Sustainability in Fashion

UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Nishat Mirza – UN Pleas the Fashion Industry to be responsible, keep it practical, make connections and create “Multi Stake Holder Partnerships to live Sustainability in Fashion.”

On Feb 1st 2019 “Good For The Earth – Good for the People” – The Library Study Hall Sustainable Fashion Summit gathered experts from fashion industries, designers, educators, NASA scientist to discuss the role of sustainable fashion to reach Agenda2030.

The event started with a video showing how we’re destroying our environment by building up more debris than ever before. Sustainable fashion is the key in achievement toward Agenda2030. Fashion is a 2.5 trillion dollars industry where 60 million people are employed; most of them are female employees. This industry has a huge impact on global economy and the environment.

The Fashion industry can be a pioneer in progressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by improving people’s lives, protecting the environment and by making sure no one is living under the poverty lines. Private sectors can work on the progress by advocating for socially responsible businesses, supporting scientific innovation and keeping transparency whiting the system, there is currently 30,000 garments factories worldwide. The International Trade Center, created one initiative to connect women entrepreneurs named She Trades. This initiative so far connected 3 million women worldwide and brought their product into the US market.

Celine Semaan, sustainability advocate, founder and designer at Slow Factory created clothing using NASA images of the earth printed on silk. This way she created a political statement saying “We are all in this Together” and “Fashion is for the Planet and Earth” equally.

UN Economic and Social Council chief of outreach, Lotta Tahtinen, said reaching Agenda2030, the 17 Sustainable Goals are not only challenging for government but it’s a responsibility for all of us. We must push our government, push private sector, local government and civil society to create sustainable practices to reach the target year of 2030. “It is time for us to be innovative, Creative and Be Bold”. Multi-stakeholder partnership is the key to achieve the SDGs. The United Nations created the 17 SDGs with the Member States, now it is the job of the Member States, Private Sector, Influencer actors to implement the goals.

Gender Equality is a big factor when half the population of the world and almost the entire workforce of the fashion industry are female. Meral Guzel, from UN Women, said there is a practical tool to access the Gender Gap Analysis by using WEPs, weempower.org. This platform is created by UN Women where 7 different principles are indicated to ensure Gender Equality in the workforce.

On engaging our Youth into making sustainable choices, the term “Circular Economy” came into play. Suggestion included encouraging our children in to STEAM education and providing our teachers the tools to educate students about sustainability. Making sustainability the main factor in creating products is the way. For example, recently Adidas teamed up with Parle to create fabrics from plastic debris from the oceans and used those fabrics to make snickers.

Grasshopper is a company that created great initiative in recycling and adding to Circular Economy. They teamed up with Southwest Airlines, when the airlines replaced its leather sit covers into a lighter and more environmental friendly once, 80,000 leather sit covers were wasted, enough to fill up the entire Empire State Building in New York City. Grasshopper took those waster leather into developing countries like Kenya and Mexico. Kenya they worked with local schools in creating shoes and soccer balls for children. In Mexico, they worked with indigenous communities and designers to create leather bags that kept local heritage practices.

Sustainable Fashion event, Good for Earth- Good for People, stressed the fact that people around the world believe in one common goal, to rebuild the earth to be one with Mother Nature. Therefore, industries, textile companies, designers must come together to inspire sustainable fashion and the SDGs.

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