“Over 75% of fashion businesses think it is important for new recruits to have knowledge regarding social, environmental and ethical issues.” (FEI)
Over the coming year Fashioning an Ethical Industry (FEI) will be working with Scottish universities and colleges to establish a network interested in teaching, learning and sharing about ethics in the fashion industry. With the support from FEI the Network will host events, develop resources and share best practice related to corporate social responsibility in the fashion industry. Find out more and join the network.
FEI student workshops will equip your graduates with information and skills in this important emerging area. Staff training sessions will give teaching staff the resources and confidence to effectively deliver the subject area. For further information and booking please see the website.
*The contents of this post was directly sourced through the FEI Bulletin*
Check out these amazing upcoming DIY courses from re-dress, held at their new HQ: 4 Hatch Street Lower, Dublin 2
BEGINNERS DESIGN CRASH COURSE
The one day fashion skills crash course for beginners.
Sat Nov 20th / 10am-5.pm / Re-dress HQ
Cost : €90 (includes light lunch) Read more here
UPCYCLING TEXTILES : CURIOUS COLLARS
This one day crash course will teach you how to upcycle waste materials into amazing accessories using skills such as embellishment, embroidery and pattern drafting culminating in the creation of a unique collars , broaches and more.
Instruction by: Sinead Kane / Jane Kelleher Designer Makers
Sat 27th November, 10am -5pm, Re-dress HQ
Cost : €90 (includes light lunch) Read more here
This 8 week course will explore upcycling to it’s fullest and teach you the techniques needed to create a new wardrobe from last seasons seconds. This is a make and take course so you will leave with a finished and photographed piece in week 8. Instruction by: Deirdre Harte, Upcycling Designer
Duration: 8-weeks, beginning Monday 1st November / 6.30pm-8.30.pm / Re-dress HQ
Cost : €150 Read more here
BOW TIES & BELLINIS!
In this half day workshop will create one of the the most seasonal fashion accessory ; the bow tie … We had to finish this one with a Bellini ! Instruction by: Sinead Kane (Bellinis made by the re-dress ladies!)
Duration: Duration: 1/2 Day, Sunday November 14th / 2pm-5pm / Re-dress HQ
Cost : €40 Read more here
DROP IN FASHION SKILLS WORKSHOPS
This 2 hour evening sewing session will allow you finish , start or alter any garments you are having trouble completing and all under the helpful hand of the skilled designer Maria Tapper..
Runs every last Thursday of the month beginning Thursday September 30th / 7pm-9pm
To pre book your place in the next class email firstname.lastname@example.org
MUMS TO BE EMBROIDERY
This 4 week morning class is especially programmed for mums to be and we will take you through basic embroidery techniques for children’s clothes…. Tea and cakes a must for this one! Instruction by: Maria Tapper, Fashion Designer
Duration: 4 weeks beginning Tuesday November 2nd / 10am- 12pm / Re-dress HQ
Cost : €80 Read more here
BASIC PATTERN DRAFTING
This 2 day course will take you through the construction of a skirt block to the design of a skirt and through the cutting and finishing process. Duration: 2-Days / December 4th & 5th / 10am – 5pm , Re-dress HQ Cost : €150 Read more here
FRENCH KNICKERS & COCKTAILS
This 2 hour class will take you step by step through the construction of your own pair of frilly briefs and all while sipping a cocktail !
Duration: December 7th / 7pm – 9pm / Re-dress HQ
Cost : €30 Read more here
Mark Trotzuk – Apparel Lifecycle Impacts & Mitigation of Impacts
Mark Trotzuk is the founder and CEO of Boardroom Eco Apparel, an audited socially compliant company and fair trade manufacturer that creates custom lifestyle clothing collections for fashion-conscious people who demand style, comfort and increased functional performance from their everyday clothing. Boardroom Eco Apparel is a Bluesign® brand member. In April of 2008, Mark’s passion for the environment brought him the opportunity to train with Al Gore as a presenter for The Climate Project; a Canadian initiative to increase awareness of Global Warming and Climate Change.www.ecoapparel.ca
“Be careful with what you do, it’s very complicated once you start down this path” – MEC buyer on eco claims for his products. If you are going to be responsible for your product, you have to take all risks associated with every step of your product’s life cycle.
So where to start:
Choose a fiber.
Need to know every stage of its lifecycle (ie, later, how much energy will be required to upkeep it)
You need to learn how to measure your impact. This is the most difficult thing to do in committing to eco.
Recycled Polyester can save 40-70% in energy savings over virgin polyester. Even then, great amounts of energy are used in dying, drying and spinning product.
25% of chemicals used worldwide are used for textiles.
Eco Apparel has adopted the Swiss Bluesign standard. Consumer Safety; Conserving Resources; High tech and Comfort. That said, the challenge is that the standard is new and many textiles and supplies haven’t yet been approved.
The point with a standard is that ultimately you’re going by the word of your supplier and as much as they say it may be one thing, tests may reveal it’s another.
For example, 200 factories in Bangladesh were visited by Bluesign and found that only 3 of them had wastewater treatment plants. All the other 197 were allowing all chemicals used to just flush out into the water system.
As for social compliance (ie, working conditions), an audit of the highest integrity is most important.
To do a proper carbon footprint for your company you should consider:
Amongst other factors
Eco Apparel gives 1% to the planet because some things cannot me mitigated, such as travel for sales…
Examples of material energy dependency:
Cotton needs to be washed hot and then cycle dried. A study in London suggests that 50% of the products environmental impact comes after the sale of the product
Polyester on the other hand can be washed cold and air dried.
Over the garment’s lifetime, polyester actually uses ½ the energy as cotton.
Approx 3000 recycling companies in North America – for example, collecting and then sending them to third world. 30% of the material is sold as wiping products for auto, cleaning and other industries. Old denim jeans are also being used for home and car insulation.
Reusing polyester can be closed loop because it can be recycled back into garments. The challenge is that polyester has a long life cycle so doesn’t come back to it’s starting point often.
The Eco Index: www.ecoindexbeta.org. It’s a new but complicated program that is being pioneered by the outdoor industry as an open source, transparent database to be used by industry and industry partners to help create an eco index. They are setting guidelines, indicators and metrics. They are asking every company to take one item from their portfolio and measure them against these metrics in the hope of coming up with a point system that can help rate “eco-index” for different products.
To wrap up:
There is no solution yet for how to measure a products lifecycle and its impact though it’s getting there.
Dr. Andrew Weaver – Global Warming: The Scale of the Problem, the Path to the Solution
Dr. Andrew Weaver // Photo Credit: Kris Krüg, www.staticphotography, via ECO Fashion Week
Dr. Weaver is Professor and Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, UVic. He was a Lead Author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2nd, 3rd and 4th scientific assessments and is a Lead Author in the 5th Assessment. He was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009. Weaver is a Fellow of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He is a past recipient of NSERC Steacie, Killam and Guggenheim Fellowships as well as the CMOS President’s Prize. In 2008 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.
Information gives the power to the people and that’s why we need to give tangible, communicable, understandable information to the people.
In an Angus Reid poll ¾ of people in Canada believe climate change is occurring
80% in BC
83% in Quebec, tops in Canada
69% believe climate change is real science in Canada though in Alberta 21% believe it’s junk science.
Problems for scientists:
Scientists are communicators spending a great deal of time communicating what they do in terms for those reporting what scientists are doing to the general population. Largely because science depends on assumptions that are not necessarily interesting to general public.
Sensationalism is used to sell and often jeopardize accuracy in so doing. For example, 150 meters sea rise would go to base of Statue of Liberty though magazines show covering of almost ¾ of statue (News of the World).
Journalists have difficulties determining who is and who is not an expert.
Journalistic ethical norm – journalist doesn’t want to be perceived as biased. IE) journalist asked to write an article about free trade agreement with China and must seek quotes and opinions from “experts” or “stakeholders” that then create a bias to the story. In order to balance this many journalists will use a “balance statement” that disproportionately affects the balance of the article. For example…. “some scientists believe that climate warming is just a normal cycle…” which effectively negates any evidence previously presented for the contrary, even if that evidence was much stronger in backing and numbers who support it.
We know that the world has warmed by .7% over the last decade. We know that the world is warming. We know that 2010 is now the warmest year on record. We know a lot, scientifically speaking.
