Podcast Ep. 58, FASHION FOR GOOD'S KATRIN LEY

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EPISODE 58 FEATURES KATRIN LEY

Katrin Ley is the managing director of FASHION FOR GOOD, an organisation that was co-founded by William McDonough and set up to bring together the entire fashion ecosystem with incentives, resources and tools for sustainability.

At its core is William’s concept of the Five Goods, which, he says, “represent an aspirational framework we can all use to work towards a world in which we do not simply take, make, waste, but rather take, make, renew and restore.” 

We recorded this interview at the Fashion Summit Hong Kong. In it, we discuss whether conferences do any good, what good looks like when it comes to clothing production and circularity, the work of Fashion For Good, and who’s on board. There’s a strong focus in this interview on innovation, new ideas and disruptors.

We also explore this new age of sharing and helping each other, because as Katrin says: if we want to change the fashion system, that’s what it’s going to take. How can you find your purpose? How can you align your work with your values? What does success look like to you?

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT…

The 5 Goods

Good fashion is not fashion that simply looks good or is mostly good. It is good in five important ways:

Good Materials  –  safe, healthy and designed for reuse and recycling
Good Economy  – growing, circular, shared and benefiting everyone
Good Energy  – renewable and clean
Good Water  – clean and available to all
Good Lives  – living and working conditions that are just, safe and dignified

“The Five Goods represent an aspirational framework we can all use to work towards a world in which we do not simply take, make, waste, but rather take, make, renew, restore.” 
– William McDonough, Co-founder Fashion for Good

“By sharing ‘The Five Goods’ widely with practicality and wisdom, and by demonstrating that they can create good fashion that is more attractive, accessible and affordable than its opposite, Fashion for Good will guide the sector with an aspirational model that all can use; a genuine and accountable framework with the promise of social, economic and environmental prosperity.”

This interview was recorded at Asia’s sustainable fashion summit, FASHION SUMMIT HONG KONG. Clare spoke on two panels at the summit: one looking at circularity with Redress’s Christina Dean, Fashion Revolution’s Orsola de Castro and Francois Souchet from Fashion Circular; and another discussing the results of the Global Sustainable Fashion Consumption Survey with representatives from Walmart, HSBC and YGM Trading and KPMG.

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THE PULSE OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY is report is published by Global Fashion Agenda, produced with The Boston Consulting Group. They say, “It follows the strong belief that the environmental, social and ethical challenges the industry faces today are not simply a threat, but instead an immense untapped value creation opportunity.” The first edition (2017) made an assessment of the industry’s environmental and social performance, to reveal where the industry stands via what they call the PULSE SCORE. In 2018, the indudstry scores 38 out of a possible 100 points.

GLOBAL FASHION ADENDA is the non-profit arm of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

The SUSTAINABLE APPAREL COALITION is a global alliance of retailers, brands, suppliers, advocacy groups, unions and academics, which aims to create “an apparel, footwear and home textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on people and communities”. It’s head quartered in Amsterdam.

THE HIGG INDEX aggregates various indicators on how factories are doing on sustainability, social and environmental performance, developed by the SAC. They say: “It’s a suite of tools designed to enable brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. It delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment.”

The C&A Foundation funds Fashion For Good. They say: “We’re a corporate foundation here to fundamentally transform the fashion industry. We give our partners financial support, expertise and networks so they can make the fashion industry work better for every person it touches. We do this because we believe that despite the vast and complex challenges we face, we can work together to make fashion a force for good.”

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CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFICATION is a science-based, multi-level and multi-attribute mark of product quality administered by the third-party, non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The C2C Certified™ Products Program specifies criteria in five distinct categories: Material Health, Material Reutilisation, Renewable Energy and Carbon Management, Water Stewardship and Social Fairness. There are 5 levels - Basic to Platinum. In 2017, C&A produced the world’s first C2C Gold Certified T-shirt. Organic in all materials including threads and labels, it uses no harmful dyes or chemicals, and can be composted to “safely return the t-shirt to the soil at the end of its life-cycle.”

 Good Shop, at the Fashion for Good Experience, showcases current concepts available today. The first theme is “Splash: Rethinking the Role of Water in Fashion” and features products from adidas x Parley, Kings of Indigo, ECOALF, Insane in the Rain, Karün and Ms. Bay.

Good Shop, at the Fashion for Good Experience, showcases current concepts available today. The first theme is “Splash: Rethinking the Role of Water in Fashion” and features products from adidas x Parley, Kings of Indigo, ECOALF, Insane in the Rain, Karün and Ms. Bay.

