Key Takeaways from the 2019 WEAR Conference

For the forth year in a row, Seneca Fashion had the pleasure of attending the 6th annual WEAR (short for, World Ethical Apparel Roundtable), and boy did we take away some actional information! Keep reading for our key takeaways from this year’s event.

THE 2019 THEME? PURPOSE MEETS PROGRESS

Since 2014, the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable has brought together the entire fashion industry to learn, network and collaborate. This intimate platform allows for meaningful connections, deeper learning opportunities, and a clear sense of how to take action. Over two days, global experts shared best practices, challenges, and successes through a highly engaging format.

WEAR is not only a master of bringing new groups together, but they also excel in helping businesses develop new sustainable business ideas. Some of our essential takeaways from the speakers and breakout sessions include:

#WHOMADEMYCLOTHES  

Millennials and Gen Z care where clothes are made and by whom. They express their love (or lack thereof) for brands on social, making ethical story-driven brands more impactful than ever.

ARE WE REALLY MAKING PROGRESS?

We really need to seek challenges in society and look for solutions and how to push through them. Today, brands are doing more than engaging customers in their brand story. Some notable industry examples include:

Gisele wears Stella McCartney for the #GreenCarpetChallenge at the Hollywood For Science Gala in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Getty Images

#GreenCarpetChallenge The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) is a world-renowned sustainability initiative that creates a compelling and press-worthy narrative to amplify a brand’s environmental principles. The GCC is a sophisticated initiative that pairs glamour with ethics, serving to raise the profile of a brand on red carpets around the world, putting sustainability in the spotlight underpinned by digital disruption. The GCC has grown exponentially to include world-famous designers and celebrities, all united in highlighting sustainable fashion and methods. Designers who have taken part in this initiative include Narces, Stella McCarthy. Their designs have been worn by Gisele Bündchen and Penelope Cruz.

ALDO’S RPPL Shoe Made of Plastic and Water

ALDO is stepping up in big ways and small to reduce their environmental footprint and create a more sustainable society for all. Committed to creating and producing responsibly at ALDO, RPPL is one of many ways ALDO makes that commitment very clear. Even the RPPL shoebox is made out of 100% recycled cardboard.

Photo courtesy of ALDO

The Prince of Whales Campaign for Wool
In September 2019 Line, Smythe, and Michael Kale Design Limited Capsule Collection of Wool Pieces for Holt Renfrew, in partnership with The Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool initiative. Each high-profile local designers will create a three-piece capsule collection for the fall season. The purpose? To help draw attention to the many benefits of wool, primarily that it is a natural, renewable, and biodegradable resource that’s both friendly to people and the environment. 

Photo courtesy of Holt Renfrew

HOW TO DRIVE THE UPTAKE OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION: THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION TOOLKIT

The uptake of sustainable fashion is slowly dying. The mission is to identify what berries the fashion industry is facing when it comes to sustainability. There are so many resources that are hard to navigate. During the conference Fashion Takes Action, and PWC made an extraordinary announcement launching The Sustainable Fashion Toolkit

No matter where you are in your sustainability journey – just getting started or well on your way – the Toolkit offers something for everyone. With helpful, customizable filters designed for simple navigation, our platform will help you easily find what you need for your specific sustainability journey.

The stages of the Toolkit include: Define – Plan – Implement – Monitor – Report 

Image: The Sustainable Fashion Toolkit

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY 


”Every year $120B of textiles sit in waste”

@queenofraw

During the Circular Economy Panel, ThredUP, Queen of Raw and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation analyzed three principals to generate value for companies. These include:

  1. Designing out waste
  2. Keeping product and material in use (via rental and second hand) 
  3. Regenerate natural systems (i.e., cotton, grape skins, green and regenerative agriculture)
Circular Economy Panel

“97% of products made with virgin materials // less than 1% are circulated back into products.”

@queenofraw

With such complex value chains, how do we scale circular and innovative business models?

“Leverage technology to build your own inventory management system”

@thredUP

“Keep supply/demand local” 

@queenofraw

“Centralize waste” 

@StevenBethell

Circular business models start at the design process. In comes the Rethinking Design workshop delivered by  IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The rethinking design workshop is a fun and engaging workshop that can be accessed for free on the Circular Design Guide.

So with all these takeaways, where can one start? Start by thinking about what you can do with a product once you are done with it. Think of its second life! There are several viable options, such as; recycling the product, taking it to #ValueVillage, a local shelter like Jessie’s Centre, or having a clothing SWAP. 

For more information on WEAR, follow Fashion Takes Action


Industry Spotlight: Steven Bethell, Founder of Bank and Vogue

Steven Bethell has been a thought leader and pioneer in the post-consumer textile space for over 20 years. He has dedicated his work life to innovative and relevant solutions to the crisis of stuff. Steven is also the co-founder of Bank and Vogue, which actively works with over 250 charities and private collectors across North America to maximize the value of post-consumer waste and find creative uses for this “waste” stream. Steven and his team have traveled to over 30 countries working extensively amongst the robust second-hand markets of the world. 

The retail arm Beyond Retro has been the leader in Vintage clothing in Europe for over 15 years. With 8 stores and a thriving eCommerce branch, Beyond Retro can be found on the cover of Vogue, featured in the Huffington Post or worn by Adele. 

Beyond Retro Label is a line of unique, re-worked items handcrafted from carefully selected vintage fabrics available at Beyond Retro stores or at High Street retailers such as Urban Outfitters or Top Shop.

Steven is also the brainchild behind the largest Re-manufacturing plant in the world, where the circular economy for textiles is brought to life.  Taking post-consumer waste and transforming it into relevant products, facilitating repair and re-commerce platforms and providing post consumer apparel as feedstock for fibre recycling projects, Steven works with big brands to help them bring their sustainability platforms to the next level. 

In his spare time Steven lives off the grid in the Canadian wilderness.  He is an avid woodsman: fishing, paddling and  learning about the outdoors and its many wonders.

When asked his favourite SDG, Steven replied, goal 12 and 13 are closest to my heart.

For more on Bank and Vogue, visit https://www.bankvogue.com

Industry Spotlight: Romy Schill, Sheep and Lamb Producer and her view on SDG 2, Zero Hunger

RschillRomy Schill was raised on a dairy farm near Moorefield. She met her husband Ryan Schill through Ontario’s 4-H program and when they married in 2008, they knew that they wanted to farm. Romy had studied at the University of Guelph receiving her degree in Agricultural Science. After Romy worked off the farm for a few years and after getting some farm experience, the couple decided to concentrate on sheep. The barn was rebuilt and set up to handle their new flock.  They now have 300 ewes (female sheep) and hope to increase their herd size to 500 in the coming years. Their farm, in Wellington County, has been in the Schill family for 94 years.

Their sheep are a combination of both commercial and purebred d stock. The sheep are marketed to other farmers for breeding stock or to the local auction ring for meat. They also sell some lamb meat and sheep products (wool, yarn, sheepskins) from the farm gate and at a few farmers markets.

Romy is a board member of the Upper Canada Fibreshed. The Upper Canada Fibreshed is an affiliate, not-for-profit organization within the international Fibershed network committed to building a regional fibre system centered around local fibres, local dyes, and local labour. It nourishes emerging, bioregional textile communities of producers and consumers, that value sustainable agriculture and hyper-local textile manufacturing. Its members believe that supporting bioregional textile networks will change the way we make, purchase and use textiles, envisioning a different culture based on soil-to-soil systems for environmental regeneration.

SDG2When asked her top #SDG, Romy replied “With our farm we truly support sustainable resource use and soil to soil fibre systems to achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. A huge commitment to animal health, care and environment gives our animals the opportunity to be productive creatures.”

Want more? Visit our blog post ‘not a baa-d look’ and learn about our #SenecaFashion sheep sheering project.

 

Garry Bell’s view on SDG 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure​

GaryBellHaving worked for close to 25 years within Gildan, across a wide range of leadership positions ranging from sales, marketing, product development, innovation, business development, and strategic planning, Garry Bell has developed a passion and a keen thirst for all things sustainable. As a self-admitted ‘life-long learner’, he has long advocated that truly sustainable and responsible practices are directly linked to the corporate success and profitability of most organizations. Gildan’s mission is “Making Apparel Better”, a statement strategically worded to not be defined as making better garments but rather one that is defined as making apparel in a better way that delivers value to every one of their stakeholders. Their goal is to create positive change and impact each and every day, through the actions they take, the decisions they make and the lives they touch.

SDG9

We caught up with Garry and asked him to share his favourite SDG. His response:

“Wow. That’s a tough one. The strength of the SDG’s is that they collectively address the most material issues we face. Pulling one out as my favorite leaves so many things unaddressed. I believe that SDG9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, can act as an important enabler for many of the other SDGs, in an era of ever-increasing digitalization of our world. Substantive progress on this SDG can make eradication of poverty, access to quality education, clean energy and ensure strong and effective partnerships are formed. I also think it’s an SDG that can very quickly access the capital required to make substantial progress quickly.”

-Garry Bell

Rafik Riad’s view on SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Rafik Riad, originally from Egypt, has studied and worked globally on policy design and project implementation in the field of international development. In 2011, Rafik founded SALT, a fair-trade social enterprise that worked with communities in Africa and Latin America. Rafik’s appreciation for social enterprise as a business model that circumvents both the volatility of traditional development frameworks and the shortcomings of conventional corporate models led him to found Buy Good. Feel Good. in 2014.

Today, Buy Good. Feel Good is North America’s largest marketplace dedicated to connecting social enterprises with buyers and consumers.

We caught up with Rashid during our Transforming our World Symposium, we asked him to elaborate on the SDG that resonates with him most, clean water and sanitation.

SDG6_RPandC

“No life without water, through my Egypt origin I am very much aware about the importance of water, we all need to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water”

-Rashid Riad

 

Seneca Fashion Professor and Program Coordinator Anna Cappuccitti’s Sustainability Development Goal #SDG

 

Picture1.png_AnnaAnna Cappuccitti is a Program Coordinator and extensively experienced professor in the Fashion Business Programs at Seneca College. Committed to student success and developing and delivering a curriculum that meets industry demands, she has a career background in fashion buying, product development and retail operations. Research interests include retail management careers and retail management education. She was awarded “Best Paper” at the EAERCD conference in 2017 for “Profiling People’s Perceptions of Retail Management Careers”, published in The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research.

When asked her favourite Sustainability Development Goal, Anna replied “I decided on Goal 4 but still also feel really strong about Goal 5 especially being a ‘single’ mom and having a daughter. But I always promised my kids 3 things: unconditional love, experiences and education, so I went with Goal 4.”

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