Friday, May 25th, 2012 | Our Philosophy | No Comments
This blog post originally appeared on Melba Foggo’s Logica blog
In the crucial battle for the hearts and minds of trendsetters, the fashion industry is better placed than any other to encourage consumers to be greener.
In recent times it’s been heartening to see a number of major brands taking great strides to becoming more sustainable. Nike, Levi’s, Timberland, North Face, Gucci, YSL and Puma have all made efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products.
But what stops them from going further? A common theme among high-street brands we’ve spoken to at Global Cool is fear of putting their heads above the green parapet. There is no shortage of will to make supply chains more sustainable, to create greener production processes and even to educate staff on environmental issues; but when we’ve suggested that they could use their influence with consumers to make an even more significant difference in the fight against climate change, we’ve been met with looks of horror.
That’s why the launch of H&M’s Conscious Collection last month feels like an important step. Of course, there is no shortage of places for the ethically aware consumer can go to get their fashion fix: sites like Fashion Conscience, Annie Greenabelle, People Tree and THTC (which has featured in Logica’s Sustainability Stories series ) have all played an important role in showing bigger brands that sustainable fashion can be both aspirational and profitable.
The Conscious Collection – all the garments are made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester – is a rare attempt by the high street to take ethical fashion to the masses. Crucially, as well as being sustainable, this line is affordable for the average customer and, because it comes with the full weight of the H&M brand behind it (including celebrity endorsers like the Hollywood actress Michelle Williams), it ‘s been well received in mainstream media. Even the Daily Mail, a newspaper not usually known for its support of climate change, gave the launch a positive review.
That’s not to say H&M and other fashion brands do not have their detractors; there were no shortage of people queuing up to point out the fashion industry’s shortcomings around labour rights on the The Guardian’s coverage.
Clearly this kind of scrutiny is important to ensure that the fashion industry lives up to its environmental claims, especially as a recent survey found 52% of consumers are skeptical about brands’ ethical claims.
Less helpful, though, are those detractors who argue that the word sustainability is incompatible with an industry whose lifeblood is the creation of new trends that ensure the old trends have a very short shelf life. Not only is this attitude defeatist, it also fosters the kind of fear of criticism that has held brands back from being bolder in their sustainability initiatives.
Of course, there is still a lot more that fashion brands can do – not least making their entire range sustainable. Marketing Week also pointed out that H&M could do more to promote sustainability by making their customers feel good about buying these products. At Global Cool we think they have a part to play in encouraging wider green behaviours, too, such as efficient home energy use. But this is certainly a step in the right direction and one that we hope many more fashion brands will follow.
Thursday, March 8th, 2012 | Global Cool | No Comments
It seems that the clothes are almost as important as the films at the Oscars, so it was great to see so many stars wearing eco fashion. After all, as the star of this year’s awards, Meryl Streep, knows all too well – only The Devil Wears Prada.
Colin and Livia Firth – a long-time champion of sustainable fashion with her Green Carpet Challenge - both got on their eco glad rags. Mrs Darcy wore a Valentino dress made from recycled polyester and plastic bottles, while the King of last year’s Oscars donned his Tom Ford tux for the second year running – a form of recycling that is tantamount to fashion heresy in Hollywood.
But it was Meryl who stole the show in her eco-friendly Lanvin gown.
For those wanting to follow in the Iron Lady’s eco-friendly footsteps (we mean Meryl rather than Maggie, obvs) but unsure of where to start, there was plenty of eco fashion inspiration on display at London Fashion Week last week. Here are some of Global Cool‘s autumn/winter favourites from the Estethica exhibition…
In the Quechua language, Pachacuti literally means ‘world upside-down’ and that’s exactly what the designers have done for the world of ethical fashion. From CO2-neutral packaging to organically grown fibres, this Fair Trade panama hats company is the epitome of sustainable style. This season we saw gorgeous felt hats added to the collection, and an entire range of irresistible soft alpaca wool knitwear and accessories – perfect for wrapping up warm this winter.
A new face for us this season was Makepiece - a knitwear company focussed on offering beautiful jumpers, dresses and accessories made from soft, ethical yarns and designed to be ahead of the trends, so they stay fashionable for longer. We love that all the wool comes from their very own flock of low-impact Shetland sheep, and one of the jumpers on display was even knitted from their oldest sheep Daisy Mae – she was the first ever bottle fed lamb and is now a venerable grandmother.
A long-standing Global Cool favourite Charini had a fresh new look for their Autumn/Winter collection. There was a stark contrast between the delicate, cream bridal range, and the darker, bondage-inspired range. Creator Charini Suriyage told us: “We wanted to use the designs to portray the female sense of power. One of the ranges mixes bondage with lace to show empowerment but still with a sense of sophistication and femininity.” All the underwear in the collection is made from sustainable material with no hooks, no elastic, no plastic or any unnecessary dying.
We loved the fresh colours on display at the Junky Styling exhibition at London Fashion Week this season, which were quite a change from their usual designs. The mix of military jackets lined with bright Scottish blankets, created a strong colour-contrast. We particularly liked the red fringed jacket, made from recycled scarves. The ladies behind the scenes told us: “We’ve created dresses from suits, scarves and recycled silk tie materials and pieced them together in original patchwork designs.”
This post was originally published at The Huffington Post
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