sustainability eileen fisher

With “where to begin” being a common conundrum for many brands considering sustainability, the CFDA has launched its Sustainability Initiatives to help designers do their part to clean up the fashion industry.

In line with the United Nations’ call for the fashion industry to act on its global mandate on sustainability, the CFDA has rolled out a four-part strategy. Many designers’ questions may be answered by referencing the first edition of the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit, the CFDA Materials Index or the CFDA Sustainability Directory.

While Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney and other designers have been committed to trying to clean up the industry’s excessive waste for a while, many less established brands are examining sustainability for the first time. The United Nations Alliance on Sustainable Fashion will stage its launch event March 14, during a media event of the 4th U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Just as consumers have learned about the environmental farm-to-table choices, sustainability supporters are hopeful that greater awareness about the need for sustainable fashion will lead to changing the consumption and production habits.

Konstantin Grcic recently joined forces with the Aeance to create a sustainable capsule collection. Stella McCartney has been leading the charge for sustainable fashion for a while and her latest advertising campaign as reported by The Fashion Spot winks at the circular economy. Photographer Johnny Dufort’s images of Kaia Gerber and Kate Moss are cropped circularly. New Zealand designer Maggie Marilyn, a LVMH Prize semifinalist aims to use at least 30 percent recycles fibers in all garments this year.

Last year the CFDA, which is 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.

The newly released CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies was penned by Domenica Leibowitz as a “how-to” overview for sustainable fashion. The idea is to help CFDA members create, meet and exceed their sustainability goals. Leibowitz is president of Global Action Through Fashion, which is dedicated to creating a more environmentally sustainable world through education about socially and environmentally conscious fashion. There are also case studies tracing CFDA members’ trials and tribulations in their quests for sustainability in the CFDA’s PDF Guidebook which was created by Lauren Croke. Croke is a former Eileen Fisher executive who is now executive strategist and innovator at Kyureeosity, which works with purpose-driven organizations.

While water and plastics are two key areas in need of reduction, the approaches to sustainability can be vast. U.N. officials have noted how the $2.5 trillion industry is the second highest user of water worldwide, generating 20 percent of global water waste. The production of one shirt requires 2,700 liters, which is comparable to the amount a person drinks in 30 months.