GCNYC's Fair Fashion Center drives conversation on sustainability

Wed, 31 Jul 2019 08:46:00 BST

​As the fashion industry's world renowned New York trade shows begin to include sustainability as a recurring staple in their programming, the GCNYC Fair Fashion Center (FFC) is leading the conversation. The Center's expertise is in increasing demand, with contributions this month on the opportunities to scale sustainability across the disciplines of the apparel and accessories industry at Première Vision and Texworld USA.

GCNYC Vice President and FFC Founder, Cara Smyth addressed delegates at Première Vision New York, which styles itself as the major business hub for North American fashion professionals. Other contributors included the Vice President of Sustainability at Ralph Lauren, and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's 'Make Fashion Circular' project.  Ms Smyth discussed company values, operational efficiencies, and investor incentives, as the fashion industry begins to identify and prove the business case for sustainability. 

"Industry leaders are being called upon to act as corporate statesmen, but businesses often lack the internal expertise required to navigate the myriad of environmental, social and governance subjects," said Ms Smyth.  "I was delighted to share examples of the FFC's work translating issues and incubating scalable business solutions to address fashion's most systemic environmental and social challenges."

The Texworld USA show also chose to focus on sustainability, inviting GCNYC's Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Maggie Kervick to moderate a panel of senior industry figures, including UN consultant Karen Newman, as part of its day-long Fashionsustain programme. The discussion on "Transparency and Traceability: Challenges Facing Major Brands" looked at the various challenges and successes of supply chain management, as well as the innovations and technology that can help brands overcome those obstacles.

Jennifer Bacon, Texworld USA Show Director, Fashion & Apparel said: "As trailblazers within the textile industry, we try to spotlight what's trending; whether that is covering certain topics or product advancements with vendors and mills. Because being sustainable has reached a point that it's too important to ignore, our show now explores the importance of speed to market, as well having the ability to supply eco-friendly sourcing options in order to retain and obtain buyers."

Accessing industry events is important for GCNYC, as it develops opportunities for professionals working in fashion to make the link between sustainability and education. GCNYC hosted a "Principles of Fair Fashion" workshop event, taught by Maggie Kervick and Frank Zambrelli. It's the last of a successful series of well attended workshops, with plans already underway for another workshop series in the autumn.