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Allbirds, ThredUp and more send letter to Biden for ‘Fashion Czar’ – WWD




A writer’s quest – to get President Joe Biden to appoint a fashion czar – has been greeted with open arms by sustainable fashion.

“There is not much that individual brands can do, and I’m a little tired of hearing the same story over and over again: they’re trying to get things done in the right direction as we face change globally. climate, we see all these microplastics ending up in the ocean. It’s a huge consequence that the fashion industry is wreaking havoc around the world, ”said Elizabeth Segran, Senior Editor of Fast Company. Segran first brought up the idea of ​​the fashion czar (or high-level political advisor) to the public last week.

“When I saw the article take off, there were people who kind of laughed and said, ‘A fashion czar? –– is this person going to handle the transformation of the White House, “which to me was so enlightening,” Segran said. “When [people] think about fashion, they don’t think about this massive polluting industry [they do] when you talk about the oil industry – immediately people think of the terrible consequences of the sector. [With fashion], people always think it’s going to the mall and shopping.

Even before the letter was written, broad support came from the industry through social media, championing support for a self-styled fashion czar.

Rachel Kibbe, Founder and CEO of Circular Services Group, a consultancy specializing in waste and circularity (now a signatory), took to LinkedIn to share her list of recommendations, including the need to decouple economic growth of production, compulsory extended producer responsibility and the right to repair built into every product, plus transparent and fair wages.

Brands like Everlane, ThredUp, Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Reformation, Mara Hoffman, Cuyana, Aday, Clove, The Big Favorite, Amendi and Solgaard signed the letter. Attorney Hilary Jochmans, who specializes in sustainable fashion policy and has over 15 years of political and government experience in Washington and New York City, is leading the effort after contacting Segran. The letter can be sent as early as Friday to arrive at President Biden’s desk.

“Fashion should ask itself what kind of change they want to make and with their industry and with their government,” Jochmans said. Previously, she founded an initiative called PoliticallyInFashion, a grassroots initiative linking brands with fashion politics (Swedish-American label Amendi was the first to sign earlier this month).

The signatories of the fashion czar’s request say the move would signify a commitment to human labor and environmentally friendly practices “as well as recognition of the role of fashion as the engine of the American economy.” .

Why is the Biden administration ready to embrace this fashionable leadership? It boils down to a feeling of overall altruism.

“It seems so clear to me that it takes a coordinated effort [in fashion], and over the past four years, it has seemed really impossible to have a conversation like this, ”Segran said. “The Biden administration has expressed a desire to show leadership on, for example, climate change. One problem with fashion is that the fashion supply chain is so large and complex, and every piece of clothing we own has passed through so many different countries and so many different hands that no country has wanted to take responsibility for it. this sector because his country is only a small part of all this global industry. “

The signatories to the letter were also journalists and academics, including sustainable fashion experts like Lynda Grose, president of fashion design at California College of the Arts and Kathleen Grevers, director of education at Fashion Revolution USA. Countless other sustainable-minded fashion organizations have joined including Custom Collaborative, Fashion Revolution USA, Fibershed, Sustainable Brooklyn, The New Fashion Initiative, New Standards Institute, The OR Foundation, PoliticallyInFashion, Remake (the organization at non-profit behind the #PayUp campaign), Sustainable Fashion Forum and Fashinnovation, among others.

The demand for a fashion czar is in line with the decisions of former U.S. presidents who appointed czars to coordinate on behalf of industries such as automobile manufacturing, energy, or for shorter-term crises.

“It’s not just a part of the economy that is just moving. We are at a time of crisis and this requires action in multiple dimensions, ”said Segran. “I imagine this Czar’s role in several parts of the executive, so someone who would both look at the environmental consequences of the fashion industry, but also think about things like work.

Although she has yet to identify her own top pick, Segran remains upbeat and optimistic about the administration’s response.

For more information, see:

Stylists give sustainable fashion a new and ambitious appeal

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