A Lesson in Sustainable Fashion with Jackie Burger

As you know by now, every week we welcome talented bloggers to capture what Threads, the Business of Fashion Accelerator Program is all about. They play a key role in engaging with industry related discussions and get an exclusive insiders look on the program. Our Western Cape Field Trip was joined by Lifestyle blogger, Chloe Farley.

On the 20th of February, the Threads’ fashion entrepreneurs got the opportunity to converse with Jackie Burger, former editor of Elle Magazine, during their Cape Town field trip. As a part of the Threads program, the entrepreneurs are taken on field trips to key regional locations around the country, in order to learn the fundamental aspects of the fashion industry from the experts themselves. And what better place to discuss the issue of sustainability than Cape Town, a city that is currently experiencing its worst drought in over a century.

The discussion on sustainability began with Jackie Burger encouraging the entrepreneurs to share what sustainability meant to them. Various suggestions were offered by the entrepreneurs, including phrases such as recycling and waste management, long-term thinking and planning, as well as considering the lives of future generations, making it clear that this one small premise can be viewed in multiple ways. “When I think of sustainability, I think of conscious living. Which means unpacking the day as it goes and to be mindful,” said Burger.

Although it is clear that there are a number of contemporary activities that are detrimental to the sustainability of our planet, Burger finds it important to address one of the main culprits; the fashion industry. According to Burger, “Oil is the biggest polluter in the world and fashion is the second.” This is because the contemporary fashion industry is run on a ‘buy now, wear now’ ethos. This can be attributed to digital advancements such as the rise of social media, which drives the marketing of new fashion products and the latest trends which in turn sparks an unwavering desire to purchase in consumers.

This fast-paced, contemporary way of purchasing has led to what Burger calls a ‘linear system,’ a system where minimal measures are taken to counteract the wastage caused by the fashion industry. According to Burger, “The average American woman does not wear 60 percent of her wardrobe.”Although a shocking statistic, wastage caused by the contemporary fashion industry does not exclusively occur within the boundaries of one’s home.




A South African girl who has a passion for informing and connecting others to information that aims to better the readers lives.