LONDON — Fashion industry executives are joining forces to launch a new grassroots movement, dubbed Fashion Declares.
The aim of this new collective is straight forward: to declare a “climate, ecological and social emergency” and help accelerate the changes that need to take place in what they call “one of the most polluting and unjust sectors in the world.”
Leading the group are Safia Minney, founder of one of the first sustainable labels in the market, People Tree, and Tom Berry, Farfetch’s global director of sustainable business.
Joining them are Mike Barry, former director of sustainable business at Marks and Spencer; Debbie Luffman, product director at Finisterre, and Mariusz Stochaj, head of product and sustainability at Continental Clothing.
The aim was to create a movement that engages the entire fashion industry, bringing on organizations and individuals working in all ranks of the sector.
“Fashion needs to change. And to achieve any significant change, all companies and all employees within those companies need to play their part. There aren’t any other movements in the fashion industry working bottom up, engaging all of the different people in the industry who can and need to contribute,” said Berry, who has been behind Farfetch’s early strides into resale, the launch of the platform’s now-popular “Conscious” vertical, among other green initiatives.
The team already has a group of executives from major brands coming on as early signatories of its open letter to the industry.
They include Patagonia’s head of philosophy Vincent Stanley; Pangaia’s global director Christine Goulay; Ganni‘s sustainability director Lauren Bartley, and Reformation’s chief sustainability officer Kathleen Talbot, among others.
“To stand a chance at making the Fashion industry socially and environmentally sustainable, collaboration coupled with concrete measurable action are imperative and the Fashion Declares movement can play a crucial role in delivering that,” Bartley said.
The goal is to get more than 50,000 signatures in the next three years and work collectively on five key pledges, which range from raising awareness around climate change; delivering decarbonization and social justice; adopting more regenerative models, and working toward “radical transparency and corporate governance” across global fashion firms.
“These bold commitments reflect the need for rapid and fundamental changes in fashion. We have a handful of years to avoid the catastrophic impacts of global warming and we need wide-ranging and urgent action across the sector,” said Minney, who is staying optimistic that the fashion sector can not only reduce its harmful impact but use creativity to educate audiences and transform lifestyles. “This needs to include individuals working at every level in fashion, from designers to finance people, and from retailers to influencers,” she added.
The launch of the movement also comes at a time when fashion is under major pressure to change — especially after signatories of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action committed to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at COP26 last year. In the U.K., the Environmental Audit Committee is also expected to deliver a follow-up report on “Fixing Fashion.”
“The window to stay within 1.5 degrees is closing fast. Fashion Declares is about every individual in this industry realizing they have a role to play in the rapid and just transition needed to redefine fashion so it operates within planetary boundaries,” Minnie added.