When we talk about sustainable fashion, we subconsciously think about organic materials, water usage, traceability, transparency, acceptable conditions in the workplace and recycling. But the proposals in the field of sustainability have omitted the aspects most relevant to the person, when they are the focal point for the development of a sustainable conscience. Sustainability in the field of material will be possible if we reach individuals’ consciences.
Over the last while, It has been looking at the need to develop a line of investigation about sustainable anthropology applied to the textile and fashion sectors.
We have made it necessary to elaborate on the theoretical basis and a sustainable anthropological code applied to the textile and fashion industry in the form of human rights.
In fact, on one occasion, we directed this question to Greenpeace: Do you develop actions to encourage sustainability in the anthropological area? The answer was not what you would hope: NO. we commented to them that when they implemented them to let me know and I would support them without having to think about it. It’s a big paradox that sustainability is centred solely on the main players’ affairs and not the main player in the affairs.
Why is anthropology in fashion necessary?
Anthropology is a science that evolves with man, you can’t absorb the complexity of the issue in only one way, and furthermore, you need other disciplines to create awareness; the start of any investigation starts with a simple question and its complexity lies in the interpretation of its many answers.
- Anthropology is necessary to develop in fashion as a base for sustainability in itself.
- A correct fashion anthropology contributes to the salvation of one as a person, of being human in the wave of consumerism that surrounds us.
- It also facilitates the means to not be drawn into the financial interests of the industry that have surpassed the respect for human rights, the environment, ethics, etc
- Because through a sustainable anthropology based on human rights, other levels of sustainable development are promoted.
- The Code of Conduct NICE mentions “you” and concretely describes to whom the code refers, to whom it includes. But it is not sufficient to mention individuals but to mould these individuals so that they have the capacity to take on the commitment of the code.
- To create terms of a sustainable anthropology is a step to prevent the danger of forgetting and losing the conscientiousness of human identity.
- Essentially, a sustainable anthropology is necessary to fill the anthropological gaps that exist in the Code of Conduct and Manual for the textile and fashion sector.
As Gardetti & Torres mention in their book “Leading the change”, the process of transformation to sustainability in the industry is a long-term commitment towards a new form of production and consumption that requires a big change – personally, socially and institutionally. The challenges to be broken are defined precisely.
a) The pressure to compare ourselves with others through the accumulation and showing off of goods.
b) The constant replacing of things: every new acquisition requires another is replaced.
c) The cultural obligation to experiment with everything.
d) Consumption as a continuous process of creating your identity (Gardetti & Torres, Rev. periodica, p.99)
Very effectively, these authors direct us towards a goal: “Fashion and textiles should escape this function and play a different role that helps us identify the causes of sustainability problems and use them as a way to create new aspirations. This puts fashion and textiles in a more subtle and complex role than is frequently recognised. It is a role that is never completed with a minimalist strategy” (Gardetti & Torres, Rev. periodica, pp.100-101).
Examples of developmental values in the textile and fashion sector: Generosity, Charity, Audacity, Strength, Humility, Sincerity, Discipline, Personality, Work, Frivolity, Ambition, Truthfulness, Internal life, Friendship, Transcendence, Intimacy, Modesty, Responsibility, Peace, Pride, Beauty, Creativity, Sobriety and Moderation.
Other aspects to consider:
- Dressing-up as an element of social integration.
- Fashion as a new form of slavery.
- Fashion as a personal language.
- Ethics of the naked body.
- Ethics of the dressed-up body.
- Fashion as a sense of security of a person’s dignity.
In the recent report by ISEM Business School and ACME (Association of the Creators of Fashion in Spain) – Carlos Delso, an expert in the luxury industry, indicates that sustainability will become an obligation – “Today, it is still an element used by some brands to differentiate themselves, and in fact, there are some that have attained marvellous positioning with a foundation of this, like ECOALF, and these brands have the possibility to maintain their positioning as originals. What is going to happen is that in the end, it will not be a competitive advantage, but for those that are not sustainable it will be a competitive disadvantage.”
Therefore, in our opinion, except in the case of brands that already enjoy a good positioning with a solid basis in sustainability, moving forward, it will not be treated as a distinctive positioning, but more as an obligation for everyone and the client will punish those that are not sustainable. (ISEM/ACME, 2016, p.75)
Translated by Clare Hill
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