Founder and CEO
sustainable fashion design competition, recycled textile clothing standard, workshops, clothing campaigns, fashion shows, exhibitions, seminars and research
How do you see the market for sustainable fashion in the near future? Has media played an important role in encouraging sustainability in the fashion market?
I think the future of the sustainable fashion industry will be much more focused on waste reduction and recycling.
This is because there is an obvious financial benefit in waste reduction and so this is a business decision that is also driving better sustainability practices via waste reduction. We will also see recycling of textiles because we may face increased and uncertain costs associated with virgin materials and natural resource prices. This will place a higher business incentive to drive better recycling. This will drive more innovative use of textile waste in both the mainstream fashion industry and in the more niche and independent designer industry as players in the highstreet and the designer's studio tackle this agenda and turn waste into an opportunity.
For emerging fashion designers, textile waste is a potential massive opportunity, which some designers are tapping in already. For emerging designers, sourcing textile waste is becoming more of an opportunity. They have the added benefit because of their sustainable design education. They are being taught that a designers' core ethos must value sustainability as much as style. This is especially important as their external climate becomes more challenging in the future. Increasingly, fashion courses will need to grow their capability to incorporate sustainable design education into curriculums in order to plant a widespread vision for a more sustainable fashion industry amongst those who ultimately are tomorrow's industry.
On the consumer side, we are seeing a gradual increase in the demand for sustainable choices on the market. Those stores and online retailers that don't use sustainability as their defining selling point, but instead focus on style and quality, while sourcing sustainably will reign over those that try to sell with sustainability as the core message. Many retailers have learnt this the hard way.
Media plays a vital part in encouraging sustainability in the fashion industry by highlighting the industry issues, from natural resource overuse and depletion, growing pollution, to high rates of textile waste, to the end consumer or to the industry at large.
Media can play a part in influencing one of the biggest challenges to the industry - the need for a shift in consumer behaviour. As consumers, we have been lured to buy and live off trend-driven fast fashion, where clothing becomes expendable and obsolete after one season or less. We have also lost the skills of make-and-mend and it is now even considered easier for consumers to chuck away and buy again than to care and cherish their clothes.
We need to reverse this mentality and the media has the power to position fashion ethics and sustainability within the mainstream consumer mindset as the desirable thing to do.
Published on: 15/02/2014
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.