Chapter 1 – To Wear or Not to Wear?
p.13 – Every day we make two decisions that have an enormous impact on the world around us: what to eat and what to wear.
p.14 – Before the 1900s most people had a handful of garments in their closets that were constantly being repaired and passed down. Even in the twenties the average middle-class American woman had nine outfits (total, each year) that she would lovingly care for and weak week after week.
It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that income and advertising took off, changing the fashion industry forever.
p.15 – After WWII, men and women were actively in the workplace, earning dual incomes for a single-family household.
According to Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, the 1960s was when clothing turned away from necessity and the idea of “keeping up with the latest fashions” came into play.
In the late sixties and early seventies, counterculture abolished any outer display of wealth, and conspicuous consumption faded into the background. It wasn’t until around the 1980s, when working women with disposable income came into vogue, that the opulent show of luxury re-emerged. Greater mobility along the socio-economic ladder opened the marketplace to a greater audience who could participate in luxury at various levels. This proved a pointed shift for the luxury fashion sector, soon to be followed by mainstream mass-market retailers.
Corporate tycoons gobbled up the luxury fashion houses that had been established and run by the founding families, turning them into dominating international brands listed on the world’s stock exchanges. They sold a capitalist agenda disguised as “the democratization” of fashion, which would make luxury accessible to all. Even if they believed their own hype, the very ethos of artisan-crafted clothing and accessories, which warrant a luxury price tag, often went out the window when luxury companies went public.
Meanwhile, during the 1990s and early 2000s, mass fashion retailers like Spain’s Zara and Sweden’s H&M were developing the business model of fast fashion.
p.16 – In 2012 Global Trends 2030 reported the annual global water requirements will hit 6,900 billion cubic meters by 2030, which is 40 percent above current sustainable water supply levels. We’re living a lifestyle we can’t actually afford.
Modern “Eco” Fashion Timeline (p.23-28)
1970s – Eco-fashion first appears as part of the modern environmental movement. It is associated with the hippie culture’s emphasis on self-sufficiency, chemical-free-dyes, and natural textiles. Eco-fashion generally consists of second-hand clothing and handcrafted designs.
1974 – The British charity Oxfam begins selling handicrafts sourced directly from small producers abroad and launches a recycling center for clothing donations.
1979 – Traidcraft is established, seeking to end poverty through trade.
1980 – PETA is founded, leading anti-fur and anti-leather campaigns in the United States.
1983 – Katherine Hamnett launches the world’s first slogan T-Shirt – reinforcing the connection between clothing choices and socio-political messages.
1988 – Martin Margiela launches the first collection featuring repurposed materials and soon spearheads the deconstructivist movement for his use of recycled materials.
1990 – (March) Vogue addressed eco-fashion for the first time in the article “Natural Selection.”
1990 – (June) Members of the Fashion Group, including Katherine Hammett, discuss the impact of fashion production with the UN.
1994 – Esprit launches a range od ecological clothing focusing on sustainable materials and ethical production.
1995 – Giorgio Armani introduces hemp textiles into his Emporio Armani collection.
Late 1990s – Various reports expose sweatshop labour in fashion supply chains, spurring consumer pressure on fashion brands and retailers to implement factory compliance and monitoring programs.
1998 – The Ethical Trading Initiative is established to improve labour practices of global supply chains.
2000 – No Logo by Naomi Klein is published, drawing further media and consumer attention to the realities of international corporate business practices in the fashion industry. Consumer demand for corporate social responsibility related to sustainability and ethical trading grows.
2001 – Stella McCartney launches her brand, using only animal-friendly materials.
2002 – Trash Couture established, based in Denmark, using recycled couture fabrics and vintage lace.
2004 – Gucci volunteers for supply-chain assessment in demonstration of corporate social responsibility.
2004 – The first Ethical Fashion Show is held in Paris, showcasing sustainable artisanal design.
2004 – The first Fairtrade minimum prices for cotton are issued by Fairtrade International.
2005 – U2’s Bono and his wife Ali Hewson create the socially linked fashion brand Edun, which is featured in Vogue. Linda Loudemilk launches her luxury sustainable fashion label and trademarks the term eco-luxury.
2006 – The British Fashion Council launches Esthetical at London Fashion Week.
2007 – Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” shopping totes sell out within an hour in London.
2007 – (October) Portland Fashion Week premieres the first all-green fashion week in the world.
2009 – Livia Firth (Colin Firth’s wife) spearheads the Green Carpet Challenge, bringing A-list celebrities and brands together to celebrate sustainability and style at some of the most prestigious red-carpet award ceremonies.
2009 – (June) Vogue’s first eco-fashion issue.
2009 – (October) Women’s Wear Daily reports that consumers are “ready to go eco.”
2010 – New York Fashion Week initiates a carbon-neutral policy.
2010 – London Fashion Week stages its first official sustainable fashion show.
2012 – Copenhagen hosts the world’s largest conference on sustainability and fashion.
2012 – (February) Meryl Streep wears Lanvin’s first ever eco-friendly gown to the Oscars.
2012 – (September) The Green Fashion Shows are included in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center for the first time and feature a handful of eco-designers in a styled presentation.
2012 – (October) Levi’s launches Waste2012 – (November) Greenpeace International publishes Toxic Threads, which investigates the use of toxic chemical in the production of leading brands’ clothing. In the following months many of these brands commit to detoxing their supply chain.
2013 – (February) H&M launches in-store textile recycling program for consumers.