Sustainable September by SUSS UK at Hatch Cafe
Sustainability is a hot topic right now. A trend in the fashion industry you might say - and although this recognition and rise in awareness can't be anything but good, trends are fleeting, sustainability cannot be.
This month, as the fashion pack comes together again for four weeks of creativity and newness across the globe, it's refreshing to see a new found respect for the need for transparency and honesty within the industry. Allowing consumers the right to know exactly what they're buying and why. And it is with this poignant point in mind - the point that consumers need the knowledge and awareness to help steer the industry towards a more sustainable future - that myself and my business partner Abigail Grainger have set up a new initiative.
Sustainable September - 30 days dedicated to talks, insights and conversations with the industries most 'on it' people, is a bid to educate the everyday consumer, providing the knowledge and tools to inform better purchasing decisions for a healthier and happier planet. From our experience within the industry - myself a trend forecaster and Abi a designer - we're fully aware of the issues that face the industry, but as consumers we're not remotely wise about how to play our own role in rectifying it. And fairly unsurprisingly, everyone we've spoken to is as in the dark as us.
The SUSS UK team Abi and Emma with Carry Somers, Cyndi Rhoades, Tamsin LeJeune and Neliana Fuenmayor - speakers at the first Sustainable September event.
In a bid to educate both ourselves and a growing audience with an ever growing appetite, we're inviting people to spend an evening with us and a truly inspirational line up of speakers from the very heart of the sustainable fashion industry. Spread over two nights throughout September, these events - taking place at Hatch Cafe in Homerton - are a chance to be inspired, not only by the actions of others but by the very real fact that we all have the ability to make a difference, and it's not as hard or as life changing as we're often led to believe.
Speakers include the likes of Carry Somers - founder of Fashion Revolution, and Tamsin LeJeune - founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum, and during the first event, which took place on the 6th, attendees were privy to their experienced insight into what needs to be done quickly, how to do it and why.
Inspired to act by the factory collapse in Rana Plaza in 2013, Somers has quickly become one of the most respected spokespeople on the topic of transparency in fashion - encouraging the public to ask brands #whomademyclothes? and get them to tell us just where a garment has come from. With over 70 thousand people taking part in Fashion Revolution day this year alone, it is clear that we, as consumers, care. Now we just need to make the brands care too. But it isn't the sole responsibility of these companies to change the tide, as Cyndi Rhoades, founder of Worn Again pointed out during her talk on the 6th. A pioneer of the circular economy, Rhoades shone a light on the amount of fashion waste building up across the globe. With 55 million tonnes of cotton and polyester being produced annually - a number expected to rise to 90 million by 2050 - we are on the verge of having to decide whether we use our land to grow food or grow cotton. A clear indicator of consumerism gone mad and a call to make us all stop and think about what we really need.
Our second round of talks on the 20th promises to be as inspiring and interesting as the first, with appearances from Amanda Johnston from The Sustainable Angle and Diana Auria of Auria Swimwear - a brand using recycled fishing nets to create swimsuits. By providing our audience with not only the cold hard facts, but also the solutions and brands to buy from to limit their own part in the problem, we're hoping to increase consumer demand for ethical fashion, and in turn use that demand to encourage the industry to act quicker.
If you're interested in getting involved with our initiative, would like to attend future events and talks or just want a few handy tips for making your day to day life a little more sustainably friendly, follow us on Instagram @isusseditout and join in - letting us know just what you are doing to get wise, buy better and make a difference. It really is imperative that we do so.
Photos by Thomas Gonsard @tgonsard
This September The Huffington Post UK Style is focusing on all things sustainable, for the second year running. Our thirst for fast fashion is dramatically impacting the environment and the lives of thousands of workers in a negative way. Our aim is to raise awareness of this zeitgeist issue and champion brands and people working to make the fashion industry a more ethical place.
We'll be sharing stories and blogs with the hashtag #SustainableFashion and we'd like you to do the same. If you'd like to use our blogging platform to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org