Eco Fashion came on top this year with great brand features on green fashion brands through the year. But what secured a firm place on the BEST OF 2016 Top Reads was this feature on how Eco Fashion can be sexy and exciting as opposed to misconceptions about it being boring and dull! Read below.
In our first spread on Eco fashion, we introduced you to pollution caused by the fashion industry. Well friends, there really is no other way to package this simple ugly truth that the most glamorous and beautiful industry in the world is one of the top polluting ones! And we need to become aware that as active consumers fuelling this fire, we need to shop smarter. After all, it’s all coming back to bite us in the end- unhealthy environment means unhealthy life.
But we’re UrbanMeisters and we completely understand you’re groaning inside thinking do I really have to give up fashion to save the planet?! Pause. Firstly, you don’t have to become Captain Planet- just a more responsible shopper and we’ll keep showing you how. We know you care about the environment but that fantastic new collection at your favourite brand is calling out- we tell you go there but try not to clean the store out! Secondly, who says you can’t have fashionable and eco-friendly in the same sentence? This is the problem with our understanding of eco fashion- we think it’s all uncool & unsexy. And UrbanMeisters is here to change that perception. We bet by the end of this feature you’ll be a die hard green fashion convert!
Established players walking the Eco Fashion talk
We kickstart with the big names in fashion you love that are taking eco fashion to new heights.
The Non-Conformist Queen- Dame Vivienne Westwood
One of the most influential fashion activists, Vivienne is an inspiration. “I’ve got a voice because I’ve got a lot of credibility as a fashion designer,” she says. “So I have been using my fashion for the last five or so years as a medium.” Vivienne Westwood has committed to not expand her fashion business and instead sworn to choose quality over quantity in order to reconcile her business ambitions with her strong ecological beliefs and her concerns about mass production. She is a staunch advocate of green concerns and is not shy of tearing down her fashion peers and the whole industry for not taking responsibility. We need people like her championing the cause of eco fashion. Our editor-in-chief had the chance to meet her at COP21 in Paris last November where her message was loud and clear- “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” It really is simple and do-able but we never take the step.
Vivienne Westwood with our editor in chief Mirela Orlovic at COP21 Paris in Nov 2015
The Maverick Princess- Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney started her business on a sustainable, cruelty free material sourcing model. She was much ridiculed for her lofty idealism. Until 2007 when a very reputed environmental report found that the livestock industry accounted for 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transport sector. Since then many other players have followed suit trying to source or even organically produce substitutes that give the same feel as leather and have succeeded – case in point- the best selling McCartney tote Falabella.
Queen honors Stella McCartney with Order of the British Empire (Source)
High Street Fashion King Inditex
Inditex is world’s biggest apparel company owning Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear & Bershka among others and it’s sheer scale of operation worldwide has forced it to put stringent and innovative measures in place that ensure a low environmental impact. Most fashion players buy & produce stock in bulk and then market it, leading to a lot of waste in manufacturing and invariably unsold stock. Inditex decide to change this business model. So now Zara creates products in response to market feedback via quantitative & qualitative data collected from stores in real time. And if a giant like Zara can manage this then why not over players? Inditex also works on the principle of ‘lean manufacturing’, a concept championed by Toyota which basically looks into eliminating wastage within the production process. And the profit figures? We quote Dr Hausman (Professor of Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University) on what he calls the ‘Zara Gap’ theory- ‘by adopting a more flexible, demand- driven operating model, there is an opportunity to increase their profits by 28 percent and their market capitalisation by up to 43 percent.’ Need we say more? Sustainability and profitability go hand in hand.
Eco Fashion making it’s way into mainstream fashion
Year 2016 saw some great things happen in the world of sustainable fashion from mainstream fast fashion players like Zara, H&M to high fashion giants like Burberry. Here a round-up of the eco fashion developments from 2016. H&M Conscious fashion Collection was launched earlier in the year amidst much debate on whether this was just greenwashing or a real green effort by the fast fashion giant. Read all about H&M Conscious Collection here. Zara closely followed suit by launching JOIN LIFE- it’s new sustainable fashion line made with exciting sustainable materials. Keeping their promise to stay away from multiple fashion seasons, Burberry & Tom Ford showcased AW2016, just in time for the season. Superstar Pharrell Williams made us green fashionistas HAPPY with the launch of denim brand G-STAR RAW made out of ocean trash.
