Fashion Management: A Sustainable Approach | Parsons School of Design

Parsons has an underlying
core ethos of inclusivity, diversity,
sustainability, and many of the elements
of social justice that are really propelling
all aspects of creativity today both in the fashion
industry and way beyond. There is a big problem
in the fashion industry, and we need to fix it. That’s why we’re all here. How do brands, how do
designers, how do supply chains, how does everyone
address this big issue? I’m Patrick Duffy, founder
of Global Fashion Exchange. We have worked to give over
1.4 million pounds of clothing a new life because one of our
main focus is on textile waste. At L’Oreal, we have a holistic
sustainability program called Sharing Beauty
With All that’s managed at the global level. It’s a very robust
program that manages our environmental and social
impacts across our entire value chain from raw material
cultivation all the way through to finished product,
end-of-use disposal, and the use phase. I’m the founder of an
organization called Nest. We work with the
global community of artisans around the world. We’re a non-profit
and invest in helping increase their marketability. But then we also consult
with brands and retailers on how to incorporate our
descent into their supply chain. We manage a large supply chain
in several African countries and in Afghanistan
where social enterprises that we create and manage
enable artisans, especially women from very
marginalized communities to be suppliers to big fashion
brands all over the world. I think that we can think
of artisans very clearly in the luxury space. Let’s democratize this. We really have to make sure that
sustainability isn’t for people who can spend the
kind of money that you might at a luxury retailer. We have to make
these attainable, or people aren’t going to care
about changing the system. What advice do you
have for companies that are in the early stages of
their sustainability planning, and what are the three things? The best thing that
companies like mine can do is not necessarily adapt
the best technologies, but it’s to train the people
who are decision makers to help them make their decisions. Instead of letting
other people make those decisions on your behalf,
which a lot of times is how things get
made in fashion, is you work with a
cut and sew facility, and they have the network. They have the brokers. They put the pieces of the
puzzle together for you. That’s not good enough anymore. You have to know who is
in your supply chain. You have to be in control
of all those decisions. I’m a fashion design
student here at Parsons. Do you guys have any
specific advice or things that you hope to see in
designers in the fashion industry? Guys, you’ve got to
believe in change, and you’ve got to believe in it. A lot of people I meet
of my age in the industry tell you, no, we’ve
always done like this. This is how it works. These people are
like a character of the Greek mythology, Medusa. You know Medusa. She transformed. She turned into stone
whatever she laid her eyes on. So these people see
reality like cast in stone. Don’t be like Medusa. Be human beings. Believe in change.

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