In fashion, green is the new black [USGBC+ Jan/Feb 2016]
This article was originally published as "Green Is the New Black" in the January/February issue of USGBC+. Read the original version.
Take a poll of sustainable fashion gurus, and you’re likely to hear the same thing in multiple ways: They’re currently a small group, but they’re poised to set a trend. Lewis Perkins, interim president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a nonprofit that certifies sustainable materials in several industries, including fashion, says there was “not much movement at all” around sustainable fashion as recently as a couple of years ago. To the extent that fashion designers did focus on environmental and human rights issues, they largely did so on an individual basis, he says. Now, finally, Perkins is starting to see collaborative efforts across the industry. “It’s never going to move fast enough for those of us that are advocates in the space,” he says, “but the reality is, it’s moving faster than it ever has.”
“Consumers certainly haven’t taken up [sustainable fashion] in the way they’ve taken up organic food,” says Kate Black, author of Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty. But, she says, a number of companies are making positive changes anyway, both for business reasons and because they anticipate that shoppers will soon begin paying as much attention to how their clothes are made as to how their food is grown. “Everybody is scrambling to change their ways before consumers realize what they’re paying for.”