The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals #SDGs Applied to the Fashion Industry

With Canada Day just around the corner, we are kicking our #SustainableSeneca content into high-gear! To start, let’s review the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals applied to the fashion industry.

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Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

The textile and apparel industry is usually the first industry which enters a country, offers job and economic development. Therefore it contributes to the alleviation of poverty.

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Nobody can work if he or she is hungry, but nobody wants to live on donations. People need jobs which enables them to buy food. Therefore we need to provide people with jobs to end hunger.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

No child under the age of 14 should work, all children should have to right to school no matter where they live. No child labour! In some countries where child labour occurs, the fashion industry has abused children as cheap labour, often in horrible conditions. The fashion industry requires transparency and ethical standards in its supply chains and consumers need to choose carefully which brands they purchase.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

We live in a fast-paced society, and we need lifelong education just to stay aware. Education is key to development, but it is also expensive. In some countries, parents earn so little that they can’t afford to provide access to education for their children. Children are often pushed into labour from a very young age. To improve this situation, workers in developing countries must earn a living wage so that parents can send their kids to school, not to a factory.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The apparel industry employees millions of women worldwide for sewing garments. For many women, this income offers independence and the possibility to have a life without being married. Ensuring equitable income for women is a first step towards gender equality.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

As consumers in the western world, we are often addicted to cleanliness and therefore wash every garment after a single use. This is all right for socks and underwear, but not for jeans or shirts. We need to rethink our washing habits; we need to save water. This is also true for production processes in the textile industry that should use water efficiently and should avoid waster emissions into rivers and lakes.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

All synthetic materials are made of raw oil and therefore require a lot of energy in their production. However, often, garments made of polyester or acrylic are so cheap that we don’t value them. No matter how expensive a garment is, we need to consider whether we really need and want it. Otherwise, it is a waste of energy. We need to make sure that we save energy, for example, by avoiding the use of a laundry dryer and by using a clothing line.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Part of the fair trade concept is that workers are treated well and get a fair payment. Therefore, fair trade is better than conventional trade, and it helps to foster sustainable growth. Consumers need to make informed purchasing decisions that support fair trade companies. Fashion companies like People Tree offer fair trade products.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

In the West, we often take our infrastructure for granted. But waste management, water sewage treatment, and even roads are part of the bigger picture of sustainable development. We need to make sure that corporations produce their products in developing countries not by exploiting the lack of infrastructure in these countries, but by instead helping to create it. For example, instead of discharging coloured water from dyes directly into rivers, wastewater treatments must be built.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Developing countries need economic growth for development. Countries like China and India made huge development gains partly through the apparel and textile industry. The apparel industry helps to reduce inequality in the world, like providing jobs for many people who can’t read or write. However, if people are used as slaves and forced to work, with wages below minimum averages, with long, forced working hours in unsafe conditions, and without the right for communication or self-organisation, then we are nonetheless producing inequality. We need to start asking where our garments are made, and by whom. We need transparency in our supply chains.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. Despite numerous planning challenges, cities offer more efficient economies of scale on many levels, including the provision of goods, services and transportation. However, we all need to make sure that cities keep their personality and that people stay connected. We need to support our local charities like Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army by donating our unwanted garments or household materials. Such donations will help to build local community, support people in need and provide local jobs.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Apparel consumption in North America has increased substantially to a level unparalleled in history. This increased consumption enlarged the industry’s environmental burden: every garment, irrespective of price, requires resources and causes pollution. While the industry partially recognizes its unsustainable practices, it does not accept limitations of the environment and is instead “built on the principle of limitless growth” aiming to sell more garments every year. We as consumers, need to reconsider our consumption habits. Less can be more!

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The majority of our unwanted garments end up in landfills. While synthetic materials will stay forever in our landfills, organic materials, such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo will biodegrade and release Co2 and methane. Both are greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. To keep unwanted textiles out of landfills: donate all garments.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Growing cotton requires a lot of water. Just think of the Aral Sea: formerly one of the biggest inland lakes in the world, it completely dried out when the government of Uzbekistan decided to use its water to irrigate cotton fields. When the lake dried out, all fisheries and sea life in it were lost. Such unsustainable use of resources compromises future generations. We need to start asking what materials are our garments made of, where these materials originate, and how they are made. Only transparency can give consumers the power to make informed, better decisions. Start asking!

