Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Slow Fashion and Sustainability News: October/November Edition

As I write this month's double edition of Slow Fashion and Sustainability News from my temporary apartment in Berlin, I can't quite believe how much has happened in the last few weeks - I've moved both jobs and countries, said goodbye to a lot of amazing people back in London, and have spent the last few days preparing for my new life here in the city of hipsters, reunification, Currywurst, and of course green fashion!

I haven't really stopped to take a breath, and the fashion industry hasn't either - after the rush of September's fashion weeks and the new season collections (check out September's Slow Fashion edition here), the last couple of months have been dominated by retailers' attempts to keep momentum going through discounting, early Christmas promotions, and of course the growing popularity of Black Friday. However, many big brands are still struggling to make their profit forecasts, and the growing popularity of #BuyNothingDay shows that consumers are steadily becoming more savvy about how and where they spend their money.

Back in October, Brighton hosted its 6th Fashion Week, which was completely sustainability-focused for the first time since its debut in 2009. The annual event "offers a fresh approach to promote sustainability", with the aim of encouraging "as many excellent quality innovative sustainable fashion brands to showcase at the event as possible", with a special focus on new designers at the start of their careers. You can read Sustainability in Style's summary of the key events and speakers here.

Hot on BFW's heels was the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015, which was a record-breaking year both for entries and attendees. Special congratulations go to Dutch denim brand Mud Jeans, which won the title of Sustainable Business Model of the Year for their fantastic approach to creating a #circulareconomy.

The Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015, via Mud Jeans
There's also been more significant progress made across the fashion and beauty industry, with a ban on environmentally-damaging microbeads now looking more and more like a reality, and luxury conglomerate LMVH (which owns Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Celine and Edun amongst many other brands) putting forward unconventional plans for "carbon funding", which will help brands tackle their environmental impact.  

Of course, Christmas is now just around the corner, and retailers are tripping over themselves to convince everyone to buy more and more. Yet most are missing their own sales forecasts, and are now trapped in a culture of discounting that isn't good for the retailer or the garment workers who are ultimately the most impacted when margins are squeezed. 

So, if you want a more feel-good alternative to the usual Christmas overload of things you don't want or need, check out my Top 5 Ethical Gift Guides from fellow bloggers who focus on products that do good as well as look good. 

But this coming December is important for other reasons than just Christmas - it's the month of the Paris climate change talks, which will have immense consequences for every single one of us. Keep up with all the latest news by following Greenpeace on Twitter, and if you can, join one of the People's Marches taking place around the globe.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Nicole designs/Red Stamp

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