There was a lot of buzz about sustainability at the 10th annual Fashion 4 Development First Ladies Luncheon on Tuesday.
Beyond the magnificence of hosting dignitaries and dignitaries was a panel of speakers and winners working on the future for greener fashion. Fashion 4 Development, or F4D, is a global platform founded by Evie Evangelou that is committed to supporting the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The idea is that, if fashion works at its best, it can have a huge impact on sustainability and development around the world.
Setting the tone at the 583 Park luncheon with local leadership, New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who drafted and introduced the Fashion Act, spoke about the realities of where fashion is today and where it can go from here. .
“The fashion industry is one of the most important contributors to climate change on the planet,” she said. “It is responsible for between 4 and 8 percent of global greenhouse gas and greenhouse gas emissions and, unchecked, the industry will be responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s global carbon budget by 2050 , and yet, the industry remains largely unregulated.”
With the “Fashion Act,” the goal, Biaggi said, is to force companies to take “mandatory care to improve their work practices and reduce their impact on our planet.”
“This piece of legislation is an invitation,” she added. “It’s an invitation to governments, companies, manufacturers and activists to come together to improve the fashion industry by setting and meeting science-based environmental standards and improving labor practices. And I really hope that this bill will be the first of many, not only in this country, but across the planet and the globe as an example of setting the bar very high and making sure that we all understand the role that we play .”
Katla is a company that did not need an invitation to operate with a different standard. And that’s why the conscious hospitality brand received this year’s Fashion 4 Development Award and was named one of the organization’s goodwill ambassadors.
In accepting the award and new role, the founder and chief executive of Katla, also the co-founder of Moda Operandi, Aslaug Magnusdottir, took her opportunity to share some facts about the realities of fashion.
“Of the 100 billion garments produced each year in the world, more than 50 billion end up in landfills within a year. “I have a three-month-old son, Ocean, and by the time Ocean turns 20, there will be 1 trillion new clothes in the landfill,” she said. “This shouldn’t be the reality.”
The usual conference swag was provided by Katla, made with a zero-waste design and complete with a QR code sticker that provides full transparency of where the product came from and how it was made. Katla’s goal, she said, “is to reinvent the way the business of fashion is done.”
And this is among Magnusdottir’s first orders of business as F4D Global Ambassador.
“Katla and Fashion 4 Development are joining forces to be part of a major research project by the International Trade Center in Geneva, which is the UN’s trade agency. And the goal of this project is to invent a new model for fashion that is in line with the UN SDGs for 2030,” she said. “What we’re aiming to get there are actually more profitable businesses, but at the same time, businesses that are significantly reducing wasteful overproduction and leading to the advancement of women in the industry. I invite you all to join this movement to make the fashion industry more sustainable.”
One goal of the project, Magnusdottir told WWD, is to “accelerate access to data science where it doesn’t exist in the ‘upstream’ supplier community. The fashion sector has the highest potential to improve the lives of women around the world. From buyer to producer, women are multipliers of good in their communities.”
The day’s themes included women’s empowerment, philanthropy and sustainable fashion — complete with a “Ten Decades of Fashion 1920-2020” runway show curated by New York Vintage founder Shannon Hoey and stylist Bonnie Young of BY. Bonnie Young. With a mix of pieces from Young’s collection and designer vintage, the show showcased the idea of refreshing the past for modern fashion with zero waste, locally made and recycled materials.
But the overarching message of the day and the point that founder Evangelou decided to drive home was this: “It’s very important that we educate the consumer on how to live a more sustainable everyday lifestyle,” she said. “It’s not going to change just by having conferences and meetings with corporations and things like that. We have to change the demand in order to change the supply.”