A three-day workshop on “Zero Waste Fashion: An Eco-Design Marathon” is launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA), under the framework of West Asia Sustainable Fashion Academy (WASFA) and in partnership with the Lebanese American University (LAU) Fashion Design Program.
The current fashion industry is witnessing an era of overconsumption and overproduction which has great socio-economic and environmental impacts, the latter by generating excessive waste and consuming resources unsustainably. For instance, the global apparel industry uses up to 215 trillion liters of watereach year.
At the global level, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched several initiatives that aim at addressing sustainability and circularity across the textile value chain, such as the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action UNFCCC, Fashion Pact, the Global Fashion Agenda, the UNEP Circularity Platform and the Ethical Fashion Initiative.
The West Asia Sustainable Fashion Academy (WASFA) was established in 2021 by UNEP ROWA to create a network bringing together experts and stakeholders from various fields to share knowledge and best practices, build capacities, and encourage sustainable production in the textile value chain. It also intends to instigate a behavioral change through a shift to a more sustainable pattern consumption and production of textiles and mainstream circularity in the fashion industry.
Top students in Fashion Design Schools from the West Asia region (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen) are participating in this workshop to teach and encourage future designers to plan their designs in an eco-innovative manner, opting a sustainable zero waste approach through their careers.
The workshop includes several sessions delivered by experts on the topic of sustainable fashion, as well as hands-on activities with students. UNEP Representative and Regional Director for West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi opened the event alongside UNEP West Asia Goodwill Ambassador and world-renowned fashion designer, Mr. Rami Kadi. Mr. Dimassi noted that “the partnership with LAU in this field, will increase awareness on sustainable fashion and the way we perceive the textile industry. It will also start a wave that touches upon future decision makers to consider the environmental impacts of the activities within their businesses whether it was a small or large one. He also added that “it will help them implement the change we all want to see to ensure a sustainable planet for our current and future generations.”
LAU President, Dr. Michel Mawad expressed his pride in the partnership and his gratitude to UNEP for this remarkable initiative. “We are delighted to have our university and our students actively participate in promoting such a worthwhile cause,” he said. “It behooves us all to collaborate in preserving our ecosystem and building a sustainable future.”
At the launch of the workshop, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr. Mawad and Mr. Dimassi. The MoU outlines common areas of interest that UNEP and LAU aim to achieve and emphasizes the importance of communication and consultations to encourage cooperation and future collaboration between both entities.