Business of Fashion held a panel this week to talk about the problems the fashion industry faces, including sustainability. The way clothes are produced has alarming and damaging effects on the environment. One example of this is the fact that you can identify the color trends each season by taking a look at some of the dye that gets into the rivers in China. “The smallest thing can have an impact,” said Stella McCartney, who sat on the panel. “We are all living on this land with limited resources, and we all have to be conscious about how we consume and how we manufacture and how we source — and the fashion industry is no different than anyone else.”
Also on hand for the event was Vivienne Westwood, who says she has been taking steps to creating more environmentally friendly pieces with the help of UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative. But on the topic of sustainability, Westwood had several questions for McCartney about certain materials, whether they are easy on the environment or not. Her questions demonstrated the harsh truth that many designers simply don’t know how their wares affect the environment, indicating that perhaps the first step to an industry-wide commitment to sustainability starts with education.
“I wonder where we get all that expert advice from?” Westwood wondered. McCartney, in turn, pledged to be Westwood’s guide in navigating more sustainable waters. “I’m going to help you and I can’t wait to work with you. I would gladly give you my information sheet and will be very proud to do so.”
Stella McCartney covers Business of Fashion‘s latest print issue, which covers seven of fashion’s biggest issues today.