Sustainable Fashion – An Impact For the Long Run

Sustainable Fashion – An Impact For the Long Run

Organic, ecologic, sustainable, fair trade, vintage, second hand, recycled, ethically produced – the list of words related to the environmental question in production as well as in fashion is long. The number of designers and brands taking environmental and social responsibility is growing, and organisations within the fashion industry are trying to start a movement of sustainability. Simultaneously, economical advisors like Jeremy Rifkin are asking the question: “Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse?”

Sustainable design refers to production made with the consideration of how the product will affect its surroundings, both environmentally and socially, throughout its life span. Sustainability or “eco fashion” has been, and still is, a trending topic in the industry. It’s a complex matter and although many companies are seeking ways to change their customs, it’s really a question of motives. Making the production more effective or using methods kinder to the environment might be driven by the will to make an impact in the long run, but in some cases one could also talk about trends, market demands or economical forces.

For a development that meets today’s needs without compromising future generations, the fashion industry needs to embrace the concept and fully integrate a sustainable thinking into the way the business is done. Inspiration is to be found from famous concepts and ongoing discussions; Jeremy Rifkin created the concept of the Third Industrial Revolution where business owners become an important part of the energy game. Cross-industry relationships are creating new possibilities, and increased productivity also helps to ease the climate changes. Copenhagen Fashion Summit and the project NICE Fashion gathered last month many key stakeholders to one of the largest fashion summits, with the goal to enhance the importance of creating a sustainable future in one of the most polluting industries.

The discussion about CSR, sustainability and eco fashion has reached the point where scattered voices have to become collective initiatives. The industry stands before the challenge to find smart ways in production, and to create a business system that consciously and effectively decreases the negative impact on the surroundings. Like Kirsten Brodde from Greenpeace International puts it, it is a question of turning “eco fashion into simply fashion”.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Image courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Summit