BIG LITTLE IMPACT … Part 1: Walk the Talk

This piece is the first in a series of posts written to inspire those within the apparel supply chain, and industry in general, to commit to sustainability on an individual level.

If you agree that climate change is real and that our industry contributes to environmental, social, and financial destabilisation, you may be curious as to how, if at all, you can help. If one person establishes a few new habits, how can that change a global industry that brings in €1.5 trillion annually? Each of us sits within an interconnected network, where one slight movement can vibrate an entire web. This is how we as individuals can help improve our industry, one simple step at a time.

 

1. Make yourself aware of fashion’s big impacts.

One could spend years reading about the negative effects of our industry. It’s not uplifting. Simply signing up for a few newsletters can keep us sufficiently in-the-know about the current state of where we stand and where we are headed. I recommend the following publications if you are not already subscribed: Sourcing Journal, Business of Fashion, and The Guardian’s “Sustainable Business.” For deeper reading, I (with a clear bias, but very little competition) recommend the forthcoming book I’ve co-written with Eco fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff, adDRESSing Change. Or, if reading is simply not your thing, check out the documentary film The True Cost.

2. Establish a uniform.

A great way to curb consumption and be mindful of the plethora of impacts of fashion manufacturing is to build a streamlined wardrobe. Excess is truly burdening, whether it’s in our closets, on our plates or in our brains. What’s more, rejecting fast fashion in an industry that thrives on overconsumption is dichotomous and intriguing. What we wear starts conversations and presents opportunities to raise awareness. Style has always been a way to get attention and those of us in the industry are under constant pressure to look good. Minimalist, high-quality and versatile wardrobes require creativity; one must reinvent the way pieces are styled each time they are worn. This behaviour will give fashion some much-needed longevity and the days of chasing trends will be behind us.

3. Attend an event or class.

Sustainable fashion, especially in major cities, is not a niche concept anymore. I find it hard to keep up with all the events in New York: panels, trade shows, clothing swaps, night classes, webinars, and more. Find a friend and check one out. It’s energising to connect with other like-minded cross-sector individuals with a sense of optimism about fashion’s fate.

Embarking on a journey toward global industry change is daunting. We cannot fix a broken system overnight, but by adopting these three habits, one person can, on their own, move the needle just that tiny bit forward. Stay tuned for three more small steps toward big change!

For the following pieces from this series click here for Part 2 and for Part 3

Image credits: Title image: Ross Findon and for the linen image Renata Fraga …at Unsplash

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