Town Hall 4: Mindful Fashion in Media

By: Jessica Fillak

The Canvas' Fourth Town Hall centered around mindful fashion in the media, and the way in which platforms give voices to rising brands. We were joined by Alden Wicker, the founder and editor of EcoCult, Alejandra Ospina, Director of TRIB·ECO and Ethical Boutique, as well as Jens Wittwer, Co-Founder and CEO of Luxiders. 

Alden Wicker, Founder and Editor of EcoCult

 Alden Wicker is a freelance sustainable fashion journalist and founder and editor of EcoCult—an educational platform for consumers and fashion professionals looking for more information on sustainable fashion. Alden collaborated with Alejendra of TRIB-ECO, conducting an information rich course for up-and-coming sustainable fashion professionals.   

Alejandra Ospina, Director of TRIB·ECO, and Ethical Boutique

Alejandra is a foreign affairs professional and sustainable enterprise consultant from Columbia. She founded the TRIB·ECO educational and consultancy platform and Ethical Boutique in 2018 with the aim of developing an ecosystem where sustainable and ethical brands in Latin America could thrive. Courses, workshops, and consulting are conducted in Spanish to allow Latin American brands to join the conversation around sustainable fashion. The Tribeco pop-up showcasing the best Latin American fashion has toured countries such as the U.S., Spain, Hungary, and more.

Jens Wittwer, Co-founder and CEO, Luxiders

Jens Wittwer, born in East Berlin, started to become interested in fashion photography and design in 2008. He had long been fascinated by the industry, and its intriguing blend of creativity, aesthetics and the importance to care about resources and ethical demands. Jens co-founded LUXIDERS, a modern media company which aspires to expand the responsible consumption worldwide. Headquartered in Berlin, the LUXIDERS Magazine spotlights the best of sustainability, fashion, and lifestyle in English, German, and Spanish. 



FASHION, THE MEDIA, AND FAKE NEWS

The discussion of mindful fashion in media began with the common misconception infiltrating countless outlets for years—being "fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world." This false statement, both shocking and believable, has been used by brands and fashion reform advocates to urge consumers to consume more careful. Despite the popularity of this statement, there is no scientific evidence to support it. In other words, the intention is good—but the facts aren't there. The permeation of this misinformation by otherwise credible sources raises the question:

How do we start to make real change in the industry if we are provided with fake news from sources we trust? Where do we start?

To answer these questions, it is necessary to consider why there is such a saturation of misinformation spreading in the fashion industry. Alden points out that there is extremely little academic, peer reviewed research on the environmental impact of the industry.
 
Without researched backed data, nothing can be measured, and legislation to combat fashion's environmental impact cannot be implemented. Alden calls for the need for cooperation between scientists and the fashion journalists to generate and spread reliable and informed data on fashion's environmental impact. She also calls on brands to confirm the validity of their sources before spreading information.   

Alejandro also condemns the use of spreading alarming, unbacked statistics on the environmental impact of the fashion industry as a "call to action," stating there are better ways to attract customers and promote advocacy, such as beautiful design and high quality. She comments on the lack of information and data translated into Spanish, resulting in the spread of misinformation in Latin America, and advocates for transparent and honest data in all languages.

Jens narrows in on the responsibility of the brands themselves to keep track of their own environmental impact, from pollution, waste, to water use.  He points out the challenges of government regulation, but predicts that the global pandemic will sensitize governments globally, and push us to work together. 


MEDIA & SMALL BRAND SUCCESS  

The connecting thread of this discussion is the way in which media can support small, rising brands.

Alden speaks to the importance of responsible journalism by only promoting and mentioning brands that she cares about and believes in. She details the significance of strategic partnership, and urges small brands to understand their audience to be successful.

Alejandro ensures that small Latin American brands gain global exposure with pop-ups around the world, and assists brands in getting their story across clearly and efficiently. She has bridged the gap between English and Spanish with her bilingual course, facilitating connections that could not have formed otherwise.    

Jens adds that there is no one-size fits all for small brand success. LUXIDERS consults with brands to achieve their specific goals, and with a special focus on aesthetics, finds the best way to achieve them.   

TOWN HALL 4 READING LIST

Towards the end of the conversation, the speakers recommended books concerning mindful fashion. These are the notable books mentioned: 

The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline

Sustainable Fashion by Jennifer Farley Hill & Colleen Hill

Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess

Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

Why Fashion Matters by Frances Corner

We are thrilled to announce The Canvas Podcast! Click below to listen to this discussion on Spotify.