NEW YORK — Fashion Positive, the new initiative from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, has lined up several collaborators for its launch: Stella McCartney, Loomstate, Saitex, G-Star and Under the Canopy/Portico with Michael Stars. Each will create a capsule collection within Cradle to Cradle’s so-called gold-level category and work with a consortium of suppliers approved by the initiative.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The project’s aim is to pave the way for a healthy fashion future — that is, “healthy” as in high-quality materials, products and processes that make a positive impact on the environment, the economy and society.
“A lot of designers and brands I spoke to said they would be interested in doing this but asked us for a list of approved materials and vendors, which hadn’t existed,” said Fashion Positive senior vice president Lewis Perkins. “We decided to establish an initiative that would look at creating the ‘Positives list,’ which is what we call the building blocks of fashion: fibers, dyes, yarns, trims, processing chemicals — whatever it is that goes into apparel, footwear, accessories or jewelry collections. Let’s start to establish who the preferred supplier of this nylon, of this viscose, of this cashmere, of this dye is.”
Material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness factor into the project. There’s also an innovation fund to stimulate new manufacturing processes and a resource library to index inventive fabrics, dyes, trims and threads that meet the Cradle to Cradle standards.
This Friday, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute will celebrate the innovators at a gala event at Gotham Hall. Amber Valletta, Julie Gilhart, Frederique van der Wal and Livia Firth are among those on Fashion Positive’s advisory board. “It’s indisputable that there are environmental problems in the current way we are designing and manufacturing fashion,” Valletta told WWD. “It is my hope that more and more fashion brands are recognizing that it is smart business to design responsibly from the beginning. Not doing so is far more costly to the environment and the company’s bottom line in the long run.”
Gilhart added, “The current fashion system is not working in tandem with the world’s environmental and labor needs. This is not a sexy subject, but it’s one that we need to deal with, pragmatically and creatively.”
The project has been made possible initially by The DOEN Foundation, the Dutch Postcode Lottery fund, and Wendy and Eric Schmidt. “Through my work over the years as a board member of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, I’ve seen firsthand the creativity and savvy of our next generation of global business and design leaders who are delivering on the vision of a circular economy,” said Wendy Schmidt. “[Fashion Positive] can play a significant role in bringing more innovative thinking to the design and manufacturing processes that need updating.”