FIT Students Visit 2014 NYC Green Festival

FIT Students Visit 2014 NYC Green Festival

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting and educating 15 High School students who registered to take a 4-day “Global Fashion Business” Saturday Workshop at the Fashion Institute of Technology.   The workshop covered the topics of: international marketing, management, career options and sustainability. Fortunately, one of our class meetings fell on Saturday, April 26, 2014 while the NYC Green Festival (www.greenfestivals.org) was in town so we decided to leave the classroom and head to Peir 94 — the event site. After all, what better way for students to learn about sustainability than by attending this event and meeting with the businesses and organizations leading the effort.

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Students enjoyed meeting with numerous exhibitors and sampling their products. A variety of industries were represented, from fashion (e.g. Green Eileen www.greeneileen.org) to body care (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap www.drbronner.com) to food products (e.g. Halo chips www.oceanshalo.com) and many more.

Eco-fashion was a hot topic for our group and students had particular interest in Green Eileen. As described on their website, “GREEN EILEEN is a recycled clothing program committed to reducing environmental impact and generating income to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. By selling gently worn EILEEN FISHER clothing, we extend the life of timeless garments and are able to support the non-profit programs in which we so strongly believe. Sustainability is about having a long-term orientation to the way we use the Earth’s natural resources. In recent years, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability have received mainstream attention, and the global consciousness has taken up the charge to reduce our human impact. However, the garment industry is still one of the largest sources of waste and pollution. Did you know? • The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothes per year. • Over 4% of global landfills are filled with clothing and textiles. • Almost 100% of used clothing is recyclable.” http://www.greeneileen.org/our-story

After meeting with the Green Eileen representatives, students expressed the following reactions to the program: “I’m totally cool with reusing garments as long as it’s not undergarments”; “I like that they are giving the product multiple lifecycles — by having the same item used by more than one person!”

In addition to meeting exhibitors, students were also able to listen to the speaker panel sessions. For example, they attended the “Greening your Closet with Style” panel led by Kate Black, Founder of Magnifeco (www.magnifeco.com). Her panel featured a wonderful, smart and diverse group that highlighted some inspiring work happening across the globe. Topics covered vintage clothing, eco-fashion, Fair Trade and promoting the skills of indigenous artisans. Panelists included Carolina Cantor (www.ShopEthica.com), Monisha Raja (www.LoveIsMighty.com), Ariana Boussard Reifel (www.modemarteau.com), and Swati Argade (www.bhoomki.com).

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Ariana Boussard Reifel, Founder of Mode Marteau (www.modemarteau.com), advised the audience that they have the power to make change and have “an amazing number of options to choose from.” “You have an option to take political action; you can choose to contribute to things you don’t believe in or you can choose to fight against them; shopping is like a political action”. “Eco fashion can be used as a weapon for social justice; it’s a revolution against the toxic chemical world that we are living in.” For example, Ariana’s “weapon of choice” is vintage clothing and that’s how she maintains her eco-fashion wardrobe. She believes that anybody can purchase vintage or used clothing because it’s easy and typically less expensive than new clothing. Ariana enjoys its uniqueness and high quality. Her business supports this effort and more: “As a value-lead business we proudly implement sustainable practices in all aspects of the business, from credit-union banking to recycled packaging, to the innately world-friendly act of sharing and reusing wonderful things. We believe that when you take creative license with your wardrobe you are expressing a little bit of your true self, and that is a good thing.” http://www.modemarteau.com/about

Carolina Cantor, Co-Founder and Fashion Director of Shop Ethica (www.ShopEthica.com), stated that “Fashion is the 2nd most polluting Industry after oil.” For example, “One can determine the color trends by looking at dye run-off in Chinese rivers.” She is focusing on empowering local communities to create long term change.   As outlined on her website, “Our goal is to connect consumers and companies that share a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Through this website, we hope to contextualize shopping within a larger global narrative, highlighting the very real impacts of our collective consumption choices. The designers featured on this site create beautiful products and responsible companies. They’ve invested time and resources in being as ‘planet and people friendly’ as possible. Some of the commitments they’ve made include: sourcing ecologically responsible materials, developing sustainable production processes, treating their workers well, and giving to charity.” They also believe in Trade Not Aid, “Whereas charity can provide immediate relief to people in need, the goal of commerce in the context of ethical fashion is more long-term: to create sustainable employment opportunities that can permanently lift people out of poverty. The brands listed under our Trade Not Aid category employ artisans and workers in developing countries in fair-practice settings, aiming to nurture a demand for their skills and empower their communities to prosper.” http://www.shopethica.com/ethical-practices/trade-not-aid

