written by Charlotte Turner
Last week we joined a diverse group of thought leaders and provokers, designers, innovators, and communicators at the Sustainable Brands Conference 2014 in London. During the 3 day conference we attended a range of workshops, presentations and plenaries with experts and leaders from a mix of global industries, to explore and discuss effective and proven ways to embed sustainability in the core of your company. Central themes included the key to effective communication, and how to connect with people, not consumers – an essential in today’s globalised and consumption driven culture. In addition, a range of technological and natural innovations were uncovered, leading the way to progress across industry borders.
The reason we found ourselves at the hub of this exchanging of ideas was to showcase a pop up Future Fabrics Expo, showing several hundred fabrics with a reduced environmental impact from our extensive sustainable materials collection, along with a selection of our research and our online sustainable sourcing tool the Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.
Whilst not an audience made up of fashion professionals, it was energising to connect with people from different industries – many of whom were actually far more connected to textiles than they initially thought. We were delighted to find that strategies, thought principles, and specialist innovations really can cross borders between industries, not least because textiles and fashion affect everyone – from those of us who wear clothes (almost all of us) to those who create them (the fashion and textiles industry employs millions of people globally, and is forecast to generate $3,179.7 billion in 2015). With the fashion industry being one of the largest in the world, it’s no wonder it has the power to connect us so effectively.
The presentations will soon be available online, but in the meantime here are a couple of our favourites:
A New Product Design Paradigm: Radical Integration of Material Sustainability, Job Creation and Customer Service (Ali Khalifa)
Aly Khalfia is an inspiring system thinker, Founder of Lyf Shoes, and Director of Design & Engineering at McDonough Innovation. Aly is redesigning the way shoes are made, sold, used, and valued through disrupting traditional industry practice. He has designed a system that both closes the loop on materials, and engages with customers in new ways, through enabling them to 3D print a pair of personalized shoes in store in as little as 90 seconds. You can watch the presentation by clicking the image above.
Intersecting Sustainability and Marketing: Driving Positive Impact, Market Share and Brand Acuity at the Same Time (Heineken)
Whilst not strictly related to the fashion or textiles industries, this was a great presentation as it addressed an issue we have often found when we talk to brands – that there is a difference in behavior, communication, and thought process between the Sustainability teams and Marketing teams (and in the case of fashion, also in the Buying teams). This talk addressed how to alleviate the issues this can cause, and it was especially interesting to learn about their ‘Dance more, Drink Less’ campaign, which could teach the fashion industry about responsible communications, enriched experiences for customers, and accepting that encouraging consumers to buy less can actually be a good thing. You can watch the presentation by clicking the image above.
There were even more engaging presentations and impressive solutions shared at the conference, which we hope you’ll enjoy discovering online.
Join our sustainable textiles workshop
If you’d like to find out more sustainable developments and innovations in relation to sustainable fashion and textiles specifically, we’ll be holding a sustainable textiles workshop in West London on 26th November – please contact us if you would like to find out more and to book a place at our corporate or small business rates. Places are limited so get in touch soon!