Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Slow Fashion and Sustainability News: July Edition

This is the second instalment of my monthly series on ethical news and developments in the fashion industry, and it's a big one! Not only was July the month of the Observer Ethical Awards and the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, but there was also lots of discussion from influential writers around slow fashion (see my post on the topic here), as well as the challenges and successes of legislating for a transparent supply chain. If you missed last month's, you can find my recap on June's slow fashion and sustainability news here.

The Guardian has been covering all the details of the Observer Ethical Awards 2015, including a full list of winners. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the awards, which "celebrate the people, organisations and campaigners who are leading the way to ensure we have an ethical future".

Consciously Sartorial reported on the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, with a comprehensive round up of some of the best brands exhibiting, along with information about where the products are designed, made and sold.

Check out my review of all the talks from the show, as well as some emerging design stars.

Slow Fashion
The call for a more 'mindful' approach to fashion seemed to grow much louder in July, after articles discussing the topic in some of the mainstream fashion press, and Topshop's launch of their new sustainable Reclaim range.

Leandra Medine of Man Repeller wrote "In Defense of Slow Fashion", a very thought-provoking article in which she implored her readers to "buy less, wear more", and lamented the fact that "fast fashion is starting to feel a lot like fresh produce", even though "clothes don't rot. Our closets are not refrigerators".

A Lazy Girl Goes Green posted about "The Environmental Disaster that is Planned Obsolescence", commenting on the fact that we now don't expect things to last beyond a few uses, as obsessed as we are with the next big trend or technology.

For a longer read, see William Powers' book "New Slow City", which explores the current trend for slow living in one of the world's fastest cities, New York. You can find reviews by The Note Passer here and Eco Warrior Princess here.

The Challenges and Successes of Legislation
If you only read one article this week, make it Michael Hobbes' "The Myth of the Ethical Shopper" (via The Huffington Post), which shockingly reveals the limited power of the consumer to affect change and instead argues for innovative approaches to the way we legislate and manage supply chains, at an international level.

, a retail consultancy specialising in sustainable fashion, reports on the progress made on the EU Garment Initiative, which which aims to ensure "responsible management of the supply chain in the garment sector".

After the Ethical Fashion Forum's Source Summit in June, Leah Borromeo for the Guardian questioned whether transparency in the fashion industry will ever become a reality.

On a more positive note, the Guardian also reported on the recent EU-wide ban on toxic chemical NPE, which poses an 'unacceptable risk' to the environment by leaking into the oceans through washing. [See Green Issues By Agy's guide for a more in-depth analysis of what chemicals are in your clothing].

Other News:
On the back of June's discussions around labelling and countries of origin, many brands and bloggers have used the 4th of July celebrations to promote #MadeInTheUSA. Business of Fashion reports on Walmart's struggle to increase their participation of American-made products, and also offers advice for brands looking to "tap the power of provenance".

And finally, the Open University is carrying out some much-needed research into the effects of fast fashion, to try and encourage 'sustainable shopping' and combat the awful statistic that 30% of the clothing an average UK household buys every year is never worn.

Have you read anything else this month that didn't make it on the list?

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Typography courtesy of Ashlee Proffitt


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