Monday, 19 August 2013

Sustainability is Sexy.

Having written on Todd Lynn and discovered 'The Source Summit' post by The Green Style Blog I began to reflect more upon sustainability, eco-clothing and ethics. With further investigation around this controversial issue I felt it was necessary to put pen to paper (so to speak) and write on what I found for you guys :) hope you enjoy!!!

The necessity for the existence of sustainability in every facet of our lives is becoming continually greater. The world’s resources are dwindling and with £1 billion of clothing being hurled into UK landfills each year, the fashion industry is one of the largest contributors fueling the disposable moralities humans have now grown to live by.

To create sustainability in this industry is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and responsibility. Through satisfying our "deep addiction to cheap bargains", as Timo Rissanen (Designer and Assistant Professor of fashion design and sustainability, Parsons New College of Design) puts it, the public and industry combined are simultaneously reducing the availability of resources, polluting the globe, and putting other humans’ lives at risk through work in sweat shop conditions.

Consumers have now become the producer, supplier, seller, custodian and style manager. However they must not be held solely responsible for existing throw-away morals, fashion designers have 80-90% of the influence of environmental and economic impacts of a product (Graedel et al, 1995). And with this an increasing number of organisations are now working to create more ecologically-thinking designers; the Sustainable Fashion Academy in London, dubbed the center for sustainable fashion, is a "trail blazer" (Caryn Franklin). There is also the annual EcoChic Design Award held in Hong Kong, a sustainable fashion design competition challenging emerging designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste and the chance to win career-changing prizes.

The Source Summit, launched in 2011 by the Ethical Fashion Forum as a "collaborative platform to transform standards of sustainability in the industry", believes sustainability is more important than ever, that for it to be possible companies must change from 'involved' to 'committed'. It is the belief that collaboration; design solutions that balance ecology, society and culture, will create the success of sustainability, a point that is expressed by most within this industry. Designers, such as Veja, Blue Q, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney creating biodegradable soles, People Tree, Levi's producing waterless technology, and Nike’s all game day pro jerseys made from recycled fabrics, are producing more items with an increasing incorporation of sustainability. 

Venture’s already running, the NICE Project held in Copenhagen, Greenpeace Fashion Detox Campaign, and Rewardrobe, have begun to try generating the much deprived change of nature in organisational and manufacturing processes, but encouragement to further transform is needed in order for sustainability to become mainstream. For companies to even be able to make the required changes commitment of their boards is requisite, in addition to supplier by-in on recyclable materials. Plus, sustainability still has limitations with the necessity of technological advances in order to achieve, for instance, 100% recyclability.

H&M’s recent non-profit initiative is just one example of a company altering their attitude in regard to sustainability. Set up in March, the venture donates clothes handed in by the public to I:Collect, who also have the likes of puma and footlocker on its client list, these are then sold to second hand and vintage markets. Revenue created pays towards running the venture and any profit is used for research into full textile recycle-ability by the company's Conscious Fashion range. The brand believes people need to see their ‘old’ clothes as a resource rather than binning them or leaving them heaped at the bottom of the wardrobe. It is therefore essential for them to "change the mind-set of the customer" (Cecilia Brannston, Project Manager) and is the reasoning behind their aim to inspire their customers into making more responsible choices. Although there currently seems to be no shown desire to scrimp on sales or inventory, H&M should not be too harshly chastised having made a great step forward despite the enormous difficulty involved in producing such an initiative.

It seems it shall be the existence of an educated customer that will be the crucial catalyst for the pandemic. With designers changing their production methods, labels creating new initiatives and customers becoming more aware of what they are buying, perhaps in the future consumers will have the source, cost, retail mark up and the supply chain available to them, inevitably making the change and destroying the belief that fast fashion means disposable fashion. We need to make these changes now, despite any costs the brands and labels need to pay in order to achieve sustainability before it is too late. More information needs to be promoted to educate the public about eco fashion and sustainability, that they can reuse and reinvent their old pieces instead of buying new and quality and attention to detail are not jeopardized during the methods that could be used by designers. Sustainability is the future of fashion. And as de Castro puts it, "Sustainability is sexy".

Feel free to leave comments and let me know your thoughts or any good websites etc etc etc, love Charly xox 


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