Meeting With Fashion Industry And 'Extinction Rebellion', 10th September At Oriental Club Marylebone
11:40: Meeting begins.
Tamara Cincik, CEO and Founder of Fashion Roundtable
Welcomes attendees, apologises for Bethany Williams’ absence. Asks for meeting to be respectful, positive, and to focus on opportunities and solutions.
Dr Lisa Cameron, Scottish National Party MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Delivers introduction and asks for all attendees to introduce themselves. Cozette McCreery speaks instead of Rahemur Rahman 'Comments on Brexit' and the proroguing of the Parliament work of the APPG for Textiles and Fashion spans across many aspects of the fashion industry, and is very valuable: the Group champions sustainable young designers, inclusion, diversity and is taking evidence from BAME and marginalised groups for the Representation and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry Policy Paper. Fashion and world of fashion has many stereotypes, and the APPG wants to showcase all of abilities in the industry. The APPG for Sustainable Clothing and Textiles has recently launched, and will focus specifically on sustainability, conducting their own research and consultationsHow can the people in this room support both APPGs and how can the APPGs support sustainable industry growthThe UK’s brands and manufacturing have an international reputationSustainability requires the industry to move forward, and policies need to foster growth, which is why the involvement of stakeholders is essentialThe Issue of Extinction Rebellion (XR) calling to cancel fashion week requires dialogue, support and respect
Asks Sara Arnold, Extinction Rebellion, Boycott Fashion Team to outline key issues as Lisa is blown over by new designers, what they are doing and where their work will lead the industry to.
Speaker: Sara Arnold, Extinction Rebellion Boycott Fashion Team
Asks to take a moment of silence to think of people, plants and the earth: we are all here for a common causeThere is a twelve year deadline for fighting climateChange needs to happen immediately, 2050 is too farIncreasing Carbon emissions by 10% would result in a 2 degree warmingGovernment needs to support stopping emissions, so that the temperature does not rise by 0.5 – 1.5 degrees, which could set off a Feedback Loop Mechanism that could not be stopped i.e. Arctic and Permafrost melting releasing trapped gases and the Amazon forest becoming a carbon producer instead of a carbon sinkRise in 2 degrees means deaths and extinction Only 4% of wild animals remain in the planet, we are losing fertile soil which can be completely gone in 30 – 40 yrs, there has been a significant drop in the number of insects and oceans are acidifyingA climate crisis will result in war, such as the war in Syria.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Asks for the conversation to be focused on the fashion industry.
If the industry continues under business as usual, we will not able put food on platesEveryone here to make business sustainable but we have run out of timeThe creativity in the fashion industry can be channelled to create change, but the current system does not workLondon Fashion Week is a cultural hub, and if it carries on it sends the message that things are ok; XR’s call asks for culture to stand up and take responsibility.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
We are not here to continue on business as usual, and players in the fashion industry need to question how they can use their influenceThe fashion industry has the potential to shape choices of the consumers.
What is XR doing to target high street and fast fashionAgrees that LFW is a high-light event and not producer of fast fashion, which is the main culprit behind the pollution and emissions of the sector.
Actions taken at/ by LFW echo through world wide network – asking to cancel LFW is symbolicThis is not an ask, it’s a protest.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Fast fashion happens across the worldLFW is Iconic, and if it champions sustainable fashion it and can be seen as moving industry forward.
Floor – Roxy Erickson, Director at Sunbeam Studios
Despite most of the people in the room conducting business in a ‘sustainable’ manner, what Sara is trying to say is that it is not enoughThe industry has to manage extinction, or there will be no fashion industryAsk Parliament to be far more revolutionary that it currently isXR’s role is not to provide solutions, but to highlight the problem.
We need to ask parliament to shut down Fashion.
Karen Binns, Fashion Director at Fashion Roundtable
Shutting down fashion and LFW is not the answer, the first target has to be high street and fast fashion brands.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Do you think consumers are aware?
Cozette McCreery, Brand Ambassador for Iceberg
Cancelling LFW is not the answerIf Jamie Oliver is able to get Sugar tax through Parliament, the fashion industry can propose a similar measureThe industry need to change structure, so that consumer pays for items knowing their real costFrom a PR perspective, it is important to think of how to convince customers that making an outfit for £20 is unfeasible, and the costs are usually cut by poor working conditions and pay below minimum wage.
Fashion Roundtable are working with Baroness Lola Young to address these issuesThe Environmental Audit Committee made 18 recommendations in their Fixing Fashion Report, and none were adopted by the governmentFeels that the government should introduce tax incentives to encourage transparency and good practiceThe aim of these sessions is to formulate policy asks and put them forward to Parliament.
Floor Why are Bristish Fashion Council (BFC) not here?
Tamara Cincik clarifies the BFC were invited and are invited to all APPG meetings.
Jodi Muter-Hamilton explains that XR have met with BFC.
We need to create a positive and inclusive sector, but the sector still follows a 20th Century model.
