What’s this? Vogue magazine has gone all sustainable. You’ve got to be kidding? The fashion bible that represents one of the dirtiest, greediest, most crippling industries on the planet is now recommending we watch The True Cost on Netflix. Well I’ll be.
Thing is, if we watch The True Cost, as many of us have, we’ll probably be so horrified by the conditions of garment workers in India, we’ll just want to stop buying clothes.
Surely this is not what Vogue is plumping for, a magazine whose very existence is predicated on advertising from luxury brands like Burberry, a multi-million euro label that has just signed up for the Climate Emergency Charter. How very noble.
Wait a second. Didn’t Burberry literally burn more than 100 million euro worth of perfectly good stock over the past five years because of overproduction. Guess what? It’s profits are still up 36% so far this year.
It turns out this burning of stock is commonplace in an industry where profits are so enormous luxury goods group LVMH (owners of Louis Vuitton and Dior) and its founding Arnault family can stump up €200 million between them, at a moment’s notice, to help restore Notre Dame in Paris.
Add nearly another €100 million from the Pinault family, owners of Gucci and Saint Laurent and the renovation budget is suddenly looking very healthy.
It’s enough to make you want to put on a high vis vest and swing from a lamp post. If I had my way, we would have let the cathedral burn to the ground as a symbol of purification for all the pain and suffering the Catholic Church has caused to innocents the world over. As it stands, let the Vatican pay for the rebuild, it’s not short of a few bob.
It seems, just like the Church, the fashion industry is seeking forgiveness for its sins or is it that it smells revolution in the air? It can only rely on Chinese sales for so long. Surely this is why British Vogue is suddenly all eco-conscious with its article entitled:
‘Is 2019 The Year Fashion Finally Takes Sustainability Seriously?’
Well Vogue, you tell us. Is this the year you will finally take sustainability seriously because you certainly haven’t been taking it seriously up to this point, give or take the odd nod to Stella McCartney or to Livia Firth and her Green Carpet Challenge.
In fairness to editor-in-chief at British Vogue, Edward Enninful, his first year and a half have made an impact, despite fears he was a bit of a party boy. He has brought diversity and a fresh, more relevant voice to the magazine.
His approach to sustainability is laudable but surely the big brands are in on it too. He who pays the piper afterall.
Surely it’s all about being seen to react to the mounting evidence against the fashion industry.
As climate change protesters demand real action, global textile production emits more greenhouse gases each year than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
That’s before we’ve even looked at working conditions, once again highlighted by the six year anniversary during the week of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, in which 1,134 people lost their lives. Bringing up the circular economy to a roomful of growth obsessed shareholders may not be the stuff consumer capitalist dreams are made of, but clearly the trail of destruction created by the fashion industry is finally being addressed. Now action please.