Remake, a nonprofit organization that uses original documentary footage to educate consumers about the fashion industry’s treatment of women and impact on the environment, today launched a short film, “10 Ways to Dress Like a Sustainable Pro,” featuring models from Role Models Management, an ethical agency and platform for models with interests and titles such as public health worker, doula, skateboarder, vegan activist and editor in chief.
Ayesha Barenblat, Remake’s founder, hopes the film will light a fire under the fast-fashion jeans and viscose jumpsuits of the ranks of less woke shoppers and spark the desire to consume more consciously. She knows that’s easier said than done.
“You come up against the reality that making the right choices are expensive and time-consuming,” said Barenblat, noting that many consumers continue to associate sustainable apparel with dull, crunchy or unattainably expensive clothing. “How do you make sustainability accessible to the everyday girl, so she knows that sustainable fashion can be stylish, attainable and inclusive.
“There’s so many misleading eco-conscious claims, and so much greenwashing,” Barenblat said, adding that some statistics and data points have become evangelized by the industry in spite of a lack of science-based, peer-reviewed research. “Fashion is the world’s second-biggest polluter. How can you know that when the industry’s supply chain is so fragmented and there’s so much smoke and mirrors.
“We can’t make any progress in sustainability unless we have good data,” Barenblat said. “Next month, Remake is publishing its first transparency report. In many ways, we’ve been doing the hard work, the labor activism and brands are essentially co-opting it.”
Barenblat is pragmatic. “We’re in a climate emergency,” she said. “We know the hyper-growth model and overproduction of fast fashion is a problem. It’s not as though we can wait for some miraculous data to show up. We know that with the advent of fast fashion, the consumer is buying more and throwing it away faster. The fundamental business model is about really cheap prices and the only way you can make up the profit margins is if the product falls apart due to planned obsolescence.
“We know people want to buy better,” she said. “Neilson said the sustainability market will reach $150 billion by 2021. How do we make sure the [fashion] industry doesn’t co-opt sustainability as one more buzzword? You can’t buy your way into sustainable fashion. It’s about building sustainability into the vernacular.”
“10 Steps” is doing just that. A crash course and common sense primer, based on the group’s “Guide to Sustainable Fashion,” its tips include: buy less stuff, mend it, buy used, trade it in, borrow it, buy for you, and show if off.
“Don’t hide that repeat outfit,” style it every which way and “be proud to break the stigma of being caught wearing a social media item twice.” Remake recommends buying a garment only if you’ll wear it at 30 times over the course of its lifetime. Buy fewer, well-made products and buy classic, rather than trendy items that will go out of style.
Barenblat said, “The magazine now, is Instagram. We tried to make sure there was a range of price points for the brands we featured in our film. Other clothing was thrifted or owned by models. Sustainability is a lifestyle. The TriBeCa apartment we filmed in has been featured in Elle Décor. It’s like, ‘Look at these beautiful women hanging out and drinking tea.'”