Young designers call on fashion world to drop sustainability 'stigma'

The fashion industry has "no excuse" to continue shunning sustainability given the wealth of materials that can now be recycled into clothing, a leading designer has argued.

Jasmine Aarons, CEO of Voz - a fashion label that uses locally sourced sustainable materials - believes there is still a stigma attached to garments made out of reprocessed waste products.

"There's a ceiling that needs to be broken when it comes to fashion and sustainability," she said, lambasting the industry for being the "dirtiest, least regulated production system in the world".

"Sustainability is a difficult concept in the fashion space ... but we can work with quality, we're designers, we can push those boundaries. The technology's there, the vision's there. There is no excuse," she maintained.

"Our generation knows how high the stakes are when it comes to waste in our world. We have the tools to change things, we're doing it."

Aaron's comments were backed up by several other up-and-coming fashion designers who are now embracing greener manufacturing methods for their portfolios.

Mike Faherty, co-founder of Faherty Brand, has built sustainability into the core identity of his company which he set up with his brother, Alex. Every piece of clothing made under their brand is constructed from recycled materials like used plastic bottles.

Talking about his education in fabric development, Faherty said he spent a lot of time in fabric mills across the world learning his trade.

"There is no sustainable aspect there, that conversation never came up," he recalled. "I started learning about recycled polyester ... the process of taking waste and making product was very exciting to me.

"Once we realised we could make a beautiful print on the recycled fabric, we knew we had something. It became an added bonus."

According to blogger and style journalist Clare Sulmers, a new more environmentally aware movement of younger designers is needed to build on this work.

"Sustainability is an important movement. We need to get young, cool designers on board that can move the needle when it comes to style and awareness."

The three trend-setters gave their thoughts as part of Coca-Cola's EKOCYCLE 8 Days and 8 Ways campaign - a celebration of the future faces of sustainable fashion.

Maxine Perella


Coca Cola | manufacturing | textiles recycling


Waste & resource management
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