Fashion  For  Good

The story of fashion and sustainability is still being written, and it’s definitely a tricky one. Information, images, reports, videos, and opinions are being thrown our way at lightning speed, and it’s not always landing in the right place, leading to mixed reviews, misunderstandings, and confusion as to what it really means to actively participate in sustainability or what it means to be eco-friendly.

By Lauren-Walker Lee
Fa
shion is widely known as the second biggest polluter, having a very large and unsavoury carbon footprint. As we know, clothing is being produced at an alarmingly high rate and being discarded just as quickly. To get a sense, 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide each year and of these, 75% end up in a landfill. Fast fashion and the sheer volume of waste it produces is eye watering, and the truth of what is found in landfills is sadly helping to shift conversations and raise awareness. Our love of fashion is contributing to a vicious cycle. Of the 400 billion square metres of textiles produced, 60 billion square metres end up on the cutting room floor, making it hard for fashion fans to reconcile their passion for self-expression, participation in trends, and their desires and wants. Magnified by social media and celebrity, the fashion calendar itself, and pressure from keeping up with luxury tastemakers have all contributed to the linear make and waste model that is both trickling down as it is trickling up.

 

Making all of this a little more digestible is the incredible Fashion for Good

An Amsterdam-based incubator, accelerator, and technology museum doing exactly what their name implies. On paper, Fashion for Good is a global movement of change makers calling for industry wide collaboration, as well as being a platform for sustainable innovation here to make all fashion good. Launched in March 2017 with founding partner C&A Foundation and an open invitation to the entire apparel industry to join, Fashion for Good connects brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organizations, innovators, and funders to work together in their shared ambition to make the fashion industry a force for good.

Fashion for Good has evaluated this multi-faceted and complicated problem and is providing solutions to the fashion industry’s wasteful ways and introducing tangible circular new practices. Since there is no one size fits all answer, they have created a robust multipronged approach to implement their mission.

First, there is ‘The Fashion for Good Accelerator’, a 12-week program for a group of 10 to 15 start-ups who are driving innovation in sustainability, circularity, and transparency to make all fashion good. Twice a year, Fashion for Good finds the most promising global start-ups to join an intensive three-month program, leading to the discovery of changemakers in sectors such as raw material, dyeing and finishing, manufacturing and retail, end-of-use transparency and traceability.

A few accelerator alumni are the lending platform StyleLend, e-commerce packaging reutilization service Repack, and the app Good on You, who provide ethical ratings for 1000 fashion brands on their impact on people, the planet, and animals. In the new sustainable fabric category, Frumet uses apples to create a leather like material while Orange Fibre manufactures natural fabrics from citrus by-products. The latter you may have heard of from their collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo and the H&M Conscious Collection.

FFG Reborn © Alina Karsieva


Notably, sportswear giant Adidas has partnered with London-based start-up and FFG alumni Stuffstr to launch a new ‘reusing and take back’ initiative. Adidas will take back shoes and garments in any condition purchased in the last five years in exchange for vouchers. Recycling and reusing programs have a direct correlation to the mounting pressure big companies face as consumers hold them accountable for the waste they are generating. Stuffstr then sets out to either repair it, resell it, or break it down and reuse it for brand new products.

Next, their scaling program supports innovative companies that have a market ready product. Through bespoke support, and access to capital companies like Ambercycle and Colourzen, these companies can move to the next growth level. They choose innovative companies needing substantial funds to scale their businesses and make a mark on the fashion industry.

And all of this isn’t just lip service with fancy words and lab experiments. There are tangible results and quantifiable findings. Through their interactive technology museum, Fashion for Good is educating the public with rotating exhibits in which museums goers can join the experience and learn how to take action with practical solutions. It is a space where you can learn how your clothes were made and discover game changing innovations shaping the future of fashion. As conveners of change, they realized that to activate their mission, it is also imperative to inspire at the consumer level.

“By providing the inspiration and information needed to make it possible, we are revolutionizing the fashion industry so that people, companies and the planet can flourish together. Together we are reimagining the way fashion is designed, made, worn and reused.” – Fashion For Good

Our growing awareness and discourse mean the public is asking questions and is interested in finding answers and solutions. It is only fitting that Fashion for Good has created pillars made up of practical information to inspire change. Called “The Five Goods”, these pillars are aspects of the industry where we can all learn and take action in our own lives. Good materials, good economy, good energy, good water, and good lives are a framework to measure the sustainability of our products and materials. This not only goes for us as consumers, but also for big brands and corporations to either build into their businesses or retrofit accordingly. Every part of fashion’s global supply chain is considered and inspired to change. The fashion industry contributes to water pollution, climate change and landfill waste, and threatens the health and safety of those who make the clothes. The Five Goods endeavours to make this practical knowledge widespread and demonstrate that it is possible to create good fashion that is more attractive, accessible, and affordable than the status quo.

Fashion For Good could not be called anything else. As a true leader in the fashion sustainability space with worldwide reach and influence, it is changing how products are made, consumed, and reused. It continues to write the story with each new incubated start-up, funded market-ready product, and published report or exhibit. As conveners for change, they are cross-pollinating the various sectors by connecting the brands, retailers, and funders with the innovative technologies that will change the future. The last bit of the puzzle is consumers. The work of this dynamic one-of-a-kind company can only be fully realized with the help of consumers, and our day-to-day choices of what to wear and what to buy. Our clothing can begin to be the billboard of change and express our values at the same time as they continue to tell our personal stories of style.

You can find Fashion For Good here.

FFG Reborn © Alina Karsieva

Tesswithlotte Exhibition at Fashion for Good © Alina Karsieva

Tesswithlotte Exhibition at Fashion for Good © Alina Karsieva

Tesswithlotte Exhibition at Fashion for Good © Alina Karsieva

FFG Reborn © Alina Karsieva

Written on: February 11, 2020