NEW YORK — The fashion industry is being asked to clean up its act, literally.
On Monday morning, key industry leaders gathered at the Lambs Club here to show support for Clean by Design, an initiative from the National Resources Defense Council in association with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue. The program, which seeks to significantly reduce the negative impact the industry has on the environment, already has an important political supporter: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).
Gillibrand was joined at the launch by industry figures such as Mark Lee; David Lauren and Lauren Bush Lauren; Andrew Rosen; Millard “Mickey” Drexler; Tory Burch; Francisco Costa; Derek Lam; Behnaz Sarafpour; Nanette Lepore; Zac Posen, and Joseph Altuzarra. Anna Carter, a trustee of the NRDC, co-hosted the breakfast, which also drew CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter.
“This is such an opportunity for all of us — as an industry, as New Yorkers, as people who do an extraordinary job in creating economic growth — to join with the NRDC to take on this mission, which I think is unprecedented, and really herald a new era of what social change can be done by industry,” Gillibrand said.
The event made clear that it’s as crucial as ever to spotlight the environment. “In this very difficult economy, my first priority is making sure that New York maintains its leadership as the fashion capital of the world, and that it continues to be an agent for job growth,” Gillibrand said. “We have to make sure we can impact our communities and our world in how we run our businesses.”
One of Clean by Design’s aims is to get designers, retailers and brands to better understand their supply chain, and promote improvements at the factories they employ. A video highlighted how toxic fashion’s impact on nature can be, which was underlined with a visual of a Chinese river polluted by dyes, and the accompanying statement that next season’s fashion colors can be determined by the colors of the rivers in China.
The NRDC has made it a key mission to help fashion companies improve their carbon footprints, which gathered momentum a decade or so ago when many U.S. companies started manufacturing offshore.
“We have found opportunities to reduce impact, using means that actually save the factories money, with process efficiency improvements that win-win, so to speak,” said Linda Greer, director of the NRDC’s health and environment program.
“What we found when we got there was that the standard of operation of many, if not most, factories was far below global standards and desperately needed to improve,” Greer added. “The era of operating without knowledge of your factories abroad is ending, and the curtain is rising above the sorts of problems and aspirations that we have abroad.”
The NRDC developed 10 quick, low-cost practices to substantially reduce the usage of water, energy and electricity, for instance. They range from leak detection and maintenance in factories to the reuse of cooling and process waters, to recovering heat from smoke stacks. According to these general guidelines, for every 1 ton of fabric produced, the 10 practices can cut mills’ water usage by up to 23 percent and fuel usage by up to 32 percent. “In one of our first showcase examples, a mill invested $70,000 and, within the first year, had saved nearly $850,000 in its operation,” Greer noted.
After her presentation, Greer elaborated on why the time is right for the launch. “The curtain is really rising over in China about the problems with manufacturing,” she said. “We have seen that with Apple’s problems.
“There is increasing transparency about the problems of these operations in China, and so it’s really time to get moving and not just figure that ‘It’s halfway around the world and nobody will ever know,’” she added. “We’re also just about done with our dozen showcase mills. These are improvements that stood the test of time, so I think it’s ripe for the picking for our industry, and ripe for the leaders of this industry to get behind.”
Anna Carter elaborated: “It takes as much as 200 tons of water to produce 1 ton of fabric. Since less than 1 percent of the world’s water is drinkable, and our demand for it is on track to double over the next 40 years, this is an issue we need to address. We would be much more effective if we address it together.”
PPR, which has made sustainability a key focus across its luxury and sports holdings, and its subsidiary Stella McCartney already agreed to participate. While McCartney herself wasn’t present Monday morning, she sent a powerful message in the video. “You only live once,” she said. “And what is it that you leave behind as a business person? Is it just some great handbags and a nice pair of shoes, or is it actually that and a conscious business?”
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion