If you are currently experiencing ‘green is the new black’ fashion fatigue, it might be because the latest interpretations of sustainable design are a bit up in the air as green goods continue to go mainstream alongside ever savvier marketing strategies. This past year has seen significant developments on the fashion frontier as the industry broadens its scope of just how chic eco textiles and sustainable style can be. Living the ‘good life’, however, should not come at the expense of another person’s opportunity for a decent livelihood. Fortunately, new ethical fashion initiatives are taking center stage as a means to further define what we have yet to decode about eco fashion and the pursuit of health, happiness, and ethical standards.
The UK-based Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) is a valuable resource for re-invigorating your interests and concerns about the future of fashion as we know it. EFF began as a grass roots organization founded by concerned fashion designers and businesses as a means to propose solutions for the industry: by and for individuals directly exposed to the complex variables of enterprise conduct. As their vibrant and well-organized website states, EFF is “inclusive” and open to “designers, retailers, buyers, fair trade producers, manufacturers, NGO’s, fashion students and tutors, consumers”…with the aim of providing a new platform for shared practices, the pooling of resources, and improved dialogue bridging multiple disciplines. I love that in an industry as competitive as fashion, EFF is working hard to implement shared standards for sustainability while also cross-pollinating and brainstorming with fellow designers and style innovators.
A measure of this dynamic and fashion forward mindset is the diverse community that EFF attracts and supports as a not for profit organization. Their new social networking site is a brilliant tool for anyone interested in connecting with like-minded individuals working hard to advance the ethical and sustainable methodologies of eco fashion initiatives. A progressive calendar of events centered around sourcing and ethical suppliers, certifications and standards, ‘spotlights’ on doing business in Africa, Asia, and South America, are only a few examples of the diverse pool of talent that EFF has assembled.
A byproduct of all this goodness, is the formal acknowledgement of the best of ethical fashion designer efforts via the INNOVATION awards that EFF sponsors bi-annually. Tamsin LeJune, director and founder of the EFF, states that “the quality of entries for this year’s INNOVATION competition was outstanding, in both design and sustainability terms. The vetting panel worked overtime to come up with a shortlist, and the twelve designers on it stand amongst the most exciting new fashion talent in the world.” The stellar finalists are Ada Zanditon, Henrietta Ludgate, Lu Flux, Lalesso, Outsider, Mark Liu, Dandi Maestre, NV London Calcutta, MIA, Julia Smith, Hetty Rose and Rosette. Five winners will be selected in the early autumn and will receive mentoring and support from industry experts. Their ethical fashion collections will also be featured at London Fashion Week and PURE.
With the good life ideally encompassing both ethical business practices as well as globally informed ideas and expressions of personal style, it seems apropos that fashion houses begin to loosen their season-to-season hold on our consumer consciousness and style sensibility. The rather good news is that our definitions of timeless style are broadening to encompass the textures and influences of regions formally deemed exotic outsourcing zones. Even better is the richness that these cultures and talents add to the fabric of our daily lives and the decision making process we undertake every morning as we open our closet doors.
Top photo: NearFar Collection via EFF and Stephanie Hogg