Posts

8 Sustainable Fashion Events to Attend in 2015

CitySource | January 21, New York City

City Source is a showcase of local fashion manufacturers, pattern makers, sample shops and trim shops. Free workshops will be offered on a first come, first serve basis and taught by manufacturers and contractors who can answer your product development questions.

Hosted by the Fashion Institute of Technology, this free day of workshops is ideal for anyone who is looking to starting an apparel company but doesn’t have the training or information to get started.

fashion-institute-technology

BF+DA Winter Film Series | February 3, Brooklyn

Join the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator for a screening of the documentary The Next Black, as well as a post-movie panel discussion about the true future of fashion and technology.

Check out the trailer of “The Next Black” here.

thenextblack

Valentine’s Pop-Up at Kallio workSHOP | February 6-14, Brooklyn

This is a week long event featuring local and sustainably-minded designers. Karina Kallio, the designer and founder of the vintage children’s label, Kallio, is offering curated Valentine’s Day gifts at her new workSHOP in Brooklyn.

Having recently opened up her dual studio/retail space, Karina will be hosting events for independent designers and conscious consumers throughout the year.

kallio-workshop

SOURCE Brand Preview | February 26-27, Virtual

The SOURCE Brand Preview is the largest digital showcase event connecting fashion buyers and wholesalers with hundreds of leading sustainable brands from across the globe.

Over two days and through 12 one-hour targeted sessions, you can see the latest eco, organic, artisanal, fair trade, recycled, upcycled, innovative and sustainable fashion collections for 2015/16, and get an update on latest trends and market developments in sustainability and fashion.

source-brand-preview

Eco-Fashion Week Vancouver | April 19-24, Vancouver

Celebrating its 8th season, Eco Fashion Week is informing and inspiring both the fashion-conscious and sustainably-minded. Through speaker seminars, industry panels and award winning fashion shows, Vancouver is leading the eco-fashion movement in North America.

eco-fashion-week

Fashion Revolution Day | April 24, Global

Kicking off the first ever “Fashion Revolution Day” last year, designers, activists, educators and consumers alike wore their clothes #insideout to ask, “Who made your clothes?” becoming the number one trending topic on Twitter.

The brainchild of industry pioneers, Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers, 2015 will bring a new question and theme to get consumers thinking about the impact of their fashion purchases.

fashion-revolution-day

Green Festivals | April 24 – December 13, USA

With events in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and now Portland, Green Festivals is a nationwide event scattered throughout the year. Ranging from DIY demonstrations to film showcases to keynote speakers, each city offers an array of events for eco-enthusiasts.

green-festival

Redress Eco-Fashion & Textile Conference | May 29-30, Raleigh, NC

The team behind Redress Raleigh is hosting the third annual Eco-Fashion & Textile Conference to feature eco-fashion designers and speakers in the sustainable fashion industry.

A hub for textile manufacturing, Raleigh, NC is on the map as one of the leading cities in the U.S. for sustainable and eco-minded fashion.

redress-raleigh

Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology, TraveLabel, Kallio, Ethical Fashion Forum, Huffington Post Canada, Fashion Revolution, Green Festivals, Redress Raleigh

 

4 Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of “Greenwashing”

This is a guest post by Beth Stewart, Strategic Director of Redress Raleigh.

About five months ago, this article lauded the “world’s most ethical clothing companies” and was immediately circulated all over the internet before such impressive claims could be properly researched. Most people reading the article would have no idea the ranking was largely based on corporate governance and compliance.

While H&M may be one of the largest users of organic cotton in the world, ethics requires you to look at who is making the clothing and consider all dimensions of the brand, namely the overall supply chain (including labor) and environmental responsibility.

While there are some consumers out there who do their own research, the majority do not — so this begs the question: How can you combat industry greenwashing and customer confusion? Below are three suggestions.

1.) Differentiate yourself.

Customers do not buy ‘eco-friendly’ clothing just because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. You need to stand out as a brand and make sure your customers understand what makes you different. Create hang-tags and marketing materials that reflect your values, your mission and true transparency. Create an incredible customer experience and interact with your most active admirers.Customers want to understand what a product stands for so that they can support those they feel connected to.

2.) Participate in the discussion.

