While we’re all familiar with the need to reduce and recycle, it’s the third of this trio, reuse, which Robson Blanchard wants us to focus on. She believes there is a need for education at every level of design, from students in training up to the most senior leaders. “Fashion has never been circular; it’s linear,” she explains, but she believes that companies like Patagonia are helping to lead the way.
Everything Patagonia creates is designed to be easily repairable, while both their production line and business operations operate in a very transparent manner. This transparency is key, says Miles Johnson, a former Creative Director of Product Design and Development at Patagonia, because it “flushes out the people trying to hide things.”
Transparency is at the heart of many a brand’s new business strategy, as Rosey Cortazzi, ISKO’s Global Marketing Director outlined. ISKO is a leading denim fabric manufacturer which is placing greater emphasis on its supply chain. As Cortazzi explains the brand is making: “lifestyle assessments on all products in our portfolio, which means we can give a buyer the carbon footprint on any fabric they buy from us.”
The power of design-led solutions was also top of the agenda for Sandeep Verma, the MD Europe of Allbirds, the trainer brand which Time Magazine dubbed “the world’s most comfortable shoe”. Through innovation, the brand has placed sustainability at the heart of its strategy, having launched with the belief that Allbirds are “easy on your feet; light on the planet.”
Verma highlighted the brand’s newest achievement: “[We] carbon taxed ourselves and purchased offsets to ensure our production is carbon neutral.” And the brand name itself? Well that came about because, as the founder so said, “Birds tread lightly on the world”. Having gone from “zero to a million customers in a few years with no marketing spend” Allbirds environmental ethos is clearly resonating with consumers.