Ms. Beth Stewart
Eco-fashion Company, event planning agency and marketing firm
What is the role of fashion designers in driving the garment industry towards eco-fashion? What are the steps to be adopted to ensure sustainability?
Fashion designers have a huge role in driving the fashion industry towards eco-fashion as they set the tone, mindset, and culture for both their employees and their customers. Depending on the creativity and innovative mindset of the designers, they can decide about developing little to zero-waste patterns, use low-impact or natural dyes, design clothing that serves multiple purposes, and most importantly, choose fabrics that are more sustainable – from natural animal and plant fibers to upcycling textiles.
For example, US-based fashion designer Sophia Hyder of Evolvemint works with traditional block printers in Bangladesh to create her modern scarves and handbag designs. Similarly, Symbology works with artisan communities in India and draws upon traditional patterns and motifs to create more fashion-forward dresses, shirts, and accessories. Their designs highlight their values and the impact of this can be quite powerful on the customers.
The key is in understanding what traditions are already present, interpreting those into modern fashion and textile designs, and then building upon that to create authentic quality garments. We believe that much of this will depend on technological innovation that provides the capability to produce apparel & textiles in closed loops or in a way that has less detrimental effects on the Earth.
Technologies such as AirDyeing which uses no water so there is little discharge or using digital printing instead of sandblasting jeans are great examples of forward-thinking ideas that could impact the industry in a positive way. And principles such as Cradle-to-Cradle – which emphasizes the idea of products being used, recycled, and used again – encourages designers, manufacturers, and retailers to think about the entire life-cycle of a garment, including discard.
The UK, Australia, and the Netherlands have created a great network of designers and new ideas centering on eco-fashion and textiles. It is often found that when we stumble upon an innovative designer or awesome company with fresh ideas, they are based in one of these areas.
Published on: 13/03/2013
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.