A (Fashion) Tale of Truth

A (Fashion) Tale of Truth

Unless you’ve resided under a rock for the past decade, it is manifestly clear that green, biosphere conscious fashions have become an all-pervading phenomenon in today’s fashion landscape. After a deserved flood of awareness that has been raised about the horrors of what goes on behind the fashion industry’s curtain, eco fashion has as such gradually evolved from an haute-nouveauté buzzword, into the new normalcy. By virtue of this, eco-responsibility is exploited as a vital marketing strategy for a growing group of fashion labels.

A number of these businesses, particularly some ‘old’ and established ones, have attempted to jump on the green bandwagon by disingenuously spinning their apparel as environmentally beneficial. This deceptive use of green PR, also termed as greenwashing, denotes to a diverse array of counterfeiting practices. 
Conspicuous labelling, through the iniquitous endorsement and certification of third parties, is one such thing. For instance, fabric with a mere 5% organically grown cotton is qualified for acquiring the virtuous stamp of Textile Exchange; a non-profit organization focussed on the responsible expansion of textile sustainability.

On a similar note, the Better Cotton Initiative – a multi-stakeholder’s initiative founded by Adidas, Gap inc. and H&M, among others – is deemed a reputed, eco-responsible organization and thus credible hallmark, while de facto, it has established minimum environmental requirements for growing cotton. 
Under meticulous examination, the green gloss of some of these companies is flaking in the heat. As such, the ethical alignments of fashion labels are increasingly watched with a critical eye.

Yet, in spite of these unjust ecological credentials made by some, the biggest environmental impact of the manufacture of clothing happens on the consumer end of the spectrum, after the production phase. In fact, a sweeping sixty percent of the consumed energy is directly correlated to the way we wash and dry our garments. 
The carbon footprint of a load of laundry is not to be underestimated: washing and drying every two days creates around 440kg of CO2e each year. Tons of energy can be saved there, by line-drying and washing our garbs in cold water. 
All in all however, the utmost smartest and greenest thing one can do is, radically but simply, cut down on shopping sprees. It’ll surely help reduce the clutter in one’s wardrobe.

Claire van den Berg

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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

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