From Canada to Australia to Russia, sustainable designs are steadily being stitched into the fabric of high-style runways, department stores and online shops. A third of collections shown at London’s Fashion Week last year were created by eco-friendly designers, and the ethical product market is set to gross nearly $76 billion in the United Kingdom by 2016, according to research findings by Key Note.
More consumers are willing to recycle their used clothing for vouchers, and big brands are working to create ‘closed-loop’ garments for the masses. Indicative of this year’s theme “Momentum”, these are the types of significant changes that industry leaders hope to continue by joining forces at the annual Ethical Fashion Forum’s (EFF) Source Summit.
Well-Known Activist Encourages More Communication, Collaboration to Reach Broader Audience
Thanks to EFF’s live stream of the event, I was able to gather some insightful advice to share with those of you who are at the heart of the movement, yet feel as if you have more questions than answers. If you sometimes wonder, “Where should I shop? What should I wear? What should I do? How can I help?” Baroness Lola Young, the keynote speaker for the day, responded with a concise “It’s very complex.” This at first may seem like an unsatisfying answer, but with further examination, you’ll soon realize there are many parts of the fashion industry that must work together to be successful.
Therefore, the Baroness advised industry leaders to communicate a clear, fresh message to their audience as to what their brand is all about, why consumers’ choices matter and what can we all do to lessen waste and preserve natural resources. She later quoted the timeless proverb, “Don’t let the best be the enemy of the good”; in other words, it’s important not to threaten or bully retailers into adopting sustainable practices.
Rather, we should continue an open dialogue with government officials and retail leaders within the supply chain to formulate a strategy to merge the two worlds and ultimately, foster collaborations and educate more people.
Fashion Democracy for All
As the founder and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, Young works tirelessly to show others how ethical and sustainable clothing is directly linked to our environment, education, equality and social justice. She encourages everyone to see how the “democratization of fashion” would allow us to purchase our favorite styles without the possibility of harming or oppressing others. She went on to say that we can’t overlook the human element of fashion and remain conscience of how our choices affect others, as was evident in the wake of the tragedies occurring at Tazreen Fashion Factory and Rana Plaza. You can watch Baroness Young’s complete speech here.
Visionaries and pioneers of the industry hope sustainable fashions will no longer be separate or exclusive to a particular sector, but simply fashion at its best for everyone. What do you think are some ways we all can help contribute to the positive momentum happening in the industry now? Leave me note in the comment section; I’d love to hear from you.