In this week's episode, ‘Ropa Americana’, we’re tackling fast fashion on the move. Chile’s Atacama desert has become a fashion graveyard for the world’s unwanted clothes. Every year, nearly 59,000 tons of clothing arrive in Chile’s Iquique port from Europe, Asia, and the United States. Some of it is redistributed and sold throughout Chile, but the vast majority remains in Atacama.
Santiago-based circular economy expert Marcela Godoy shares the hard truth behind the underbelly of fast fashion and how plastic clothing is destroying the driest desert in the world.
The apparel industry is the second-largest polluter in the world (second only to oil) and contributes 10% of global carbon emissions. For a deeper understanding of the fast fashion industry, plastic pollution, and its impact on the planet, visit Changing Markets Foundation Fossil Fashion Series and Eureka Recycling’s Best Practices for Textile Collection.
As Marcela mentioned on the show, an organization called Desierto Vestido (Desert Dress) conducted an assessment of the brands found in Atacama - including H&M, Old Navy, and Adidas. You can watch the action on Instagram.
Season and episode cover artwork by Greg Dubois @marvelgd