Festival of Fashion: PURE London event 22/07
By Molly-Kate Vickers
On 22 July 2019, Fashion Roundtable CEO Tamara Cincik was joined by Pauline Op de Beeck, Client Executive of Carbon Trust and Melanie Traub, Managing Director at People Tree, to deliver an informative and enlightening panel discussion on ‘Defining Sustainability, Where does the fashion industry go now?’ Chaired by Kerry Bannigan, Founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign, the discussion intended to go beyond the ‘buzz words’, instead dissecting the policy and analysing the tech innovation, concluding how best to achieve sustainable goals.
Pure London, defined as the ‘Festival of Fashion’, is the UK’s leading trade collective of fashion brands and buyers, uniting some of the most creative minds and inspirational collections in the industry. Pure not only provides an international platform for over 1,300 women’s, men’s and kidswear collections, but also invites leaders from the fashion and sustainability sectors to discuss the future of fashion.
When asked how the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) relating to fashion should best be achieved, Tamara stated that, “consumers need support in being sustainable from government.” “It needs to start with policy makers, those in positions of power - we cannot demonise the consumer.” Tamara continued, “the consumer is already stretched… coming from a working class background myself, I am aware that some consumers have no alternative choice but to shop cheaply”.
However in order to encourage policy makers to pursue sustainable goals, Tamara stated that consumers can do their bit, by contacting their local representative or attending local party branch meetings, to ensure that sustainability sustains a position of priority on their agenda.
Tamara also enlightened the audience on how STEAM education can aid sustainability in fashion. Despite being gradually hollowed out by the implementation of the EBacc (see Bacc to the Future Campaign), creative education should instead be utilised as a tool for achieving sustainability goals.
Learning about the Arts encourages individuals from a young age to be creative, innovative and think ‘out of the box’. Rather than continue the currently normalised and monotonous ‘throwaway culture’, endorsing creativity from a young age can aid sustainability; by encouraging children to fix garments, to learn sewing, to learn about the value of material and clothing, to learn about the supply chain and to link environmental wellbeing to the production of garments.
However when asked about immediate realistic sustainable goals, Tamara raised the issue of workers rights and working conditions. In conversations on sustainability in fashion, focus is typically concentrated on policy makers prior to the supply, or the consumer at the end of the supply chain, however it is important not to negate the conditions and rights of individuals within the supply chain. Sustainability is a holistic issue, affecting a plethora of issues across the supply chain.
Tamara spoke about how Fashion Roundtable has recently been directly involved in the current issue surrounding Visas and employment in the garment manufacturing sector, following Brexit. Tamara highlighted a factory in Haringey which has complete transparency regarding its workers rights, how long items actually take to manufacture, the conditions which seamstresses and tailors experience, which should set a standard for other factory’s to follow, if sustainable goals are to be achieved.
Ultimately, the discussion encouraged listeners to think about alternative aspects of sustainable fashion. Rather than just buying into sustainable brands, consumers can think about other routes to pursue sustainability. Such as lobbying their local representatives to raise issues of sustainability in the fashion industry in the House of Commons, encouraging their children to pursue creative education, or ensuring that local businesses which are involved in the fashion industry are transparent and accountable, delivering decent working conditions and rights to their employees.