The Oscars have come and gone. The awards have been given and the losers are coming to terms with their fate. (And as a side note, I’m excited to announce that I accurately predicted all of the Oscars this year…)
But who cares about the awards! We watch the show for the fashion, and the fashion world has been under scrutiny for the heavy use of toxic chemicals in clothing production at every level.
Greenpeace led they way by sounding the horn on luxury designers who were polluting the environment with non-sustainable manufacturing processes. The Detox campaign was launched in 2011 and blew the whistle on fashion industry’s heavy use of toxic chemicals in the production and finishing of clothes. As a result of making clothes, toxic chemicals are seeping into lakes, rivers, and oceans due to poor manufacturing processes.
But is the fashion industry listening?
The campaign targeted, brands like Nike, H&M, American Apparel, Zara and Burberry. Some companies made a commitment to “Detox”, while others (GAP, American Apparel and Disney) have remained silent. Valentino and Burberry are two brands that made a commitment to adopt safer manufacturing practices and both brands made statements on the Oscar’s red carpet.
Olivia Wilde dressed for two in her Valentino off-the-runway gown. See her stunning look here. Diane Kruger opted to don the legendary designer for an Oscar’s after party. Check out her party dress here. Kevin Spacey made a bold statement on the red carpet in more ways than one. His royal blue suit was a Burberry creation. Media personality, Ryan Secrest also decided to go with the iconic English brand, as he hosted the red carpet festivities. Check out his look here.
While many celebs donned fashions from non-sustainable designers, emerging action star Kellan Lutz and former Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko, made statements with their “green” evening wear as a part of the Red Carpet Green Dress campaign. Launched in 2009 by Suzy Amis Cameron, this contest asks designers to create green looks with the winning look being showcased at the Oscars. The contest brings sustainability on the largest fashion stage, the red carpet.
Sustainable green fashion isn’t only for celebrities, brands like H&M have created affordable lines to bring green(er) clothing to the average consumer.
Toxic chemicals crop up in different parts of the textile supply chain. From production, manufacturing, and dying of the clothes themselves; then more toxic chemicals are used during the industrial cleaning process.
Our lax regulations on toxic chemicals have done little to protect us from toxic chemicals in apparel and until the Detox campaign, the market wasn’t moving towards safer alternatives. According to NRDC, “Textile manufacturing has a huge environmental footprint, polluting as much as 200 tons of water per ton of fabric with a suite of harmful chemicals, and consuming tremendous amounts of energy for steam and hot water.”
What do Clothing Brands need to do to detox?
- Admit: Companies should realize that they have a toxic problem on their hands.
- Identify: Find what chemicals are lurking in their clothes (chemicals like NPES) and seeping out of their factories.
- Report: Inform the government and communities about toxic discharges.
- List: Knowledge is power and the sooner we’re aware of the chemicals released, the sooner we can protect ourselves.
- Dedicate: Companies should be open with their customers, and allows us to make more informed choices as consumers. With that in mind, we as consumers need to hold retailers and manufacturers accountable.
We’re asking retailers to get tough on the toxic chemicals with our Mind The Store campaign and that includes clothes too! We applaud Greenpeace for taking on clothing brands; it really is time to clean up fashion.