Highfield and Brookham pupils quick to spot eco pitfalls of 'fast fashion'

Posted on 16th May 2024 in School News

The impact of the fashion industry on the environment has come on the radar of children at an independent school in Liphook.

The pupils at Highfield and Brookham learned of the devastating effects modern fashion production trends have on our planet as part of their studies to mark Earth Day.

Based at a nursery, pre-prep and prep school which has made a strong commitment to a greener future for our planet and which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, the children are no strangers to environmental issues and have been heavily involved in a wealth eco initiatives such as cutting food waste, recycling, planting trees and growing their own vegetables for use in the school kitchens.

On Earth Day, which was marked nationally on Monday, the children discovered that mass production of cheap clothes has high environmental consequences, not least because most are made of polyester, a man-made petroleum-based fibre which requires large amounts of fossil fuels for manufacturing.

Polyester, which the children found far outweighs natural resources such as cotton and wool in the the production of ‘fast fashion’ – or inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends – is non-biodegradable and can take anywhere between 20 and 200 years to degrade.

The children also discovered that it is also one of the leading causes of micro-plastics in our oceans because when polyester clothing is washed, plastic leaks out and finds its way into water courses.

And a high turnover of cheap clothing also resulted in high volumes of waste going to landfill each year, the children found.

Having had an interesting and informative assembly on the links between the fashion industry and environmental harm, the children were tasked with delving into fashion brand sustainability and researching the life cycles of plastics.

Suzannah Cryer, Head of Highfield and Brookham, said: “As a school community, we are committed to a greener future and try to do our bit for the environment any way we can. We have already made good strides but we know that there is a very long way to go.

“But arguably the most important thing is that our children are fully aware of the problems facing the planet we call home and are fully on board with the all the green measures that we put in place. Awareness among the younger generations is essential, their buy in and determination to make a difference equally so.

“And the way the children set about their environmental task on Earth Day was amazing and gives a tremendous amount of hope for the future.”