The Importance of Staying Real

Propelled by a surging global mood, the fashion world’s latest megatrend centers around the concept of sustainability.
As youngsters around the world have taken to the streets, legitimately voicing their right to a clean planet, brands from the luxury and mass market realms alike are competing for the greenest profile.
As welcome as this newly gained attention to environmental issues is, in many cases it somewhat strains credibility. Seeing brands who have defined themselves for decades in terms of serving whimsical and lavish lifestyles to propagate a sternly moralistic viewpoint is, to say the least, baffling.
To a certain extent this suddenly born attitude resembles the pose attributed to France’s pre-revolutionary Queen Marie Antoinette, who countered the masses’ lack of bread with one of human history’s most dreaded slogans: “Let them eat cake”. Unfortunately, even if the true maternity of the quip remains unknown, this “generous” approach did not serve her well at all.
Her fate is well known.
In a world dominated by a growing desire for accountability, now as in the late 18th century, everyone who caters to a privileged and overfed clientele would be well advised to display the utmost pragmatism and humility.
The apparel and accessories industries are currently being indicated as the second most polluting sector on earth. This, in itself, means strong action needs to be taken.
In this issue we describe how, all along the value chain, innumerable players are redirecting their efforts and starting to contribute to what should, hopefully, amount to a sector-wide clean-up.
It is, however, premature, on behalf of anyone, to be claiming success.
We are talking about a gradual and strenuous undertaking, one that will most probably never be over.
To design a couple of T-shirts made out of recycled plastic bottles is by far not enough.
Likewise, we should not grow frustrated because of wrong “here and now” expectations.
The problem has to be taken very seriously.
The current pace of technological revolution offers many glimpses of hope, and many new ways of acting in a responsible, and yet enlightening and inspiring fashion.
Whoever claims, though, to be a fully “sustainable” enterprise today, is not only misunderstanding the facts.
He (or her) is an outright liar.
The same holds true for who announces Armageddon tomorrow.
The facts are being discovered as we speak.
Humankind is strong and intelligent.
We will cope.
It will be the small steps who will carry us all the way.

Marc Sondermann

Fashion Magazine 10/2019