OP-ED: Tamara Cincik on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion meeting with Extinction Rebellion
Last week we hosted a meeting for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Textiles and Fashion between the fashion team (Boycott Fashion) at Extinction Rebellion (XR) , attended by parliamentarians and UK fashion companies, including Burberry, The Communications Store, Modus BPCM, Iceberg, British Fashion Council Positive Fashion brands including Patrick McDowell and Deploy who kindly hosted the event. The reason that Fashion Roundtable brokered this meeting is that while like many we share the climate emergency concerns of XR. I am deeply worried by the devastating consequences we find ourselves in, I am also someone who seeks solutions which work for all of us.
The UK sustainable fashion brands are leading in finding solutions which work, in terms of waste management reuse, the circular economy and paying workers transparently. Many of us cannot afford to just stop and certainly, those working in our factories many being paid the living wage, won’t just stop working, indeed they might end up working with less transparency which places them in more danger. Most of us have mortgages or rent to pay, as well as families to feed.
Sara Arnold from XR spoke emotively of the utter need for a speedy wake up to the devastating consequences of the climate emergency and asked that governments “start telling the truth” and asked us to all recognise this.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP chaired the meeting and asked the guests to examine solutions with a focus on supporting the incredible new generation of talent which the UK has.
Burberry shared information about their sustainability practices and Responsibility Agenda which recognise the need for greater circularity. Markup Matysik, writer for Conde Nast highlighted the power that fashion house creative directors hold in making decisions about fabric choices and their sustainable consequences. “If a designer wants to use plastic as it feels sexy, there’s very little that a team can do.” So perhaps it's about creating a model whereby there is less power with one person and more of company ownership of responsibility. Clearly, it’s about highlighting the ethical solutions which The Sustainable Angle showcase for instance at their exhibitions: such as vegan leather made from pineapple skins and biodegradable sequins.
Bethany Williams, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for design with sustainability and social conscience, was meant to speak but sadly unwell. She sent me this to share: “I believe that London is a place of growth and change. I'm part of a design community which really is trying to find sustainable solutions and this community needs to be protected and supported. We need positive critique and positive solutions so we can all move forward together.”
That’s why we have called a second meeting in November and asked attendees to share their three key solution policy points, so we can find common ground and viable solutions.
If you would like to attend this second meeting or would like know more, or to share your ideas please email Rafaella.email@example.com
Because we have to end this polarising them and us mindset and seek supportive solutions: we might not agree with everyone we meet, but there is only one earth and it needs our help.