Students were also excited to meet Monisha Raja, Founder of Love Is Mighty (www.LoveIsMighty.com). During a discussion in class, they articulated the following: “Monisha created the company Love is Mighty to sustain India’s culture. She uses products that are typically thought of as garbage, such as candy wrappers to produce a line of vegan shoes and accessories. Monisha is trying to prevent the loss of Indian culture by creating sustainable work environments to allow her workers to support their families.” Additional reactions included: “Her shoes are beautiful….I love them!”; “I support her….I like what she is doing”; “She is trying to prevent the people from losing the craft”; “If people go on to work in other industries, they are likely to be exposed to cruelty and not treated fairly”; “Artisans work in their natural habitats, happy doing what they want to do and not being forced to do something just to survive.” As highlighted on Monisha’s website, “Construction dominates India’s big cities, more and more tribal artisans in rural villages are giving up their centuries-old craft to learn to hang drywall and mix cement. Talented hands are having to abandon what they know and love. Thousands of years of Indian traditions are about to vanish. Your shoes were born from a passion to preserve these indigenous crafts. To give artisans the respect they deserve and the means to provide for their families.” http://www.loveismighty.com/story.html

Swati Argade, Creative Director and CEO of Bhoomki, is a designer with a mission: “To make ethically fashioned, high-quality, low-quantity collections for my customers, not trend-driven clothes worn for a single season.” During the panel discussion, she described how cotton is one of the least sustainable fibers, due to the high levels of water and pesticides that are used in the manufacturing process. As stated on her website, her company is focused on “Ethically Fashioned Fabrics and Fair-trade Production. When you make a Bhoomki purchase, you help preserve the earth and support traditional artisans around the world. You shrink your carbon footprint, you help keep poison out of our rivers, you support endangered textile traditions, and ensure that factory workers receive a fair wage and thrive in humane working conditions. Bhoomki features brands that source organic, recycled and/or artisan fabrics. Our in-house line is cut and sewn clothes in child-free factories where workers receive a living wage under humane working conditions. Whenever possible, we manufacture in NYC, use low-impact dyes and offset shipping costs with carbon credits toward renewable energy initiatives. We do all of the above without sacrificing superb craftsmanship, quality and fit.” http://www.bhoomki.com/about-us

Answering a question from the audience about how to determine if a company is “green washing”, Kate stated “the best way for a consumer to know is by researching what the company stands for; what is the core of the business. It is also important for consumers to understand the origin of the product.”

Students overall reactions to attending the 2014 NYC Green Festival included the following: “I had a good time…I’m glad I went”; “I had fun, I learned a lot about food, body care, fashion…I really liked it!”; “I thought of myself as eco-friendly…now I want to take it to the next level”; “I want to research and learn about the working conditions and the production of clothing before I purchase”; “I will look for less fast fashion and more higher quality clothing”; “I will shop at used clothing stores”; “I will support smaller businesses because they tend to produce better quality than bigger mass production businesses”; and, “I am more aware.”

These students have not only made changes in their thinking and attitude about sustainability but also started to “walk to talk”. For example, one student was so inspired that for the first time ever he purchased a used piece of clothing. He visited the Buffalo Exchange (www.buffaloexchange.com) used clothing store during the lunch break of our last class meeting and found a beautiful blue Patagonia vest, which originally retails for over $100 dollars. He was able to purchase it for $22 and was happy to model it in the below photo.

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Written by Professor Shireen Musa,

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York

 

 

27 thoughts on “FIT Students Visit 2014 NYC Green Festival

  1. Monisha Raja’s work is inspiring. In the world of fashion global sourcing “the cheaper the better” is the motto most companies go by. It’s refreshing to see someone promoting sustainable/artisan craft, which the fashion world lacks, outside of the super expensive couture. I hope Love Is Mighty will continue to spark interest in the exquisite craftsmanship of India, and promote social/sustainable awareness.

  2. It’s interesting to me how quickly, and with such force, sustainability became a major player within the industry- specifically textiles. A few years ago, the people who could afford to pay high end prices wouldn’t be caught dead in a pre-owned blouse and the people who couldn’t were probably already customers of Buffalo Exchange or Beacon’s Closet. Green Eileen is an improved version of that buy/sell/trade format. Since they only sell their own brand, the chance of needing a different size or color of item is increased. The only caution I would heed is the potential for counterfeit merchandise. You can get anything off the Internet these days, often at a discount, then trade it in for a better option.

