If the story of Gema has made you think and you also want to help this cause to change the world
The office of Gema Gómez (Madrid, 1970) is located in the heart of Madrid's Gran Vía, so on the way to the appointment, we met several dozen people carrying bags full of new clothes. A few steps from its portal, the hypnotic shop windows of the big chains attract buyers with new caprices. There are mannequins dressed like influencers of Instagram; gleaming shoes shedding plastic odor; polyester bags on offer and kilos of cotton dyed with seasonal colors. The pedestrians who occupy the sidewalk where Gema works have just bought a tiny part of the 100,000 million garments that are produced every year in the world.
Judging by the boisterous tide of people doing shopping this morning any, the data collected by Greenpeace in the report Time Out for Fast Fashion and the expert comments, they seem obvious: the number of garments consumed by the average citizen is 60% higher than that of 15 years ago, but the shelf life of the clothes that the cabinets contain today has been reduced by half. Only in Spain, every year we throw away the equivalent of the weight of 45,000 medium-sized cars in clothes and most of us forget to ask who made our garments or under what working conditions. In this context, the fashion industry has become the second most polluting on the planet after oil.
A peaceful revolution
The scenario that Gema passes on the way to his office is the one created by the phenomenon fast fashion, opposite to what we find when we open the door. Inside the office, the natural fabrics of your brand B2Fabric hang from the racks inviting the caress: "This here is made of pineapple leaves", shows before starting the interview. "It is a new material of ecological cultivation, resistant and sustainable". She wears a jacket on whose label we would not find the words Bangladesh or polyester and her style advocates timeless elegance. In addition to marketing the fabrics that dress the space, Gema is the founder of Slow Fashion Next, the platform from which provides training to instill values of sustainability in fashion and promotes a directory with more than 120 brands responsible to the planet and the people who inhabit it.
He explains that what happens on the street is the product of "fast fashion or ultra fast fashion, as you start to call it now, there are many annual collections. That causes a very fast consumption rate in stores; There is a kind of buying anxiety. " Currently, just two weeks pass from the design of the garment until it appears in stores, some brands launch 20 collections a year and there are shops on-line They come to offer a thousand different new products every month. But Gema firmly believes that an alternative model is possible and necessary: "Slow fashion It proposes that you do not need it so much, that with two collections a year they are perfect and what is worth much more are the intangibles: the concept of brand, what that company is solving through its value chain. What is the production chain or the supply chain, we call it a value chain because it is a chain in which everyone wins ".
On the desk in his office there is a book more worn than the rest and underlined over and over: it is Donut economy, of the British Kate Raworth, whose focus is in the central hole on which the circular economy revolves, representing the shortcomings of basic goods suffered by many people and whose coverage should become the priority. Between the pages of this book Gema found the road map with which to turn fashion and contribute to solve the current disrupted economy. "Is the planet finite or infinite?" He asks, knowing that the answer does not fit with the current model. "The planet is finite, so we will have to create things that are within the limits of the planet (…) I would like to see an industry that takes care of us, that takes care of our children, that takes care of the workers. We are in the 21st century and it is not necessary to have so much. Companies can be created much more reasonable, more sensible, more distributive, that generate benefits for all ".
In addition to Slow Fashion Next, Gema Gómez coordinates with Alejandra de Cabanyes the movement Fashion Revolution in Spain, serving as a link between professionals in the sector who pursue united the dream of a peaceful revolution: "We love fashion but we do not want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet," says his manifesto. The global movement of which she is an ambassador arose as a result of the collapse in 2013 of the Rana Plaza, the building that housed five textile factories in Bangladesh and that ended the lives of 1,134 people. The disaster exposed the hidden face of fashion to the public eye and the world knew with stupor the true face of low cost clothing. But at that time, Gema was already aware of the harmful gear of fast fashion: she had been part of it.
A sustainable future
It was during the trips to Asia as an employee in a large textile company when she began to sense that something was not right. Some comrades advised "not to visit certain factories because they had seen children working" and in the transfers he observed "rivers full of foam" dying with the colors that a few weeks later would predominate in the stores. The Greenpeace reports ended up confirming his suspicions: "That's when I begin to really understand the sector in which I am," he recalls. "It had nothing to do with me or my values and I did not want to be part of that."
Climate change, labor exploitation, calls cancer cities and even the disappearance of bees; The creator of Slow Fashion Next lists with concrete data the effects of fast fashion: "I started to feel almost like a need to tell him. There was something that I had lived that I needed to leave. " At the same time, he never stopped loving fashion and, despite the figures he throws like daggers, he is not against buying clothes, far from it. It is precisely his deep passion for fashion that gives him the impetus to recover his essence: "It is a cultural and social expression that has to represent what we are as a culture and as a society. And if we are a plastic shirt, I do not want to be that. I prefer to be something else. " There are more and more professionals who, demonstrating their creativity and talent, offer innovative alternatives to fast fashion, and that is the way that Gema points the eye.
It is clear that the future of the new generations will be sustainable and as an example, before saying goodbye, he enthusiastically points out the movement against climate change Fridays for Future Driven by the young activist Greta Thunberg. Gema reminds us that "power today, much more than voting, is in the business models that we support with our purchase. That's what really changes things. " The movement slow fashion it's fashionable
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Video adapted content of Gema
Annually, 100,000 million garments are produced in the world. As an alternative to fast fashion, Gema Gómez created Slow Fashion Next. They offer training in sustainable fashion and a directory of 120 responsible brands.
I have very little memories of playing with dolls and dressing them, of making skirts, and skirts as very large.
With 23 years I wanted to do something that was creative but at the same time could be a profession, and fashion covered a bit those two things. And I decided to go to Paris.
I loved designing, I loved that world of creativity, drawings, colors … I was passionate about what I was doing. But, of course, when we started to travel more to the factories, I began to discover what was behind, it could not be there.
There are children working, a child does not have to be working. And, for example, you see a river and it is a river full of foam. In the factory they bring you food and you say: "My God, if this fish comes from that river, what I am eating can not be very good".
These companies went there in a very arrogant way, I was horrified at the way they were treated. We can not work like this. That surpassed me, it had nothing to do with me or my values.
I decided to contribute my bit and so I created Slow Fashion Next, with the clear objective of training in sustainable fashion for the entire industry, for the sector.
The current model, the model fast fashion what is called, is based on infinite growth. The planet is finite, so we will have to create things that are within the limits of the planet.
To produce the 250 grams of a shirt you need 2,700 liters of water, which is what more or less a person drinks in three years; crazy. And on top of that, to know that for me to put on 15 of those shirts there is a girl without education, exploited on the other side of the world, and that her life is going to be that, I'm not interested.
Fashion is an expression, in the end, cultural and social, and it has to represent what we are as a culture and as a society. I believe that garments have to be pretty on the outside and inside.
This content has been developed by Yoigo.