustainable fashions with ease.
The First Annual Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta is scheduled for October 28-30.
Highlights of the week include a Kickoff Reception with Runway Fashion Show, presentations featuring sustainable and ethical designers, a Breakfast Meet & Greet with designers, and a Halloween-themed closing party.
Willis pointed out that, thanks to Ackerman & Co, Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta will be hosted at Lee + White right off the Atlanta BeltLine. “With the support of our colleagues at InvestAtlanta and WEI Atlanta, we look forward to bringing Sustainable Fashion Week to the community of the ‘Warehouse Row’ redevelopment in the Historical West End,” she said.
There are several ways to get involved with Sustainable Fashion Week Atlanta, Willis shared. First, stay informed by visiting the website, atlsfw.com; there you can sign up for the newsletter and purchase tickets. Prices range from $35 for one-day general admission to $150 for a VIP Weekend Package.
Also on the website are applications for anyone who wishes to volunteer. Designers can apply to show their collections on the runway, and sustainable businesses can apply to be featured at the concept pop-up boutique.