During a panel at the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Paul Dillinger (VP and head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co) examined the current quality and quantity of clothing that is produced by the fashion industry. He says:
‘If 6 out of 10 garments that we produce every year end up in land fill or incinerated within the first year of production, should we have made those six?’
‘At a moment when Cape Town is running out of water and I know every jean I make conventionally consumes 3,781 litres per garment, what moral excuse do I have to be making these 6 extraneous things that are going to be thrown away when 4 good enough and how much better would the 4 be if the 6 had never been made? That’s circularity’.
Watch the full panel discussion here.
Last week I the pleasure of attending the Copenhagen Fashion Summit – the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion. This year for the first time the event was extended over two days, reflecting the growth and interest in this area of the industry. Discussing topics such as Digitisation and the Future of Fashion, The New Textiles Economy and Innovations for Supply Chain Efficiency, there was no shortage of information and learning. Many leaders in the industry took to the stage including pioneer Stella McCartney, the woman behind the campaign ‘Make Fashion Circular’ Ellen MacArthur and David Roberts a serial entrepreneur with big, future thinking.
Listen to all the panel discussions and keynote addresses here.
Versace stepped up to the plate when Gisele sought out an ‘eco-friendly’ dress to don the red carpet of the year.
The organic silk dress was GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) approved and hand crafted in the Versace atelier.
Great to see celebrities making their moment count in front of the cameras by promoting sustainability – whilst risking nothing in the fashion stakes!
Read more here.
‘From its inception, EDUN’s mission has been to source sustainable production and encourage trade in Africa by mixing its creative vision with the richness and positivity of this fast-growing continent.’
The brand works to build long-term growth opportunities by working with artisans, manufacturers and community-based initiatives to develop high-end designer products that celebrate and challenge ethical and sustainable fashion.
The mills used as part of the manufacturing process in Africa.
The sourcing of each collection is a mix of innovative eco solutions (organic, recycled, and upcycled fabric). Each product has information available about the fabric source, manufacturing process and factory geolocation.
This bag was Made in Kenya by artisans working with a fair trade initiative. It uses recycled metal for the handle and 100% lambskin leather. Factory geolocation : -18.90° 47.57°.
Read about their commitments here. Shop here.
In an interview with Orsola de Castro, the two explore the labelling around conscious fashion. ‘It should be the other way round. The worse the practice, the uglier the name: so it should be fashion, for all those complying and “unethical” fashion, or “unsustainable” fashion for all those who don’t.’
Orsola is the co-founder of Fashion Revolution and label From Somewhere which utilises luxury, pre-consumer waste materials.
Bruno is the founder of Honest By, the world’s first 100% transparent company. He believes that fashion is a celebration of beauty and that the story behind that celebration can be equally beautiful.
‘Transparency has never been sexier’. Read the full interview here.
Gabriela Hearst is a designer who has sustainability in her roots. She grew up on a 6 generation ranch in Uruguay where things were built to last. Quality is something the brand is built on. There is no pressure to produce a full collection for the sake of it. The time is always taken in refining the design, ‘even if it’s 6 months’.
This is the woman responsible for this bag. She is so particular about the materials used to make it, there’s a waitlist.
Hearst is a rare designer ‘that has their hand on every single aspect’. She oversees the raw materials chosen, the mills, the stockists and even the backstage catering at the show. She explains, ‘sustainability is something that you practice, you do it everyday, its an exercise. You have to continue perfecting it.’ It’s about being transparent and honest and doing what is best for the environment, ‘the environment is the number one thing we should be paying attention to right now.’
Circular fashion however, is not something they focus on. ‘I am designing so people have it forever’. It is the definition of timeless, her design principals are based on the past, ‘look back 10 years and see if it is still desirable today’.
Nothing is overproduced or overstocked. ‘You don’t want to be overdistributed in a time where there is excess of everything. You don’t have to be everywhere you just have to be successful where you are and focus on them.’
Hearst implores that the industry ‘needs to clean up’. Waste is used to challenge her design – ‘our responsibility as creatives to come up with ideas.’ Offcuts and leftovers are used to create small runs of garments, sometimes only 10 at a time and she notes, ‘that is luxury, not everyone can have it.’
Gabriela Hearst interviewed by Julie Gilhart.
The Prince has been a pioneer for sustainability for decades. In an interview with Marion Hume for ‘The Fashion Issue’ of the Australian Financial Times we discover His Royal Highness was ‘someone who had gone organic long before it became an entire aisle in the supermarket.’
He has established many initiatives over the years including the Campaign for Wool in 2010. The campaign is a global endeavour to promote the use of wool and its major benefits. He explains,”what inspired me to start the process of trying to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability was to witness the wholesale abandonment in the 1960s and 70s of so many tried and tested traditional techniques and approached.” This time, saw the move towards synthetic materials. “It was clear to me that growers were suffering… it was clear that the time was right to reposition wool as the only real, ecological fibre option in fashion that would give consumers a return on capital invested.” He states, “this was the beginning of an environmental catastrophe, in my view, which future generations will pay for if the current trends do not change.”
But not all faith is lost….”I believe consumers are increasingly rediscovering there are genuine alternatives, particularly wool, that may cost a little more, but which last considerably longer. I have been persistent in my belief that natural solutions are readily available, a message which seems to be getting through.”
Prince Charles gave his first speech in support of preserving the environment at just 20 years old. His concerns extend across aspects including coral bleaching, plastic waste and genetically modified foods.
Read the full article here.