The initiative has already gained support from some of the industry’s biggest players including Tory Burch, Mickey Drexler, Zac Posen, Francisco Costa, and of course Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has also leant her support, speaking at yesterday’s luncheon announcing the initiative, which comes not a moment too soon.
Experts and promotional video shown at yesterday’s announcment made increasingly clear just “how toxic fashion’s impact on nature can be,” showing rivers in China polluted with dyes, and explaining that it takes over 200 tons of water to produce one ton of fabric–something which will have to change as our demand for clean drinking water is on track to double over the next 40 years.
One of the huge hurdles that has made reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint difficult, is that most brands produce out of China. Besides being on the other side of the globe, China’s production practices are anything but transparent, making it difficult for brands to have an accurate picture of what goes on in their own factories.
“What we found when we got there was that the standard of operation of many, if not most, factories was far below global standards and desperately needed to improve,” said Linda Greer, director of the NRDC’s health and environment program.
“The era of operating without knowledge of your factories abroad is ending,” Greer continued. “And the curtain is rising above the sorts of problems and aspirations that we have abroad. It’s really time to get moving and not just figure that ‘It’s halfway around the world and nobody will ever know.’”
Greer’s statement hits home the fact that many designers, and American consumers, seem to have an out of sight, out of mind approach to fashion’s environmentally harmful manufacturing practices. But that needs to change. Hopefully Clean by Design will be a step in the right direction.