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The CFDA Launches Resource-Rich Sustainability Initiative for Designers

To help American brands move toward a more planet-friendly, human-friendly supply chain.
Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images

Photo: JP Yim/Getty Images

As the sustainability movement continues to edge further from the sidelines and into the mainstream, brands that don't adjust accordingly are likely to be left behind. In keeping with that shift, the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched a new sustainability initiative on Monday. Presenting a combination of information, resources and research, the initiative is intended to make understanding and pursuing sustainability easier for any designer.

"Currently, the fashion industry is not sustainable. We are using up natural resources and exploiting people in ways that will deplete future generations of the resources they need, impacting the future profitability and business opportunities," the CFDA said in its newly launched Sustainability Directory. 

The initiative is comprised of four parts: The first is the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, which is meant to provide a "how-to" for CFDA members looking to create an actionable roadmap for pursuing their own sustainability goals. The second component of the initiative is the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit, which was authored by former Eileen Fisher team member Lauren Croke and is meant to "provide users with step by step guidance in the creation of strategic blueprints," according to a release from the CFDA.

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The Materials Index on, which details fiber knowledge on more than 40 materials and will be continually updated, is the third part of the sustainability initiative. The last element is the Sustainability Directory, which breaks down concepts like systems thinking and slow fashion, offers resources for self-assessment and further reading and lists relevant organizations and standards (think Nest and Fair Trade) that could be useful to brands that are trying to do good. 

In addition to these online resources, the CFDA also plans to facilitate three or four events focused on sustainability over the course of the next year, starting with a discussion of the sustainability guide by the people who authored it that will take place in New York City on Tuesday.

"Now is a truly exciting time for the sustainability movement in fashion," the CFDA Directory states. "We have the power to change the way fashion is made and consumed."

Check out the CFDA's full suite of sustainability resources for yourself here.

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