The catastrophic environmental impacts of the fashion industry are once again hot topic, with Instagram infographics and Twitter threads catalysing the spread of information about the harms of fast fashion. Yet the industry is booming, with online fashion giants still as popular as ever. Amongst the doom and gloom of fast fashion corporations, it can be hard to see a future that is both sustainable and allows for fashionability. Can clothes consumption and a reduced eco footprint coexist?
The recent launch of Project Earth by Selfridges is a pioneer in bringing needed change to the highstreet and how fashion consumption is approached by both brands and consumers. Since launching in August, it has been presented as a radical step towards sustainable consumption and a chance of some real change in the fashion industry. With new retail experiences available both online and in-store, Selfridges are offering a science driven approach to sustainability.
The commitment is split up in three main categories; materials, models and mindsets. Let’s break them down and look at just what it means for a leading brand like Selfridges to take the pledge towards greener fashion.
A fundamental part of fashion is material; in fact, material is fundamental to every aspect of consumerism. That’s why Selfridges are knuckling down on the materials they use and where they come from, not just in regard to fashion, guided by their partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation.
They are promising that environmentally friendly materials will be used across their business by 2025. All cotton will come from recycled sources or from certified more sustainable sources; all meat products will be from certified organic farms; all leather will be recycled or from Leather Working Group bronze, silver or gold rated tanneries. The list goes on.
You can read their full material commitments here.
The next area of consideration is models. This focuses on the way in which we consume fashion and some of the key trends we can take part in to make a change. It is undeniable that over-consumption is one of the key issues with fashion, as trends change and consumers want to keep up.
Selfridges are offering new retail experiences which include resale, rental, refill and repair. This encourages consumers to rethinking how they are buying clothes and other products, rather than just what they are buying.
A collaboration with Hurr Collective will offer a clothes rental pop-up, so customers can keep up with the latest trends while remaining affordable and sustainable.
The final step in Selfridges Project Earth is mindsets. This is all about using their platform to engage with consumers about the importance of sustainability. Through hosting panels with sustainability experts such as Aja Barber and Pamela Anderson, they are raising awareness of those sometimes-difficult conversations. Such an important message being spread by such a prolific brand is always a good thing in my eyes.
As someone who can sometimes feel deflated at the thought of the fashion industry never changing, it is so refreshing to see such a popular brand take such a big stance towards change. In current times, that glimmer of hope towards a more sustainable future is incredibly needed. Let’s hope that other brands will begin to take note and take action.