One theory against global warming is that it’s caused by Sun Spots, as featured in the movie, “The Climate Swindle” (name may be wrong).
With this theory they drew a conclusion seeing two patterns without actually proving correlation.
The challenge to these sceptics is that when you actually present all the relevant data, in a correlated fashion, the evidence of man-caused climate change becomes overwhelming.
The canary in the coalmine: ice cap in the arctic.
In 2007 the previous record of meltback was beaten by an area the size of Ontario. It also beat the AVERAGE meltback by a size of Ontario and Quebec combined.
The reaction to this can be twofold:
A) let’s change our ways
B) let’s take advantage of this new access to oil and start drilling up in the arctic!
Since the 1870’s scientists have been predicting climate change
At this time, climate warming was thought to be a good thing (easier to farm year round…)
650,000 year record of C02, CH4, ice volume and inferred Antarctic temperature by studying ice cores in the Antarctic. You can literally infer past temperatures and past co2 levels from these ice cores.
We know this to be true for 800,000 years now
Currently at 389 parts per million, far beyond anything humans have ever seen while on earth. On track to go from 389 to 1000ppm by 2100.
So what’s going to happen?
First, make assumptions as did the IPCC on population, use of greenhouse gases…
IF we believe we don’t need to think about intergenerational equity then we’re fine. But if we do believe we have responsibilities to future generations then we have a lot to worry about.
3 scenarios were looked at:
Best – increase of 1.8 degrees celcius by 2099
Worst – increase of 4 degrees celcius by 2099
The challenge with climate change is that governments are basing their strategies on the present (what’s going to get them reelected) so they have little impetus to work on long term problems, such as climate change.
Impacts of climate change are disproportionately skewed to affect countries of the tropics, which also happens to be where we have less economically developed nations/peoples.
Our big challenge:
Since 2005 (31%) people generally are growing more sceptical about if “global warming is taking place?” (48%) in 2010 in USA.
In the UK the public has become even more sceptical.
So why has this drop in belief taking place:
People are trying to knock down what the IPCC created, as is human nature to knock down what has become powerful.
Fear of government regulations. Libertarians that don’t want the government telling us what to do.
Fear of growth of uber government in Geneva. In other words, a central body dictating what’s happening in regional areas
Policy options: 2050 emission reduction targets
Copenhagen Accord: we don’t want to raise world temperatures by more than 2 degrees celcius even though that would mean that we’d have to reduce our global CO2 to neutral, or carbon neutrality.
Challenge with Coppenhagen Accord and similar such global accords is that language is always written to protect public policy, not necessarily truth. In the case of Coppenhagen, the language has been framed to allow for an ‘out’ such as Kyoto protocol stands for – from Canadian commitment of reduction of 6% in 1997 to allowing a growth of 2.5% in 2010 – an 8.5% shift by using public policy framing.
This hypocrisy is why we need to change the focus of climate change from federal to municipal.
An exciting age of innovation
Science, engineering and technology will play a central role in the transformation of our energy system.
IE) The Chevy Volt – technology that existed but was suppressed because of vested interests
Cultures where new technology can step in without having to replace another technology is the easiest place for this to foster – hence why cell phones took off so quickly in the third world where landline infrastructure wasn’t established.
“What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?” – this is why our next generation will affect the greatest amount of change.
1) State of climate activism?
People feel beaten up cause no one is listening. That said, Copenhagen was great because it featured the youth outside with the politicians inside, signifying just how out of touch the two sides are. To do more A) vote B) take steps in your own community and in your own life.
2) Sapporo Berman statement that we’re within 3 years of a point of no return?
There is NO evidence that this is running away and can’t be caught. We have had much higher greenhouse gases previously on earth. The real question should be: “will we, as humans, be a part of the new world once these green house gases take their effect?” So you have to be careful with doom and gloom statements because it breeds a sense of hopelessness.
What she did for good was changing the activism mindset from fighting against something to fighting for something.
3) 1% of land for solar energy could take care of ALL our energy needs, is it really just vested interests stopping it?
The market is broken. The atmosphere is unregulated and people/business can put anything into it without recourse. This needs to change and then new innovations will take hold.
