A few weeks ago (it took me a while to digest all the information hence such. late post) I went to the Future Fabric Expo by The Sustainable Angle. I spent the whole day there looking at new fibres and materials that are being developed, as well as listened to some brilliant talks by the leaders of the subject who are working on fashion sustainability including Dylis Willis, Orsola De Castro (Fashion Revolution), Claire Bergkamp (Stella McCartney) and many more. So what were the highlights and the themes that appeared the most?
Or as the speakers called us - citizen designer or citizen creatives. Any money you spend, you make a decision that influences the future of fashion. Whether you spend money on Boohoo to look like Kim Kardashian or buy a dress from a small, sustainable brand or even better - second hand, by making the decision and wearing whatever you purchased, you are making a statement. I do understand the pros of a readily available item for an affordable price, which you don't have to run around all charity shops for. But maybe by deciding against one boohoo purchase, you are making a huge impact. But besides this, demanding what you want from a brand was also mentioned. And I suppose I love to complain about customer service, so now I could complain that I want to know more about Prada's labour working conditions by sending a letter. The template can be found on Fashion Revolution. However, recently I stumbled across this article, which made me think whether consumer is as powerful as suggested.
This is a brilliant one. I feel that the legislative power is underestimated and I do wonder why so little is done by the governments to ensure fair working conditions and eradication of waste in fashion. The examples were - if it was illegal for the brands to throw away or burn clothing or textiles that could be recycled. The creation of a passport for each piece made was also mentioned so that we as a 'citizen' or someone who could be utilising second-hand clothing would know exactly what it consists of including threads, buttons and labels, which leads me to the next point.
The use of technology was discussed in various ways from the creation of new biodegradable materials that could replace plastic, the invention of clothing passport, to 'citizens' use of technology in their consumption and social media practices. The most interesting and controversial points for me was the use of Virtual Reality in consumers' lives. The existence of virtual models wearing digital clothing, which have been used for a few brands' campaigns may mean that in the future 'citizens' could create their own fashion avatars. This potentially could enable citizens to partially replace physical clothing with virtual equivalents, which could positively impact fashion sustainability. Read more on this and decide for yourselves.
Something I noticed a couple of years ago going to Berlin Fashion Week was that a few brands decided to disclose materials (if recycled then how many bottles they used) if they were certified and even their manufacturers. I thought this was brilliant. In the talks one thing that came up a lot was transparency. Transparency from the brand on what the materials are, where they come from, who created the fabric, who made the item and where it was made. CoGo app enables you to choose brands depending on your preferences of social and environmental issues you care the most about. Apps like that encourage brands to be more open and enable the consumer to pick clothing that matches their moral compass, which I think is fantastic, although I struggled to prioritise my issues... There is also Good on You app, which also allows you to check how ethical the brand you love is and informs you about new exciting sustainable brands.
Overall, I thought the talkers highlighted interesting issues and created food for thought. To see more about the event follow this link.