  3. Not only does Green Eileen do good for the environment, the program is fashion-forward and focuses on affordable style. By selling gently worn Eileen Fisher clothing and donating all proceeds to improving the lives of women and children, Fisher is helping to reduce environmental impact and waste. She is no longer creating garments for one season, but for the long run. As a leader in the fashion industry, Eileen Fisher’s approach to sustainability is genius and I would love to see this trend catch on. While I do believe that global sustainability is a complicated topic and the real issue is overconsumption, Eileen Fisher is making a definite impact that will hopefully educate more people and create awareness.

  4. It’s nice to see that fellow students take initiative and broaden their horizons by wearing/supporting the wear of gently used clothing. That’s pretty good for students whose lives are all about fashion! It is definitely disturbing though to read the statistics about how extremely wasteful the fashion industry is. I feel like the same amount of effort that goes into “waste” process could be used to make the processes more sustainable.

  5. I have had many issues with my love of fashion and the waste/excess of fashion, but this is the perfect marriage of the two. Bringing together fashion and social/environmental responsibility shows a different side of the industry. This also shows the love of the design, that you are not above reselling/reusing. I have always been a fan or buying second hand goods, but rarely do you see a fashion house partner or even approve of this. Eileen Fischer has always been ahead of the rest of the fashion sector in Corporate Social Responsibility; they are not just doing these things because it is “trendy” but because they are a leader. I only wish I would have attended the event!

  6. I think the thought of sustainable fashion that all of these companies are trying to push is amazing. There are a few angles to look at here that will effect the globe in general, not just global business:
    1) In the current up and down economy, buying recyled clothing may curb peer pressure where our kids can learn style over brand power….
    2) we enable people to have jobs across the globe, for example the local artisans
    3) perhaps we speak to our politicians and the less we buy from factories made in China the more we need to expand trade in other regions
    4) the more we recycle, the less waste we put into rivers or the air or landfills

    It is refreshing to finally see that companies are starting to change the way they think and act / work but what is more refreshing is that the current generation, the millennials, who are climbing the ranks behind us, are becoming more passionate about this topic as well! It gives me hope that our planet and the way we treat each other as humans sharing the planet will eventually be a better place! If we unite on this front, we can all make a difference!

  7. I totally agree with the ethos behind Mode Marteau’s eco-friendly and second hand on-line store. I have shopped vintage and second-hand for years [also have worked in a vintage store], and I feel like there a number of on-line and NYC based stores that specialize in buying quality used clothing and making it fashionable— and that can bring the appeal to people who may not have wanted to buy second hand before. I feel like making it more of a conscious “fashionista” thing as opposed to only thinking of it being second-hand is definitely going to reach more people. There is tons of great vintage designer clothes to be found at great prices if you go to these stores! I have had amazing finds and I’m glad this trend of eco-conscious fashionista is moving forward and beyond.

  8. I love the fact that Green Eileen is dedicated to positively impact women and girls around the world. I’m a male myself, but the importance of women in our society is so vast that it’s wonderful that Green Eileen is a recycled clothing program that not only reduces environmental impact, but also fuels programs that focus on improving the lives of women. It’s no surprise that the group had a particular interest in this company. Sustainability in the garment industry is a hot topic nowadays, and so Green Eileen is doing their part by providing quality recycled clothing. Green Eileen is reformatting and broadening the system of donating, buying, and trading gently used clothing. I can only see more and more of this approach in the near future as sustainability is about having a long-term dedication to the way we use the earth’s natural resources and how it can improve our daily lives and the world around us.

  9. I think Eileen Fisher’s non-for-profit organization is amazing. It is inspiring that it is not only recycled clothing, but it helps change the life of woman and girls. That is just amazing to me and really means a lot that she supports all these organizations for women on top of being environmentally friendly. When people hear of recycled clothing, people think of hand me downs and nobody wants somebody used clothes. Which is understandable but when it is for a cause and has a strong environmental impact it means a lot. I myself have never been to a thrift store or vintage boutique but the idea excites me and I think it is great. I would love to go one day and experience it. It is great that a big name like Eileen Fisher is doing something so meaningful and huge for change around the world. This event sounds amazing and I have already been exploring through these other links and I am liking the pieces I am seeing. I am looking forward to exploring more and seeing what else is out there. People are so unaware of such an amazing thing that is going on.