For the most part, the mainstream media fails to investigate the perils of the fashion industry, writing very few exposés that get the consumers’ attention. Take the opportunity to converse with other like-minded companies through your social media channels and by talking to people in person. Participate in events highlighting the need for a socially-and-environmentally-responsible industry. And be an advocate for transparency and honesty. If you read something that you don’t agree with, ask questions and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. It’s the grassroots conversation that is the best chance for making change.

3.) Do not try to compare or compete with the fast fashion industry.

The fast fashion industry is not a sustainable business model, on many, many levels. Accept the fact that you cannot compete on price alone. Rather, find a way to distinguish yourself as a more desirable product – through quality, originality and creativity.

4.) Connect the dots and help to empower customers.

There is still a large disconnect in how the general public perceives the inner-workings of the fashion industry, especially in regards to what makes a business ‘eco’ or ‘ethical.’ Adding to the confusion is the rampant greenwashing and ‘light-green’ corporations that are clinging to the eco-fashion movement as just another trend they can capitalize on. Your job as a designer is to educate your customer through conversation: be transparent about the materials you use, the higher labor wages you pay, and how doing good business is an example to the industry overall.

In the end, there will still be shoppers who just don’t ‘get it.’ But it’s the long-term customer, who believes in what you’re creating, who will become a brand evangelist for you. It’s the customer who remembers your name and takes pride in wearing your designs. That customer is the right one.

Get involved with Redress here.

[Photo credit: Lux Salon Spa]

3 Tips for Standing Out as an “Eco-Fashion” Designer

This is a guest post by Beth Stewart, Strategic Director of Redress Raleigh.

For over five years, I have been on the search for real eco-fashion — for garments and accessories that make me look good, and feel good, because they are made with ethics and sustainability in mind. From both personal experience greening my closet and from selecting designers for the annual Redress Raleigh Eco-Fashion Show, I have learned what makes the exceptional eco-fashion designers stand out.

HOW TO BE HEARD THROUGH THE “NOISE”

What can you do to stand out from the constant barrage of information and gain traction with customers? Although marketing and social media are important to getting your brand name out there, none of that matters if you don’t have innovative, wearable, and accessible products. Below are the three tips for standing out in the crowd:

1) Be Innovative.

Focus on your genuine designer voice and how you can incorporate ethics and eco into your creations. People will not buy things just because ‘it’s the right thing to do’; people want to look fashionable. Always keep learning and experimenting – read about new techniques or have coffee with a different artist.

Ask for feedback from customers and friends. Search through image galleries to help make your ideas come to fruition or expand upon a theme. Don’t assume that just because your shirt helps support orphans abroad that people will buy it. Design comes first.

2) Create Wearable Goods.

While creating an intricately woven dress of Jimmy John’s wrappers is amazing, it’s not going to see a fashion runway. It’s going to be displayed like art. There is a difference between this – largely considered ‘trashion’ – and eco-fashion, which refers to wearable fashion. Great eco-fashion designers understand the differences between the feel and drape of certain fabrics and how to interpret those certain fabrics into well-fitting garments.

3) Be Accessible.

Yes, there is a high-end couture market. However, many of the names synonymous with that segment have been around for many years and have substantial funding to support the plethora of craftspeople and thousands of hours invested in creating those pieces.

You could try to compete in that market or you could aim for the middle – beyond fast fashion and before couture – for the consumer who shops at boutiques and is looking for quality and transparency and a brand she / he can trust. People like to connect with companies who share their values and help ‘badge’ them as a particular type of individual.

redress-raleigh-guest-post

WHY THIS MATTERS

  • People get excited about good design and new ideas – it’s much better to focus on the positives of innovative fashion, and how your product benefits people, than to focus on the horrible atrocities of the fashion industry. Guilt doesn’t make people buy things, empowerment and joy does.
  • Craftsmanship and “wearability” is important to customers. People are looking for quality and durability and are getting sick of throw-away clothes.
  • There is nowhere to hide these days – if you put your brand in the public eye the public will react. Maintaining transparency of what you value as a designer and how your brand echoes is vital to creating loyalty.

Being a designer is tough, especially when you are just starting out. Being an eco-fashion designer who considers the impact on the earth and humanity through production of your goods is even tougher — but you are the future. There is a strong and growing undercurrent of customers looking for inventive and authentic goods made by designers who are transparent about how their products are made and who makes them. Be someone who stands out.

Get involved with Redress here.