Recently, I interviewed Andrew Morgan, maker of the eyeopening documentary film The True Cost. Among many intelligent things about the tremendous power of the fashion industry, which they mostly seem to use to make money at the cost of poor people and Mother Nature, he said that there is a shift happening in the world. ‘I think this year something irreversible has been put in motion,’ he said, referring to the way his film was being picked up by the media, especially the fashion media, normally not fond of the subject of sustainability. ‘The Vogue’s in the world are maybe slow to the party, but they too start to realize that this not caring is gonna be replaced by something much cooler, which is: people caring.’
Good news, because if any industry has the power to make something cool, it’s the fashion industry. And it seems to be true. Proof can be found almost daily in articles highlighting sustainable brands, interviews with people of the industry who try to do it differently, and essays about the relentless pace of fashion nowadays. ‘It is a really interesting time for the fashion industry at the moment,’ says Holly Allenby, founder of the beautiful sustainable brand The Acey in Vogue UK. ‘It’s the first time I think people are opening up to the conversation and thinking about how and where their clothing is made.’
But let’s not jubilate too soon. Let’s not forget that tremendous power of the fashion industry, which – truth be told – tends to lean on marketing more than on ethics. ‘I do think press have a responsibility to shine an honest light on the good and bad truths of the industry,’ says Allenby, ‘otherwise the consumer is none the wiser and cannot make educated decisions with their purchasing power.’
I totally agree with that. So I wrote an article for Vrij Nederland about the truth behind the sustainability claims of the fashion industry. You can read it here.