The way Sustainable Fashion is perceived is a direct response to the way it is marketed and talked about.
I recently wrote that I used to be ashamed to say that I worked in the fashion industry, because of the negligent beast it revealed itself to be. But increasingly, the way Sustainable Fashion is understood is driving me round the bend a little.
When I say I write about Sustainable Fashion, or I have a knitwear brand trying to approach fashion in a more responsible way, people try and change the subject. They think it’s boring, convoluted and will probably make them feel guilty.
And part of me understands why.
I don’t know how many articles I’ve read that talk about how many buckets of water or number of carbon dioxide filled balloons go into a garment’s production. I can’t be the only one who struggles to relate to these statistics.
But as the situation gets worse, it is so important for both designers and consumers to at least be engaged in the discussion around current fashion industry practices, even if we struggle to mimic that in our purchases right now. As Chemmie Squier recently wrote in The Debrief, ‘Supporting ethical and sustainable fashion doesn’t have to cost the earth, or anything at all, but not doing it probably will.’
There is a desperate need to interact with these issues and I believe that will come through positive story telling, relatable statistics and talking more about tangible products that look incredible. Phrases about reducing your waste footprint by x% are not going to drive serious engagement.
In such a fast paced world, time is arguably our most precious commodity; so no wonder the more ‘boring’ or ‘problematic’ topics get pushed aside. Increasing our awareness of the need for responsible fashion needs to be a pleasure not a chore.
Of course, it’s important for us all to be aware of these deeper issues, whatever our role, but it’s in our nature as human beings to dismiss the negative and respond to the positive – so let’s talk about the good.
I recently got some feedback from a post I wrote last month, featuring a list of articles and programmes that I thought offered a variety of ways to learn more about Sustainable Fashion (and I didn’t have nearly as much choice as I would have hoped).
Interestingly, my research highlighted that ‘education’ (of both designers and consumers alike) was one of the most talked about issues concerning Sustainable Fashion in 2015.
As well as feedback on the content (kudos to all the writers!) somebody also observed how refreshing it was to see an article about Sustainable Fashion that was presented in an engaging and approachable way. That being unusual is not a good sign!
Those who don’t get shifty eyes when I tell them what I do, love it and want to know where they can find brands who reject the typical fashion system and work in a more responsible way.
To that end, I will continue to use this blogging platform to champion original, innovative and responsible brands, with interesting stories, which are tackling issues such as waste, overconsumption and lack of transparency and producing a knock out product at the same time.
This post is also available on The Huffington Post UK
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