All the tools to decipher if a designer is ethical to the level you want them to be are officially at your fingertips thanks to the internet. The fashion industry is slowly coming around to understanding this. So with this new fashion toolbox, both transparency and traceability are becoming hammered into sustainable product development. Spaces like the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator and recent trade shows like Texworld USA have been helping designers take that consciousness to new levels through access to sustainable textiles, businesses and strategies by which to implement new design processes for the 21st century.
While “sustainability” is certainly a larger umbrella with lots of niche focuses underneath, being able to have accessible conversations with designers who may or may not know where to start is critical.
We recently spent three days at Texworld USA, the east coast’s largest sourcing event for apparel fabric buyers, research and product development specialist, designers, merchandisers and overseas sourcing professionals. Held bi-annually, Texworld USA provides the opportunity to meet directly with a wide range of manufacturers from Asia, the Middle East, North America and from many other regions from around the globe
“Texworld was such a great show and we had lots of independent designers approaching us with interest in our Venture Fellow program. In the current fashion landscape, it’s hard for designers to know where to begin their sustainability journey and the BF+DA has always been a space to nurture creativity and to offer helpful tools,” says BF+DA Space & Program Director Christine Billard who worked the BF+DA booth for the three days of Texworld.
“We were approached by many entrepreneurs who as a niche, saw themselves as underserved by the fashion industry and wanted to address the gaps they found in the market- anything from ethically produced undergarments for women outside of the standard A, B, C, and D-cups to environmentally sustainable performance wear to hemp and textile researchers. Texworld brought such a range of designers to us,” adds Billard.
Texworld 2018’s educational seminar series, organized by Lenzing Fibers brought thought leadership to life with informational sessions and panels hosted by industry experts who discussed the global textiles and sourcing landscape, including sustainable solutions and the circular economy.
As part of the seminars, on Monday, July 23rd, BF+DA Production Coordinator Tara St James gave a presentation on “How to Create A Sustainable Supply Chain.”
“Over the past few seasons TexWorld has been shifting the topics of their programming to suit independent designers and start-ups. The main focus has been on how to start, build and develop a brand with a strong shift towards sustainability. They have done a great job recognizing that the majority of visitors to the show and participants in the panels, presentations and talks have been designers who are hungry for this information and ready to learn, which is exactly the community we foster at the BF+DA,” says St James.
Texworld USA also expanded their “Explore the Floor“ series featuring guided tours that allowed attendees to walk the show floor with seasoned industry experts in an intimate setting. These tours provided visitors with insights on different exhibitors relevant to their businesses and allowed questions from attendees in an open format. Topics included: ethical sourcing, sustainability, agroforestry, fashion law and more.
“People were coming up to us deeply inspired not only by Tara’s message from her talk on sustainable alternatives throughout the product development process, but also for ways to get involved in creating a more sustainable fashion future. At Resource Row we heard again and again how good it is to witness the emerging designers who are disrupting the fashion industry with their sustainable designs like St James,” says Billard. “We just like that designers want to disrupt.”