  10. Green Eilleen is a non-profit organization. The Eilleen Fisher have made positively impact women and girls around the world. Green Eilleen is a recycled clothing program committed to reducing environmental effect and creating income to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. When I took your Import/ export class last semester I got a chance to attend the networking event the speaker invited us to. Where Eilleen fisher was speaking about this program. I think this program is great for the community and for the environment. Sustainability have been a hot subject for the last 10 years. When a company is Eco friendly it is respected and recognized. Being Green is a unique aspect of a company to today’s global business.

  11. It is well known that the garment industry is one of the most wasteful and produces a vast majority of pollution. I think that Green Eileen is a great idea for the garment industry and should be considered by all of their competitors as well as more luxury brands. I see how this would not necessarily work for lower markets or mass market clothing, because the clothing has a quick life span due to quality and trends. But as far as higher end designer brands, that offer quality, fashion forward analysis and even basic styles, this idea could be implemented widely. Not only does being green help the environment, but it also gives a competitive advantage to the brand in the eyes of the consumer, therefore I would think that sustainability will only continue to grow among the garment industry.

  12. For starters, I believe “Over-Dressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion” should be required reading in this department along with “Travels of a T”. It describes how American consumers have become conditioned to buy more articles of cheap clothing instead of fewer, better quality garments and the resulting economic and environmental impact of that choice.
    Imagine what your closet would look like if you truly loved every garment in it and felt good about where it came from. Shopping at the fast fashion retailers is problematic because it feels like contributing to the oppression of workers in emerging economies. I prefer to pay more for well-made garments with longevity, especially if I’m sure they were ethically and responsibly produced.
    Swati Argade of Bhoomki threw up her hands at the wastefulness of the fashion business. Instead of abandoning the industry, she reframed her business to focus on “ethically fashioned, high-quality, low-quantity collections for my customers, not trend-driven clothes worn for a single season.“ Bravo!

  13. What a wonderful experience for these high school students to get a preview of global fashion and sustainability!

    I chose to look into Dr. Bronner’s organization and products more because I always see them in my local Fairway Market and Whole Foods! I’ve always been interested in trying them.

    I use organic products myself so learning about this company was exciting. I learned that Dr. Bronner’s has been around for 150 years. Some of their sustainable efforts include: 1) using ethically sourced, certified fair trade and organic ingredients, 2) the company is active in organic integrity, fair trade, GMO labeling, animal advocacy and hemp, 3) they are committed to philanthropy including community services, youth programs and drug policy reform, 4) they are committed to their history, employees and family and 5) they are committed to responsibility and sustainability by using recycled plastic.

    I think that I’ll start purchasing their liquid soaps in place of the ones I use now because of their sustainability and quality ingredients. In comparison, their prices are twice as high but they’re offering 15% off their prices online this month!

  14. It’s astonishing to learn that Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil, I think it’s important for fashion companies nowadays to start paying attention to sustainability of producing garment. I agree with Ariana Boussard Reifel that everyone can purchase vintage or used clothing, I like to shop in vintage stores and it feels good when you can buy really good second-hand garments at low prices, you also contribute to the eco fashion by extend the garments’ longevity and create your own style upon them. I always embrace buying fewer garments with good quality instead of buying a lot more cheap ones, I used to buy a lot of cheap clothes and I felt it’s really a waste because I don’t wear them anymore, I strongly agree with the idea of Swati Argade that her mission is to make high-quality, low quantity collections but not trend-driven clothes worn for single season. To create a eco fashion wardrobe, I think the key is to buy less fast fashion goods, which can only be worn for single season and may contribute to the oppression of workers and pollution of third-world countries, and buy more garments with higher quality, few but well-chosen, so you can make use of every single garment in your wardrobe, that would be amazing.

  15. Sustainability movement is very big nowadays. It’s so pleasant to hear that more and more people and companies are becoming aware and trying to make a difference. I personally love the idea of Eileen Fisher to sell their used clothes. Green Eileen is an initiative of the Eileen Fisher Community Foundation, a non-profit organization. They sell a recycled Eileen Fisher clothes to reduce environmental impact and generate income to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. However, they not only make a difference for the planet but also give a great opportunity for customers who can not afford to buy brand new designer clothes to look stylish and classy.
    Designer clothes is usually of a good quality and classy so it can be worn for years. I absolutely support the idea of recycling clothes and I think more designers worldwide should open “green” organizations as Eileen Fisher did with Green Eileen.

