In 2007, I took the Master Composter/Recycler course from the City of Edmonton, learning about waste reduction. Years later, another Master Composter/Recycler, Robyn, had come across the Toronto Repairathon's website and proposed a meeting for everyone interested in the concept. I walked out of that meeting as the coordinator of Edmonton Repairathon. I had no idea at the time that it would lead me into a journey of discovery about how polluting and dehumanizing the fashion world is.
While efforts are underway to reduce the environmental footprint of fashion and improve worker conditions and pay fair wages, the blame is primarily put on large "fast fashion" companies. Consumers are complicit when they demand garments at lower prices which results in an unsustainable market. The average Canadian uses over 300 litres of water per day (not something to be proud of) but it gives you a sense of the enormity of 10,000 litres. What can you get for 10,000 litres? One pair of jeans. If they have a wear pattern on them when purchased, it is likely that a worker, without protective equipment, was using acid to make your jeans look cool. Also, dyeing all that cotton leads to polluted rivers and streams.
Okay, so that was the depressing stuff. What can we do, collectively, with that pair of jeans to make them more sustainable? That's where Edmonton Repairathon comes in.