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On Tuesday, 9 November, the UK government’s international marketing campaign, GREAT, hosted an event in partnership with the British Fashion Council which showcased how brands have adapted their work to increase sustainability and reduce their contribution to the climate crisis.
British designers that took part in the “GREAT Fashion for Climate Action” show include Burberry, Phoebe English, Stella McCartney, Priya Ahluwalia, Mother of Pearl and Mulberry.
The World Bank estimates that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of all annual global carbon emissions.
The runway gave each brand the opportunity to present how they are innovating to address the industry’s carbon footprint.
For example, Stella McCartney has committed to using no animal products in her clothing. The designer has created bags using mushroom leather, and uses only synthetic fur in her products.
Priya Ahluwalia, a designer from London, upcycles deadstock and vintage clothing for her collections.
Other brands, like Mulberry and Burberry, have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions across their supply chains.
Burberry said it will aim to cut emissions by 46 per cent by 2030 and become net zero by 2040. Mulberry said it plans to reach net zero emissions by 2035.
Pam Batty, the vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry, said she hopes the brand’s pledge will inspire other businesses to take action.
“Now more than ever, faster and bolder action is needed to create a resilient, zero carbon future,” she said.
“It is essential for the fashion industry to use its influence by investing in more sustainable solutions.”
Mother of Pearl – a sustainable womenswear brand that uses natural fibres like organic cotton and wool in its clothing – said there needs to be an “entire system reset” in how clothes are made, sold and bought.
“We need to get back to valuing clothes as beautifully crafted pieces, not throw away objects,” Amy Powey, creative director of the company said.
“The system needs to slow down, we need to invest in brands with the right values and consider closed loop systems which encourage us to rent, repair, recycle and resell, replacing impulse purchases and fast fashion methodology.”
Speakers at the show included model Arizona Muse, who was dressed in Mother of Pearl.
In June, Muse launched Dirt, a charity that is dedicated to regenerating soil in support of biodynamic farming – a chemical-free method of farming that promotes biodiversity.
“From infinitely recyclable clothing to carbon neutral companies, it’s brilliant to see these British fashion brands innovating and leading the industry towards a greener future,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“I know many more businesses will work hard to make fashion more sustainable in the years to come and I commend the industry’s resolve to play their part in this.”