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Cutting down rainforests to use the wood as cellulosic raw material to produce viscose, a material with similar characteristics as cotton, not only destroys ecosystems, but it also contributes to climate change. We need to make sure that cellulosic material is only produced in sustainably managed forests. We need to ask where the material coming from is, and we need to consume less.

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Although there are hundreds of countries, there is only one world. We can only solve the problems and challenges of our world when every country and nation and every individual contributes. Be a good citizen and help wherever you can to be responsible.

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Governments have a responsibility to hold businesses accountable and should follow the UK’s lead by signing the modern slavery act. The Modern Slavery Act requires medium to large-sized companies, businesses of thirty-six million dollar turnover or more, to report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery from their supply chains. This means each company is legally obliged to do this or explain why not.  We need world governments to take responsibility for their nation’s business practices overseas. For example, Canada needs a modern slavery act like the UK. It’s unacceptable that countries have signed the UN business and human rights responsibility act, but no one enforces it.

Fashion Business Management Graduate Natalya Amres Remixing for Migos, Adidas and more!

“The one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”

Natalya Amres was serving at a restaurant last fall when she got a text that changed the course of her career path. Migos, the American hip-hop trio, was wearing her clothes on stage in Philadelphia as part of Drake’s Aubrey & The Three Migos tour.

“I still can’t quite process that moment,” said the Seneca grad who until recently was working two serving jobs to support herself. “I knew there was a chance they’d wear them but it was not guaranteed.”

Amres graduated from the Fashion Business Management program. She describes herself as a cut-and-sew designer who reconstructs sportswear. Think Puma pants turned into a two-piece set of pants and a bralette.

“I trimmed off the excess fabric from the inseam of the legs and ended up with two triangle pieces. And I thought, ‘Bralette!’” she said.

That was just a little over a year ago. At the time, Amres was trying to sell some old sports-branded track pants that she didn’t wear anymore. She thought they’d sell faster if she reworked — remixed — them. And they did.

After posting her reconstructed Puma piece on Heroine, an online marketplace, the item was sold immediately. The same thing happened when Amres posted another remix the next day and again the day after that. Soon she started posting her work on Instagram and selling them on her website Remixed by Tal.

Then, as luck would have it, a musician friend of Amres wore her Kappa remix on stage in Toronto, not knowing that representatives from brands like Jordan and Kappa were in the audience. A few months later, she was approached by Jordan for her first big collaboration — remixing Jordan gear for the launch of the new Air Jordan AWOK sneakers at a Jumpman brunch.

“It was one of the most meaningful collabs because it broke me out of my shell,” Amres said. “It opened the doors to me doing live customizations.”

For example, when Migos requested custom Kappa tracksuits from the Italian sportswear brand, they commissioned Amres.

“I was given three days to work on the outfits,” she said. “It was so stressful, I didn’t sleep!”

And it wasn’t until several concerts and alterations later (they didn’t fit initially) that Migos finally wore them on stage.

Since then, Amres has gone from having to de-stitch Kappa bands for remixing to Kappa sending her rolls of their bands from Italy.

Not bad for someone who started a jewelry business out of high school, selling beaded bracelets on Facebook, and learned how to sew by watching YouTube videos after she graduated from Seneca.

“I never saw a sewing machine at Seneca,” Amres said, chuckling. “I never saw myself as a fashion designer. I wanted to become a fashion buyer.”

Seneca grad Natalya Amres is a cut-and-sew designer who reconstructs sportswear. She has worked with brands like Jordan, Kappa and Adidas.
In fact, the one class Amres failed and had to retake while studying at Seneca was garment construction.

“The professor was so good he would not let you get away with something mediocre,” she recalled. “He wouldn’t sugar-coat anything. Even though I felt like a misfit in the program back then, the one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”

Whether it’s remixing a duffel bag into a jacket or a windbreaker into a pair of track pants, Amres has made no secret about her cut-and-sew process, often sharing photos online from start to finish.

Recently, she was invited by Nike and Jordan to attend the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, N.C., where female business leaders and creatives gathered in celebration of female empowerment.

“I still don’t know why I was picked,” Amres said. “I’m so small — I just started doing this. Some of the other women who were invited have fully structured companies. But once I got there, I realized no one there was too good for anyone. We were all there to help support each other.”

Back in her home studio, a small condo in downtown Toronto, the Ajax native is a one-woman operation with four sewing machines, two of which take up counter space in her kitchen. Her latest projects include an Adidas campaign for Nite Jogger sneakers and custom Kappa pieces for Sofi Tukker, the Los Angeles-based musical duo that performed at this year’s Grammys.

