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sustainability

Elle UK publishes sustainability-focused September issue

Elle UK's September issue
Elle UK’s September issue

Elle UK has dedicated its entire September issue to sustainability, hoping to encourage the fashion industry to follow suit by teaming up with several important voices in the field.

It is also proposing its own manifesto to encourage meaningful change internally.

The issue, which is printed on 100% recycled paper, features conversations with important designers, authors and experts within the sustainability field, such as designer Stella McCartney, actress and activist Pamela Anderson, and author and climate change advocate Naomi Klein.

“The fashion industry has been using the same 10 materials for the past 200 to 300 years — come on guys: the food industry is changing, the fashion industry is doing the same old stuff, and getting away with it,” says McCartney.

Another contributor is Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco Age and executive producer of The True Cost, a documentary exploring the impact of fashion in its supply chain.

“When you look at the #MeToo campaign and the concept of feminism, you think, ‘How can we just be feminists in our little world?’ When you are a feminist, you have to consider women everywhere,” says Firth. “When you get dressed, you are wearing the story of another woman who is getting exploited. If you are a true feminist, #MeToo also has to apply to them. You have to make the connection and remember those stories.”

In this issue, the publication is also proposing a series of changes in order to be more ethical. This includes working with suppliers to improve its practices; using its multi-media platform to raise awareness to climate issues; highlighting campaigners and designers who are worth paying attention to or shopping from; and from a day-to-day perspective, using recycled set props as much as possible and eliminating single use plastics both on photo shoots and at the office.

For this initiative, Elle UK conducted research to better understand attitudes and awareness of sustainability in fashion among young women in the country. It uncovered findings such as that 90% of women want to know more about sustainability in the industry, while 51% want to know what they can do to become more sustainable.

The education piece is also key, as 62% of those surveyed were unaware that the fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. Additionally, 55% found it important or very important to know where the clothes they buy come from and whether they are ethically made.

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Editor's pick sustainability

Italian design competition rewards fashion sustainability

Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel
Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel

Italy’s fashion body, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), in partnership with Eco-Age and the Italian government, is investigating the future of sustainable fashion and the notion of “Made in Italy” with a design competition for up-and-coming designers.

The contest, which is also being supported by the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, will culminate at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, happening at the end of Milan Fashion Week on September 23.

Judges include British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Derek Blasberg (who has recently been appointed as the head of YouTube’s new fashion & beauty content partnerships division), Eco-Age founder and creative director Livia Firth, and singer Ellie Goulding. Between them they have handpicked five finalists who will be showing their creations at the award ceremony in September.

“The design talent and innovation this year has blown me away,” said Firth. “The designers we’ve seen are not only highlighting traditional Italian craftsmanship but also creating their own materials when they can’t find sustainable solutions on the market. Through their creativity, drive and passion they are setting a clear challenge to the wider industry.”

Finalists include Teatum Jones, who created a dress made from recycled polyester and other materials such as laser cut sequins made from recycled plastic water bottles; Gilberto Cazolari, whose look was created from jute coffee bags originated from Brazil and bought at a navigli (flea) market in Italy; Behno, who created a gown made of GOTS certified organic silk and ECONYL® regenerated nylon (a yarn made of discarded fishing nets and carpets); Davide Grillo, who created a cape covered in silk ‘feathers’ and a gown with a hand-painted design using onion skin, logwood and walnut shell; and Wrad, who created a ‘mint fabric’ made from 50% mint bamboo viscose and 50% GOTS certified organic cotton.

“This year’s entrants are making deep connections that run into the Italian supply chain but also offer commentary and in a way solutions to the global plastic pandemic or climate change,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the CNMI. “Young designers invested in sustainability are pushing the limits of fashion further every year. It is stunning to see.”

All five finalists are now embarking on a mentorship program with the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, which will include interactions with mentors spanning across Europe and China, whose expertise range from fashion, retail, supply chain management, consumer insight, brand building and marketing, among other topics. The final designs will also feature in The Creative Spot, a platform showcasing new talents at Fidenza Village outside Milan.

At the award ceremony in September, one designer will receive the Franca Sozzani GCC Emerging Designer Award and be given the opportunity to present at Milan Fashion Week in February 2019 with the support of the CNMI.