Ask a Designer

Fast Fashion is Here to Stay (So How Do We Work With It?)

ANTHONY LILORE (DESIGNER, RESTORE CLOTHING; BOARD MEMBER, SAVE THE GARMENT CENTER) Don’t be a hater. We, as a community, cannot knock people and/or companies for not doing…

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How Can We Make Sure Our Clothes Weren't Produced in a Sweatshop?

Photo by A. M. Ahad for Associated Press The structural collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which has claimed the lives of over 300 people, is a horrific tragedy that raises…

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Can Designers Afford to Ignore the Traditional Fashion Calendar?

Photos by Graeme Mitchell You know you have a good idea when you start telling people about it and they nod their heads giving you the sense they’ve had the same idea. Admittedly,…

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Does Transparency in the Clothing Supply Chain Matter?

Last January, we celebrated one year of Honest By. Twelve months have passed and Honest By is ticking over nicely with enough buyers to ensure that the collections are selling out.…

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Why Are Fashion Brands Committing to Detoxing in 2020 and Not Earlier?

Sometimes the longest struggles can be the most rewarding. After 10 months of #PeoplePowered activities and behind-the-scenes haggling, G-Star Raw finally committed to eliminate all…

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Is New York City's Garment Center Worth Saving?

At this very moment, thousands of people in Midtown Manhattan are designing and manufacturing apparel all within a 10-block radius in New York City’s Garment Center. The innovation,…

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14 American Designers Tell Us What "Made in the U.S.A." Means to Them

BRITT HOWARD (PORTLAND GARMENT FACTORY) Made in America means considering the entire creative process from concept to production. Being conscience of the true impact manufacturing has…

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Why Does Fair-Trade Fashion Matter?

The following is an excerpt from Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution (2012, New Internationalist) by Safia Minney. It seems like a very small thing to us, choosing a…

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How Can We Educate Our Youth About Fast Fashion's Harmful Effects?

Photo by Shutterstock Thanks to a combination of technological innovation and developing global economies, “fast fashion” is now ubiquitous on the high street. A one-two…

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What is "Slow Fashion" and Why Does It Matter?

“Slow fashion” is a sustainable and ethical alternative that is fundamentally reconstructing the contemporary fast-fashion system. Slow-fashion principles guide my…

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How Can Designers Apply Biomimicry Principles to Fashion?

Photo by Shutterstock The following is an excerpt from Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change (2012, Laurence King) by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose. Biomimicry is the…

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Does Buying Socially Responsible Products Really Make a Difference?

Can you actually “do good” by shopping ethically? And what about the claim that we change the world with our purchasing power? If we can, it means great things for the future. One…

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What Should Emerging Designers Know About Sourcing Eco-Textiles?

THINK GLOBAL While you can still find locally manufactured materials in the United States, Canada, and Europe, they’re generally isolated in small pockets with limited…

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How Can Fashion Designers Make Clothes Less Disposable?

Photo by Howard Lake The following is an excerpt from Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes (2011, Earthscan), edited by Alison Gwilt and Timo…

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What's the Easiest Way to Reduce the Environmental Impact of My Clothes?

Garment care is an enormous environmental issue, but it’s also a personal one. We each use incredible amounts of water, cleaning products and energy on our clothes. Reducing that…

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Could Polyester be the Next Eco-Friendly Fabric?

A recycled-polyester dress from the H&M Conscious Collection Out of all the fibers, polyester has the worst reputation—and unfairly so. I know eco-conscious people who would…

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How Can Eco-Designers Stay Profitable While Advocating Slow Fashion?

It may be tough for green designers to stay profitable while discouraging consumerism, but it’s not impossible. The key is this: When it comes to developing your business model,…

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Why Does End-of-Life Management Matter in Fashion Design?

Simple is as simple does. We live in a world that our ancestors—even our grandparents—would barely recognize. For example, my mother was born and raised on a small dairy farm north…

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