“Everything’s happening so fast, but really, the remix was born out of me thrifting my whole life,” she said. “I source all my raw materials.”

And then there’s storytelling.

“You have to be relatable to your market audience,” Amres said. “People like to see the cut-and-sew photos and they like seeing me model my clothes. I do that as a way to simultaneously create a brand for myself. People want to see the person doing it live. It has to be authentic.”

EVT Faculty John McBride receives the Leslee Bell Lifetime Achievement Award by International Live Event Association (ILEA), Toronto Chapter.

 

On Monday, June 7th, at the Event Management ILEA Toronto Gala, John McBride, Professor and Program Coordinator of the Event Management – Event and Exhibit Design program was awarded the Leslee Bell Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the event industry.

 

Leslee Bell is an icon and pioneer in the event industry within Canada. She started Decor and More from her basement and grew it into the most awarded event design  company in the nation. The Leslee Bell Lifetime Achievement Award honours the lifetime achievement of an ILEA Toronto member who has demonstrated a commitment to the chapter, the city, and the industry commensurate with Leslee Bell’s level of dedication, passion, and influence.

 

The event was held at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. below is a photo of John holding the award in the shark tank. Congratulations, John!

 

#SenecaProud #FacultySpotlight #EVT #EventandExhibitDesign

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Photo credit: George Matthew Photography

Arc’teryx ‘Leading By Design’ t-shirt competition

On March 28, 2019, Arc’teryx hosted a community event at the Yorkdale store celebrating the fantastic response to their Arc’teryx ‘Leading By Design’ t-shirt competition in partnership with Seneca Fashion, George Brown and Humber College. The competition invited partner students to submit a design localizing the Arc’teryx brand and incorporating unique aspects, and visual representation of diversity and inclusiveness in the outdoors/the city of Toronto.

Congratulations to our very own, Farwah Daanyish for coming in third place and to Katarina Kamps (GBC), Ricky Chen (GBC) for finishing first, and second place (respectively), with the first place design printed in- store in partnership with SBC Media/The Baitshop on limited edition t-shirts.

The event was filled with industry networking, and an engaging keynote presentation from Nina Boccia, Interim Creative Director at downtown Toronto’s Design Exchange highlighting innovation and the role design can play in the world.

We look forward to working with Arc’teryx on future experiential learning initiatives!

 

 

MARILYN BROOKS: BEHIND THE SEAMS by Dale Peers

The Seneca Fashion annual Fashion Resource Centre exhibition (May 6th to 17th) celebrates the career of Canadian fashion icon Marilyn Brooks.

Marilyn Brooks, always an innovator, opened her lifestyle boutique the Unicorn in 1967.  The funky neighbourhoods of The Village and then Yorkville were the “Happening places” in Toronto in the Sixties.  Her choice of locations was definitely prescient and would include trendy Queen St, alongside Holt Renfew on Bloor St. West and in upscale Yorkville on Cumberland Ave.

Throughout her 40+ years in the fashion business, Marilyn has been a staunch and passionate supporter of the Canadian fashion industry. Her vision, tenacity and positive spirit are unmatched in an industry that can be, shall we say, challenging!

In Marilyn Brooks: Behind the Seams, successful designer, artist, businesswoman, and now author, records not only the history of her brand but in her truly generous way shares the stories of the many people she has worked and collaborated with throughout her 40+ years in the fashion industry.  She shares her “Marilyn Maxims” – some of the lessons she has learned and the excellent advice she can provide to graduates and newly minted members entering the fashion foray.

One of the first Canadian fashion designers with a vertically integrated business model, Marilyn was a designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer.  Marilyn and her team did it all.  Her entrepreneurial spirit, artistic flair and bravery were key to her succeeding not only in her stores but in the contributions she made in shaping the fashion landscape in Canada and Toronto from the 1960s through to the 2000s.

Marilyn has been a pioneer in the fashion world and without her foresight and dedication to her craft, contemporary fashion designers might never have had international spotlights trained on them and the City of Toronto.  In 1977 Marilyn invited a group of Toronto based designers including Lori Brooks, Shirley Cheatley, Wayne Clarke, Hugh Garber, Elen Henderson, Edie Johne, Linda Lundstrom and Pat McDonagh to her home to discuss the establishment of an organization which could help them all.  In 1978 TOD – Toronto Ontario Designers was officially launched with the first of many fashion shows, this premiere one held at St. Lawrence Centre.  TOD later evolved into Designers Ontario and then the Fashion Designers Council of Canada and then to the Fashion Design Council of Canada.

