Lately, Eileen Fisher has been obsessed with fashion trash.
A pioneer of sustainable fashion, B Corp and open campaigner for timeless fashion, the brand’s charitable arm, the Eileen Fisher Foundation, announced on Wednesday a 128-page report and a research-driven digital platform to set up new actions to fight waste. Dubbed Hey Fashion!, the platform comes at a time when the textile and clothing waste crisis continues to surge to new levels and the industry’s emissions reduction targets appear far from being met.
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The report includes insights from over 50 stakeholders on the challenges, opportunities and dynamics influencing fashion waste, with research conducted by consultancy Pentatonic. In it, the researchers identified eight action areas for fashion companies to promote a more circular system for textiles, including: intensifying waste sorting, investing in recycling, adopting the principle of “do less, buy less”, working together, designing for longevity and recycling, defining and standardizing methods, decarbonizing supply chains and embedding a mindset of people, planet and profit.
Fisher’s goal with Hey Fashion! is to expand global conversations on scaling textile recycling infrastructure, promote underutilized technologies to divert textiles from landfills, and harmonize changes to tackle overconsumption, aligning on the net zero goals of the Paris Agreement by 2050.
In an interview with WWD, Eileen Fisher, eponymous founder of the brand and the Eileen Fisher Foundation, explained her desire to stir up change.
“It’s such a critical moment right now. We know the apparel industry won’t meet its 2030 targets – there will be a 50% reduction if we don’t work together,” said Fisher, who traces his passion for waste to experience, while his brand made a recovery. program since 2009. “We ended up with a lot of things that we couldn’t sell. It’s something that we focused on and what we saw when we started this [program] was how we think about design and look at certain materials. I think getting others to address the situation in their own brands will trigger that action… We’re hoping to create a movement, not be grandiose about it.
Fisher is eager to interrogate the whole business model of fashion – or the why of the “bigger is better” dilemma. For industry leaders, that means taking a hard look at overproduction. For consumers, it’s about understanding the connection between timeless design and the care of their clothes. The report highlights principles of conscious consumption as well as lesser-known recycling tips, like tying your shoes together before donating to maximize efficiency (and mitigate waste).
Johann Boedecker, Founder and CEO of Pentatonic, said this platform’s differentiator is its “nibble content franchises” that meet audiences and industry where they currently are. And unfortunately, as he said, the reality is that compliance with new laws and adherence to good business practices is still a hallmark of being ahead of the competition when it should be the norm. He predicts a “rude awakening” for brands that do nothing or rely on a silver bullet.
“This is not a brand singing its own praises because it eclipses problem solvers,” he said. “In this environment, it is sometimes difficult to find a part that solves all your problems. This gives us a special power to indicate four or five solutions.
The free version of Hey Fashion! report and resulting content are available on Heyfashion.org as well as in a variety of formats – be it TikTok or its now weekly Hey Fashion! podcast — to reach the widest possible audience. Designed as a living body of research, the digital platform will continue to deploy related content and encourage dialogue between stakeholders.
The platform is measured by engagement and, ultimately, feedback on how recommendations lead to “smarter decision-making,” in Boedecker’s words. As for the sequel, Hey Fashion! is in preliminary talks with funding partners and will support specific projects, to be announced soon.
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