On February 28th, Harlem Fashion Row hosted CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) CEO Steven Kolb for their Conversations series. I attended with one clear mission, which was to ask about the place of sustainability in fashion and its future. I asked Steven and other fashion heavy hitters about their viewpoints on eco-fashion and was very encouraged by their responses.
Steven spoke about how in the the beginning of “sustainable fashion”, there was something crunchy about the whole notion. But he has seen it change with an improvement in quality of fabrics and technology.
“I think the industry will continue to evolve. We are a socially conscious community.” He noted how sustainable cloths were once literally separate from conventional lines/collections in stores but how currently, they exist in the same space/shelves.
“It is something we have to learn about. Every little thing counts from reducing fuel to condensing shipping.”
She continued to speak about how much information is out there and that doing it in small steps will eventually amount to making a difference in fashion for the long haul. What I appreciated about speaking with Tracy is her enthusiasm and willingness to learn about different aspects of sustainability. It helps that her aesthetic and designs are beautiful already.
“I think just piggy backing off what Steven Kolb had mentioned, I think your noticing now the connotation that eco-fashion had was this sort of crunchy, everything was made from hemp and kind of looks horrible and felt horrible to wear. I think there’s an idea now that as a consumer can go out there and purchase items that are eco-friendly that are made with resources whether recycled or just really thought put into the way these clothes are manufactured without looking like you came from a commune in La Jolla. and i think there are so many brands whether it is conserving water in the way (garments) are made (in production). I think there are ways in which you can incorporate (sustainability), support the movement, and still look like you.”
Just as the world of fashion has evolved from trend to trend, it is encouraging to see that the impressions of sustainable fashion are going along for the ride. The Green Show during NYFW was a clear illustration of how designers are thinking about wearability and sustainability. Will eco-fashion become mainstream overnight? Probably not. But as new technology emerges, technology improves, and awareness increases, I believe we can get pretty close.
Thanks again to Harlem Fashion Row and Brandice Henderson for hosting this epic event.