She has been a mentor to many young members of the fashion industry and a long time supporter of many charitable organizations.  We are especially grateful at Seneca College for the support she has provided to our students, our programs and especially our Fashion Resource Centre.  From 1976 to 1983 Marilyn was a member of Seneca’s Fashion Merchandising Program Advisory Committee providing invaluable information and opinions that would contribute to courses preparing the next generation of fashion retailers.

A testament to her generosity are the many accolades and awards she has received.  These include The Woolmark Award for Design Excellence, the “Night of Stars” award in 1994 from Fashion Group International, the Order of Ontario presented by the Honorable Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 2000, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her contributions and achievements in fashion in 2012.  Parkinson’s, Fashion Cares (in support of AIDS), Unicef, Big Brothers, and Cabbage Youth Centre are just a few of the many charitable organizations Marilyn has helped support through fundraising activities.

Marilyn is also a talented artist.  Not only as a designer of fashion and original prints but in acrylics and other mediums.  She has had a number of showings of her paintings and continues to be inspired by the beauty of her home in Lake Rousseau.

Our exhibition will take visitors through Marilyn’s 40+ fashion career with some of her early garments from the Unicorn to speciality t-shirts with original print designs to the work she did with corporations and celebrities and, of course, to the many loyal clients who shopped in her different locations.

It is thanks to Marilyn and these customers that we have these garments to present not only to our visitors in May but for the students in Seneca’s Fashion programs to study and learn from.

One of Marilyn’s Maxims (to be found at the end of each chapter in her book) captures not only good advice but a sentiment that sums up much of what Marilyn has done:

“Mentor, share, inspire, encourage, stimulate up and comers whenever you can with encouragement.  They will make the world a better place.”

If you would like to read more about Marilyn or find her book please visit: http://www.marilynbrooks.com

 

Seneca and University of the Arts London (UAL) sign MOU to expand student pathways

Heather Pickard shaking hands with President David Agnew
Heather Pickard, Dean of the Fashion Business School at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and David Agnew, Seneca President, sign an MOU to enhance educational opportunities for students at both institutions. This Partnership will enhance educational opportunities for Seneca and UAL students and faculty.

Seneca College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially partner with the University of the Arts London (UAL) to enhance educational opportunities for students and faculty. The signing took place at Seneca’s Newnham Campus between David Agnew, Seneca President and Heather Pickard, Dean of the Fashion Business School at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London on May 2, 2019.

The MOU was signed to strengthen ties between the two institutions and lead to the future establishment of partnership agreements, exchange opportunities, academic co-operation and other areas of innovative collaboration.

“We are delighted to partner with UAL to bring a global perspective to our students. Signing this MOU furthers Seneca’s commitment to meeting the expectations of internationally connected students and expanding our partnerships with world-renowned institutions,” said David Agnew, Seneca President.

An articulation agreement was also signed yesterday, which will allow Seneca        Fashion Business diploma students to pathway into UAL’s BA (Hons) Fashion Marketing degree program and Seneca Visual Merchandising Arts diploma students to pathway into UAL’s BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding degree program at London College of Fashion. The partnership will also explore how UAL and Seneca can support faculty exchanges, joint research projects and student collaboration initially at London College of Fashion and with future possibilities being considered with the other colleges.

“University of the Arts London welcomes the establishment of this MOU to develop staff and student opportunities with Seneca College. It further strengthens our commitment to deepening relationships with Canada,” commented Heather Pickard, Dean Fashion Business School, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

The MOU formalizes a positive relationship between the two institutions. UAL is Europe’s largest specialist art and design university, recently ranked No. 2 in the world for Art and Design education by QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019. UAL is made up of six renowned colleges that offer a wide range of programs in art, design, fashion, media, communication and performing arts.

For more information on Seneca College and UAL, view the media release

Visual Merchandising Arts (VMA) student projects featured in Win a WindowsWear Student Award and Scholarship on WindowWear.com!

 

Check out our #VMA student projects featured in Win a WindowsWear Student Award and Scholarship on WindowWear.com. WindowsWear will compile and share the best student projects through a WindowsWear Student Awards competition and users from around the world will vote for their favourites – the project that receives the most votes wins scholarships totalling $5k! All students who are part of the competition will also be invited to attend the WindowsWear Summer Party on May 30, 2019, in New York City!
Best of luck to our #VisualMerchandisingArts students! #SenecaProud