Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Livia Firth Takes Over HuffPo for Sustainable Fashion Month

Livia Firth, one of our favourite eco-fashionistas, has taken over as guest editor of The Huffington Post this month–a smart move as September also sees London Fashion Week litter the streets of Soho with glitter and pouts. Putting the website's focus strongly on sustainable fashion, Livia has a lot to say on what defines the term. Her view: it's impossible.
In her opening editorial, Livia says:
"Words such as ethical, sustainable or ecological fashion have been so over used that they create more confusion than certainties.
The truth is we are in a situation today perfectly described by Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement when he asked a very simple question: "How did we end up in an era when we have to define and certify things that should be normal?"
To unpick that, we need to define unsustainable (and fast) fashion."
The notion of unsustainable fashion is significantly easier to quantify. In short, it's all the production methods that we have campaigned against for so long: sweatshop labour, unmonitored use of toxic chemicals, even the season model that insists we chuck out our wardrobe and start again twice a year.
But fast fashion is a whole new kind of monster, one that's ramping up the damage to almost absurd levels.
"Fast fashion is a relatively new phenomenon. One that's caught us all, as consumers, in an absurd circle of micro trends. Think about it. Around two mini seasons a week in store. Disposable clothes that stay in a woman's closet for an average of just five weeks, before being thrown out - all in the name of the democratization of fashion.
In reality, this is exploiting not just us, the "consumers", but also the planet's resources and the people who produce them. The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in April 2013 showed the world the true human cost of production at these volumes and prices. And don't even mention the environmental impact. It's enough to say that between 11,000 and 20,000 litres of water are needed to produce just ONE pair of jeans."
That's the bad news. The good news is that once you've identified a problem the solution becomes obvious. Fast fashion is clearly a problem. The solution is not to play the game. There's no reason to buy according to micro-trends. Show a little taste. Buy less often, but with an eye to the future, with the understanding that everything you buy is going to last you. At the same time, urge manufacturers to do their bit for their workers and the environment.
Ethical fashion is, ultimately, about common sense in the face of an industry that seems to have gone completely mad. The pushback is happening, and voices like Livia Firth's are at the front of that effort. Pay attention. It might just change your life.
I urge you to read Livia's editorial, and to keep an eye on HuffPost's sustainable fashion month.

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