Forward Thinking Fashion

The inaugural Daily Telegraph Responsible Fashion Forum took place on June 18th 2019. It attracted many brands, many suppliers and a great array of speakers. The conversations taking place could be summed up in three words, “Forward Thinking Fashion.”

The purpose of GreenEarth attending, was to see the level of conversation around garment aftercare.

Quite often people want to discuss the ethics of manufacturing design and production, but not often do they want to talk about how you can make clothes last longer, Therefore, avoiding clothing going into landfill.

The brands who attended included Stella McCartney, Burberry, Zara and many more.

It was impressive and interesting to see a large range of subjects being discussed in a panel style format. The topics included ‘How to impact change throughout the value chain’, ‘Evaluating the lifecycle of a garment’, and ‘Changing attitudes towards post-consumerism in sustainability’.

Some of the contributors on panels included Peter Maddox of WRAP, Amy Jackson of BCI and Mary Creagh M.P. who has led the Parliamentary group on fashion sustainability. On that particular day, the UK government had rejected all the findings of the committee, much to the dismay of Mary.

As suspected, there was a gap when it came to sustainable after-care. There was a significant focus was on production and recycling, but not a lot on what happens in between.

I took it upon myself were appropriate, to ask questions about making garments last longer, adapting the type of question to the discussion area of the panel. Listening to the conversations around this, lead to interest from brands and manufacturers to find out more.

It was good to see that many areas of fashion sustainability and ethics being discussed and demonstrating some great improvements. If there is to be a solution that is both environmentally and
financially sustainable, brands MUST change the operating model that they work within.

Whilst it’s understandable that there is not a huge appetite to make less close from a commercial point of view, we cannot continue to produce a surplus of clothes, fill wardrobes with unworn clothes, and see such high levels of clothing go to landfill.

Education is key within the industry… and not just its consumers.