FT Fashion Editor at COP15 Fashion Summit: Eco-Fashion Needs a Common Lexicon

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor at Financial Times, at Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Vanessa Friedman, Financial Times, Copenhagen, COP15, Fashion Summit

Photo by Nordic Fashion Association

In the middle of packing for the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Vanessa Friedman, fashion editor of the Financial Times, was overcome by a wave of panic. “What is sustainable fashion?” she said. “Should I get a bamboo T-shirt? Should I run to Barneys and buy some EDUN?” Then she remembered something a designer had told her when she was waffling over the purchase of the dress she now wore. “Buy it for your daughters,” he said. “They’ll wear it in 30 years.” Did that qualify the dress as sustainable, then?

vanessa-friedman-fashion-summit-3aVanessa Friedman, Fashion Editor at Financial Times, at Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Vanessa Friedman, Financial Times, Copenhagen, COP15, Fashion Summit

Photo by Nordic Fashion Association

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Although words like “sustainable, “organic,” “fair trade,” and “ethical” are regularly tossed around in the fashion industry these days, your definition of “green” isn’t necessarily someone else’s. “Right now the words we use and their definitions are confused and confusing,” Friedman said. “If I say ‘sustainable’ and you say ‘sustainable,’ is one of us talking about employment issues and one of us talking about the environment?”

Your definition of “green” is not necessarily someone else’s.

Mix in newfangled terms like “pre-organic cotton”, “vegan,” and “Oeko-Tex” into the mix and Average Jane Consumer is neck-deep in a quagmire of semantics that requires reams and reams of corporate literature to tease out.

“Consumers are choosy about their purchases, but not so choosy they want to do a research report beforehand,” Friedman said. “I’m pretty much 100 percent sure that if you say ‘GOTS’ to the consumer in Vuitton or TopShop or H&M, they’ll look at you with a completely blank expression.”

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One Response to “FT Fashion Editor at COP15 Fashion Summit: Eco-Fashion Needs a Common Lexicon”

  1. […] Copenhagen Fashion Summit by Vanessa Friedman, fashion editor of the Financial Times (covered in this post by Ecouterre), who found herself in a sudden panic before the […]

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