The Independent published a piece this week stating that “The environmental costs of fashion are too high – we must consume less or it will be the death of us.” In it, Lizzie Rivera gives a scathing review of the repugnant issues baked into the fashion industry.
These problems are not new. And with each month, more headlines cut through the curtain of fashion, resulting in shoppers taking note and changing their behaviours.
Sixty-six percent of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable (State of Fashion Report 2017 by BoF and McKinsey), while 63% of shoppers in London alone reported abandoning a purchase due to concerns of sustainability (Drapers, 2019).
Activism is also taking hold. Extinction Rebellion has called for the end of Fashion Week, boycotting on behalf of the planet throughout the week (ending with a funeral service, “London Fashion Week: Rest in Peace”).
The industry is also responding. Ahead of London Fashion Week, The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced its commitment to sustainability by launching a new initiative named the Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF).
“It will accelerate progress made in all areas of sustainability that will be impactful and lasting, by creating educational programmes and campaigns aimed at both industry and the public. The aim being to catalyse and expedite change.” – The British Fashion Council about the IPF
As a part of this, they’ll be celebrating the industry’s best practices at their exhibit at London Fashion Week to help creative positive change by only showcasing businesses that embrace one of their new #PositiveFashion pillars: “Sustainability, Equality & Diversity, Craftsmanship & Community.”
Across the industry and beyond the walls of the BFC exhibit, businesses have taken note and adapted to the shifting landscape.
But impact ‘wokeness’ isn’t enough.
And brands highlighting their sustainability or social impact should also be asked to prove that.
While we encourage progress as well as brands that are just starting on their impact journey, we have to demand full transparency so we as the customer can truly see where things come from, what they’re made of and how they are affecting humanity and the planet.
“The next frontier is transparency with integrity: brands will soon need to prove what they say.” – Jessi Baker, Provenance founder & CEO
At London Fashion Week this week, we’re working with Provenance member MWoven to champion integrity and push for more progress and transparency across the industry.
Martina Spetlova, the founder and designer behind MWoven, is also closely aligned with the mission of Extinction Rebellion and their aim to disrupt how the fashion industry works today.
As a disruptive designer, MWoven used the Provenance platform to upload details of sourcing their materials, how they make their luxury products, connections to suppliers and the non-profit involved and a circularity initiative around re-use and re-sale. They have then provided evidence at each stage as proof.
“I believe that fashion has to change and that we as designers have to take responsibility for our product and supply chain. I want to challenge sustainable fashion brands to be transparent and raise the bar with integrity, work closely with our suppliers and be creative in our design thinking.” – Martina Spetlova
Throughout their display at the Positive Fashion exhibit, they’ve provided a way for people to go beyond the base-level of ‘sustainable’ with QR codes enforcing their commitments through a digital dive into their journey.
They’re also engaging their customers around circularity by getting them to be part of the journey. They, too, can commit to a more sustainable future by making a pledge to recycle. Scan the QR below to see for yourself.
It’s the early days for full transparency, but it’s also far too late. Brands have to be accountable for their impact – and that means rolling up their sleeves to assess, address and then be open and honest about it.
As a shopper, your personal impact is also tied up in what you buy. You are complicit in the climate and social crisis by supporting bad practices.
This Fashion Week, demand integrity.
🌏Are you a brand looking to bring integrity into your impact story? Let’s connect.
🙌Want to discover more bold brands who are becoming transparent? Explore with Provenance.