Will 2021 be the year the big brands in fashion begin to take sustainability seriously? Natalia Elenkina says it’s already happening.
With the environment and climate change at the forefront of all our minds, it hasn’t escaped attention that Fast Fashion is accountable for roughly 10% of carbon emissions worldwide. The fashion industry is responsible for a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions, and it is high time these figures started to change.
Instagram influencer and high fashion model Natalia Elenkina reckons that things are changing. We met up with her to catch some of her thoughts on climate change, fast fashion, and what we can do about it.
Natalia Elenkina on the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry
Q: Hi Natalia, forgive us if we seem starstruck, but it’s not every day we get to interview a bona fide beauty of the modeling world.
A: Thank you, it’s great to be here to give a voice to such an important issue.
Q: Is fashion sustainability a big part of your ethos, then? Do we imagine you are exposed to some strange fabrics and materials as a model?
A: Yes, that’s true. I have been asked to walk in all manner of fabrics, even fur. That’s not something that I am interested in. I don’t think animals should be put through pain so that we can wear their skins… There are so many other ways of making material these days. We don’t need to be using animal products for fabric anymore.
But sustainability isn’t just about the animals. For me, it’s about reducing the millions of gallons of wastewater the fashion industry outputs every day. It’s about considering how long this fast-fashion looks last. If you are going to make a garment, it has a shelf life. Leather, for example, takes about forty years to degrade back into its natural parts. Forty years in landfill…
Q: This seems to be something you are pretty passionate about. Is it something, do you feel, that the fashion industry is starting to wake up to, at least?
A: Yes, I suppose I do. Things are better now because we are aware of it, as customers and as models and designers. We know now that we are causing damage if we make fashion meant to last a few months. Imagine a cotton t-shirt takes about five months to decompose and takes 3,000 liters of water to produce. One shirt. Times that by the billions of garments made every day, you can see why fashion brands are using 4% of all global freshwater withdrawal issues. It’s scary.
But there is good news, too. The designers and the models, and the buyers. We are all working a little bit every day to improve the situation. If we keep spreading awareness and buying second-hand, if we keep making the changes, we will be dramatically reducing waste from fashion goods in the coming years.
Q: With passionate young models like you on the scene, I am positive you are right.
Follow Natalia Elenkina on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube to do your part in making a difference.