Event Recap: Sustainable Fashion: Fiber to Fabulous Symposium at FIT


The Emerging Designer

I had the opportunity to attend the Sustainable Fashion: From Fiber to Fabulous symposium at FIT last week. This was great for me because I had a chance to better understand the world of sustainable fashion, something that I'm not familiar with and don't often cover. The symposium was packed with interesting topics from industry experts and discussed everything from the state of sustainability, its definition, all the key constituents involved, textiles, marketing and other topics that provided me with new information and ways to think about sustainable design.

Here are a couple takeaways from the sessions that I was able to attend:

1. Most of the speakers had their own definition of sustainability:

"Sustainability won't necessarily benefit us today, it is something that is going to pay dividends for humanity for generations ahead. Investing today will preserve this planet." -Nick Hahn of Hahn International

"What's sustainability for a designer? Can your company continue to make clothing like this forever?" -Shona Barton-Quinn of  Eileen Fisher

"Sustainability seeks the best outcome for human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future." - Georgia Kalivas of IMO

2. How does one become sustainable? Perhaps the best answer I heard and a reoccurring message was that one little step to sustainability is all it takes. It's more than yesterday.

3. There are a breadth of  sustainable plant and animal fibers: Corn, bamboo, cocona, milkweed, sasawashi, nettle, pina, aloe vera, alpaca, ahimsa and muga silks are just a few examples of plant and animal fibers that can be options for your designs.

4. Eileen Fisher's Commitment to Sustainability: We heard about Eileen Fisher's commitment to sustainability and their overall company beliefs. Her website is a great example of how a brand can communicate their sustainable platform. The site also covers everything from educating consumers about organic cotton, how to care for clothes and 10 Simple Ways to Make A Difference.

5. There are various types of textile certifications:

1. GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard 2. Organic Exchange OE100 and OE Blended 3. Global Recycle Standard 4. USDA Organic

6. There are many companies that deal with fair trade standards. Here are four associations you may want to research:

1. Fairtrade International Labeling Organizations (FLO) 2. International Federation of Alternative Trade 3. Network of European World Shops (NEWS) 4. European Fair Trade

7. Be conscious of your choices and incorporate those decisions into your designs and lifestyle

Anthony Lilore of Restore Clothing discussed Sustainable Fashion, Who Cares? And Why You Should. He had several interesting  slides in his presentation and one of the takeways for me was that when dealing with sustainable fashion, we have to think about  what we do and be cognizant of our actions. In the end, we have to find ways and find ways to remake, rethink, restore, re-manufacture, re-sale and of course, repeat.


Emerging designer or have a resource to share? Please feel free to contact me at hello@theemergingdesigner.com.

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