  16. People are becoming more and more environmental friendly. Sustainability in the fashion industry has increasingly become a popular trend to help shrink the carbon footprint that has increasingly become damaging to our environment. Eco-friendly fashion trends has become a market of it’s own; companies such as Mode Marteau or Buffalo Exchange are companies that sell vintage or used clothing at a cheaper price. Many of the products are well known brands, but are sold because people don’t need or want them anymore. Then there are others who, despite that the product has already been used, buy these items. These companies and customer’s are help shaping the sustainability movement. My shopping habits are similar to Swati Argade’s, to shop for quality clothing even if they don’t have a specific season. Clothes can always be reworn every season is what I believe.

  17. What was most interesting to me in this article was that Swati Argade, CEO of Bhoomki chooses to make ethical and high quality clothing instead of trend driven clothing. It reminded me a book that I read over the summer called Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, about how Pantagonia’s philosophy is to create clothing that is of the highest quality possible, even if it means to create pieces that do not appeal to the latest trends or will grace the pages of the most coveted magazines and fashion blogs. I personally think that the book should be a required reading material for this class. To me, I find it to very unfortunate that more companies cannot adopt this mindset because of the pressure from consumers, media, and from the glamour of fashion week to stay on trend with “fast fashion”. Companies feel so pressured to the point that they must go to extreme lengths in which they not properly dispose of old styles, sign contracts with unethical factories, and ship products in faster transportation modes that will leave a greater carbon footprint. Many of the facts in this article back up these claims, such as ” Over 4% of global landfills are filled with clothing and textiles.”. This field trip to the NYC Green Festival seemed like a great experience for these lucky FIT students and I hope that I have the chance to attend next year!

  18. I really appreciated the transparency and goals of Shop Ethica. I paused at first when they listed Made in the USA as an ethical quality considering that manufactures in the United States are not immune from violations but in their lengthier description they clarify, “We recognize that the complexities of the global garment industry cannot be reduced to an item’s country of origin…” Each item comes with a description of why it has been labeled as ethical. It would be nice if more companies showed this level of openness on the products they sell.

    Creating a place to bring together those who wish to purchase ethically with those that are producing products that meet ethical standards clearly explained is smart business. Carolina Cantor, the Co-Founder and Fashion Director of Shop Ethica, obviously understands the global impact fashion can have and combines a number of methods to reduce that impact. Shop Ethica is one of those few companies that seems to analyze each step of the garments lifecycle and find ways to reduce its negative impact on the world, from the materials, to the worker and even how to counteract the impact of shipping it to the end consumer. I hope to see this company thrive and more like it.

  19. I loved the “Over-Dressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion” because it makes a valid point on American consumers with mass production. In America it is more convenient to buy based on quantity rather than quality, especially since finance is always an issue. When buying clothing from places like WalMart or Target, we don’t realize the impact we cause on the environment and economy. However, if clothes were to all become sustainable, the price would go up and this would cause friction with the consumer.
    I believe that people would pay more money for clothes if they were more aware of the working conditions many people have to suffer in in order to have mass production. I know I would always buy quality rather than quantity, but most of the time I have to save money and buy clothes based on price. I feel that the main factor for not going all the way with eco friendly garments is due to the money increase it would cause not just to make them but the agriculture needed to ensure that these clothes can be made within a certain time range.
    People like Swati Argade of Bhoomki are rare and her marketing strategy is very strong since she only caters to an elite group of customers who are not just willing to spend the extra cash but are behind the statement of being more ethical and eco friendly with clothes. She is a perfect example of how a company should think when wanting to be an eco-friendly business.

  20. A major topic in the industry right now has become sustainability. The average consumer i feel is becoming more educated and aware of their purchases. If a company doesn’t stand for sustainability products or trying to make a ‘greener world’ they are loosing relevant positions within their market. I would have definitely enjoyed a trip to the NYC Green Festival. i’m a huge supporter of vintage purchases, and buffalo exchange being one of the store i frequently visit to look for my next outfit. i have also sold a few of my own garments to them. i didn’t know that the fashion industry was the second largest global polluter industry after oil. This is something that definitely needs to be controlled and make awareness.

  21. Love Is Mighty is a company dedicated to preserving culture through their clothing, while also creating a sustainable work environment by paying a living wage to their local artisans. I truly admire the company’s commitment to sustainability and human rights, and am amazed at their creativity in developing products that are both fashion-forward and rooted in Indian culture. Their products are 100% handmade and vegan, which amazes me that some of their inspiration comes from items that are normally considered to be of no use (such as candy wrappers). The global business aspect of Love Is Mighty is clear in their story on the company website, stating that they use local artisans from India to craft each product. This ensures the preservation of their craft, skills and culture, since those artisans are not forced to work in construction in the rapidly-growing big cities of India. Sourcing not only their materials from India, but also their production from local Indian habitants, has a huge positive impact on all parties involved.

