The presence of fast fashion trend creates a bad impact for the environment. According to unenvironment.org in 2018 the development of the fashion industry generates 20 percent of wastewater and 10 percent of carbon emission in the world. Additionally, the most obvious impact which happened around us is enhancing the culture of consumerism in society. The trend provokes people to only wear their clothing one to two times, leaving piles of clothes in their homes or they just throw them away to the garbage. The average urban household dispose of 30 kilograms of clothing each year and produce tonnes of textile waste regularly.
Well-known Indonesian jazz singer, Andien Aisyah, experienced how she was overwhelmed in handling pile of clothes. Three years ago, she built a foundation named Sumbang.in that accepts donated goods and distribute them to various charity. Over time, the donation items received turned out to be a lot of clothes in bad condition. On one side, she captured a new wave in fashion sustainability, which is decluttering. She changed the name of the foundation to be Salur and invited fellow artists with ample clothes from endorsements and sponsors that they don’t wear anymore to be sorted out and given to the needy through her foundation. But, that didn’t reduce wasted clothes.
“The energy of a name is not a lie. Both Sumbang.in and Salur made people thought one way and not circular, then we changed it again to Setali Indonesia. If we just give the goods to people, it will not be sustainable because the people won’t necessarily like them. It will be different if we manage the clothes and people will see and choose by themselves, it will have more value. At the end, we learn this concept, which means the sustainability is in extending the life of the goods. From this, we can ensure that we indeed distribute the goods for people who really want it by circulating the goods and sell them through garage sales,” according to Intan Anggita, Co-Founder and Business Development of Setali Indonesia.
Andien and Intan are good friends, through Setali Indonesia (connected to each other) they have a new energy to focus on home living and fashion sustainability since a year ago and started to upcycle clothing waste. They hired human resources to handle quality control, measurement, create events and record the circulation of goods in order for the clothes to circulate.
They collect donated-clothes and other fashion items in a warehouse and classify them into three categories: Economist is for discarded clothing, Goods is for branded and non-branded but faded colour clothing and Priority is for pre-loved clothing with good conditions and sold in garage sale.
For Goods, they sell in their warehouse where housewives around the warehouse in Cinere usually buy the clothes priced from IDR 20,000 to IDR 30,000 and they resell for their additional income.
“Until now Setali Indonesia employs 11 staff and working full-time with good salary. One of the pillars of fashion sustainability is a good working atmosphere. The reason why the fast fashion industry draws much criticism is because the employees are underpaid, and the industry forces them to reach a target. And about our programmes, many asks why we sell the clothes? We actually sell donated clothes as new in order for people more appreciate the function of clothing or fashion. We are inspired by other preloved clothing shops overseas, such as Savers, Goodwill and many more. And we actively campaign in our social media,” Intan explained.
To promote the programmes, Setali Indonesia creates three main events which each one held once three-month with different themes. Kembang Gula (confectionery) is an event for people who up-cycle both their own clothes or clothes acquired from other events. Last event, the community collaborated with Tinkerlust to facilitate visitors with fabric waste designers and provided edging goods.
Another event is Barang Lama Bersemi Kembali (old stuff blossoms again) which is a garage sale for Priority items where profit goes to charity. Through this event, the community distributed the profit to help those affected by forest fires and smog for animal shelter. And the third event is Musim Suka Cita (the season of joy), a three-day event that features talkshows, workshops, market day and gathering connected to mindfulness and slow living lifestyle.
For wasted clothes, in addition to upcycling, the community collaborates with Bersinar waste bank in Bojongsoang, West Java in managing and recycling waste as well as removing residue. Bersinar waste bank is affiliated with Parompong, a village where the society recycle and manage their own waste. The society can change their waste with clothes from Setali Indonesia starting from IDR 3,000 to IDR 5,000.
Donating an outfit to Setali Indonesia means giving a second chance for the outfit to be useful for those in need. In addition, each pre-loved outfit used is equivalent to saving 4,000 to 5,000 litres of clean water used for the production of a new outfit itself. And, if you shop a preloved outfit in Setali Indonesia or donate a minimum of IDR 100,000 then you have participated in reducing and processing 18 to 20 kilograms of fashion industrial waste. Proceeds from the sales and donations will be collected to buy a special clothing recycling machine.