Bernice Pan, Founder and Creative Director at DEPLOY
Brands, manufacturers, consumers, press and government are all working against each other, and the system has been failing for a long timeBFC needs to work with the Department of Education and educational institutions to deliver a coherent fashion educationAs consumers, we have power to affect changeWhen designers and creatives make something, they need to remember who the products are being designed for, rather than assume and invisible consumerMindset needs to changeFashion business needs to change structurally through education so that professionals are aware of what they are designing: fabric that are toxic, and how they are madeBritish education is better than most.
Rebecca Munro, Communications Director for the London College of Fashion
In the last 10 years, LFC have worked on providing a well-rounded education to students, but have seen resistance from the sector. Currently, students are required to take a module on Ethics and SustainabilityWe are teaching the next generation of students that they need to make money responsiblyBFC needs to look at how and where they invest their resources.
Notes it’s great Burberry is present, but where are creative directors and designers in the room?Creative directors and designers need education on the environmental and social repercussions of fashion – pollution and human exploitation in the supply chain.
Consumers are getting fashion information through the media, which has the purpose of incentivising consumption. The impacts of fashion are not taught in school or university. Anecdote: an attendee met a geologist who was ignorant of the environmental impacts of fashionBig brands have a lot of money, and should have a responsibility of educating consumers, but instead play a role in perpetuating the lack of information.
Bel Jacobs, Extinction Rebellion Boycott Fashion Team
Fashion should be a cultural vehicle for changeXR is not calling for the end of creativity or creative expression, but the end of the fashion industryThe creativity of those in the fashion industry should be used to come up with climate change solutions.
There is little benefit in shutting down LFW and its brands and doing nothing to target high street brands and fast fashion, which have the biggest due to their size: agriculture, workforce, supply chain, production.
Overproduction is damaging to the environment.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP asks Burberry team what they think their role is.
Cecilia Coonan, Corporate Relations Director at Burberry
Burberry takes a transparent approach to their production and supply chain, and has set transparency and sustainability targets, e.g.: Transparent supply chains 2030Transitioning to circular supplyTracking carbon footprint of fashion shows.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP notes she is unaware of Burberry initiatives and asks for them to be looked at by APPG
Tamara Cincik notes the importance of gathering opinions from the attendees to formulate concise policy asks.
Rather than asking for changes in taxation, made it required for brands to disassemble unsold stock. This will push brands to re-evaluate production quantities and produce clothes using fibres that are easier to recycle.Recycling is not the solution – we cannot recycle plastic fast enough to address the problem.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP asks attendees to be pragmatic in their asks: what can we take back and things we can push.
Marko Matysik, Founder and Creative Director of Marko Matysik
Tax toxic materials – but this would require a review of what is considered toxic, as plastic and certain dyes are toxic for the environment but are not considered to beRewards and incentives for brands that adopt ethical and sustainable practices.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP asks for attendees to submit examples of best-practice.
Look at the end of life of productsCertifications for SMEs is so difficult needs to be freeBan fabrics and dyes dangerous to humanityEducation and information to be made available on tags.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Block chain technology can used to track the products that make a garmentHighlights the potential usage of a system such as Traffic light system, similar to what is in use for food items.
Jodi Muter Hamilton
States she has been working on a garment traffic system for several years and there are many challenges of constructing a traffic light system for clothing:
Accuracy of data, as many times the brands do not know what happens in their supply chains. The information/rating is only as good as the dataThere are many certifications and organisations that have created their own ratings that would need to be included, a collaborative approach is essentialA lot of information to aggregate, technology can help. Brand can be verified operationally, but then each individual product would be certified.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP asks if London can champion sustainable fashion?
There are many positive/ sustainable/ ethical fashion initiatives in London, but these are smaller and fragmentedInitiatives and events do not have the same visibility as the Copenhagen Fashion Summit
Wants the BFC to engage in conversation, so that LFW can be used as a platform to champion solutions Actions happening over fashion week please join usFocus on XR’s 3rd ask, that government use citizen’s assemblies.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP: introduces speakers
Cozette McCreery will be talking about:
Designers in LFW working with artisan skillsGovernment supporting UK manufacturing, as government support is vital but severely lackingSupport and recognition to give them voice Fashion not taken seriously, it is seen as a hippy idea so policy makers and institutions think it is coming from bad standpointDiscussions about manufacturing centre around cars, fashion and textiles is mostly overlooked.
We need to look at our imageCreative directors – know their responsibility and it is difficult using celebrity to promote positive changeThere is a change from people within the industry but this is different to having a voiceThere is discrepancy Marketing and support noting in the best interest of BFCBFC – not working and they need to get into conversations.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP, industry, consumers and policy makers should be more aware of sustainable fashion initiatives, such as those outlined by Burberry. Another example are trainers made using ocean plastic.