Flirting with Eco Fashion- Karl Lagerfeld’s eco couture at Chanel
The most prestigious high fashion label in the world Chanel did it’s first ever eco-couture show in January with bees as it’s inspiration. This Haute Couture show was all under the banner of “high-fashion” ecology. As Karl Lagerfeld explained, he wanted to “to take ecology one step further and to make it high fashion, a very elegant and very luxurious version of it…”.
From bees being the motifs in embroidery to minimalist stage which was composted and recycled after the show, Chanel went all out in its maiden eco couture venture. Another striking feature was the selection of innovative and sustainable materials used for beading, plaiting etc: wood chips, recycled paper, organic woven yarn and wild cotton. And while brand loyalists applauded the effort, critics were quick to point out and not wrongly so, that this is one of those famous cases of ‘Green Washing’. Real eco-fashion is all about finding sustainable methods through the whole value chain. It is a long term vision with a shift in business model and orientation. Not a PR stunt with high visibility and no genuine transformation.
What do we think? A bit of both. No doubt we need a long term and driven impetus to eco-fashion led by giants like Chanel. If we see that Chanel from now on starts continuously improving their value chain, making sustainability excellence a key business value that expresses craftsmanship and quality, then it’ll be truly praiseworthy. And while we hope this will be the case, we do think it’s a one season wonder. And let’s be frank, Karl Lagerfeld is not the most suitable role model for sustainable material stakes- his refusal to budge from fur at Fendi is a case in point among many others.
Berlin emerged as the Eco Fashion capital of the world
UrbanMeisters was LIVE for you at the Berlin Fashion Week to check out the latest sustainable fashion trends and brands and the green energy was of the place was infectious and exciting. Seeing conventional fashion & sustainability go hand in hand in such a mainstream fashion event gave us much hope for the eco fashion future. Read why Berlin is the new international capital of eco fashion & our top 5 eco fashion brand picks from Berlin Fashion Week.
Rise of Eco Fashion- Spotlight on The Reformation & TAMGA Designs
There are a lot of very cool and edgy emerging designer brands that are sustainable, green. They are legitimately doing their bit to make green fashion a reality by taking a holistic approach to sustainable design. From ethical organic sourcing of raw materials, safe and non-polluting methods of production and responsible promotion, these brands are walking the talk. And did we mention they’re really cool designs? Amour Vert, StudyNY, A Peace Treaty are some really note worthy eco-fashion brands. but today we have picked out two diverse eco fashion brands from opposite ends of the spectrum. One is edgy and perfect for the evening out and the other is relaxed and comfortable. The two things common to both? Sexy as hell & green.
The brand that will surely tell you eco fashion is sexy- The Reformation
- Honesty & Visibility: So they give total transparency on the whole value chain, from growing the fibers, making the fabric, dyeing, transport, manufacturing, packaging, to garment care and recycling. They showcase for each product the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and water used and compare it to the US industry standard. On top they offset the emissions and water used during production, with planting forests to naturally capture CO2 from the air. They control their waste, toxicity and fair labour and also invest in clean water solutions.
- Amazing green quality: They make their pieces from rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. But they go a step further and develop fabrics made from fiber with lighter environmental footprint compared with conventional cotton or polyester. Look at Tence for instance- the material is made out of eycaluptus trees and has a much more eco-friendly footprint than cotton. The best part is that search for innovative sustainable material is an on-going process here and a pivotal part of their R&D.
- Recycling: Super easy recycling program. Watch this
- Urban, edgy, sexy design: If you think all this makes the clothes frumpy and uncool then you’re very very wrong. The fabrics fall perfectly, the materials are qualitative and comfortable, yet very sexy. Have a look:
Another really hot eco fashion brand that we highly recommend is the TAMGA Designs- a stunning culmination of sexy styles, functionality and sustainable materials. Easy breezy styles in sustainable materials that are ideal for relaxed holiday wear. You can read our exclusive feature on sustainable brand TAMGA here.
Hope we’ve convinced you that Eco Fashion can really be sexy and cool.
Shop sexy, shop green!
Photo credits –> Cover and The Reformation pturescs: www.thereformation.com, Chanel picres: www.chanel.com