Will the fashion industry listen?
August 19, 2020
As I search for a new fulfillment partner for my design biz, PenJarProductions.com, all eyes are on the fashion and garment industry.
How long will it keep promoting a race-based caste system that only benefits people who look like me? And will it finally decide to listen to scientists and consumers who keep documenting and tweeting out the financial and social costs of its exploitative relationship to nature?
Before Covid I sold pillows and totes designed, printed, assembled and sewn in Toronto. But not all of my fabrics were Canadian-made. That bugged me.
Mid-Covid I started asking why sourcing Canadian fabrics was so hard and found out that the garment industry all but shut down and moved overseas during our 20-year love affair with globalization.
By early April, as doctors and front line workers scrambled for protective coverings and masks, Canadians were asking themselves, “What were we thinking?”
So I am back to watching the horizon for signs of change. To help me make better decisions going forward, I’m reading everything I can get my hands on that offers a road map to the future.
This week, it’s Lily Cole’s book, Who Cares Wins: Reasons For Optimism in Our Changing World. Cole is an activist, writer, Cambridge grad and former model. Having fronted some of fashion’s biggest campaigns, her insider status helps highlight the need for new business models with more transparent supply chains and new metrics to measure success.
The shareholder insistence on year-over-year growth needs to be replaced by metrics that focus on human and environmental wellbeing. From a consumer POV that means buying fewer disposable things in favour of things that last.
“Ironically, it’s about loving material things more,” says Cole. It’s like that Chanel suit your grandmother bought in 1955 and passed down the generations.
“The more you love something, the more you respect it,” says Cole. This mindset is less wasteful and places more emphasis on the artisanal craftsmanship of each garment.
Source: Lily Cole sits down with Imran Amed in episode 225 of the Business of Fashion Podcast.