THE MUSEUM. The newly opened Fashion for Good Experience in Amsterdam is an interactive space where we are showcasing mind-blowing innovations such as apple leather, biodegradable glitters and blockchain technology, helping to make the fashion industry more transparent. The museum also contains a concept store, a responsive T-shirt design studio (meaning if you want a green polka-dot design, the studio turns into a green polka-dot space, live!). The museum aims to change the hearts and minds of the visitors by telling stories behind the clothes you wear, shows you how to take action and have a positive impact on the fashion industry. Through a personalised digital journey with an RFID-bracelet you can learn about the history of good fashion, discover sustainable products and explore fashion innovations of the future.

SEWBOTS ARE COMING. According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial will be “characterised by technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. “It’s disrupting almost every industry in every country…and the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”

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In her blog post for Medium , “How can the rise of Automation in Fashion be a Force for Good?”, Katrin notes: “We’re already seeing how these innovations are impacting the fashion industry, and we’re partnering with companies and initiatives in this arena to ensure that Fashion for Good is part of the conversation. Joining our Scaling Programme is Tamicare, whose patented, fast mass production 3D printing technology, the Cosyflex®, creates finished textile fabrics and products directly from user friendly raw materials. This allows manufacturers to eliminate the wasteful and chemically hazardous processes of dyeing and cut-make-trim. We’ve also partnered with Softwear Automation, whose Sewbot™ worklines combine patented computer vision with light weight robotics to sew garments. Both initiatives boost supply chain transparency, reduce waste and have the potential to shorten the geographic distance between the manufacturer and consumer.

However, as with the automation of jobs in any industry, the question becomes: what will the impact be for workers? The global garment industry employs 60–75 million people worldwide. At Fashion for Good, we have spent significant time discussing and debating the implications of automation on workers in the industry. We have reflected on the large segment of garment workers that currently work long hours completing repetitive tasks, sometimes in unsafe conditions. And we have considered how these technologies could potentially provide for more dignified work.” Read the story in full here.

Can big brands really collaborate?

Katrin says that brands are starting to work together on innovation and sustainability in a way they didn’t used to. She uses the term “pre-competitive collaboration” to describe a situation where competitors share early stage research that benefits all. “It’s a really fundamental and super-interesting shift,” she says. And it’s essential. “You can’t just change the system to a circular system by yourself.”

Fashion For Good’s INNOVATION PLATFORM gives tech and innovation startups in the sustainable fashion space “the opportunity to connect with brands, retailers and funders to bring new ideas and technologies from niche to norm.”

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The Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator is a 12-week program that falls under this umbrella. GOOD ON YOU took part. You’ve probably already downloaded their sustainable shopping app, right? If not, get to it here.

COLORZEN technology can reduce water used in the cotton dyeing process by 90%. Find out how, here.

COLORFIX uses 10 times less water than traditional dyeing processes and does not use heavy metals, organic solvents or acids. They dyed a Stella McCartney dress using engineered microorganisms. How? Simply put, they combine engineered microorganisms; DNA. This means isolating the DNA that creates colour in nature. For example, the DNA in an apple that makes it red. The DNA is later transferred into a microorganism (a form of bacteria) and the microorganism is then used to transfer the colour onto a fabric. The dress was part of the Fashioned From Nature exhibition at the V&A. Have you listened to this Episode with curator Edwina Ehrman yet?

 NORMN HANGERS are made of cardboard. Nuff said.

Watch Amy Cuddy’s POWER POSING TED talk here. It’s wonderful.

Discover Your True North is a book by Harvard Business School professor Bill North, written to help you find your leadership purpose, that internal Compass that provides direction and keeps you oriented. Or as Katrin puts it, “How do you want to create purpose in life? Where/how do you want to leave a legacy? How can you contribute more and make a difference?” I took the True North Mirror quiz on Bill North’s website, and it was illuminating.

A NOTE ON OUR MUSIC: IT IS BY OUR FRIEND MONTAIGNE, WHO SANG A SPECIAL ACOUSTIC VERSION OF "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" JUST FOR US. IT'S FROM HER ALBUM GLORIOUS HEIGHTS.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE WARDROBE CRISIS CONVERSATION. WE'LL HAVE A NEW EPISODE FOR YOU EVERY WEDNESDAY. CAN YOU HELP US SPREAD THE WORD? WE'D LOVE YOU TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS & LEAVE A REVIEW IN iTUNES.

Until next time,

Clare x