THE INSTITUTE OF POSITIVE FASHION IS BRINGING SOME MUCH-NEEDED CHANGE TO THE INDUSTRY
2020 is being a year of change. Routine wise, business wise, social wise – we didn’t have much of a choice but to embrace and adapt to them. It’s been harsh but we can also see a positive outcome. It was about time (actually a bit late, but better late than never) for us to start discussing matters such as sustainability, inclusivity and social justice. The fashion industry, always reflecting the changes happening globally, couldn’t afford to not review its practices and bring some great initiatives to the table.
Speaking of that, one of the latest ones came via the British Fashion Council. The BFC launched this summer the Institute of Positive Fashion, aligned with this year’s hot topics: its main pillars are environment, people, and community & craftsmanship. The IPF aims to lead the fashion industry, all over the world, to a more circular, sustainable and fair future. It has big industry names in its committee, from brands such as Stella McCartney, Burberry and ASOS.
The IPF inaugural research project was the Waste Ecosystem one, looking into actions the industry can take to move to a circular business model and reduce its impact on the environment. From sustainability to inclusivity, its second program launched at the end of October, named The Missing Thread, is a partnership with the Black Oriented Legacy Development Agency (BOLD). BOLD aspires to bring awareness to race narratives in society, across fashion and culture.
The Missing Thread is a much-needed celebration of black culture and its important role in British fashion since 1975. It’s also a homage to designer Joe Casely-Hayford OBE, who passed away last year and revolutionised menswear mixing tailoring and innovation in a unique aesthetic. The 18-month project encompasses different events, like lectures, panels, discussions and presentations, and will be concluded with a major exhibition in 2022.
By addressing flaws in academic plans, from secondary school to higher education level, its main purpose is to educate and bring recognition to black cultural narratives and contributions that have long been overlooked by our society. A long-term objective is to create the first ‘Black Fashion & Culture’ undergraduate programme in the UK. The project is also working in collaboration with i-D magazine and Central Saint Martins to create a dedicated library of Black fashion literature at the college, one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world. Through these initiatives, the Missing Thread will amplify race debates in fashion.
“The need for far greater accountability in our industry has become increasingly apparent over the last year. Black fashion contributions are at the core of Britain’s reputation as a creative hub yet continue to be overlooked. We are extremely excited to work with BOLD on this project which aims at restoring and acknowledging cultural contributions to one of the UK’s most creative industries”, says Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council.
Great initiatives like these show that the fashion industry couldn’t keep going with its old business model, in which a lack of diversity and sustainability were only a few of its many issues. Guess we can say that fashion’s finally taking meaningful steps towards a more conscious practice. Keep coming with the good news, 2020, we’ve had enough of the bad ones already.
By Manuela Rio Tinto