For example, tar sands in Canada act as a vested interest that prohibits government from focusing on new technologies.
4) From fashion perspective, what this industry can do specifically to positively affect change?
Ask what were the tools/processes used to create those textiles? Ask the question “How can I reduce our carbon footprint” by using these materials? In other words, you just have to ask the questions every step of the way. Ask, ask, and ask.
Photo Credit: Kris Krüg, www.staticphotography, via Flickr.com
Carly Stojsic is Canada’s Market Editor for Worth Global Style Network and is a freelance trend forecaster for an array of clients. She joined WGSN, the world’s leading online service for global trend analysis, as a Market Editor in December 2007. Her extensive background in sourcing, trend forecasting and as a color specialist greatly augments WGSN’s customized consultancy services in creative intelligence. Click here to read more
WGSN predicts fashion internationally… based on their knowledge, Carly tells us about eco movements. Consumers are moving towards a eco friendly lifestyle – home grown food, sustainable power sources.
WGSN think tank sees society having less of an identity now. Detroit is considering turning unused city lots into farmland.
The majority of designers target 10% of richest consumers. Revolution is required to reach other 90%.
Designers as activists.
Zero waste designs cut from fabric using all of it; no waste. Recycled denim can be used as insulation in buildings.
2007 London – dissolvable dress showcased so no landfill destination.
Denim dye process traditionally uses toxic chemicals, movement towards natural dyes, less harmful chemicals. Natural indigo and fruit dyes used for other fabrics.
Many companies creating their own ‘green star’ system to monitor internal greening.
True sustainability may be more about recycling synthetics, not using newly produced organic natural fibres. These wear better, wash easier.
Bamboo fibres used in Japan. Decomposes harmlessly. Paper fibres used also for lace, knits, unique pressed fabrics.
China will ban plastic bags handed out in stores June 2011.
Mattel is producing eco accessories for Barbie. !
Recycling used by artists, interior design, home fittings.
Swaparama clothing swap parties popular. Repair also encouraged.
Bicycling communities popping up internationally. Underground communities hold repair workshops, portable sound systems for bike parties.
George from California kayaks to work after years of traffic jams. WGSN asks, ‘Where does he put his coffee?!’
Aware of What We Wear: an Ethical Fashion Initiative
by Samantha Reichman,
Secretary of the Student Ethical Fashion Organization,
The College of William and Mary
How can fashion, a multibillion dollar flashy, frivolous, fickle industry, created to appeal to the whims of the consumer possibly be ETHICAL? Students of “Ethical Fashion” have discovered the answer to this question over the course of the 2009-2010 academic year.
The Sharpe Community Scholars Program at The College of William and Mary originated a service-learning, seminar-style course called “Ethical Fashion”, taught by Professor Regina Root. Designed for students interested in combining their concern about issues in the fashion industry with their desire for social justice, we signed up to engage the topic for an entire academic year. During the fall semester, we were challenged to discuss and research topics related to the global apparel industry: issues in production and distribution as well as workers’ rights and sweatshop labor. This semester, our focus has shifted to the creation and execution of a campus-wide project. We successfully hosted an ethical fashion show on April 10 to raise awareness on campus about this aspect of the worldwide fashion industry. On April 28, our classmates produced Josefina López’s “Real Women Have Curves” – a play about near-sweatshop-labor conditions in East Los Angeles to raise awareness of what is exactly going on in an industry that touches our lives every single day.
“Ethical Fashion” students are taking the next step in making this more than just a yearlong freshman seminar project. We are starting a movement. It began with an Ethical Fashion Report for the provost of the college, who understands the growing, changing nature of this issue around the world. Next, a constitution was written, resulting in the formation of an Ethical Fashion club. At our weekly meetings, we agreed the organization would be called SEFO: Student Ethical Fashion Organization. Blaise Springfield was elected the new president, along with an executive board on which I serve as secretary. This new student organization already seeks to partner with organizations as varied as Goodwill Industries, EDUN Live On Campus and Raíz Diseño, a transnational network of sustainable designers in Latin America.
At the first annual Ethical Fashion Show at William and Mary, we created a line of outfits from recyclable materials, utilizing one-of-a-kind pieces featured by our local Student Environmental Action Coalition for a fashion display on America Recycles Day. Students also worked with Goodwill, which donated clothing that was reused or upcycled for the fashion show. All in all, we showcased the possibilities of using recyclable materials to create functional, fun outfits. Yet other students designed and modeled their own creations made of plastic bottle caps, plastic bags, and corrugated cardboard.
In the theater of our Campus Center, the fashion show proved a great success and planted the seed for further community awareness and involvement in the burgeoning field of “Ethical Fashion”. With a little consciousness and some recycling, we can easily find ways to feel really good about what we wear!
“During the fall semester, we were challenged to discuss and research […] issues in production and distribution as well as workers’ rights and sweatshop labor.” (Samantha Reichman, Secretary of the Student Ethical Fashion Organization, The College of William and Mary)
“Real Women Have Curves” by Josefina López – a play about near-sweatshop-labor conditions in East Los Angeles
Samantha Reichman collected the plastic bottle caps that topped the various drinks consumed by her family. She used this dress as a kind of intervention -- to bring awareness of the waste produced through the consumption of bottled water.
Student modeling a dress recycled by Goodwill Industries, an organization with which the Student Ethical Fashion Organization partnered for the first annual ethical fashion show that featured a great deal of recycled apparel.
Group Photo: The first annual Ethical Fashion Show at College of William and Mary
Our friends over at Re-dress in Ireland have been BUSY!
In less than one month, Re-dress will present FASHION EVOLUTION, Ireland’s 3rd ethical fashion week:
“Fashion Evolution aims to re-vitalise the spirit of the Irish fashion industry, with a schedule of exciting events catering for consumers, producers, retailers and supporters of fashion alike.” (Re-dress)
“Our mission is to provide the Irish fashion sector with the tools needed to make more sustainable fashion choices.” (Re-dress)
We don’t think they’ll have any trouble accomplishing this goal–just take a look at what they have planned!
“MADE-BY and Organic Exchange is delighted to invite you to a unique 2-day intensive seminar on sustainable fashion (clothing and textile) in Stockholm! This seminar is the perfect opportunity to assist textile and apparel professionals working in brands and retailers to come up to speed on changes and opportunities in the supply chain.
Speakers and several important topics covered include:
• Environmentally Friendly Fabrics – Understand the Definition, Sourcing and Production Issues,
• A Discussion on Recycled Materials – Polyester and Nylon,
• Responsible Processing – The Good The Bad & The Ugly of Dyeing and Finishing Industry,
• Product Integrity – Certification, Labeling, Transparency and Traceability,
• Social Compliance – Understand the Different Systems and Learn The Actual Work Done,
• Setting Sustainability Strategy – Learn from the Perspective of Leading Brands, Their Pitfalls, Triumphs and Lessons Learned,
• Communication Strategy – How Sustainability and Branding Strengthen Each Other?
• Fashion and Consumer Trends Towards Sustainability in Europe.
Participants will be encouraged to be critical, ask questions and share experiences during discussions. It would be an excellent place to actively share knowledge and information and to network at every possible level.” (MADE-BY)
“The seminar, to be held at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, will include an overview of new life-cycle assessment research; information and tools designed to help market the benefits of reusable textiles; and information on how to enhance and measure the sustainability of a facility’s operations.
The Green Summit is open to ARTA members and non-members and as well as education and networking opportunities, will also feature supplier exhibits.
Announcing the event, ARTA president Steve Tinker said that to remain competitive, businesses would need to incorporate sustainable practices into operations and be able to verify those efforts. “Some might argue that ‘green’ is a trend, but legislative and consumer indicators show that the focus on sustainability is here to stay,” he said.
‘The green era offers a unique opportunity for the textile services industry. We’ve been providing and supporting a green product — reusable textiles — for more than a century! The immediate challenge lies in quantifying the green benefits of reusable textiles and of our operations, and then marketing those benefits to our customers.’” (Ecotextile News)
Nadira and I both promised to make the slides from our presentations at the FEI conference available online, and here they are, along with a slideshow of some of the images we captured from the event. I’ve reposted the videos of the presentations for convenience.
Thanks to everyone who offered feedback, we were so grateful for your considerations. Please, keep let’s keep the conversation going!