Tuesday 4 December 2012

Slow Fashion and Sustainism: Sustainable Procurement of Textiles

Susanne Müller of the Hochschule Niederrhein, Mönchengladbach (Germany) talked about the importance of the “slow fashion” movement to sustainable procurement. This means wearing clothes for longer, having bought timeless, high quality designs such as the LBD (little black dress). Environmentally sensitive fibres such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton or “Qmilch” (milk-protein fibre) should be converted in socially-sensitive factories with minimal use of water and energy, cradle-grave processes (?) and safe, clean working conditions. All texiles should be lighter to reduce transportation impacts, and the use of cotton, rubber and leather should be minimised because of their high environmental impacts; use synthetics instead.

“Sustainable consumers” are going on a fashion diet (one dress lasts all year), buying second-hand clothes or swapping with friends.  The “swap not shop” movement appears to be gaining momentum with swapping parties and exhibitions proving a fun thing to do.  Modernism equated with “you are what you own”.  Sustainism is “you are what you share”.

Sustainism currently targets LOHAS people (those enjoying a Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability), with LOVOS coming up fast (Lifestyle Of VOluntary Simplicity).

However sustainism on its own is not appealing: it has to linked to a fashion trend.  Patagonia provide an example of the way forward “We make excellent clothes – you buy less of them”.  Their marketing encourages repair and recycle.

(From Dorbirn Conference Sept 2012)

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