I’m excited to bring together key leaders across the fashion industry to launch a new grassroots movement to accelerate change in one of the most polluting and unjust sectors in the world. They include: Tom Berry, global director of sustainable business at FARFETCH; Mike Barry, former director of sustainable business at Marks and Spencer; Debbie Luffman, product director at Finisterre/ThinkCircular and Hubbub and Mariusz Stochaj, head of product and sustainability at Continental Clothing as well as Ben Tolhurst, Director of Business Declares.
The goal over the next three years is to get 50,000 individuals to become ‘members’ of Fashion Declares by signing the Open Letter here and so pledging their support for five radical commitments that could rapidly transform fashion. These are:
- speaking out for urgent action to tackle the climate, ecological and social crisis
- delivering decarbonisation, restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity
- working for social justice and a just transition
- ensuring radical transparency and corporate governance
- adopting a regenerative fashion model
These bold commitments reflect the need for rapid and fundamental changes in fashion. We have a handful of years to avoid the catastrophic impacts of global warming and we need wide-ranging and urgent action across the sector. This needs to include individuals working at every level in fashion, from designers to finance people, and from retailers to influencers. While this industry is a huge contributor to the climate and ecological crisis, we also believe it is a creative and innovate sector with drive and passion. We can do more than just negate our impact – fashion can take a leading role in tackling the crisis and become a significant force to transform mindsets and lifestyles.
Early signatories include: Vincent Stanley, Head of Philosophy, Patagonia, US; Christine Goulay, Global Director, Pangaia B2B, PANGAIA, France; Lauren Bartley, Sustainability Director, GANNI, Denmark; Sel Kofiga, Founder, The Slum Studio, Ghana; Kalkidan Legesse, Founder, Schwap and Sancho’s, UK; Javier Goyeneche, CEO, Ecoalf, Spain; Patrick Grant, Director, Community Clothing, UK; Nishanth Chopra, Founder and Director, Oshadi, India; Kathleen Talbot, CSO, Reformation, US; and many more at www.fashion-declares.org
Tom Berry says, “Fashion needs to change. And to achieve any significant change, all companies and all employees within those companies need to play their part. There aren’t any other movements in the fashion industry working bottom up, engaging all of the different people in the industry who can and need to contribute.”
Debbie Luffman says, “It won’t take a single brand or supplier, it won’t rely on a magical fibre or technology. It will require all these moving parts and humans to come together to create a positive fashion ecosystem, rather than an industry.”
Mike Barry also recognises the distinctive approach of Fashion Declares, stating, “We cannot transform fashion’s footprint through a few good people sat on the edge of the business, we need everybody to get involved.”
Lauren Bartley of GANNI is supporting Fashion Declares because, “To stand a chance at making the Fashion industry socially and environmentally sustainable, collaboration coupled with concrete measurable action are imperative and the Fashion Declares movement can play a crucial role in delivering that.”
The timing of the launch comes as 2022 sees intense focus on the fashion industry. In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority is targeting fashion with a greenwashing probe, while the Environmental Audit Committee is expected to deliver its follow-up report on ‘Fixing Fashion’. At COP26, the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action saw signatories commit to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
I was inspired to launch a movement by conversations with over 100 leaders in fashion who have contributed to my forthcoming book ‘Regenerative Fashion’. I was struck by how deeply we care, how we want to learn, share best practice and new thinking. The window to stay within 1.5 degrees is closing fast; we must act now. Fashion Declares is about every individual in this industry realising they have a role to play in the rapid and just transition needed to redefine fashion so it operates within planetary boundaries and shares the benefits more fairly.
How can people get involved with Fashion Declares?
There are three ways of being part of Fashion Declares. The core focus of Fashion Declares is to attract Individual Members – individuals from right across the Fashion Sector who will give their voice to the 5 commitments which this movement stands for. However, we are also looking to supplement this with two other groups;
- Supporting Organisations – businesses from the Fashion Sector and other related/relevant sectors can offer their support to Fashion Declares in various ways; and
- Advisory Group Members – individuals may join the advisory board to take a more active role in the promotion of Fashion Declares.
What is expected of a member?
We are asking members of Fashion Declares to begin their commitments by raising awareness of the role of fashion in the climate, ecological and social crisis within their organisation and wider networks. By galvanising these conversations in the workplace one can mobilise support and create a movement which ultimately leads to behavioural change.
Members should also proactively advocate for change in a range of policy areas from sourcing green energy to sustainable procurement and production methods.
Finally, members should share ideas, success stories and challenges through Fashion Declares to create a network of support and build a change movement in collaboration.
View the ‘Welcome to Fashion Declares’ video.
Read the launch in Drapers.