At a conference once someone asked me to define sustainable fashion. And though it's something I hear every day, multiple times a day, I was a little lost because 'sustainable' can be both a powerful word and a meaningless buzzword. My final answer included something about the responsibility to protect human rights and the environment - to be more conscious of one's impact and strive to create a just and transparent supply chain, to acknowledge one's shortcomings and work to make them better.
Yet even one of the leaders in the 'sustainable fashion' movement, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, says that "We don’t do everything a responsible company can do, nor does anyone else we know. But we can illustrate how any group of people going about their business can come to realize their environmental and social responsibilities, then begin to act on them; how their realization is progressive: actions build on one another." The truth is, there is still much to be learned about sustainable fashion, but acknowledging flaws in the fashion system and working to change them is a major step forward.
Livia Firth, co-founder of the Green Carpet Challenge, touches on this in her recent article "How Do You Define Sustainable Fashion," and makes a point to explain what unsustainable fashion is, because knowing what not to support is just as important, isn't it? Read the complete article here. (Plus, check out the rest of HuffPo UK's Sustainable Fashion series.)
And as always, we'd love to hear from you! To continue the conversation, tweet @rowandrue about how you define sustainable (or unsustainable) fashion.
Alex Heinz is the Managing Editor at RowandRue.com. She is passionate about raising awareness about the human rights and environmental struggles in the fashion industry through creative storytelling. Alex is also the Creative Assistant at Modavanti, a sustainable fashion e-commerce site. Previously, she worked with the conscious brands Della and Krochet Kids intl. where she learned about the power of alternative production methods and relationship building. She has also worked with independent New York designers Ryu Ryu and Nomia, as well as the CFDA incubator program.
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