Highlights from 'RiverBlue' at Loyola University Chicago

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By Laurie Casey

You have a few more opportunities to see “RiverBlue,” a film exploring how our fashion choices impact the rivers and communities where they are made. This compelling film was screened at Loyola University Chicago on Feb. 20, to great acclaim. After the film, director Roger Williams did a video Q&A with the audience. You can see it here.

Some of the most dramatic scenes included clips of barefoot children working at tanneries in Indonesia and people bathing in toxic water. The audience also discussed the fast fashion trend, with new “seasons” being rolled out almost weekly, and the mentality that cheap clothes are disposable.

Students at Loyola University’s screening of “RiverBlue".”

Students at Loyola University’s screening of “RiverBlue".”

Chelsea Denault, Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant at Loyola, discussed how the university’s annual program “Think Green & Give” collects approximately 3,000 pounds of material per year, including household goods, bedding, food, and clothes. “Mainly it’s mountains of women’s clothes, mostly from fast fashion brands, some with the tags still on.” It’s an eye-opener.  

The key message of the film: Know where your clothes are made. We as consumers are responsible and have power to create change. Here are reactions from some attendees:

"It angered me that people aren't aware of the issue but we’re destroying the world."

“I felt hopeful at the end to see processes with same cost but are more environmentally friendly."

“People are only aware of the bad practices of denim making and dying, not the good ones.”

“It’s troubling that we have solutions to making denim more environmentally friendly, but we don’t have solutions to making tanneries more environmentally friendly.”

“If we’re not using animals for clothing, we’re using plastic for fake leather and it’s just as bad for the planet, if not worse.”

Roger Williams and his team have created two resources for consumers to learn about manufacturers that source responsibly:



You still have three more opportunities to see this film and engage in a discussion in your community to learn about meaningful actions and projects to get involved with. Learn more and reserve tickets at: https://www.oneearthfilmfest.org/films-az-2019/riverblue