Sus­tain­abil­ity ob­jec­tive

More and more fash­ion play­ers re­al­ize that their in­dus­try is one of the most pol­lut­ing in the world. Lead­ing fig­ures like Miroslava Duma and François Pin­ault pro­mote the devel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies to en­vi­sion an ecore­spon­si­ble fu­ture.

L’Officiel Middle East (English) - - Contents - By Jes­sica Michault Il­lus­tra­tion laure wauters

T he love at first sight be­tween fash­ion and tech­nol­ogy has not yet taken place. Sev­eral missed ap­point­ments in the me­dia (re­mem­ber the Google Glass Di­ane Von Fursten­berg show or the part­ner­ship be­tween In­tel and Open­ing Cer­e­mony which gave birth to the smart bracelet Mica) have cre­ated on both sides a cer­tain mu­tual mis­trust. But in this some­what un­com­fort­able cli­mate, an un­ex­pected ele­ment has come into play: sus­tain­abil­ity. It could well be the miss­ing link that will fi­nally bring to­gether th­ese two cre­ative worlds for the ben­e­fit of the en­tire planet.


It is well known that the fash­ion in­dus­try is one of the most im­por­tant sources of pol­lu­tion in the world. A tru­ism that has led sev­eral ma­jor or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Ker­ing Group and the Ital­ian Na­tional Cham­ber of Fash­ion, to take, with the help of tech­nol­ogy, sig­nif­i­cant mea­sures to re­duce sec­tor’s car­bon foot­print. Mean­while, Rus­sian Fash­ion En­tre­pre­neur Miroslava Duma’s re­cent launch of the Fash­ion Tech Lab (FTL), which aims to fund tech­no­log­i­cal and sus­tain­able in­no­va­tions, has high­lighted the grow­ing in­ter­est in this type of ini­tia­tive. and gave a face to the move­ment in the per­son of Duma. “What mo­ti­vated me to cre­ate the Fash­ion Tech Lab is to re­al­ize that the fash­ion in­dus­try and the $ 2.4 tril­lion it’s brew­ing is one of the world’s biggest sources of pol­lu­tion, just be­hind oil. Al­most 10% of car­bon emis­sions can be at­trib­uted to fash­ion”, says Duma. Her new project comes as a re­sult of the tremen­dous suc­cess of her dig­i­tal fash­ion and life­style plat­form, Büro 24/7 (which cur­rently has eleven in­ter­na­tional edi­tions) and its Amer­i­can on­line store, The Tot, for moth­ers. and chil­dren. “This re­al­iza­tion was a real shock, I launched FTL to help trans­form the fash­ion ecosys­tem into a tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced,

re­new­able, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and so­cially re­spon­si­ble in­dus­try,” she added. she. FTL al­ready has a seed cap­i­tal of more than $ 50 mil­lion to sub­si­dize brands de­vel­op­ing sus­tain­able tech­nolo­gies in the fash­ion in­dus­try. Among the start-ups that ap­pealed to Duma is Di­a­mond Foundry, a com­pany that makes di­a­monds us­ing a tech­no­log­i­cal process that re­pro­duces the nat­u­ral con­di­tions of gem­stone for­ma­tion while elim­i­nat­ing the eth­i­cal prob­lems in­her­ent in the chain sup­ply of the di­a­mond mar­ket at the mo­ment. Duma also sees tremen­dous po­ten­tial in a San Fran­cisco-based com­pany look­ing for so­lu­tions to grow leather and fur in the lab, and in a com­pany called Or­ange Fiber, which has de­vel­oped a sys­tem to make tis­sue from or­ange peels. The fac­tory has al­ready cre­ated a sam­ple col­lec­tion of cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo, us­ing this anti-waste ma­te­rial re­cov­ered from Ital­ian fruit juice com­pa­nies.


