The tipping point is here. The one we’ve seen coming for a long time where our consumer society has surpassed its compatibility with the finite resources of the Earth. The truth is that we’ve been aware of the imbalance between our demands on nature and nature’s ability to support us for more than half a century now. Thankfully, consumer attitudes are changing. Just as we have become accustomed to asking the provenance of what we put in our bodies, today the question of where and how the clothes we put on our bodies are made is becoming just as familiar, and as important. Clothes, like art, music and architecture, are a reflection of the time in which they are created. Yet in comparison – particularly with that other design discipline that accommodates the body, architecture – fashion trails way behind.
And as protagonists in one of the world’s largest industries, one with reverberations that can be felt on every city’s high street, we have not only a responsibility to do something about it, but also the power to influence. The very nature of fashion is one of an ever-changing cycle – it has to reinvent itself every six months. At first, that rapid turnaround, both ideologically and in terms of production, might seem totally at odds with the concept of sustainability. But that’s missing the point.
Because, fashion, more than any other industry, is predisposed to overhauling its system. Yes, sourcing material responsibly, ensuring manufacturing has a low-impact on the environment and trading ethically all takes radical change and vision. But that is what fashion does best. The industry needs to embrace it as just another form of reinvention.
That said, “eco-friendly” is not a fad, and responsible trading is not a trend. Instead, by looking to technological innovations and educating not only the consumer, but also those with influence – like designers and buyers – as to
how their clothes are made, ethical production can be the next step in fashion’s evolution. A step that is key to fashion remaining relevant as a design discipline that not only reflects the times but also directs them.
It sounds like a Herculean task. But it is important to remember there are no fixed solutions when dealing with sustainable, environmentally responsible production. Like the constant flux of fashion and the Earth itself, it is an area of constant change. Technological innovation in textiles and production offer a brave new world of creative possibilities such as growing seamless clothes onto the body (as discussed by the Gucci Group’s Burak Cakmak later in this publication) that might be more dynamic and exciting than what existed before. Creativity – be it from the specialist innovations of scientists or from fashion designers, buyers, marketing teams and the media – is crucial to not only the survival of luxury as an industry, but also life on Earth as we know it. Embrace the problem – create the solution.
We are not unrealistic in what we’re asking of fashion. We understand there is no such thing as a completely “green” fashion company. We are also fully aware of the negative associations with “ethical fashion”, the phrase, and the flaws – chiefly in the design process – of companies who brand themselves as such. What we are asking is that the companies we know, the labels we love and the people we respect try to become “greener”. And in doing so, “green” will become desirable. Strengthening not only the attachment today’s consumers have with their favourite brands, but also that of the next generation – for whom sustainability will be second nature.
There are some brands and young designers already out there proving that ethics needn’t get in the way of aesthetics. But there is a long way to go. The fashion industry is far from being sustainable. However, step-by-step, we can all try – lead, and others will follow. And besides, with the price points of most high fashion, no one wants to be wearing €1500 of bad karma on their back.
Ever Manifesto Issue 01
Founders: Alexia Niedzielski, Charlotte Casiraghi, Elizabeth von Guttman
Guest Editor: Franca Sozzani
Associate Editor: Xerxes Cook
Managing Editor: Ben Cobb
Art Direction: Saturday London
Editorial Co-ordinator: Raphael Castelmezzano
Photographer: Amira Fritz
Production: Renate Gallois Montbrun
First Assistant: Florent Brunel
Second Assistant: Mélina Vernant
Third Assistant: Lena Natus
Conception Flowers: Amira Fritz
Realisation Flowers: Sibylle Fritz
Stylist: Theresa Fritz
Models: Dana @ Slides, Roman @ MGM
With the support of:
L’Atelier Publimod for development and prints
Janvier for scans and colorimetry
Neige De Benedetti, Matteo Caraccia, Alessia Glaviano, Jens Grede,
Mila Serena Di Lapigio, Stella McCartney, Michelangelo Pistoletto,
Erik Torstensson, Mimma Viglezio, Oliver Walsh
With generous support from Loro Piana
Ever Manifesto is about evolution
EVER Manifesto aims to inspire positive transformations in how we live by generating sustainable solutions for both work and play that are aimed at protecting our planet for future generations.
Importantly, these are solutions that can start NOW. EVER Manifesto intends to stimulate reflection, debate and action. When we have something to say, we will publish a manifesto, working with our supporters, researchers and experts to move people through the power of imagery and the written word. Each manifesto will focus on a specific theme, and support a specific project or event that brings the worlds of science and the arts together through the issue of sustainability.
In the meantime, you can find EVER Manifesto on the Internet, interacting with individuals all across the world who share our principles to generate a collective voice that speaks louder than any amount of individual efforts.