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Inside Asia


Dec 11, 2018

Fashion is an industry that depends on fast and frequent shifts in taste. To keep up with consumer demand, brand-name makers of clothing and accessories have developed a habit of using cheap, sometimes unethical, labor to drive production. Environmental concerns have also fallen to the wayside. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, according to some. Landfills everywhere are piled high with textile waste and toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacture of the new clothes we buy.

My guest this episode is trying to change that.

Stephanie Dickson is a fashion industry marketer turned sustainability activist. Her latest venture is Green is the New Black, a festival for conscious suppliers and buyers of fashion products.

She’s making a real difference in a specific industry, and the important thing to know is that she’s not alone. For her—as for many millennials—the refusal of the status quo, to simply accept the byproducts of business as usual is also refusal to turn a blind eye to the environmental and labor abuses that have been understood as necessary in the fashion industry.  There’s a consciousness and an intent on asking the questions that, for years, have been understood as unaskable.

I think of my own generation and how we assumed there would be trade-offs. Making high-quality products at low prices means using resources – and lots of them. But not Stephanie. She believes the system can be changed—from within. It’s a fascinating discussion. What we’re seeing is a movement of educated and outspoken professionals more interested in building up what we have rather than tearing down all we’ve got. Armed with smart phones and clarity of purpose, this generation will use the tools of Capitalism’s making to make the Capitalists accountable.

As always, thanks for listening.