“It’s a great chance to have a CEO,” ex­plains MarieClaire Daveu, head of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and head of in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tional af­fairs at Ker­ing Group. She talks about François Pin­ault, who has al­ways en­cour­aged ini­tia­tives of this type. On the sus­tain­abil­ity front in the world of fash­ion, the Ker­ing Group has been at the fore­front for years. In 2015, it com­mis­sioned a re­port en­ti­tled “En­vi­ron­men­tal Losses and Prof­its” and dis­trib­uted it to the en­tire pro­fes­sion. With its own in­ter­nal Ma­te­ri­als In­no­va­tion Lab, it is also re­spon­si­ble for sus­tain­able leather and eco-friendly wool, and sup­ports sev­eral eco-friendly fash­ion start-ups. in part­ner­ship with the Plug and Play-fash­ion for Good pro­gram, which aims to en­cour­age the emer­gence of sus­tain­able in­no­va­tions and max­i­mize the im­pact of their cut­ting-edge ideas. We also saw a change from the top in Italy where, as soon as he was ap­pointed pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Cham­ber of Ital­ian Fash­ion in 2015, Carlo Ca­pasa de­creed that sus­tain­abil­ity would be one of the three pil­lars of the trans­for­ma­tion that he pro­poses to im­ple­ment dur­ing his term of of­fice: “When I took this po­si­tion, I wanted to look to the fu­ture, and ask my­self how we want to see fash­ion evolve. It meant help­ing young tal­ent and fo­cus­ing on sus­tain­abil­ity and the dig­i­tal world, which im­plies that we also have to bet on new tech­nolo­gies.” In line with this eco-friendly roadmap, Ca­pasa has teamed up with Livia Firth, founder of Eco-age and the Green Car­pet Chal­lenge, to cre­ate the GCC Fash­ion Awards, which dis­tin­guish emerg­ing de­sign­ers who in­cor­po­rate sus­tain­abil­ity into their de­sign process. The panel of judges, in­clud­ing Duma, an­nounced the first win­ners at Mi­lan’s lat­est fash­ion week.

“We in­tend to help shape the fu­ture of the lux­ury in­dus­try. Our win­ners com­bine a deep un­der­stand­ing of tra­di­tion, crafts­man­ship and cul­ture with the new de­mands of sus­tain­abil­ity and a holis­tic de­sign, re­flect­ing the re­al­i­ties of the bio­sphere”, com­mented Frith.


An­other pres­ti­gious award, the An­dam Prize in France, also has a new cat­e­gory this year to sup­port fash­ion tech­nol­ogy. “This year we cre­ated an award for in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy projects. The chal­lenge is to en­able our young brands to ben­e­fit from th­ese new plat­forms of in­no­va­tion, fi­nanc­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion “, ex­plains the founder of An­dam, Nathalie Du­four. The first In­no­va­tion Award was awarded to Eu­veka, a com­pany that pro­duces “smart man­nequins”, which can, through an in­te­grated dig­i­tal plat­form, phys­i­cally take sev­eral sizes (from 34 to 48). This new gen­er­a­tion trans­formable model could rev­o­lu­tion­ize the way gar­ments are man­u­fac­tured and make pos­si­ble the emer­gence of cus­tom-made mass pro­duc­tion, while re­duc­ing tis­sue loss in pro­duc­tion.

But if many in­dus­try lead­ers are de­ploy­ing con­sid­er­able en­ergy to make this merge be­tween fash­ion and tech­nol­ogy a re­al­ity, through sus­tain­abil­ity, chang­ing the men­tal­ity of dif­fer­ent fash­ion ac­tors con­tin­ues to be a hard bat­tle. And there is much more to be done to trans­form all as­pects of the sup­ply chain to make it both en­vi­ron­men­tally sound and tech­no­log­i­cally sharp.

“It is for this rea­son that we pri­mar­ily con­sider the Fash­ion Tech Lab as a move­ment, aimed at em­pow­er­ing the fash­ion in­dus­try and ac­cel­er­at­ing its tran­si­tion to a more in­no­va­tive and sus­tain­able fu­ture,” ex­plains Miroslava Duma. “The changes are not go­ing to hap­pen overnight, but I’m hope­ful and I’m very op­ti­mistic.”


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