With the growing concerns over the impact of fast fashion and the fashion industry on the environment, a striking environmental installation, Fashion Alley, has been created in one of the central parks of Latvia’s capital, Riga. The installation aims to encourage residents to rethink their clothing consumption habits and practice textile recycling. The Alley symbolically shows that there is only one step from stylish clothing to textile waste.
Just like in other parts of the world, Latvian residents frequently purchase new clothing – more than 50% of the population does it at least once every three months or more. However, only a third of the used clothing is properly recycled or disposed of in textile sorting containers.
In an effort to find solutions to reduce textile waste and promote a systemic approach to textile waste sorting and management, the leading environmental and waste management group in the Baltics, Eco Baltia, has launched a social campaign “Style-Textile.” As part of this campaign, an impressive environmental object, nearly 80 meters long, called Fashion Alley, has been created in one of the central parks of Riga. Hundreds of worn-out clothing items hang above the heads of the city’s residents and visitors, clearly demonstrating that there is only one step from the style created by clothing to textile waste.
European Union (EU) directives require that textiles have to be collected separately in all member states from 2025. Latvia, as one of the first EU countries, has already made textile sorting mandatory since the beginning of this year. However, regulatory legislation has not yet been developed that would regulate the implementation and management of the system, including the responsibility of textile manufacturers and retailers.
Annually, the world produces 100 billion tonnes of various textile products. Textile production can involve up to approximately 3,500 different chemical substances, some of which are harmful to human health.
The Fashion Alley installation serves as a powerful reminder of the need to rethink consumption habits and find solutions to reduce and recycle textile waste.