7 September 2020
Arch & Hook’s Sustainability Salon Series is a series of monthly live free digital event exploring sustainability and best practices in the world of fashion, retail, and beyond. The series have informational and educational purpose for fashion and retail professionals, which is supported by the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships.
For this session, Arch & Hook was honoured to have a dynamic lineup of speakers representing denim, lifestyle/swimwear, outdoor, water, and sports brands – all bringing different angles and viewpoints regarding water sustainability. These are experts who have and continue exploring best practices in being responsible stewards of water from a conservation and ocean protection standpoint.
Furthermore, this session had an added focus on the Australian and West Coast fashion and retail markets. We were thrilled to welcome Gwenna “Gigi” Lucas as our moderator, who kept the conversation lively, informative, and easygoing where all of the speakers felt comfortable talking about their challenges in the industry, especially when it came to sustainability.
Denim is responsible for a high-water footprint in the fashion industry due to its heavy dependence on water availability. Denim further releases a huge amount of pollutants during different processing stages. “Denim is the worst offender when it comes to unnecessary water waste in the fashion industry,” says Adam, Creative Director and Co-founder of Triarchy. Being part of a denim brand, he has made it a mission to shine a light on the unsustainable way most denim is produced.
During the session, Adam explained that his biggest challenge is raising awareness and informing consumers why sustainability has a price tag and not a cheap one. Sustainable denim is not as affordable as mainstream denim, and this has to do with the materials, and the complex holistic process needed to make the product sustainable, increasing costs for manufacturers themselves.
Abigail, Creative Director at Ansea also faces these challenges when it comes to educating consumers. Ansea uses sustainable textiles like Econyl® and the plant-based alternative to neoprene – Yulex®. “People don’t know how bad neoprene is, Patagonia pioneered the use of Yulex® in 2008 and yet no other sports labels have made it a core product of their collection,” says Abigail. Compared to denim, people are not aware of the impact neoprene has on the environment, not even surfers who are the main users.
The experts agreed that in tackling sustainable manufacturing, product development and consumer awareness involving third-party auditors to your brand is highly recommendable because it prevents falling in the trap of ‘greenwashing’. If you want to learn more about this, click here.
While Adam and Abigail are more focused in textiles and the processes for making garments, Chris, Environmental & Sustainability Expert at ARC’TERYX, dives deeper when it comes to water sustainability by keeping in mind the infrastructure of water use and supply (moving water from A to B), especially on how much energy is used. Chris also highlighted the complexity of using materials that are performance-driven but also sustainable – for example far less impactful to the environment durable water repellent.
It was inspiring to listen to the session and the exchange of learnings, tips, and insights among all participants. And while these were representatives of brands who have already taken big steps in their sustainability journey, they all agreed it was still a long road ahead and even though most brands prefer not opening up on the topic, now more than ever it is key that we all share our learnings transparently in our ambition to make the fashion industry a sustainable one.
Our moderator Gigi further underlined the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the surfing industry, which is the reason she founded SurfearNEGRA to #diversifythelineup. Gigi is also involved and vocal about the Black Lives Matter Movement, and how she has helped to raise funds for the organisation by selling sustainable totes, which you can purchase here.
The speakers shared a lot of insights and practical recommendations during the session on water sustainability, and materials. If you wish to hear more about this conversation, you can watch and listen to the full recording here.
Are you interested in being part of the Sustainability Salon Series? Then reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and share with us your ideas or comments. We would love to hear from you.
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