Artist Ian Berry has been working at “Fast Fashion’s Graveyard”, a documentary about vast amounts of clothes waste abandoned in the Atacama Desert in Chile, a project still in progress.
A three-minute trailer of the documentary will preview in New York with Fashinnovation, a global platform promoting change in the fashion world whose activities include the yearly Worldwide Talks since 2018.
The British artist Ian Berry has often been linked with sustainability over the years, as his art is made from recycled jeans. Despite this he always stated: “It was a side show of my work, but not the concept,” he seems to have changed attitude after he witnessed the direct impact of overproduction of garments and the mountains of clothes discarded in Chile.
While traveling to Chile for work, he found himself in the country’s capital, Santiago. In between some events, he was offered a trip away and had seen the clothes dump in the Atacama Desert outside Iquique in Alto Hospicio. He took videos that had just gone viral and was seen on the likes of BBC and DW.
Seeing the piles of jeans in his East London studio for his regular work, it’s hard not to compare it with what he saw in the desert. “While I may not talk about sustainably much, leaving it to those who either know better, or can profit from it, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about the core issues,” he said. “Few know that I nearly went back to university in 2006 to study climate change after watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore, but while I was recycling denim, I never even connected that I was doing anything linked at the time.”
Despite the miserable scenario Berry could see, he also managed to find positive stories from this experience and to share them. Highlights were meeting with Franklin Zepeda of Eco Fibra who transforms the textile waste into insulation panels for low cost housing.
He also met Gonzalo Muñoz who was nominated High-Level Climate Champion for the 25th Conference of the Parties (Cop25) to the United Climate Change Convention held in 2019. Prior to this role, he co-founded TriCiclos, one of the most recognized Latin American companies in the circular economy and recycling, and the first certified B corporation established outside North America.
Another noteworthy meeting happened with Rosario Hevia, who founded Ecocitex, a social enterprise that sells 100% recycled products through more than 250 women-led business across Chile.
The documentary shows Berry visiting the Freeport locations and Zofri, the area where the clothes are brought in in bundles and sold, under much secrecy. While the imports had been portrayed as a bad thing, he also visited resellers in Santiago as well as second hand stores that sell good second-hand clothes, making them affordable for many Chileans and of course making their life span longer.
Since 2018, Fashinnovation have hosted over 500 of fashion’s innovators to audiences representing 120 countries. Respected voices like Diane Von Furstenberg, Susan Rockefeller, Kenneth Cole, Julie Gilhart, Fern Mallis, Steve Aoki, Steve Madden, Rachel Zoe, Donna Karan, Tonne Goodman, Coco Rocha, Oskar Metsavaht, Mara Hoffman, Miroslava Duma, and many more have shared knowledge through its platform.
Institutions including the United Nations, Parsons, LIM College, and FIT, brands including Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, Nasa, IBM, Google, and UPS, along with various media channels have all supported its vision.
Through these global conversations, Fashinnovation aims to inspire and ignite revolutionary actions and change across the fashion industry.