Little by little, the fashion world is starting to embrace sustainability, with more being said about the impact of fashion on the planet and what can be done to address it. This is a start, but the industry has still a long way to go. I was pleased to see Eva Kruse, the chief executive of Global Fashion Agenda give a thought provoking talk at VOICES, the Business of Fashion's annual gathering on the impact and role of fashion on sustainability. VOICES is a big event in the fashion calendar with the big thinkers and the who's who of the fashion world coming together to exchange ideas and opinions about the most important topics facing fashion today.
More recently, Emma Watson decided to use her press tour of her recent film Beauty and the Beast to showcase what is possible with sustainable fashion, fabrics and beauty.
Equally, Livia Firth through her Eco-Age consultancy is supporting and advocating for greater sustainability practices in global supply chains. She established the Green Carpet Challenge a platform where glamour and sustainability come together to raise awareness about ethics, sustainability and social welfare through fashion. Many well-known designers have taken part to name a few, including Stella McCartney, Kalvin Kelin, Roksanda Illincic, Christopher Kane and Erdem.
The custom dress worn by Emma Watson and designed by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton was made from Newlife recycled polyester originating from used plastic bottles. Comparing it to the production of conventional polyester fabric, Newlife uses 60% less energy, emits 32% less carbon emissions and uses 94% less water.
So what are my options? To source from European mills which are expected to operate to EU environmental standards, some of the highest in the world, check their environmental credentials, ask for their environmental policies and establish whether any of their processes are certified to standards such as GOTS or Oeko-Tex. These certifications and standards ensure a level of environmental and social responsibility across the textile supply chain starting from fibre production all the way to processing and manufacturing. I was also recently enthused to hear from a textile agent that over the last 6 months, there has been a pick up in queries for sustainable fabrics from clients. I hope this trend continues and it gets more mills to be thinking about sustainable textile innovation and making sustainability a business as usual practice. We also need major fabric fairs such as Premier Vision in Paris to start making sustainability a more prominent and regular feature of their shows - something I did not see when I attended in February this year.