From left Naomi Goez, Maurizio Donadi and Mike Daniel

From left Naomi Goez, Maurizio Donadi and Mike Daniel


Sustainable Progress and Next Steps on the Table at Artisan Cloth’s Innovation Celebration

Sustainable fashion is on the rise. Yet the business behind sustainability is in flux. Artisan Cloth Inc. recently organized an event, Innovation Celebration 2020, where speakers discussed what was happening in sustainability behind the buzzwords and the hype. The event ran Feb. 26 at Artisan Cloth’s loft-like showroom in downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District.

Panel moderators Brad Alden Mowry, Artisan Cloth’s owner, and Tricia Carey, Lenzing’s director of global business development, asked panelists where sustainability is going. Mike Daniel, director of the Tavex fabric mill, said that sustainability is an innovation driver.

“Three or four years ago, if you wanted to talk about laser-sensitive denim, I wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about,” Daniel said. “We were driven to create something that uses less water. It’s become one of our best-selling products.”

But the future is still undecided for sustainability. Brands often have to balance consumer demand with sustainability requirements, said Allison Charalambous, Lucky Brand’s senior manager of sustainability and social responsibility.

“Internally we have to be creative, as a mid-range denim brand, to convince our merchants to buy product that is sustainable but not cost-prohibitive. Merchants are not seeing the cost-conscious customer buying sustainable products that are more expensive than what the customer normally buys,” she said. “If we want to have a mass positive impact, everyone needs to be able to participate, not just the luxury customer.”

The work on sustainability is just beginning, said Naomi Goez, a product specialist at Joe’s Jeans. “At this point, we truly rely on one another for information. I encourage brands, suppliers and manufacturers to form true relationships with each other. Don’t accept things at face value, like, ‘Oh, this is great because we use synthetic stones.’ Ask more questions. ‘What chemicals do you use?’ ‘What chemicals do you have access to?’ Find out who that supplier is,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s about forming very close relationships throughout all tiers of the supply chain, which is something that we’ve never done before.”

Maurizio Donadi, co-founder of the Atelier & Repairs brand, said it’s up to the fashion public to be responsible for their world.

“The elephant in the room is consumption,” Donadi said. “We have way too much. We buy way too much. I’m not saying stop buying. My motto is buy intelligently. Buy with real information in front of you. Buy with knowledge of who is behind the brand that you are buying. Who are they? What do they do?”