  22. Resale clothing is really starting to get a great name for itself. In a world where fast fashion holds place over quality I think it’s great that more and more people are starting to get back into vintage clothing. Not only is the resale industry great for sustainability but it also gives people a chance to grab a unique look. So many styles from before are coming back into fashion because of the vintage and resale stores. These places understand that quality and ethical sourcing holds much higher than the fast fashion world. It’s great that more and more companies are starting to get into the sustainability of the fashion industry. You can even see more and more big name designers looking for their own vintage items from customers and re purchasing them. Betsy Johnson did a fashion show of all vintage Betty stuff to promote her brand. It’s a great Idea and an ever better way to get more people involved in making the sustainability movement a much larger one

  23. I chose to write about Ocean’s Halo, a new company that has emerged with a novel fusion snack, seaweed chips. Ocean’s Halo’s seaweed chips are a healthy alternative to traditional potato chips and other snacks, as they contain no GMOs, trans fats or artificial ingredients. Their product has gained traction and can be found on the shelves of supermarkets like Whole Foods.

    Ocean’s Halo has great corporate values because it is creating healthy snacks that involve production processes that are environment friendly. Seaweed farms are in seawater, which covers 70% of our planet but is very underutilized for nourishing populations. Ocean’s Halo is taking an underutilized resource such as the ocean and extracting one of its abundant natural sources of protein and sustenance and turning it into a healthy snack.

    The idea for the snack came when four dads, two Americans who grew up eating potato chips, and two Koreans who grew up eating seaweed, decided to merge their palates and create a healthy chips out of seaweed. This cross-breeding of different cultural foods resulted in a novel product that is both healthy and environment friendly.

  24. Green Eileen is an amazing company with an initiative to help drive positive change in girls and women around the world. The company hosts a recycled clothing program that not only reduces the environmental impact of clothing manufacturing but also generates income to contribute to efforts for women around the world. From the Women’s Funding Network, The National Women’s History Museum, Planned Parenthood, and the Eileen Fisher Leadership program, Green Eileen contributes to the growth of women in all platforms. Through a global marketing and promotion perspective this company encourages global awareness and active involvement towards growth in programs that need it. In global marketing it is important to remain ethical, socially responsible, and elevating women in business. This company strives to achieve its mission to benefit women and to make an imprint on the world. The programs Green Eileen aides are ones that benefit women on a global scale and promote social change with issues like environmentalism to global security.

  25. Love is Mighty is a beautiful brand that is an ethically aware, vegan clothing brand. Created by Monisha Raja the company is focused on ethical production of garments that carry cultural representation and a voice in fashion that things can be beautiful crafted, profitable, and socially aware. The handwork is impeccably crafted but ethically made without abuse to animals or to factory workers in the process. The roots of Raja’s indian culture is evident and not stripped of its innate goodness and vision of harmonizing modern production and truly cultured art. In global sourcing it is easy to blue the lines between profit and social responsibility but this company focuses on remaining honest, responsible, and setting an example for other companies that we should hold true to moral values and respect to all elements of design from production to selling the garments.

  26. I’ve shopped at Buffalo Exchange before and always have a fun time browsing the products retailed in their stores. Most of the pieces on the retail store were purchased from their own customers. This is a great example of a “green” store that reduces the carbon footprint for each of their customers by not purchasing new products but by buying previously owned goods to give them a second life with a new owner. Rather than creating new products across the world we are just reusing the products we already have – cutting out many of the middlemen used when it comes to how most of our products are manufactured and travel across the world to get to the States.

  27. After the collapse of the garment factories in Bangladesh, sustainability efforts have been strongly on the rise. Many companies have pubic pressure to maintain a balance between healthy profits and social responsibility.

    I just came back from Mexico, it is a reality check when you step outside of the US and observe different cultural markets. The US is a highly commercialized society. That is why my favorite piece of this topic was about Swati Argade, Creative Director and CEO of Bhoomki, a designer with a mission: “To make ethically fashioned, high-quality, low-quantity collections for my customers, not trend-driven clothes worn for a single season.” If retailers like H&M and Forever 21 followed this model; they would probably go out of business.

    I believe sustainability starts with the consumer and society. We shape these MNC’s, we pressure them for more profits, we work for them and make decisions. I would like to see green companies become just as successful as those that aren’t. Once that happens we will really see change.

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