THE FASHION INDUSTRY SHOULD BE A MAJOR DISRUPTOR

The fashion industry as we know it is a major polluter. ECOCULT reported that it is responsible for 4-8% of global emissions, and it is interesting to see a parallel with the natural gas and oil sectors who are responsible for 3.9%.

I saw someone on Twitter posting that Emma Watson’s dress is sustainable(referring to the time she wore Alexander McQueen Resort 2020 collection on the cover of VOGUE UK December 2019). Couture is often not sustainable, far from it. Then, I had the inspiration to look at Goodonyou_app, a company who analyzes brands, looking at areas such as People, Planet and Animals. They rate brands from lowest’’We avoid’’, ’’Not good enough’’, ’’It’s a start’’, ’’Good ’’, to highest ’’Great ’’. Alexander McQueen’s rating is ’’It’s a Start’’ which is not good enough considering how big and popular the fashion house is, and surely they have to have the resources to accelerate their progress.

Emma told Vogue in June 2020 that ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction’’. I admire that in Emma, but I am quite split between being upset over fashion houses not making progress fast enough despite resources they have available, that it is extremely difficult to only buy clothes from brands who are only rated ’’Good’’, or ’’Great’’, price being a factor to most citizens, but that clothing fabric composition often contains polyester even from designers who champion sustainability like Stella McCartney.

Emma does have the privilege to having a bigger budget than most of us, but she also has the power and influence to lobby and pressurize brands to fasten their seatbelts toward sustainability. She joined Kering’s Board of Directors in June 2020, also chairing their Sustainability Committe of the Board, so she can really use that to drive change.

I really feel that the fashion industry should be a major disruptor, because as ECOCULT showed, fashion involves other industries in their processes: cotton, linen, silk(produced by silkworms but there is a vegan alternative called lotus silk), plastic (which is often not recycled), leather(when vegan leather can be used instead). The most difficult thing would be to change the perception of the public, to influence them to change their behaviour and buying decision-making process.

When I discovered sustainably made fashion it was like discovering a whole new world 😉. I became an affiliate partner with Immaculate Vegan, after using items from their website into sustainable fashion dupes of Emma Watson’s outfits on Instagram. I thought I couldn’t do what a stylist does so ended up creating sustainable outfits and made friends with brands in the process. So, buying sustainably is possible but getting consumers on board is a whole other cake, just like getting people to wear their clothes more than once, except for Kate, she’s great at fashion repeats, she takes that #30wears seriously. Hats off to you humans, who wear their clothing(nudity not being an option in public).

Photo by FreeStocks.org for PEXELS

One simply can’t write a blog about fashion and not include the fabulosity which is Eco-Age, a consultancy agency, describing themselves as creative communicators and providing progressive sustainability solutions whose founder is Livia Firth. They started the challenge #30wears because fashion is oftentimes seasonal, based on trends. There’s an app too, and it wants you to ask yourself ’’will I wear it 30 times?’’ before you buy.

Back to polluters, the footwear and apparel together were reportedly responsible for 8% of global carbon equivalent emissions(Wicker, 2021). There are vegan leather options who look absolutely beautiful, you wouldn’t believe that they were made from Appleskin(one type of vegan leather made from apple waste). Other brands use recycled polyester, recycled and upcycled rubber. There are handbags made of Piñatex(textile made of waste leaf pineapple fibers). These products are fair priced, considering their natural leather counterparts. Just think of how often a woman changes her handbags, going after trends or because they wear off.

I have that hope in my heart that one day these vegan brands will be mainstream popular, as much as I hope that companies stop using so called virgin plastics in their clothing. Take the W’s Dynamic Tee as an example, sold by Houdini Sportwear, made of 100% polyester(plastic), and calling it recylable because you can send it back to them once it wears off.

They’ll be surprised that they’ll never run out of plastics to recycle, surely in my lifetime and theirs! Goodonyou_app showed in an entire post how brands are not putting in the effort to make changes and to show leadership, they reported brands getting a low score for environmental policies for example, only 11% of brands achieve the ’’Great’’ rating in that area. The fashion industry should be a major disruptor because they have what it takes, just not the motivation. It’s like with going to the gym, make yourself do it!

REFERENCES:

Alder Wicker, 2021. Fashion Is Not the 2nd Most Polluting Industry After Oil. But What Is It?. ECOCULT. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://ecocult.com/now-know-fashion-5th-polluting-industry-equal-livestock/

Anon. n.d. 30 wears app. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://30wears.app/

Anon. n.d. Immaculate Vegan. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://immaculatevegan.com/

Anon., n.d. Emma Watson – Independent Director. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://www.kering.com/en/group/our-governance/board-of-directors/emma-watson/

Elena Niculescu, 2021. Emma Watson’s fashion commitment. Vogue Uk. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1459561122785378315

Houdini Sportwear, 2021. W’s Dynamic Tee. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://houdinisportswear.com/en-eu/clothing/shirts-and-tops/ws-dynamic-tee-157524?color=157524907

Sophie Benson, 2021. Fashion Climate Inaction. Goodonyou. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/fashion-climate-inaction/