Mission: A feminist, fossil-fuel-free fashion future
The What: Yang, who’s family migrated from China to Canada when the young DJ/community organizer/fashion justice activist/equity consultant/entrepreneur was eight years old, established Threading Change, a youth-led non-profit organization that strives to foster ethical and circular practices within the fashion industry. Guided by what she calls the six Fs – a feminist, fossil-fuel-free fashion future – the organization seeks to drive positive change.
Yang’s inspiration for launching Threading Change stemmed from her experience attending the United Nations climate negotiations as a youth delegate in 2019 (COP25). She observed that the voices present on the fashion world stage were primarily from companies responsible for significant emissions, with little representation from the Global South, youth, or garment workers. Motivated by this disparity, Yang has since dedicated herself to training the next generation of fashion leaders and amplifying the voices of garment workers worldwide.
The Impact: Threading Change is reaching an international audience through:
- Over 2,000 students aged 15-80+ have participated in and listened to their online webinars and educational programs
- They have taught in over 30 schools across the world, online and in-person, serving over 1,000 students
- They have successfully held 4 seasons of webinars, our launch series, Fashion Revolution Week 2021 and 2022, and UBC Sustainable Fashion Week.
- To date, they have hosted clothing swaps in 10 cities and 5 countries globally, engaging over 2,000 people in the process.
- They have helped and advised over 30 clothing swaps with best practices around the world.
- Over 3,000 pounds of textiles have been diverted from landfill.
- Over 50 brands and fashion organizations are featured on their Global Innovation Story Map, a research and visualization directory where they feature the stories and best practices of sustainable and ethical fashion brands and organizations from around the world, collectively amassing revenue of over $100 million.
- They have formulated strong partnerships with large brands such as Patagonia, Herschel, and Arcteryx to engage young people and host creative events together.
- They have collaborated with very prolific fashion organizations such as Canopy Planet, Fashion Revolution, Global Fashion Agenda, Stand.Earth, and Remake on topics ranging from forest conservation, youth engagement, the future of work, and transparency.
- They were the first ever youth-led ethical fashion organization that attended United Nations Climate conferences focusing on youth in fashion and policy.
- Their surveys and policy briefs were authored after consulting over 500 youth globally, having been read by over 100 industry professionals.
A View from the Top:
- 2023 Clean 50 Canada nominee
- City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Leadership Award in 2022
- 2022 Circularity Emerging Green Leader
- Corporate Knights’ Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leaders in Canada list in 2021
- Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists award in 2017 and 2018
- Attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24 & 25) twice as a British Columbian Youth Delegate
- Attended COP27 as part of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s delegation
Fun Fact: “In my spare time, I’m also a DJ, and interested in fashion design and textile art. Whether it’s music folks, techno heads, climate activists, or fashion designers, I’ve found interesting and innovative ways to bring these communities together. ”
Sound Advice: “Understand that there are many ways of activism; not everyone has to be a protestor with a big microphone. You can work with companies internally to drive change, work in policy implementation, etc. There is no gold standard for how you should be a changemaker.”
What’s Next? Yang would like to see Canada:
- adopt stricter guidelines and policies, to ensure that fashion companies are held accountable.
- mandate that 30% of its textile waste be recycled by 2030, and adopt EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) policy for all brands and retailers.
- implement a policy that requires any fashion company operating and having headquarters in Canada fully disclose their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. “If 50% or more of their emissions come from fossil fuels and non-renewable energy resources, they should be taxed and fined.”
The Call To Action: “Buy less clothing. If you must buy clothing, buy secondhand or host a swap. Do your research on different fabrics: It’s important to know about the materials of your clothing, and where your clothing comes from – and goes – before purchasing.” Yang also reminds us to write a letter to our local/provincial/federal representatives asking for more robust EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) policy and transparency laws to keep fast fashion and retail companies accountable.
“I would love to be a sustainable fashion designer designing collections and pieces from deadstock fabric and textile waste to create wearable art for creative visionaries, whilst travelling the world to talk about these pieces and how fashion and art contribute to storytelling and creating change.”
For more information go to: https://www.threadingchange.org/
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