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In the U.S., the Council of Fashion Designers of America has taken up the mantle of the United Nations’ call for a need for the fashion industry to move on its global mandate on sustainability.

Earlier this year, the CFDA, considered a non-governmental organization, launched a sustainability-centered resource hub to provide members, educators and the professional community with open-access resources pertaining specifically to the fashion business. The NGO is also paying particular attention to professional development, and helping early-stage brands build businesses with a sustainability focus.

Among the informational options set for launch on Jan. 14 on the CFDA platform is a Materials Index that contains a directory of materials, including fiber information with descriptions. Another is a Sustainability Directory, a resource hub that connects fashion designers, companies and students with resources that include organizations and tools. There is also a Guide to Sustainable Strategies that’s meant as an overview to help members create, meet and exceed their sustainability goals. The Guide also contains case studies of members on their sustainability journey. And there’s the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit that maps and frames out the sustainability priorities so brands have access to diagnostics for their use, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to create strategic blueprints. The CFDA plans to support the hub with a series of workshops and roundtables. According to the CFDA, one planned workshop will focus on introducing the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to membership brands.

The 2018 initiatives are a continuation of the 2017 launch of the Elaine Gold Launch Pad, in partnership with the Accessories Council. It is a four-year partnership underwritten by a $1.5 million donation to the CFDA that provides a 22-week virtual residency for early emerging talent where participants are encouraged to embed sustainability, technology and innovation ideas for value creation in their business models. Selected residents are recipients of micro-awards to help support idea activation.

A separate virtual residency, CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative, will provide five apparel and accessories brands with the opportunity to learn how to navigate fashion’s supply chain and make holistic business decisions that impact people, environment and profitability. The program, running from November 2018 to June 2019, is underwritten by Lexus, and participants are eligible for milestone awards.

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