“What’s in my wardrobe and where was it made?" | Portsmouth High School

“What’s in my wardrobe and where was it made?”

Katie in Year 9 investigates how to become a fashion hero and talks of her hope that her generation will achieve a sustainable development for the fashion industry.

During the first half of the spring term in geography, we looked at the topic of globalisation. To start with, we discussed the positive and negative effects of both economic, political, and cultural globalisation around the world and went on to look at different foods in our fridge and where they came from. This helped us gain an idea of how many different types of goods, not just food, are involved in an international system to get products to the consumer. We would later use this understanding for our final assessment of looking at the fashion industry and how to become a fashion hero.

Before we began doing our project, we needed some knowledge on what goes on before the item of clothing is put up on a website or in a store. As a class we all looked at Nike first. I think this was a great example as Nike’s net worth is around $34.8 billion and, as a fast fashion brand, it must create thousands of products every day. This means that sweatshops have been associated with the clothing industry and we looked at different posters about the people who manufacture the clothes and equipment in sweatshops. As a class we learnt about the child labour, conditions of the sweatshops, the hours they worked and how much they get paid. Thinking about this in greater depth, and the ethical issues that surround the problem of child labour and sweatshops, really interested me as well as the environmental problems that are caused by the fashion industry.

For the assessment I decided to use PowerPoint as I could edit the pictures and fit a lot more information on each slide. My title was, “What’s in my wardrobe and where was it made?”. This included an annotated map of where each item came from around the world, writing about the country’s GDP, whether it was a low income country (LIC), medium income country (MIC) or high income country (HIC); why I thought it was made there; the materials used to make the item of clothing; the brand and other details like the country’s poverty rate which could justify why it was made in that country; and alternative materials to the ones that contribute to climate change. I also focused on how to become a sustainable shopper. I wrote a list of 10 things to change about the way we shop and did a slide on my favourite sustainable shops that I already buy items from. I also think it is important to educate yourself on the dangers of fashion because to become a fashion hero you need to understand how the industry operates.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about this topic in geography. It has made me so much more aware and conscious of where clothes come from and the effects that the whole process has on the world, economically, environmentally, and socially. I hope that for the future, my generation achieve a new globalisation into sustainable development and circular economy for the fashion industry.