Is There a Sustainable Fashion Revolution Taking Place?

 Image - Vivienne Westwood Red Label

I have been blogging about (and wearing) ethical fashion for the last few years and whilst it is some thing that I strongly believe in, I have in the past felt a little on my own amongst not just the fashion blogger community but also often friends and family. Many of the events that I am invited to just don’t seem to relevant to my blog or the clothes that I wear. I have also wondered how seriously people take my blog, perhaps considering me to be slightly eccentric because I have never stepped foot in Primark (well not in the last 20 years anyway) and refuse to buy from Topshop

but…..

I am really starting to wonder if there is a sustainable fashion revolution starting to take place. Of course there have always been a hardcore of eco friendly and sustainability enthusiasts, charity shop and vintage addicts and make do and menders, but recently I have noticed not only a growing number of fashion blogs dedicated to sustainable style but also lots of fashion bloggers posting about related topics. Thrifting, swapping, buying less and upcycling, the results of which can be seen on outfit sharing and street style websites, all sit well with sustainability whilst also being very fashionable at the moment as well.

But it’s not just the bloggers that are talking about sustainability and fashion. Today, something happened that I really didn’t expect. H&M hosted a panel at Vogue headquarters about, guess what? ‘sustainability and fashion’. Before you condemn it as an act of green wash to promote their latest Concious Collection, I really did get the impression that H&M are really starting to take it all quite seriously (check out the video above for yourself). Putting aside my concerns over whether fast fashion could ever really be considered sustainable or ethical, I was pleased to see that H&M have dedicated the homepage of their website to promoting the Concious Collection and the live stream of the panel discussion. Definitely a step in the right direction and a high impact way of raising awareness amongst their customers. The panel featured Jasmin Malik Chua of Ecouterre, Bruno Pieters of honest by,Scott Mackinlay Hahn from Loomstate, fashion consultant Julie Gilhart as well as Helena Helmersson, global head of sustainability at H&M; Catarina Midby, head of fashion and sustainability communications at H&M. It was moderated by Simon Collin, the dean at The New School for Design at Parsons.

H & M have also taken the unprecedented (for a fast fashion chain) step of publishing their supplier list. Don’t get me wrong, there are still lots of issues, which have been well explained in Leena Oijala’s post for Ecosalon here. But things are definitely moving in the right direction no?

Over 400, 000 people have supported Greenpeace’s recent campaign’s to detox fashion. It had some really amazing results with brands like Zara and Levi’s committing to clean-up their supply chain and products. People (well some people anyway) are showing that they really care and the brands are starting to listen.


Image from www.fashioningchange.com

I have also seen some fantastic sustainable fashion brands and retailers popping up. Of course my own sustainable fashion website features about 140 innovative ethical and sustainable brands ( I never even realised there were that many!), many of them very affordable. There is also the much talked about Honest By, the worlds first 100% transparent company which launched in January. Brand founder and designer Bruno Pieters also just happens to create some pretty amazing fashion which I would definitely recommend checking out. Both Modavanti and Fashioning Change are also playing a key role in educating and increasing choice and accessibility of ethical and sustainable brands in the US.

And then there are the celebrities who are well known for their ability to influence fashion. Livia Firth and her Green Carpet Challenge has not only glamorised sustainable fashion, something that might have been considered distinctly lacking in glamour in the past but also got us all talking. Such a fantastic way to raise awareness. Dame Vivienne Westwood (pictured above) is an active campaigner for climate change and could not have summed it up better when she advised us to “Buy less, choose well”, a simple but high impact message that is sure to have reached many people.

And in the press, recent fashion weeks saw plenty of coverage of sustainable brands. Diesel recently celebrated their collaboration with ethical fashion brand EDUN by teaming up with Grazia Magazine to host an intimate dinner for bloggers. In the US Adriana Herrera, founder of Fashioning Change, has her own column in the New York times dedicated to ethical fashion. This years Vogue Fest also features a talk entitled ‘Can Fashion Change the World?’ and features Dame Vivienne Westwood, Livia Firth and Katherine Hamnett. I can’t wait!

I realise that fast fashion is still a big issue and that we have a long way to go. Also that there will always be those people that just couldn’t care less. But more than ever before, I think there is a revolution starting to happen.

So what do you think? are things moving in the right direction? do people really care less?  or am I just stuck in my happy little ethical fashion bubble? I would love to know your thoughts or experiences.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Ps if you are a UK Fashion Blogger and would like to join the revolution, you could try entering my sustainable fashion outfit competition.

Image – Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Pin It Share

11 thoughts on “Is There a Sustainable Fashion Revolution Taking Place?

  1. Incredible post. I just wrote something myself on the strategy behind H&M’s conscious collection and how it’s helping to mainstream these sustainability concerns and ran into your blog when looking for similar talks about it.
    I agree that things are moving in a right direction, though for me this is only a tiny teeny beginning… I’m still very concerned with the labour issues behind fast fashion that are sometimes being ignored to favour some greenwashing through sustainable initiatives. Still, better than nothing right? It does get me excited that there is hope for all of this!!

    The buy less, choose well is also part of it. We consume so much, sometimes items that are of such poor quality they have to be replaced soon… It’s a multi-prong approach, right? Sustainability, wise consumption, fair labour and fair trade 🙂

    Anyway, really like what you’re doing here on your blog!
    xo
    Sabrina
    http://polkadottedpearl.com/
    Sabrina recently posted..The critical talk: H&M ConsciousMy Profile

  2. I think there is a definite move to address green issues, but there really is very little being done to tackle human rights issues. Some examples:
    1. M&S launched their Plan A, plus Shwapping and the recycled suit, but last June their factories in Tamal Nadu were exposed in an appalling human rights scandal by Anti-Slavery International

    2. Zara commits to detox, following the Greenpeace campaign, then last week it comes out that their factories in Argentina have child workers and appalling conditions.

    3. H&M have their Conscious Collection, and various other recycling initiatives, but workers in their factories in Cambodia have been fainting due to poor working conditions (see Clean Clothes Campagin brilliant spoof on their ad http://www.mswandas.co.uk/2013/04/11/the-hm-unconscious-collection/)

    I think we need to be really careful that brands aren’t blindsiding us with easy environmental wins, while ignoring human rights issues. There needs to be transparency all the way through their supply chain.
    Ms Wanda recently posted..Zara outed in slavery scandalMy Profile

  3. Pingback: Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup | IFB

  4. Pingback: Designer Spotlight - Lilly Pulitzer

  5. Pingback: Apr. 11th Links a la Mode | aesthete

  6. Pingback: links a la mode roundup

  7. Pingback: Chanel and Schiaparelli DIY Doyenne

  8. Great article! I myself have slowly been transitioning into more sustainable clothing. I’ve been doing a lot of clothing brands and beauty products that are Eco-friendly. I love H&M and admire their long term efforts. Stella mcCartney proves to us that you don’t have to sacrifice high fashion in order to accomplish sustainability. I look forward to seeing more fashion houses make the change and hopefully fashion will be able to change the world.

    Xo
    Peace and love