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De-Jargoning: Sustainable Fashion

Like all major multi-national industries, the fashion world comes with its own vocabulary of technical terms and phrases. In our new weekly blog feature, we will look at a specific term related to the fashion industry and find out more about it. Break it down and find out the meaning behind the jargon. And what better phrase to start off this feature than "Sustainable Fashion".

Sustainable Fashion - A philosophical approach to fashion whereby garments and accessories are produced in a sustainable way (i.e. in a way that could theoreically continue indefinitely without harming the environment), using eco-friendly materials such as organic fibres, eco fibres & recycled yarns, with further consideration given to issues such as energy efficient production, workers’ rights, biodegradable packaging and carbon footprint as a result of transportation. De-Jargoning: Sustainable Fashion. Definition from ‘Fashion A to Z: An Illustrated Dictonary’ by Alex Newman & Zakee Shariff.

Sustainable Fashion came about in the early 1990s, when the designers saw the negative environmental and ethical impact brought on by the rise of 'fast fashion' sector and started to find ways of reducing it.

Some of the key events in the Sustainable Fashion movement

  • 1990 - British designer Katherine Hamnett speaks at the UN and calls for more eco-responsbility in the global fashion industry.
  • 1992 - Fashion retailer Espirt launches its Ecollection line.
  • 2001 - Stella McCartney launches her fashion label, establishes sustainable fashion as a serious proposition.
  • 2004 - The Ethical Fashion Show is launched in Paris, followed by Estethica at London Fashion Week two years later, to promote upcoming ethical fashion brands and collections.
  • 2005 - Edun fashion brand is founded by Ali Hewson and Bono, aiming to position itself as a creative force in fashion while bringing about positive change in Africa.
  • 2006 - Marks & Spencer annonces 'Plan A', detailing the company's environmental and ethical goals over a five-year period.
  • 2008 - Christopher Raeburn presents his debt collection, inspired by the challenge of sustainable fashion, featuring reversible recycled garments
  • 2009 - Livia Firth & Lucy Siegle launch the Green Carpet Challenge, bringing eco and upcycled fashion to red carpet events for the first time.
  • 2012 - Copenhagen Fashion Summit is held to mark the Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference.

So there we go. The sustainable fashion movement has come a long way over the last 20 years, but it is still going strong and its message is just as clear and important.

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