Speaker: Patrick McDowell, Founder and Creative Director of Patrick McDowell
Works with waste fabric from Burberry, but this has come from financial rather than sustainable considerationsImportant to have more designers in the room, as designers have a responsibility, it is easy to become lazyEducation is very importantCreative Directors play a huge role, they are very rarely denied what they want for showsDesigners should adopt the mentality of using what already exists: lots of waste fabricsThe fashion system that currently operates was started by Worth in late 19th Century and has not changed sinceLife without plastic and with less production is possible; mentions this was his GRandmother’s reality and she is still alive.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Packaging has to be addressedSustainable Education as part of the curriculum.
Floor notes the power of marketing, and that things need to appear cool and attractive to the individual.
Suggests using Edward Enninful at Vogue to promote sustainability.
Claire Lissaman, Director: Product and Impact at Common Objective
Need to devise a strategy to clean up the industryMedia and industry has to share stories about what is happening – positives and negatives2020 has sense of emergency Burberry has looked at science and revenue, but all of their initiatives are all voluntaryCurrent pace is not fast enough, we need to take it up 20 notches.
Floor – Not seeing designers and journalist successfully communicating environmental implications of fashion to the consumers, magazine titles not interested in what we are saying.
Tamara Cincik reads Bethany William’s statement:
‘I believe that London is a place of growth and change. I’m part of a design community which really is trying to find sustainable solutions and this community needs to be protected and supported. We need positive critique and positive solutions so we can all move forward together’.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Policy can use nudge theory, tactics that make it more convenient for the consumer to make the ‘right’ choices. E.g. Football violence fell by changing games from Saturdays to Sundays.
We are facing a climate emergency: if global temperature rises by 2 – 3 degrees we will not be able to put food on our plates, and yet we are talking about clothesWe do not want fashion to end, but the fashion industry is over and we need to understand how to transition from that.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP final remarks and thanks attendees.
13:07: Meeting ends.
Statement by Rahemur Rahman, Creative Director of Rahemur Rahman, who was originally attending at a speaking capacity but was unable to make the meeting:
“Fashion is a huge industry, and one that supports many people who aren’t as privileged as ourselves. Talking about sustainability is a privilege we can’t take lightly; the majority of the people I work with and grew up with were sustainable because of the lack of economic freedom. Sweeping comments taking out London Fashion Week show the lack of research done by the people supporting it. Around the table sit designers, who like myself, are creating new systems of fashion that aren’t anything like fast fashion. Our beliefs and ethics overlap. I hope you can see that cancelling London Fashion Week also cancels how my business works, which upholds sustainable practices and supports the lives of weavers and artisans in Bangladesh who otherwise would be working in fast fashion. London Fashion Week supports a lot of people and businesses and unless we find a sustainable way to create new jobs for all these people to go to, we have to work more sustainably in its current system, which I think a lot of new and established designers are achieving. I agree that the industry needs to change, but it won’t be like this. It has to be through policy making and fashion being in political spaces where decisions are had. We are stronger together, because our aims are the same, so why create more divides when we are constantly surrounded by them.”
LIST OF ATTENDEES
Dr Lisa Cameron MP: Scottish National Party, Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Tamara Cincik: Fashion Roundtable, CEO and Founder
Amelia Curwen: Fashion Roundtable, Brand and Marketing Specialist
Roberta Kirosingh: Scottish National Party, Personal Assistant to Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Rafaella de Freitas: Fashion Roundtable, Policy Research Assistant
Bella Web: Central Saint Martins, MA Fashion Journalism student
Esther Maughan McLachlan: The Communications Store Senior Director, Purpose and Sustainability
Rob Jones: Teatum Jones, Creative Director
Catherine Teatum: Teatum Jones, Creative Director
Catherine Bowman: Modus BPCM, Managing Director
Laura Gibson: Black Neon Digital, Researcher
Sarah Kent: Business of Fashion, Senior Correspondent
Tamison O’Connor: Business of Fashion, Reporter
Patrick McDowell: Patrick McDowell, Creative Director
Cozette McCreery: Iceberg, Connector & Brand Ambassador
Bel Jacobs: Extinction Rebellion, Boycott Fashion Team
Sara Arnold: Extinction Rebellion, Boycott Fashion Team
Laura Frandsen: Extinction Rebellion, Boycott Fashion Team
Alice Wilby: Extinction Rebellion, Boycott Fashion Team
Marko Matysik: Marko Matysik, Owner
Bernice Pan: DEPLOY, Founder and Creative Director
Claudia Simms: DEPLOY, Marketing Director
Roxy Erickson: Sunbeam Studios, Director
Clare Lissaman: Common Objective, Director, Product and Impact
Rebecca Munro: London College of Fashion, Acting Head of Communications
Pamela Batty: Burberry, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility
Cecilia Coonan: Burberry, Corporate Relations Director
Paul March: Burberry, Global Director of Asset and Profit Protection
Phillipa Cowburn: Burberry, Corporate Relations Manager
Fiona Carter: Fashion Roundtable, Minute taker
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