Sustainability is trending right now—it’s cool. But the cyclical nature of fashion means that this is a problem, because whatever comes ‘in’ to fashion must, by definition, go back out again. This leads to an industry-wide problem dubbed ‘greenwashing’, where brands engage in superficial, surface-level conversations about sustainability, but draw the line at meaningful endemic change. An example—as model Edie Campbell pointed out in a recent essay penned for More or Less magazine—is fashion brands who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars jetting editors to farflung locales for extravagant Cruise shows, only to present attendees with ‘carbon neutral’ water bottles when they arrive.
“Those water bottles are to the climate movement what ‘grrrrl power’ T-shirts are to gender equality—devoid of substance and meaning,” writes Campbell, who also appears on the magazines’ cover, wearing a Kezako Paris dress crafted from dozens of used soda cans. “They are an idea cooked up by the marketing department, not science nerds. Shouldn’t we have a boffin advising a fashion house on how to become greener, not a PR team?”
Campbell goes on to criticise fast fashion brands like Boohoo—who announced in 2019 that they were ceasing the use of wool products to reduce their carbon footprint. “Which is both weird and misleading,” she writes. “Firstly, because wool is one of the more sustainable textile-components, and secondly because Boohoo didn’t stock any wool garments anyway. It was… drumroll… simply trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”
Now 30, Campbell spent most of her ’20s as the British fashion industry’s golden child, appearing on endless magazine covers and walking for the likes of Chanel, Versace, Burberry and Louis Vuitton. Also an accomplished equestrian, Campbell took a brief hiatus from the industry following a serious head injury, received during a particularly bad riding accident in 2018. In 2019, she returned to the runway, fully recovered—and is now using her platform to champion causes that are important to her. We are, as always, stoked to see a powerful industry voice speak out against the industry’s waste problem (a reminder, the clothing and textile industry are the second largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry).
Power to you, Edie.