Ecological And Ethical Production Methods:
Seizing eco-friendly initiatives and working toward cleaner environmental practices for the fashion industry Brunello Cucinelli is participating in Federico Marchetti’s and Prince Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Fashion Task Force. The Task Force is dedicated to focusing on regenerative farming, as well as economically supporting local textile producers through the Himalayan Regenerative Fashion Living Lab project. The project is an initiative that Brunello is very passionate about and will be personally funding.
The Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) was launched by His Royal Highness at The World Economic Forum 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos with a mission to accelerate action over the next decade. The SMI aims to lead the world’s transition to a sustainable future by engaging and challenging public, private and philanthropic sectors to bring economic value in harmony with social and environmental sustainability. The collaboration secured between the Solomeo-based Casa di Moda and “The Sustainable Markets Initiative” is conceived by The Prince of Wales.
On May 9th, 2022, Buckingham Palace hosted a dinner for The Sustainable Markets Initiative, conceived and chaired by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, whose aim is to build a coordinated global effort to enable the private sector to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. And I can assure you; that this team means business! The Initiative has a number of task forces, each dedicated to a specific sector – from fashion to banking to energy transition, all of which are required to make significant gains.
“We are honored to take part in such a noble initiative and for this reason, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, a gentleman of great class, who, together with our friend Federico Marchetti, came up with the beautiful, fascinating idea of bringing together some of the world’s fashion brands to try and improve our planet. Our Mother Earth has welcomed and nurtured us, it has allowed us to enjoy its wonderful resources, and it is our great responsibility to protect it as fully and carefully as possible. I have always been fascinated by the East, by these regions of the world, and the people who live where the landscape is so enchanting and the sky so close to man. It is with sincere enthusiasm that we have agreed to join a project of the highest humanity so that various populations can continue to live in the places of their ancient life in harmony with nature. As in the case of Solomeo, I am convinced that landscape, economy, handicrafts, and traditions are part of a whole, which the Himalayan Regenerative Fashion Living Lab project ingeniously conceives as a holistic whole.” says Brunello Cucinelli.
The Casa di Moda Brunello Cucinelli was quick to join The Fashion Task Force chaired by Federico Marchetti – which aims to produce positive effects on climate and nature – and has committed to workstreams dedicated to regenerative farming, as well as to economically supporting local textile producers through the Himalayan Regenerative Fashion Living Lab project. For a period of two years, (2022-2023). The “Himalayan Regenerative Living Lab” project will be carried out in the field by Reforest Action and the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance led by scientist Marc Palahi.
Why is Sustainable Fashion Important?
For the last ten years or so, sustainable fashion has become increasingly important to consumers. Truthfully, every purchase made from a sustainable brand confirms an agreement for thoughtful, environmentally responsible products that utilize sustainable resources that benefit an ecological footprint for planet earth.
As more and more consumers begin to show concern for sustainable fashion, additional manufacturing alternatives combined with a persistent effort for a cleaner environment will surely come to the fore. But for now, I can assure you, that we have a long way to go.
“The fundamental principle for any business is to drive revenue through increased purchases of goods and services by consumers. In attempting to be more sustainable, the fashion business has a dilemma. For instance, while encouraging consumers to purchase more apparel increases sales, what becomes of the products that are obsolete or unwanted in the closet?
Quan continues. “Fast fashion relies heavily on the ongoing marketing of consumers to stay on trend by buying the latest fashion items every season. However, the “off-trend” or “obsolete” products previously purchased by consumers eventually get discarded. Depending on the materials used, this discarded merchandise can be recycled or maybe unrecyclable to the detriment of the environment. There is no panacea to solve the challenge of driving consumption while reducing waste. However, all fashion businesses should take a closer look at the composition and processes entailed in manufacturing finished goods to ensure, to the best of their ability, that harmful byproducts are mitigated or eliminated entirely. The collection and processing of used products which are up-cycled and possibly re-introduced as new goods do contribute to a more circular and sustainable fashion business model,” says Vincent Quan, Associate Professor, and Assistant Chairperson Fashion Business Management Department-Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY.
A few years ago, when I was teaching at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, I grew concerned about the tremendous success and damaging effects of fast fashion. While sustainable fashion is about purchasing and wearing clothes with minimum eco-impact, fast fashion brands, on the contrary, recklessly use earth’s resources in an extravagant manner by using environmentally hazardous procedures, purchasing exploitative animal-based textiles, and participating in unfair labor practices with social justice concerns on a global level.
And much to my surprise, upon researching impressive ethical alternatives, from the highest-impact to the lowest-impact, I found that an abundant number of sustainable brands have begun taking initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint by producing apparel with environmentally conscious fabrics, creating eco-friendly packaging as well as more efficient transportation strategies.
Meanwhile, Gen Z is leading the way to a sustainable future by taking the appropriate steps to address environmental concerns for the world. Hopefully, as the zoomers grow into adulthood, they will be able to start the process of reversing the damages caused by extravagance and greed.
Safe Working Environments
As part of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, Reforest Action is a B-Corp company working on the reforestation of parts of the world. Its mission is to preserve and restore degraded areas of the planet by planting species belonging to the existing ecosystem. Reforest action aims to raise awareness among individuals and companies to implement concrete programs to safeguard the environment through a holistic approach.
The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance was founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2020 to create links between finance, companies operating within bio-based value chains, and concrete actions to reclaim land, improve biodiversity and provide jobs and prosperity for local and indigenous communities. Members include intergovernmental organizations, companies, investors, research organizations, and NGOs that provide expertise and implement projects in areas related to the circular bio-economy. The Alliance has a secretariat at the European Forest Institute.
Words by Joseph DeAcetis