The Library, a sustainable literacy fashion label that educates consumers through its conference series, is rolling out “Study Hall L.A.,” the second in a succession of conferences around sustainable literacy. The event will take place on Aug. 26 at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, held in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and fashion brand G-Star Raw. Stefan Siegel, the founder of Not Just a Label, will host the event.
Launched by Céline Semaan, the founder of Slow Factory, a fashion activism organization, the firm’s Study Hall L.A. will focus on Circularity, Denim, and Human Rights, underscoring the importance of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve its 2030 agenda, the company said. The event assembles notable industry leaders, scientists, researchers from the MIT Media Lab, and other individuals and brands that are part of the sustainable movement, according to the firm. Industry supporters include Fair Trade USA, Fashion Revolution USA, Soorty, Chronicles & Better Kinds, Not Just a Label and Remode.
Semaan told WWD, “The status quo in the industry is now a fashion faux-pas; we have seen growth in awareness on social media from the #MeToo movement to #WhoMadeMyClothes and they are all related: If we are empowering women with fashion, this shouldn’t exclude women living in developing countries who are paid cents per hour working long days to make the garments we wear. This holistic approach of progress has finally emerged into the mainstream. Culturally, we have successfully shifted our focus from profit to humanity; now the challenge is to apply this change within the industry and at a policy level. Because of the increased transparency and access to information, exposing supply chain and sourcing routes, we now have a better understanding on how to improve existing systems, embracing complexity and designing solutions around the environment and human rights.”
Semaan added, “There wasn’t anything like Study Hall before to offer the fashion industry insights from an academic and research perspective. Our first Study Hall was such a great success that we turned it into a series focusing on specific themes to dive even deeper into solutions and inspire the industry toward a sustainable one.”
Its opening keynote address on water impact and conservation will be led by Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of Standing Rock, followed by a panel discussion on “Colonialism, Human Rights and Supply Chain” with Benjamin Skinner, the founder of Transparentem, and Sam Raddochia, cofounder of Chronicled & Better Kinds and Fair Trade USA, moderated by Lauren Fay of Fashion Revolution USA. The discussion will focus on best practices for human rights in the supply chain, as well as the growing importance of blockchain.
A debate called “Broken System: Who is responsible?” will include Frouke Bruinsma, the corporate responsibility director at G-Star Raw and Jennifer Gilbert, the chief marketing officer at I:CO, moderated by Whitney Bauck, the assistant editor at Fashionista. Its discussion “Circularity: The Future Is Here” will include talks by The New Denim Project; Semaan; Ebru Debbag of Soorty; Iris Alonzo of Everybody World, and Adriana Galijasevic of G-Star Raw. To conclude, its “Clear Solutions Can Exist Only When Embracing Both: Diversity & Inclusion” discussion will involve Amber Valletta, supermodel and sustainability advocate; Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt; Shona Quinn, sustainability director at Eileen Fisher; Patricia Ermecheo, founder of Osomtex and Claire Bergkamp, head of sustainability at Stella McCartney.
Bruinsma of G-Star Raw said, “G-Star Raw is honored to participate in the second Study Hall L.A. conference to continue the conversation about the importance of sustainability and circularity within the fashion industry. If a denim brand wants to exist in 20 or 50 years from now, we have to rethink the way we design, manufacture and what kind of materials we use. We need to look at how a garment is made, shipped, used and eventually reused after a certain period of time. This circular approach to denim design is part of our brand DNA and therefore crucial for everything that we do at G-Star. We constantly rethink and improve all aspects of a jean’s lifecycle and develop sustainable innovations that minimize the impact on people and planet. As a brand we want to lead by example and share our experiences with the industry. Study Hall will give us the opportunity to exchange ideas with other industry leaders, scientists and researchers from MIT Media Lab and inspire each other during this unique gathering.”
Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer, Ace Hotel Group, said, “We’re fascinated by the ways that MIT Media Lab is recontextualizing the thought process surrounding fashion and considering ways that clothing can be produced to better suit the Earth. They are inciting necessary conversations about tech, fashion and honest craft. We’re excited to make a space for that dialogue to happen.”
Regarding MIT Media Lab’s partnership with The Library, Semaan told WWD, “MIT Media Lab is elevating the voices of the researchers, scientists, activists and designers, like myself, who are pushing boundaries and making progress. Last summer, MIT Media Lab awarded the Disobedience Award to Mona Hanna-Attisha, a scientist turned activist uncovering the crisis in Flint, Michigan.” She added, “The Library’s Study Hall, with MIT and G-Star Raw as partners, has a clear mission for the fashion industry; to discuss matters of urgency and pave the way for companies and organizations to do the same, address the environmental as well as geopolitical boundaries and foster an environment of collaboration and trust for exploring solutions.”
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