The global fashion industry needs urgent change toward more sustainability. It's one of the largest polluters in the world.
Luckily, many organizations and initiatives are working hard to make change happen faster in the textile and apparel industry. It's very encouraging to see regained interest in sustainability among conscious consumers, brands, and retailers.
They typically assemble key players from the industry to work on the common goal of improving the fashion industry. They offer expert services, advice, information, guidelines, and recommendations on sustainable fashion.
It's time to take massive action to reduce deforestation, pollution, waste, carbon emissions, water, and energy consumption. Fashion companies need to add more sustainable practices into their daily operations.
The apparel and footwear industry employs more than 300 million people around the world, some of them in the poorest countries and under inhumane working conditions.
Let's encourage more social responsibility to put an end to child labor and modern slavery. Every company should work toward offering better treatment to its supply chain workers and protecting the environment.
There is still so much to be done to transform the global fashion industry, the way we produce and consume clothing today. Everyone has an important role to play.
Even if it takes a lot of work and persistence, we must take part in this change to create a more circular and regenerative economy for the apparel industry.
Here are the top 10 organizations, websites, summits, coalitions, initiatives, and research programs working on ethical and sustainable fashion.
1. Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) is a research center based at the London College of Fashion of the University of the Arts London (UAL).
It's committed to using fashion to drive change, build a sustainable future, and improve the way we live since 2008. It supports key change-makers in the fashion industry with sustainable design and business practices.
The CSF brings together a diverse community of world-leading researchers, designers, educators, and communicators with an extensive network across many disciplines and locations.
2. Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design, and build a positive future circular economy.
Together with businesses, governments, and academia, the organization builds a framework for a restorative and regenerative economy.
Its core mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, based on design principles lowering waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
3. Fashion For Good
Fashion For Good is an industry-funded platform for sustainable fashion innovation. Its mission is to bring together the entire ecosystem to make fashion a force for good.
It aims to transform the fashion industry from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ model to a circular Good Fashion approach that is restorative and regenerative by design.
The organization focuses on sparking and scaling technologies and business models that have the greatest potential to transform the industry through an Accelerator, Scaling Program, and Good Fashion Fund.
“The Five Goods represent an aspirational framework we can all use to work towards a world in which we do not simply take, make, waste, but rather take, make, renew, restore.”
- William McDonough, Fashion for Good co-founder
4. Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit global movement represented by The Fashion Revolution Foundation and Fashion Revolution CIC with teams in over 100 countries around the world.
The organization assembles fashion brands, retailers, designers, workers, consumers, academics, writers, leaders, policy, and change-makers from all around the world.
It focuses on using voices to transform the entire system with systemic and structural change, to make the fashion industry protect the environment and value people over growth and profit.
Fashion Revolution Week takes place in April each year, on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured thousands more in 2013. Millions of people are invited to come together to campaign for change.
5. Good On You
Good On You is a mobile app and website that offers thousands of brand ratings, articles, and expertise on ethical and sustainable fashion to learn more about the impact of fashion brands on people, animals, and the planet.
The ethical brand rating system provides conscious consumers with buying advice and shopping suggestions to make better choices when purchasing fashion items.
Good On You look at certifications, standard systems, and ratings to rank more than 2,000 fashion brands. It also considers brands' public statements that meet certain conditions for reliability and usefulness.
"Good On You is my benchmark for sustainable fashion. This means that when I’m given a platform to speak about my choice of outfit, I will have a meaningful story to tell. And it’s powerful. But I am just one person. In truth, we can all play a part in driving fashion to be more sustainable and ethical. By choosing to wear clothes from labels that embrace transparent, creative, and innovative production methods; and by re-wearing, recycling, swapping, and thrifting."
- Emma Watson, English actress, model, and sustainable fashion advocate
6. Global Fashion Agenda
Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) is a leadership forum assembling fashion industry leaders and influencers for collaboration on sustainability.
It's an advocacy, non-profit, thought leadership organization focusing on mobilizing and guiding the fashion industry to take bold and urgent action on sustainability.
The organization is behind the Copenhagen Fashion Summit since 2009, a leading business event on sustainability in fashion, which gathers key players in the fashion industry, multilateral organizations, associations, and political decision-makers to find common solutions to implement social and environmental sustainability.
7. Slow Factory Foundation
Slow Factory Foundation is a non-profit public service organization dedicated to improving sustainability literacy in fashion since 2013.
It operates education, design, community initiatives, and other opportunities for corporations to develop deeper transparency and innovation strategies for better environmental and social impact.
The Foundation uses a holistic, human-centered approach to bridge science, human rights, technology, and culture with fashion.
It partners with global brands, nonprofits, and academia to build community and growing global movements through education.
It's behind the cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary global conferences Study Hall that educate around sustainability literacy in fashion, as a medium for social and environmental change.
8. Sustainable Apparel Coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is one apparel, footwear, and textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production.
The SAC's vision is of an industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.
The Coalition develops the Higg Index, a standardized value chain measurement suite of tools for all industry participants. It enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes to assess their environmental impacts.
Its goal is to empower fashion companies to make meaningful improvements that defend the welfare of garment factory workers, local communities, and the environment.
9. Textile Exchange
Textile Exchange a global non-profit organization that drives industry transformation in preferred fibers, integrity, standards, and responsible supply networks since 2002.
It provides tons of useful resources and information about better textiles aiming t inspire and equip people to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain.
Companies and organizations from more than 25 countries have joined the organization as members to take their sustainability strategy to the next level.
10. United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion
The UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion is an initiative of United Nations agencies and allied organizations. It aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through coordinated action in the fashion sector.
The Alliance supports collaboration, knowledge sharing, outreach, and advocacy through the development of joint activities, including events, research, and guidelines.
Its work extends from the production of raw materials and the manufacturing of garments, accessories, and footwear, to their distribution, consumption, and disposal.
The UN is committed through the Alliance to driving lasting change in the fashion industry, reducing its negative social and environmental impacts.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.