GOSHOPIA

This eco-driven web­site pro­motes eth­i­cal de­sign­ers and brands, per­fect for our on­line or­der­ing times

CEO Middle East - - CON­TENTS -

CLI­MATE CHANGE IS A RE­AL­ITY AND

sooner or later, our life­styles must change. As a so­ci­ety, there are cer­tain things gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions can do. Some coun­tries started ban­ning sin­gle use plas­tics, but for things to be im­ple­mented at a le­gal or gov­ern­men­tal level takes time. And, at the mo­ment, time is of the essence.

There are many things we can do as in­di­vid­u­als to help the sit­u­a­tion and lead more sus­tain­able lives, but are we ready to change our ways?

When it comes to fash­ion, there is a lot to be done by an in­dus­try that is the sec­ond largest pol­luter in the world and as­so­ci­ated with far too many cases of hu­man ex­ploita­tion and poor work­ing con­di­tions.

AN AWAK­EN­ING

At the mo­ment, and thanks in no small part to doc­u­men­taries such as The True Cost or RiverBlue, peo­ple are get­ting to know the darker side of fash­ion. In the Mid­dle East, how­ever, it is still a rel­a­tively new con­cept. We are so used to the glam­orous fa­cade and clean­li­ness of malls that some­how we as­sume the whole sup­ply chain is as pris­tine.

‘Fast fash­ion’ com­pa­nies have been prof­it­ing for years on un­eth­i­cal sup­ply chains and there is a tan­gi­ble sen­ti­ment, es­pe­cially from mil­len­nial con­sumers, that this is no longer ac­cept­able. In ad­di­tion, in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Re­make or Fash­ion Rev­o­lu­tion are ask­ing brands for more trans­parency and a fairer sup­ply chain.

And thanks to the me­dia and so­cial me­dia, these ques­tions are be­ing heard and some­times even an­swered. We have seen some brands like H&M launch­ing her Con­scious Col­lec­tion and to­gether with other 31 fash­ion brands of dif­fer­ent seg­ments signed the Fash­ion Pact in Biar­ritz in Au­gust 2019, just be­fore the G7 Sum­mit.

THE FASH­ION PACT

This pact sig­nals a good in­ten­tion but not much ac­tion. It is timid in its goals and is taken as a guide and not as a legally bind­ing agree­ment. The clos­est dead­line is 2030 when there is not much time left and it is ac­knowl­edged so in the doc­u­ment it­self. Also, it fo­cusses on cli­mate, bio­di­ver­sity and oceans. But what about peo­ple? Peo­ple are barely men­tioned.

Our hope that the Fash­ion Pact might bring real change dis­ap­peared pretty fast and many have seen it as lit­tle more than green wash­ing.

Fash­ion has a big im­pact be­cause of the chem­i­cals, re­sources and en­ergy it uses in its pro­duc­tion. Mak­ing clothes re­quires a highly in­ten­sive us­age of wa­ter, cre­ates pol­lu­tion and vast amounts of waste. In ad­di­tion to this, fash­ion shows can be black holes when it comes to sus­tain­abil­ity. Fly­ing in­ter­na­tional mod­els in, gath­er­ing buy­ers, celebri­ties and ed­i­tors to en­joy a stage that will be dis­man­tled, burned or thrown away the next day is far from sus­tain­able and in­deed is ex­tremely waste­ful, not to men­tion car­ry­ing a heavy car­bon foot­print.

There is still a lot to be done but we have seen how the in­dus­try is evolv­ing. Stock­holm Fash­ion week can­celled their show “due to the fu­ture” and there is some­thing of a shift in the way fash­ion is ex­hib­ited, con­sumed and shared. In ad­di­tion, with the coro­n­avirus, we all have a wake-up call about how to speak to our cus­tomers when face to face meet­ings

and large-scale in­dus­try events are not on the ta­ble. It has shone a spot­light on al­ter­na­tive op­tions and per­haps one of the few glim­mers of pos­i­tive news have been the swift re­duc­tion pol­lu­tion and wildlife sight­ings in ur­ban ar­eas, to re­mind us that be­neath our high-im­pact lives, na­ture re­mains a re­silient force. If brands can take this time to get au­then­ti­cally cre­ative about avoid trav­el­ling and so­cial gath­er­ing, it could usher in a much-needed pe­riod of in­no­va­tion to the fash­ion in­dus­try.

SO, WHAT IS NEXT?

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, aug­mented re­al­ity, vir­tual show­rooms, and ecom­merce are some of the trends be­ing an­tic­i­pated in how we will en­joy or pur­chase fash­ion. Sus­tain­abil­ity af­fects how the pieces will be pro­duced and re­cir­cu­lated, avoid­ing be­com­ing part of land­fill.

HOW CAN WE BE MORE SUS­TAIN­ABLE?

To be truly sus­tain­able we could just use what we have in our clos­ets al­ready and stop buy­ing al­to­gether. But that would mean a lot of job losses and sink economies. We don’t want that. We need to stop buy­ing im­pul­sively and be­ing more ra­tio­nal. Look for qual­ity and de­sign, in­stead of price. Avoid trends that will be dé­modé af­ter the sea­son ends. Cus­tomers don’t need to com­pro­mise in style. Quite the op­po­site, sus­tain­abil­ity might help you find your true style, your own fash­ion voice and what re­ally res­onates with you.

We urge our cus­tomers to buy things they love and will be able to wear many times. We source items based on the qual­ity of the gar­ment and how easy it is to care for. It should suit the style and also the life­style of our cus­tomers. For true sus­tain­abil­ity, if you have an event and need a dress, rent or ask friends if you can bor­row.

The rea­son why I started Goshopia was be­cause I strug­gled to find sus­tain­able fash­ion op­tions in this mar­ket that would be of great qual­ity, but didn’t come flown in from far away, bring­ing with it that ad­di­tional car­bon foot­print. Most of the brands are lo­cal, re­gional or have some lo­cal pres­ence and they work with small ate­liers or ar­ti­sans to pro­duce their pieces. De­sign­ers and brands fol­low at least one of our ‘three S’ core val­ues: Slow fash­ion, mean­ing no mass pro­duc­tion, sus­tain­able fash­ion, us­ing or­ganic and biodegrad­able ma­te­ri­als, and so­cially re­spon­si­ble, namely be­ing pro­duced in an eth­i­cal and trace­able way.

For us, the mar­ket is awak­en­ing, and we are ex­cited to be able to as­sist our cus­tomers to find pieces that will bring joy while sup­port­ing oth­ers and min­imis­ing dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment. Be­cause we truly be­lieve fash­ion can be a force for good.

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