Sustainability is a topic that will never lose its significance–but it is also one that especially challenges the fashion industry and puts it under constant scrutiny. The increasing rise of sustainable labels is an indicator of the awareness of this topic and the claim of designers and people from the fashion industry to produce differently and to be more transparent when it comes to the manufacturing process. But even if the attempt is there it is obviously not enough to change a whole industry. And let’s not forget about the consumers–what role do they play in this process?
Within the scope of Panorama Berlin in July the panel discussion “Share a Vision, Start Your Action: How to Create New Awareness in Consumer Habits” took place. SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL’s editor-in-chief Sabine Kühnl moderated as industry insiders Marco Lucietti, global marketing director SANKO/ISKO division; denim innovator Adriano Goldschmied; Maria Giovanna Sandrini, brand and communication manager at Aquafil; and Gabriel Hadid, chief sales officer of Panorama Fairs, discussed the topic of sustainability and how to make a difference in the fashion world.
Sabine Kühnl: Do people give a shit about sustainability?
Adriano Goldschmied: Radical transparency is important and could be the key. People usually don’t care much about sustainability. To talk about sustainability is great but it is much better to make it. If you are a honest person you don’t say it the whole time, you simply are it.
Fares Gabriel Hadid: Sustainability starts with the little things. The way we eat, even it is just a small thing but it is a start.
Marco Lucietti: Would you be transparent? It’s a tricky question and it depends on the market. At Isko we are very open with our production process. How we recycle, how we produce our fabrics, how we support people in the countries we source. You have to build trust around your company. Millenials today are not loyal to brands anymore, but they are loyal when it comes to experiences and what they connect with the brand. We are open to share these experiences but we are not open to share our margin, that’s our private industry thing.
Sabine Kühnl: Is it the consumer who has the power?
Adriano Goldschmied: The consumer is not ready to pay more. Sustainability is not their job it is our job to make the process fair–invest in technology for example. If you have the right vision the cost of sustainable products is lower than the cost of non-sustainable products.
Maria Giovanna Sandrini: From my perspective I have to say that our experience is a different one. Consumers have changed and they are looking for more sustainable and recycled products. They pay without having any doubt of the price.
Adriano Goldschmied: You shouldn’t even give them an option. If we are leaders we should only offer sustainable products.
Marco Lucietti: Sustainability is a very long journey for companies.
Sabine Kühnl: Why can’t companies cut their margin?
Marco Lucietti: Why should I cut down if consumers are ready to pay more for food but not for clothes?
Adriano Goldschmied: Sustainability is an obligation. I hate if you have a fake strategy.
Sabine Kühnl: Should we buy less?
Fares Gabriel Hadid: It’s a good idea; why not? Once you sort out things you don’t use anymore, you quickly realize how good this feels and how much you don’t need.
Sabine Kühnl: What is your contribution to the sustainability topic?
Marco Lucietti: We deliver fabrics by bike. No, seriously. We are trying to find alternative ways of transportation instead of trucks. No empty trucks are leaving Isko, but in the end of the day we are dealing with a shipping product and we need to send it by truck, train or sea. I think that we are already doing a good job compared to the rest of the industry.