Sustainable fashion relies on technological innovations and cultural changes to charge ahead.
I was a Sari’s founder, Stefano Funari joined industry heavyweights:
Sara Sozzani Maino- Deputy Editor in chief, Vogue Italia and head of Vogue Talents
Bandana Tewari – Sustainability Activist & Columnist at Business of Fashion and formerly the editor at large, of Vogue India,
They discussed the struggle and challenges faced by brands taking this path.
A panel discussion at the Vogue Italia Scouting For India Event, Mumbai June 2019
While emerging designers and brands are driven to embrace sustainability in design, the challenges faced en-route are real. From lack of ecosytems and frameworks to the hiatus in converting designs to reality, due to technological limitations, there are the serious issues to solve before we can make circularity in fashion a norm.
I was a Sari was taken as the example in India of a brand built on the ethos of circularity and social inclusion.
Stefano said: “We’re in effect a waste management company but nowadays it’s much cooler to say we’re a circular fashion brand. We like to say that where others see waste we see value- as we take pre-loved saris and turn them into contemporary desirable fashion items”.
Bandana explained how the fashion practices of the yester years have already depleted our natural resources and we all need to work together on fixing the damage done. This Herculean task will not just need the stalwarts in the fashion industry, but also technology and science interventions from the likes of Silicon Valley and specially designed policies from governments for real change to be rung in.
Bandana said, “Sustainable Fashion events I’m attending now are full of newcomers to the fashion world. There are a lot of techies which is great as it’s really opening up the industry.”
How can we make circular fashion sexy?
Although sustainability is cool, how can it become sexy and actually have people living these values? The panel agreed that the Media could make these conversations mainstream, with sustainability an ongoing underlying theme to fashion- no ‘green issues’ with nothing on sustainability for the rest of the year!
Stefano pointed out that Fashion is about making people feel good, so if they can both do and look good then that should resonate even stronger. But it really needs to look good Sustainable fashion thus far has often not been very beautiful.
“Design out of waste is a movement, and should be taught in design schools’ curriculums”, said Stefano, who believes that the younger generation needs to be trained such that when they become designers; they know where to start responsibly. "They’ll also need more training in upcoming tech innovations and manufacturing processes."
“Today there is no definitive guide to sustainability”, highlighted Bandana Tewari.“It currently means many things to many people. For instance organic cotton may not be very sustainable because of the high water use in growing the cotton.”