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On a sunny day in Paris, Marie Claire Group and Kering’s Fashion Our Future event brought together the best (and best-dressed) minds in the industry to chart a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.
What happens when the world’s most prestigious fashion group teams up with one of its most influential global magazine brands? Naturally, a historic international event that deciphers the big questions around designing a better fashion industry for tomorrow. (Think the G20 summit, but with better shoes.)
Drawing expertise from three continents, Marie Claire and Kering Group’s Fashion Our Future was a seminal event that brought together experts, activists and influencers from all corners of the industry to discuss what the future holds for the $1.7 trillion fashion industry. dollars.
Taking place at La Caserne in the 10th arrondissement of Paris – the sweltering temperatures of June are a banal reminder of where our overheated planet is heading – Marie Claire UK Editor Andrea Thompson joined the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire France and the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire US to chair panels with pioneering changemakers from major fashion brands such as Icicle, Gucci and Marche Noir who deliver solutions focused on the design to the problems that fashion poses for the planet.
“Empowering women changes society from within”
“It’s a bit like gymnastics every day”, ICICLE Creative Director Benedicte Laloux admitted to a full room. “If you think about modern life, you don’t want your clothing to have certain properties. We spend a lot of time trying to find a solution for [creating clothes] in a natural way. »
Andrea also joined the panel as Founder and Director of the Ethical Fashion Initiative Simone Ciprianiwho highlighted the role of socially responsible fashion in lifting women in developing countries out of poverty.
“Climate change is bringing extreme living conditions, making it harder for women who face the burden of family survival – finding food, finding fuel, etc. It increases the social burden on them,” he told the room.
A similar stance was taken during the event’s opening roundtable, led by Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, to whom activist Aïssa Maïga told: “What we are doing in the west has consequences for women and girls in Africa: the lack of water, the subsequent break-up of families and the threat to education. But Cipriani was quick to add that there are multiple strands to the complex relationship between climate change and women’s rights.
“There is not just one factor. You have environmental roots of the problem, you have social roots of the problem, and they all combine to create this situation. Our recipe is that of giving work, because work – dignified work, decent work, work that respects international law and labor rights – gives dignity to people, allows women in “traditional societies” to flourish and change society from within.
Andrea’s third guest was Amah Ayivifounder of menswear brand Marché Noir, who grew up in Togo in West Africa before moving his label to the French capital.
Speaking about his formative years of re-wearing and repairing, he told the panel: “Sustainability is part of our DNA in Africa – because of the lack of money you have to find solutions. It’s a kind of heritage that I apply to my brand.
But a world desensitized to fast fashion and expecting instant gratification isn’t exactly an easy place to operate a small business.
“For me, it’s easy because it’s part of my vision. When I started my business, people asked me why I made my kente crafts – the process is very long and it’s woven fabric. I said, ‘Because I want to work with my community’.
“Each of us has a role to play”
Indeed, if the day’s discussions had one overriding theme, it was that of community – fostering it and harnessing it to create a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry.
“Each of us has a role to play,” Marie-Claire Daveu of Kering concluded during the event’s opening panel, while Veja co-founder and CEO Sébastien Kopp spoke about communities. in Brazil that the brand works with when making its ever-popular sneakers. .
Highlighting the importance of traceability in a brand’s supply chain, he said Marie Claire Galia Loupan of International during a panel on ethical fashion: “We want to create a product that respects human rights and the planet. To do this, we went to the field, in Brazil, to meet cotton and rubber producers. The result? A socially and ecologically loved brand for stylish men and women around the world.
But don’t think the day was all talk. Workshops were at the center of the event, with attendees invited to a masterclass on upcycling with SED NOVE studio founder Léopolda Contaux-Bellina between panels.
Kering hasn’t been shy about showcasing its own innovative projects for the environment either, with spokesperson Yoann Régent, Head of Sustainable Sourcing and Nature Initiative for the South Gobi Cashmere Project, discussing the brand’s efforts to champion the animal welfare, biodiversity and improved wages and living conditions. for shepherds in Mongolia.
During a panel chaired by Danielle McNally, Editor-in-Chief at Marie Claire US, Gucci’s waste-minimizing Off The Grid collection was showcased as an example of a luxury brand committing to demand real change in an industry historically obsessed with excess. “Our actions revolve around circularity, regenerative agriculture and biodiversity,” Antonella Centra, EVP General Counsel, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Gucci, told a captivated audience.
As the sun set over Paris and attendees and panelists returned home with renewed optimism and a barrage of brilliant ideas, it was incumbent on the fashion industry as a whole to stop turning a blind eye. on the climate crisis. “If the industry doesn’t start thinking differently,” Ayivi concluded before Andrea’s panel, “nothing will change.”