AFTER WE DISCOVERED THAT FASHION WAS THE SECOND MOST POLLUTING INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD, WE BEGAN ASKING OURSELVES A FEW QUESTIONS – WHY IS THE INDUSTRY SO NEGATIVELY IMPACTFUL? WHY IS IT THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY... WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH 3 YOUNG TALENTS.
Seeking for ways to turn a global crisis into an opportunity for systemic progress, the co-founders Matteo Ward, Victor Santiago and Silvia Giovanardi quit their corporate jobs in fashion in 2015 and launched WRÅD. At the beginning they were nothing more than an Instagram page and non-profit educational movement focused on raising awareness around the true impact of clothing – but then quickly evolved into a sustainable innovator, with their own synergic R&D program endorsed by Perpetua, and ultimately a brand offering liberating apparel for wrad-minded people like us, to sustain their agenda. Reckless profit is not the goal – their work holding ourselves accountable to their true purpose: influencing social and environmental change through innovative products in sync with the needs of our planet and people.
Nous Etudions is a fashion brand based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, created by Romina Cardillo in 2014. Its philosophy is linked to sustainability, veganism and non-gender traditions. The reformulation of traditional tailoring, the handling of monochromes when defining their color palette, the oversize like the predominance of their silhouettes and the experimentation of handmade intervened textiles, is what defines Nous as a minimalist brand that is constantly searching for new innovations for the development of its collections.
Patrick McDowell, Liverpool born designer, is captivating the fashion industry just months after finishing his degree. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins with a BA in Womenswear, Patrick is making his name known in the sustainable fashion industry. His final collection from Central Saint Martins quickly gained sponsorship from the British Fashion Council, Swarovski, Burberry and Oakley. At only 23 years old, McDowell launched his namesake label with an expanded version of his highly praised inaugural collection. Sustainability is at the core of Patrick’s practice, as he strives to reinvent luxury through a sustainable mindset. Crafted from reclaimed fabrics, organic yarns, and ethically produced materials, his pieces are designed and made in England. He is a strong advocate for reducing fashion’s global impact through designing with moral practice. Patrick is also a passionate advocate and supporter of creative education. Patrick’s style stems from his Liverpool roots and is bolstered by his attention to craft and modernity. He juxtaposes the hyper masculine with the glamour associated with his home town and draws inspiration from his family history.
1. Define “sustainable” in the fashion industry, as a concept, in few words.
WRÅD LIVING: Truthful, aware, respectful, consistent, innovative.
NOUS ETUDIONS: A philosophy of life.
PATRICK MCDOWELL: Transparent, ethical, fair, honest, beautiful.
2. What is the biggest challenge for you, as a brand, in sustainable fashion?
WRÅD LIVING: The biggest? Our main challenge is to work hard and do our best to be consistent with the 5 pillars above and contribute to inspiring others in doing the same. Our purpose is to catalyze the rise of a new order of sustainable action in the fashion industry that will make sustainability the standard rather than the exception, together with people united in their diversity by the only aspect that matters: life on Earth.
NOUS ETUDIONS: Make vegan clothes looking for materials that have no impact on the environment.
PATRICK MCDOWELL: The biggest challenge is also the most exciting part, because of how I produce using waste, the wholesale model doesn’t work, so I have the opportunity to redesign the whole process of building a fashion brand.
3. How would you explain the importance of brands like yours taking steps to become more ethical and sustainable for someone who is not well versed in what that means?
WRÅD LIVING: It’s simple: “people care when they know”. So it’s through a powerful, engaging, sometimes funny, always human, EDUCATION, that we can raise the awareness first, and than the desire to take action in being the first one who gives the example. Everyone dreams about being an hero.
NOUS ETUDIONS: I think that taking the first steps in brands that still did not give it, is very important for fashion to become increasingly sustainable.
PATRICK MCDOWELL: The fashion industry is so harmful and damaging to people and the planet, brands like mine are paving the way of sustainable future, re-thinking all aspects of our industry and shaking it up. Without this there simply won’t be a fashion industry in the very near future.
4. What actions should government institutions do to achieve a greater impact on sustainable fashion?
WRÅD LIVING: Pushing for the transparency and traceability, supporting and giving voice to the real leaders of the production process, investing in the innovators and in the communication of the main values helping retailers in fueling the circle.
NOUS ETUDIONS: Give more benefits and diffusion to textile companies that take care of the environment.
PATRICK MCDOWELL: Legislation, legislation and legislation! Because the fashion round table is doing already an amazing work.
5. How can human resources professionals play a key role in helping a company achieve its sustainability?
WRÅD LIVING: Hiring people to let them do exactly what they love and they are born for, because they will always do their best cause they will be in charge to be themselves. And cover positions in sustainability departments with creatives: the industry needs to be re-invented, re-designed, re-imagined.
NOUS ETUDIONS: Informing, giving talks and showing documentaries that show that changing to sustainability is the most successful path in the fashion industry.
PATRICK MCDOWELL: They need to put in place programmes to help facilitate sustainable change.