Fashion industry debates its future

Fashion experts from around the world gathered in London to put their heads together and develop tactics to make the fashion industry more sustainable.

The London College of Fashion’s recently launched Centre for Sustainable Fashion (see related story) held its first event to recognise and reward students trying to create greener, more ethical fashion, and to debate the future of the industry.

On Monday night, designers showcased their work to an audience that included organic cosmetics queen Jo Wood and former Clothes Show presenter Caryn Franklin.

Among the sustainable creations taking to the catwalk were the entries to the college’s first Fashioning the Future student competition.

Nimish Shah and Manon Flener will be the names to watch in the future after walking away with the top prizes of £1,000 each, while runners-up Michela Carraro and Stephanie Sandstrom took home £500 each.

Sim Scavazza, creative director of sustainable fashion brand and one of the competition judges, said: “Difficult economic times are no excuse to stop innovating.

“More and more, consumers are turning their minds to provenance, and now is the time to educate our consumers.”

The following day, leading members of the global fashion industry gathered at the London College of Fashion again to draw up tactics to make their sector more ethical and sustainable.

Dr Frances Corner, head of the college, said: “We have to be prepared to pay for the real price of the clothes we buy.

“That means not just making sure that whoever is making our clothes has a decent living wage, but also being aware of the environmental cost of our clothes.”

She added: “What I want to do today is to make sure that we have a radical fashion future.”

Anthony Kleanthous, a senior policy advisor for WWF-UK, said: “If we are to unlock this business potential and businesses are to become sustainable then environmental and social values must be built into the DNA of mainstream consumer brands.”

He added that luxury brands often have even more work to do, reminding delegates of the results of last year’s Deeper Luxury report, published by WWF (see related story).

Kate Martin

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