This past week I was lucky enough to part take in the Sustainable Development module at the American University. Although I have been interested in this subject for quite a few years, it was the first time I attended a structured informative class on this extremely complex subject. This organized session allowed me to have a much deeper understanding of the different ways in which the fashion industry is harming our environment. We covered areas such as Sourcing, Manufacturing, Distribution, Consumption and Disposal.
At the end of the second day, a woman called Margot who wished to remain anonymous shared with us her experiences within the industry. After having 20 years of experience, Margot claimed she had seen many unethical acts done by huge corporations in order to push manufacturing and consumption forward. According to Margot the problem with these businesses are the top businessmen who are placed at the top of the chain and hold the entire power, “They are ruthless and killers, all that matters is money”.
As Margot spoke, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of hopelessness about this industry who seems to be going in a vicious disastrous circle of destruction. However she made it seem as though there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Because of people like Margot, who are aware of the catastrophic effects fashion has on our planet, and want to make a difference by slowly changing some of the damaging habits from the inside out. She has a vision for the future where companies and business are starting to shift.
Margot believes that one of the main ways this shift can take place is through communications, how a brand communicates and brands itself to its target audience. Today the image of eco-friendly or green has the reputation of being hippy-granola-eating garments, which is a total misconception. If labels are able to portray recycled, eco friendly clothing as Sexy then there might be a revolution around this trend.
By Camille Riviere