Fashion for Good is the platform that wants to create good fashion — for good
The Amsterdam-based innovation platform supports sustainable fashion innovators and wants to educate individuals to make more sustainable fashion choices.
By OLIVER DAHLE
October 25, 2021
As many are already aware, fashion is not the most sustainable of industries. The industry is a big contributor to climate change through water pollution, garments being sent to landfills, use of unsustainable materials and exploiting the health and safety of its workers – to name a few of the reasons. Fashion for Good is the organization that believes changing the industry for the better is possible and shows how it can actually be done.
Fashion for Good is a global innovation platform that collaborates with the entire fashion industry to face some of the most challenging questions when it comes to fashion and sustainability. The institution was founded in early 2017, through an initial grant from its founding partner Laudes Foundation and are building on the Cradle to Cradle™ philosophy, created by one of the co-founders, William McDonough.
The platform operates in two ways; to begin with, it is an innovation platform working with promising start-ups, giving support to be able to grow and scale through Fashion for Good’s accelerator and scaling programmes. Furthermore, Fashion for Good is helping individuals to better understand the impact fashion consumption has on the planet and how they can make a difference through their clothing choices. The platform aims to educate the public on what they can do before buying a new garment, how to take care of their clothes in a sustainable way and beyond. Something that was achieved by their open-source resources and a public-facing museum, which is located in Amsterdam.
With a global network of corporate partners – such as Adidas, Kering, Chanel, Stella McCartney and Zalando, to name a few – participating start-up innovators tackle challenges that exist in the real world and hence are able to get hands-on experience by implementing their solutions.
— We initiate introductions with brands and manufacturers, provide access to our mentor and investor network, expertise and funding. Innovators have the opportunity to test their concepts with our corporate partners, through collaborative pilot and consortium projects, with the aim to scale sustainable technologies and practices in the fashion value chain. explains Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion for Good. She continues;
”By collaborating rather than competing, and by openly sharing what we learn with the fashion industry and the world, we can accelerate progress for long-term impact.”
— Transitioning to a circular fashion system requires us to reconsider all elements, from design to end-of-use to the very business models that underpin the industry. Considering the enormity of the challenge, which no single organisation can take on on their own, collaboration is crucial. To move beyond incremental improvements to true transformation, we need innovators to work with corporations, and corporations to work together. That’s why Fashion for Good is building a global coalition of brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organisations, innovators and funders united in their genuine ambition to make all fashion good. By moving from individual pilots to collective investment, by collaborating rather than competing, and by openly sharing what we learn with the fashion industry and the world, we can accelerate progress for long-term impact.
— We also work closely with other organisations in the space such as Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Fashion Revolution or the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. We complement each other’s work nicely, whilst staying true to our core and focus – driving the transformation of the industry to a more circular system.
In which state do you think fashion is at the moment when it comes to sustainability?
—The call for the transformation of the apparel industry has been heard loud and clear. Increased regulatory pressure, as well as consumer attention and awareness, also continues to mount. In response, many public sustainability commitments have been made by brands, and important foundational work has begun. We see more game-changing technologies that can bring real change to the industry, that can offer major leaps forward towards circularity, and large corporations that are committed to becoming more sustainable, have pledged towards circularity and want to adopt these innovations to achieve their ambitions.
— Heightened by the corona crisis, what we’re witnessing now with the movement towards a digital step change, seasonless design, nearshoring and on-demand manufacturing, and attention to worker well being, is mostly an acceleration of trends that were inevitable, which have gained urgency and speed to necessitate immediate needs.
Besides the work with innovation and implementing ideas to the industry, a big part of the work Fashion for Good does is educating the public on the environmental impact fashion has on the planet. As mentioned earlier, one of their outlets for this is the museum in central Amsterdam. The Fashion for Good Museum has a focus on sustainable fashion innovation and invites visitors to partake and learn interactively. Through the digitally enabled experience ’Good Fashion Journey’ and together with an RFID bracelet, visitors will be able to discover new ways on how they in different ways can change their consumer behaviour and fashion consumption for the better. When the visit is completed the visitor receives a personalised ’Good Fashion Action Plan’, which is a digital guide on how one can implement learnings from the museum into daily life.
Currently, on display in the museum is the theme GROW. An exhibition that dives into the world of biomaterials in fashion The exhibition takes hold of a growing part of the industry that will teach visitors about materials that are inspired or sustainably retrieved from nature. Some materials on display are fruit skin fabrics, mushroom ‘leathers’, spider-silk and garment dye made by bacteria and algae.
On October 29th the museum will be opening the second part of the GROW theme. Under the name GROW, THE FUTURE OF FASHION, six different creatives are invited to design the exhibition, with four designers using innovative sustainable biomaterials to create sustainable garments and also displays garments using biomaterials from couturier Iris van Herpen and designer Karim Aducci. The garments will then be on display to show the public how the future of fashion can be shaped with biomaterials and sustainability in mind.
Learn more about Fashion for Good and their work on their website.