The ‘S-Word’ is Not a Dirty Word

Of course, we’re talking about sustainability!

Each passing second is the making of a great mind somewhere, and in the world of fashion education, the cream of the crop is often found in fashion institute graduates. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (aka the CFDA) hosted the graduating showcase of five different fashion schools together, and the underlying theme of sustainability did not go unnoticed. These designers are the future of fashion, whether they continue on to create their own labels, work for an existing fashion house, or merely continue to consume fashion. We’ve talked about how Rihanna recently attended a Parsons benefit, and is known for been a long-standing supporter of future fashion minds such as these graduates.

Sustainability is inherently a good idea; create little to no excess waste, generate necessary raw materials without causing harm to the environment/company/community. Some of the ideas for sustainability by these graduates include upcycling, which is essentially reusing or repurposing something existing into a better/newer/value-added item. According to this Vogue article, some of these new graduates refashioned Joe Fresh sweaters, while others dove into vintage searches for reusable materials. Seems noble enough, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade… Right?

There are always two sides to a coin, and allow us to be the cynics on this one…

We’ve talked about fast-fashion and the many detriments these companies can cause. Using the product for a second purpose makes sense; marginally less raw materials input, using something that is already made into something better. Does this really help with reducing waste, or is it a mere reactionary measure to a bigger issue? Does it encourage people to shop from these brands at low prices, thinking that there’s value in upcycling (and therefore is less harmful)?

This isn’t to say that reusing and upcycling is a bad idea, it is certainly a most opportune use of already-made pieces. Fundamentally though, isn’t the source of the problem the best place to find a solution? That is to say that raw materials, and where they come from, is where the sustainability solution lies. Use of wind and solar energy, sustainably grown cotton (using less pesticides or more efficient watering processes), and responsible labour practices are some areas for proactive consideration…

Let us know what you think, where can companies make a difference in sustainable fashion, and responsible business practices?

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