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What if, Man? - The Power of Fashion

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GREEN FASHION STILETTO
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Use less toilet paper. Buy an 'eco friendly' car. Don't over fill the kettle. Do less, use less, remember to reuse shopping bags: Will this will save the world?

There is no doubt that our climate, environment and global ecosystem is in trouble, but a lot of the alternative 'eco' products peddled to consumers go a long way to mask the real problems. The fact is, doing less and spending more will not secure our future, sorry people.

'Eco' is not sustainable.

After all, sustainability means a different thing. Sustainability is about living without compromising the needs or quality of life for future generations. It means living in a way that can go on without running out of resources, without degrading the environment.

So if the material that makes a product is genuinely sustainable and if the energy to make it came from a renewable source, by definition a company could go on manufacturing those products forever. If the products we buy are made in a sustainable way, we can shop as much as we like. Sustainability would mean a better environment and a better quality of life. What's stopping us?

It's a question we asked; Rapanui is our answer: We believe the real change must come from changing the 'perception' of sustainability among people, from a negative 'do-less' culture to the reality - sustainability is a wide-ranging issue with practical solutions - the outcome is something that everybody needs and wants: We just don't realise it yet. We must design products and economies that are genuinely sustainable and to make it stick, we must change the perception of the consumer.

How do we do it then? Waking the world up to sustainability seems almost impossible. But not if you are an intergalactic superstar of pop... Ask yourself: "What if David Bowie was an Eco Warrior?"

After all, the man managed to get millions of men to wear high heels, tight trousers and makeup. That was for real. On any given day it would be an impossible task, but Bowie convinced these men to go down the tight trousers and make up shop and actually pay for the privilege. This is a powerful demonstration of the ability of fashion and trend to guide perception and guide action. Fashion is power.

Right now it's so powerful that people are happy to shop in high street stores without any real clue as to where the clothing comes from, what it's made of and who made it - other than it probably came from somewhere in the third world, and that it's going in the bin in a month's time.

The scale of the issue is vast. If you take a moment to look around, clothing is everywhere and on every person from birth until death. It's a big problem, but it can also change quickly. A brand releases brown chinos and a year later half of the population might have gone out specifically to buy their own.

Imagine if those billions of pounds were not buying normal brown trousers or jeggings or wayfarers. Imagine if, instead, they were buying products made using wind-powered factories. Or made ethically, or made from sustainable materials. The world would be a very different place, with more renewable energy, more equality and a better environment. And if it was cool to be conscientious maybe we'd switch the light off when we walk past a switch left on, or vote for more renewable energy in our country.

A nice idea, but how do you find out which product is the most sustainable?That's why we developed our interactive traceability maps - to show you where clothing comes from and how it is made. The same reason is behind our A-G clothing ecolabel being developed with members of the European Parliament. We've even been invited to the EU to present the idea. Until these are more widespread, our aim is to use the power of our brand to influence perceptions, inform choices and create tools to make it happen.

Sustainability. It's not just about eco clothes. It's about making sustainability fashionable, man.

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