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“(T)here’s an enormous opportunity to talk about sustainability and environmentalism in a way that captures the imagination of an everyday consumer or an everyday fashion lover and find a way to make it exciting and interesting and accessible.“ Laura Jones on Green Connections Radio
Celebrity stylist Laura Jones found herself overwhelmed when she realized the field she had dedicated her career to was damaging the environment big time: fashion. Then, she resolved to do something about it.
At first, she thought her skills were not appropriate to helping to find a solution and thought she needed to go back to school to study environmental science or such. Then she realized she could use her skills to tell stories and engage fashion lovers who were accustomed to reading fashion magazines.
“I decided to create a platform for people who have consumed regular fashion media to be able to consume a similar type of media but that suits their value systems better and that speaks to issues that are more topical and more related to environmentalism and sustainability,” Jones told me when I interviewed her at the Earth Day Network 2019 gala recently about her new magazine, Frontlash, about sustainable fashion.
Here are issues the fashion industry faces as it confronts a market increasingly focused on sustainability:
- The biggest issue fashion faces in relation to sustainability: Fashion encourages over-consumption – that is, buying the latest fads over and over – and it’s over-consumption, in Jones’ view, that is the most detrimental.
- Why women over-consume fashion: “Over-consumption comes from feeling like you don’t have enough and feeling like you don’t have enough comes from a place of feeling like you are not enough.” Jones “wants to push against those ideals” and remind women that they are enough without all the fashion trappings.
- Why sustainability in fashion is complicated: Because it encourages disposability, and “sustainability is about not being disposable and fashion is considered disposable.” So she wants to use her new magazine to help create “greater value around the things we create, thereby giving them a longer life…than something that is disposable. This made me a lot better about wearing my older sister’s clothes a lot when I was a kid.
- “Dress your values”: Jones said women need to consider the impact of what they wear, across the system, from the way the women who make these clothes are treated and their working conditions (and they are mostly women, not men and not machines, she explained), to where the fabrics come from, to the impact making them has on the environment, including water use and pollution, waste, and energy use.
- Why designers don’t talk about sustainability more: Designers and retailers fear that if they aren’t 100% addressing every issue related to sustainability, that if they talk about what they are doing that they will be attacked. But that’s a goal that’s unrealistic. “I think it’s a real way to limit innovation in the space,” Jones said.
Sustainability is a journey with multiple aspects.
At Frontlash, she said, “we try to celebrate the journey of the consumer and the designer” getting to a sustainable place knowing that “it’s never going to be perfect.” They embrace the technical, not shy away from it.
“We’re talking about how science is reimaging the textile industry, which is really exciting…People get really excited about innovation.”
Jones also had unusual career advice, which you can read about in my next Forbes blog.
May 25, 2019 at 11:12AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs