Last week I had the honor of joining filmmaker Andrew Morgan, Eileen Fisher’s Shona Quinn and Reformation’s Kathleen Talbot on a panel moderated by eco-fashion diva Taryn Hipwell.
Beyond The Label, a pre-event for next year’s TEDxLA, was a lovely evening, with a great turnout. After the panel we broke into round table discussions on various sustainable fashion topics, which was really interesting.
Here’s the full story on California Apparel News. See Morgan’s film The True Cost, as it does an excellent job of showing the full process, from farm to store. To me the film was old news, but to people who have never considered how their clothes are made, it’s a real eye opener. What’s sad is that it’s still NEW news, with another factory collapse last week, this one in Pakistan. The only thing I didn’t like about the film was how they’d flash to runway shows.
Most clothing in the designer price point is made in countries with excellent labor standards. Or used to be, at least. However, there is a growing trend to use Chinese factories while maintaining designer-level prices. This is fine if those factories and brands are members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. But if not, that markup is probably not going to the workers. Judging by the great turnout and the growing numbers of sustainable apparel brands, the industry is willing to change. Now it’s just a matter of convincing our customers to buy responsibly as easily as we’ve always been able to convince them to buy irresponsibly.
As in 2013, I am covering Sustainable Brands for CleanTechnica. SB is my favorite sustainability conference. Sure, being branding and marketing focused, it’s more shiny/happy/pretty/glamorous than your typical sustainability conference. But it’s also the one with the most meat.
Not the kind you eat, of course, but meaty facts about what some of the largest companies in the world are doing to improve their impact on the world. You can read about last year’s coverage here and this year’s coverage here. Or just check out some of the other interesting events I’ve covered recently here.
If you can’t make it in person, it’s free to watch the livestream on their website here. But it is a lovely conference, not only for the content, but the view from my office tonight on the Sunset Deck:
The purpose of this essay is twofold: 1) examine the effect of US cotton subsidies on all stakeholders; 2) analyze, qualitatively and quantitatively, the influence of the U.S. clothing industry on the demand for both domestic and imported raw cotton.
In November 2010, Afingo invited me to moderate a panel on sustainable fashion. Here’s the condensed version of the video. If you have the time, check out the full video here.
From the schedule:
Eco-friendly fashion specialists will discuss whether “going green” is just another trend or a necessary, fundamental shift in how the industry works, as well as how to make the change at a level that is more than skin-deep.
• Susanna Schick, Founder of Sustainable Fashion LA (Moderator)
• Raissa Gerona, Designer, Brigid Catiis
• Dale Denkensohn, Founder & President, econscious
• Jason Kibbey, CEO & Founder, PACT
• M.J. Prest, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, EthicalStyle.com
• Anna Griffin, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Coco Eco Magazine
MAGIC is the largest apparel industry trade show in the world, held biannually in Las Vegas, that bastion of rampant consumerism. (The pink stretch Hummer above sums it up.) With thousands of mass-market brands on display, the show represents the full spectrum of the mass apparel industry. There were also a number of great panels on a full range of topics. Having spent over a decade in this industry, I am always surprised by the number of people who want to be fashion designers. If they only knew…
The “Eco Chic | Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion” exhibit runs through August 21st, and is a lovely showcase of sustainable fashion coming out of Sweden. I had never entered the Swedish Embassy (aka Nordic House) before, so this was a pleasant surprise. The exhibit is on the second floor, but on the ground floor they have a Swedish restaurant and gift shop that put IKEA to shame!
The exhibit was beautifully presented and introduced me to quite a few designers I haven’t heard of before. The only downside of this is that unless they made a strong effort to get American retailers interested in the show, we might never see these clothes in American stores.
This exhibit is free of charge and housed in the museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, one of the country’s leading fashion schools. What most impressed me about the collection is that it did not begin with eco-fashion, but with a brief history of fashion from the 1800′s. The exhibit included a key which identifies the six major areas of impact, and each piece had symbols identifying the biggest issues around its manufacture.
Susanna Schick has worked in product development for some of the top fashion designers in New York and Los Angeles, always choosing creative challenges over money and security. Ms. Schick always remained true to her north star goal- to deliver the greatest good for the greatest number, while also finding creative and intellectual fulfillment in her work. Thus, she shared her expertise with her students at Parsons School of Design while also completing projects from multiple avant-garde designers desperately preparing for Fashion Week.
When apparel product development ceased to be adequately challenging, she pursued an MBA focused on sustainability. The intersection between preserving Earth’s finite resources and promoting more meaningful consumption is where her passion lies. Ms. Schick spent the summer of 2009 with Virgance in San Francisco, helping them develop and scale Carrotmob, an exciting new form of consumer activism.
When she’s not dreaming up innovative ways to solve the world’s problems, or striving to make Los Angeles the world capital of eco-fashion, Ms. Schick can be found using her talent for strategy in darting through traffic on her motorcycle or bicycle. Try to keep up on Twitter: @pinkyracr
Last Saturday afternoon, Sunset Gower Studios played host to a different kind of show, created by the Green Youth Movement and produced by Gallery LA. The Green Youth Movement was started by Archer student Ally Maize, whose mission includes:
“As founder of GYM, I hope to one day garner the support of politicians and educators to create a practical and research based environmental course of study that would ultimately become integrated in every elementary school education curriculum across the nation.”