Is the fashion industry finally finished with fur?
In a move to appease animal rights campaigners’ having received widespread pressure from them to do so, fashion giant Chanel have finally agreed to cease the use of fur and exotic animal skins in their collections. Undoubtedly one of the biggest fashion brands worldwide, Chanel’s decision is set to cause shockwaves through the fashion industry. Could this precipitate a move away from exotic animal skins and furs in the collections of other fashion brands?
Their decision to move away from using skins of animals such as crocodile, lizard and snake was justified by Chanel’s spokespeople as not possible to obtain whilst meeting company standards. This follows Armani’s 2016 decision to cease the use of fur on animal protection grounds and takes an incredibly ethical approach to fashion design. This highlights a clear consideration of ethics and sustainability by Chanel. Chanel’s spokespeople declared that this move will hopefully create “a new generation of high-end products”. As an advocate of sustainable fashion, I look forward to seeing what that might look like.
Sustainability goes global: A UN charter for sustainable fashion
One of the industry’s leading advocates of sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney, has declared her intention to announce a fashion industry charter for climate action at next month’s climate talks, to be held in Poland. Declaring her hopes that this will make a business case for sustainable fashion, having the weight of the UN behind the charter will be sure to add pressure on unsustainable fashion powerhouses. Fashion is one of the most environmentally-damaging industries, from waste pollution, carbon-filled supply chains and deforestation, and targets need to be set if the world is to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. If any treaty is to be enforced, large industry bodies must play ball. Hopefully one such body, the Stella McCartney powerhouse, combined with the UN Climate Change Secretariat, can precipitate the change needed to reduce the impacts of climate change. Mass production of cotton, in particular, affects soil biodiversity. With more young people today wanting to spend more money on experiences than clothes, can alternatives be sought to the widespread use of cotton in clothing? I’m personally doubtful but should big industry players take action on this awareness, some may be found.
The cost of new techniques for sustainability
Watching the video made by Bloomberg, I am first presented with some sunglasses that look as if they have been pulled straight from the shelves at Kate Spade. “These sunglasses are made from recyclable materials”, the caption reads. Surely not? I think. They look just as good, if not better, than the sunglasses I see at Bicester Village. That’s just one example of how sustainable fashion need not be an unappealing alternative. Products made in a sustainable way are no less attractive, and, personally, I’d feel better wearing them. With the fashion industry producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of all carbon emissions, sustainable fashion needs to become widespread. An example shown in the video was using cotton from second hand clothes – a direct solution to the doubt I expressed about finding sustainable alternatives to cotton in my analysis of the article above this. However, the sustainable pair of jeans showcased in the video were valued at $227. There is a clear price to sustainability. A member of the general public would not be willing to spend that much on jeans, regardless of how much water their production may have saved. It’s great promoting alternatives such as these, but more need to be sought – that can actually be affordable, and, therefore, more appealing.
The world’s first ever second-hand shopping centre has opened in Sweden
Who doesn’t love a bit of thrift shopping? I personally think the idea of second-hand shopping centres is fantastic. Not only would they appeal to those wanting to save money, but they provide the perfect solution to the problem of unwanted clothes. So many old clothes thrown away today contribute to growing landfill sites – clearly unsustainable. The spread of second-hand shopping malls would not only reduce the toxic environmental elements of producing new clothes but would also reduce the waste of old clothes. Two environmental problems are solved with one initiative, and I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t been piloted and spread earlier.