We are thrilled to announce that Andy will be sharing our Climate Code project at the Dharte Fashion, Lifestyle and Wellness Expo in London - Feb 15th.
16th February 2024
Fashion, Lifestyle and Wellness Expo, London
People and planet positive
It was great to be invited to contribute to this event. There was such a good vibe throughout the day with a wide variety of contributions from the worlds of fashion, wellness and lifestyle.
There was a real sense of community and collaboration both in the room and with the online audience. All three areas (fashion, wellness and lifestyle) overlap one another and collectively support people to being their best selves. To be part of these open, frank and sometimes challenging talks was a real honour, because anything that breaks down the boundaries and enables people to get more comfortable with openly discussing mental health and well being has to be a good thing. And we really want to support that whenever we can.
If you weren't able to make the event, don't worry we've written up our notes and will share the slides, as presented, here goes...
How do we reframe fashion?
I think we all know that fashion, like every industry, needs to change, to evolve and innovate. This can sound scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
How we approach this challenge is crucial
When it comes to the environment, there are some massive challenges. And this can completely overwhelm you, paralysing your good intentions and increasing the levels of procrastination.
We need to step away from trying to solve the big challenge and think about we can do, what’s within our power and influence? The steps we can take in the right direction.
We need to rethink and reframe
Question what first appears to be impossible, is it really impossible? Or are we succumbing to working within the boundaries of what has been acceptable practice before? Are there good reasons why we follow these processes and could we find something better? Better for all – the business, people and planet.
The existing narrative
Historically we have been told by government’s and large corporations that the sacrifices of nature and natural spaces was part of the way we grew and prospered. In reality nothing could be further from the truth, as Tony Juniper shared at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, we are sleepwalking through unbelievable levels of natural damage and neglect. The action that is being taken, is being directed by legislation, but the legislation isn’t ambitious enough to create the impact that is needed.
There are some scary statistics and that's the most important part of this, don't get dragged into the doom and gloom
We must become environment positive
As mentioned above, the environment challenge can very quickly become a dark place, full of negativity and angst. I believe that we already have more than enough of that in our lives right now.
We need to reframe the challenges and find opportunities within them. Stop dwelling on the negatives, they create inertia and are really unhelpful on every level. Look for the positives, embrace change and share the good vibes because they are infectious, people are drawn to positivity.
Easy to say
I agree it is, easy to say these things, but it’s also not as hard as you might think to action them too. We are a small business, in fact I’d go as far as to say tiny, within the world of fashion, we’ve embraced change, tried new things and the overall effect has been incredibly positive for both the DressCode team and our customers.
What we did
We looked at lots of aspects of the business and where we could have the influence to effect change, we also considered the financial impact of these changes and the broader feel good that comes with them. As we worked through this project, it was clear that the team and our customers wanted to be more sustainable. So making the changes became a natural next step.
Material, in this case cotton, is our biggest resource, so we began exploring alternatives. Experimenting with new materials to see if there were viable alternatives. After a lot of tests, and some considerable pushback from various suppliers and tailoring experts, we arrived at a material that we felt confident about, Tencel and the impact has been incredibly positive form everybody involved, even those who have worked within fashion and textiles for a long time, can see the benefits and feel more confident about the changes.
Taking a 360 view
During this process of looking at the demands of our activities on the planet, we also implemented a number of other, smaller actions. Each one, a step in the right direction to improving our sustainability.
Always lead with positivity
If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s this, ‘be positive about the environment’. Share your passions, embrace the challenge and don’t dwell in the gloom. Because when you are environment positive, that positivity comes back.
Over and over and over again
It comes from everywhere, not just your customers, but your team, suppliers, media and further afield. Being positively passionate is infectious, and it feels good for everyone involved.
Reframing the ROI
What an awful and out of date term (ROI) is. As author Robert Rose says, this should be thought about as the ‘return on involvement’. Getting involved gives you direction, ambition and connection. And that was exacting what this event was about.
Reflecting on the changes we made
When you share your involvement with other people amazing connections are made, tribes are built and the cumulative support, the groundswell is incredible. We need to stop thinking about self and personal interest, we need to embrace the power of community and what’s good for society. When we work together and support one another we can overcome anything.