HONG KONG — The heads of a dozen of Hong Kong's leading fashion firms gathered Tuesday to launch the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium and details emerged about the targets the group has set.
In addition to reducing waste through recycling fabric and a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, SFBC chairman Pat-Nie Woo said the group has set carbon trading as part of its agenda.
Woo, who is also director of denim maker Central Textiles, presented a list of commitments the SFBC is making and enumerated the consortium's goals.
"Many brands are already requesting carbon labeling," said Woo, describing clothing tags that would inform consumers of the carbon used in creating each garment. "We're working with the WWF [formerly the World Wide Fund] to develop a low-carbon measuring program for our industry. The WWF in Hong Kong is their only office in the world using such a program because so many goods come from the Pearl River Delta, so it makes sense to focus on the PRD and share our findings."
The Pearl River Delta has long been China's manufacturing hub, but is plagued by severe pollution, and the government has urged factories to relocate in the country.
The SFBC said the reduction of carbon emissions will assist firms in turning a profit, as well as help the environment.
"Everything is leading to carbon trading," said Woo, who thinks that many European countries, struggling to meet the demands of the Kyoto Protocol on reducing global pollution, will buy carbon credits from the East. "[When] we save energy in our factories, it can be turned into credits. We can develop sales and purchase agreements to build the business of selling carbon to the developed world. It's very new and very exciting. It's already happening."
Christine Loh, chief executive officer of the think tank Civic Exchange and a former member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, said carbon trading looked to be a solid game plan.
"It's not just cutting costs, it becomes an asset, a capital source," Loh said. "The first people to adapt will be the first to benefit."
Woo said the SFBC is looking into certification of sustainable textile production through the Control Union, a Rotterdam-based international group of companies specializing in independent cargo surveying and certification of systems, services, processes and products.He noted that a seminar on stainability to be held jointly with U.K.-based retail consortium RITE, or Reducing the Impact of Textiles on the Environment, will take place early next year in Hong Kong. RITE's members include Marks & Spencer, Timberland and Levi Strauss & Co.
"What's interesting is that these companies are already doing what they've promised to do, but quietly," Loh said. "Instead of just telling their customers, they're coming out. By making public this commitment, they are showing leadership. If manufacturing gets cleaned up, it's good for the industry, good for Hong Kong, good for China and good for the world."
Woo added, "Only by doing this can we change from being perceived as a sunset industry to becoming a first mover, from being low-value to low-impact. Only then can we attract new talent to our industry. And we need everyone's support because it's not just about us. It's about the future."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast