How do we move sustainable fashion, not just to the forefront of the conversation, but to the point where sustainability is the norm? There are all sorts of ideas and theories about the best way to shift the agenda forward. One of the most realistic and successful is the Future Threads Project.
The brainchild of Paula Ponzer, a writer and thinker on fashion and culture, FTP is aiming high. Rather than targeting suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, it aims to connect and engage people to look at fashion as a whole, and address the values of the industry from the skeleton up.
Paula states her case bluntly:
The way I see it is: if you don’t know about sustainability and the problems that exist in the fashion industry; then you don’t know fashion.Harsh, you might think. But the point she's trying to make is important. Half the problem is that people don't know enough about eco-fashion issues, and therefore choose to ignore them. Worse, they view the subject in an entirely negative fashion (scuse the pun) as they are hectored and nagged, and told that disasters like Rana Plaza are their fault for shopping or choosing clothes in the wrong way. FTP is aiming to change that, skewing the conversation into something much more positive, and making sure that the tools are available to find out how to become a more sustainably-aware consumer or producer.
It's all to do with social networking. FTP is a collaborative project, bringing together fashion writers, bloggers and industry professionals in an on-going world-wide discussion about how best to bring the conversation about sustainable fashion into the mainstream. By setting up online tools, networking events and meetings, and making it easy to get people together and talking, the end result is much more than the sum of its parts.
The ultimate goal? Well, it's big, and yet somehow blindingly simple. FTP is aiming for nothing less than a paradigm shift. Paula says:
I ... don’t believe there will be anything called sustainable fashion at that point – what sustainability is, will be common knowledge and that we no longer need to talk about “sustainable fashion.” Anything unsustainable will be looked down on.That's one hell of an end game. I completely get where Paula is coming from. FTP shares a lot of DNA with the Ethical Fashion Forum, enabling interested parties to meet, talk and promote in a welcoming environment. If anything it's more social-media enabled, with heavy presences on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. This is a great way of pushing out the right positive message to a wide pool of potential collaborators or followers.
There's more on FTP over at Urban Times, and bo be sure to check out the FTP website.
Of course, we at Pier32 are great believers in the power of social networking - have I pointed out the links to our Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest pages over on the sidebar?