Fashion is universally cited as being one of the most polluting industries in the world. Thank you to conscious consumers and to environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg for their demands on attacking the environmental crisis. Putting sustainability at the forefront of business models, strategic plans, supply chain infrastructure, etc., is long overdue.
But all lanes leading to the fashion consumer have to participate. What’s at the forefront of this cycle are Fashion Weeks. They stimulate demand, so why not engage with education, transparency, and the call to action. Few Fashion Week organizations raise the level of engagement regarding sustainable fashion.
London Fashion Week, who partner with British Fashion Council [BFC], where sustainability has been part of their strategy since 2006, are an example of this engagement. The Esthetica showcase put sustainable fashion at the heart of London Fashion Week before evolving into Positive Fashion in 2013, a platform enabling positive change designed to celebrate industry best practices, embrace innovation, and develop green businesses fit for the future.
It’s one thing to showcase a runway event of sustainable fashion [that’s a start], but the real engagement is the education and empowerment of communities to be part of the movement within the Fashion Week platform. Ukrainian Fashion Week [UFW], a full-fledged participant in international fashion, is changing the rules of the game. They are transforming their process and see its future in initiating radical changes towards sustainable fashion.
BE SUSTAINABLE! sustainable fashion platform is a reality marker for the Ukrainian fashion industry and has become a real center for Ukrainian conscious fashion, innovation, and networking. For the first time during UFW FW20-21, a one-day BE SUSTAINABLE! Fashion Summit was incorporated into the schedule. This large-scale Summit was dedicated to increase the level of sustainable development of those working in the field of design and production in Ukraine and other countries. It was a day full of speakers, lecturers, workshops, and panel discussions with a catwalk finale showcasing the work of designers with sustainable practices.
Designers, fashion journalists, government representatives, and business figures of the creative and cultural sector were among the guests of the summit. Other attendees were the Deputy Ambassador of Sweden, Mrs. Louise Morsing, and Ms. Tatyana Nekrasova, who is responsible for Culture, Education and Information in Ukraine.
The educational program of the Summit was rich in content ranging from lectures by Klaudia Shevelyuk, sustainable development consultant, co-founder of Change Agency Responsible Future, who spoke on the topic Sustainable fashion strategies: from growing raw materials to a safe utilization, and The Changing Landscape of Textile Sustainability presented by Marcus Bergman, sustainable textile expert and founder of the Swedish agency Galantus, to a panel discussion on Can Conscious Consumption Save the Planet?, moderated by Tatiana Solovey, fashion and sustainability editor at Vogue UA. Olena Froliak, Editor-in-Chief at ICTV, a TV-host and journalist, delivered an inspiring lecture on conscious consumption and her own long experience of eco-awareness.
There is an urgent need for an industry-wide coalition to help set new industry standards for sustainable practices. Each market, each region, like the UK and Ukraine, should leverage platforms like Fashion Week in bringing together expertise from different areas to help brands in the industry navigate an often confusing to understand topic and kick-start a comprehensive plan. Discussion and education are one thing, but with informed research, expert opinion, industry insights, plans can be implemented. The power of collective effort can amplify independent activity affecting qualitative change. EDGE applauds the efforts of the Ukrainian Fashion Week and the BE SUSTAINABLE! project.
Congratulations to the Ukraine designers for their conscious approach to fashion.
- REVICLO BY MARKOVA creates clothing using vintage materials and an individual approach to every client.
- KLAPTYK is the clothing one cannot wear out. They use “scraps” of textile residues to create clothing and home decor items, reducing waste in landfills.
- DevoHome is a Ukrainian manufacturer of hemp textiles and clothing. Hemp fiber is an eco-friendly natural material.
- UnaTerra is an apparel brand for dogs and their owners that uses recycling techniques and environmental fabrics.
- AZAVA is uniqueness, sophistication, charm, nobility, and respect for traditions. Nature itself is the main source of inspiration for the designer of the brand.
- PREAPOCLO is short for “pre-apocalyptic clothing.” The brand combines work wear and military aesthetics, using rivets, camouflage, overhead pockets, and other details.
- RE-BEAU is an ethical jewelry brand. What used to be a household plastic container is being transformed into jewelry.
The participation of international guests was supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine. Media support – ICTV TV-channel.
All Images: Courtesy of Ukrainian Fashion Week