KEEL MAGAZINE volume 7 official

Page 128

What is sustainability? “Laura Tanzer, groundbreaking designer pushes sustainability in fashion design, manufacturing” KEEL MAGAZINE Guest editorial by Laura Tanzer he concept of sustainability was introduced in the 1970s, when the United Nations began discussing the social and economic inequities among nation-states. The Brundtland Report, in 1987, defined sustainable development as that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


Or, in the words of countless kindergarten teachers, “Don’t take more than your share.” Sustainability is simplicity itself: it means do no harm and use only what you need. The essential elements of sustainability are: society, economy, and environment. As well, the economy rises from societal mores and rules, and those rules arise from the environment in which a society exists – it’s geography, geology, climate, and resources all dictate how a society orders itself. So, economy nestles inside society, which nestles inside environment. Why Sustainable Fashion? Ultimately the goal was to create a business that could ‘walk the talk’.

As with any industry, textile and garment production is vested in existing processes, adverse to any change to current practices. However, we -- consumers and producers -- need only make a few minor changes to how we behave and we can create a more sustainable industry, together. Consumers can demand a more sustainable product, but also must understand the implications of that demand. A cleaner product is also a ‘slow fashion’ product. It is not a throwaway product. Instead of using social media to create demand for the current ‘it’ item that gets thrown away tomorrow, why not use social media to highlight the sustainable practices of companies that make cool stuff you want to keep and use for a long time? Aiming for zero waste My objective as a manufacturer of clothing is to come as close as possible to zero waste. To that end, at Laura Tanzer Designs, we reuse and recycle everything possible. For example, when we cut a production run, we try to maximize use of the fabric, but there will always be remnant pieces of various sizes. The larger remnants are used to make totes and clutches that can either accessorize the current collection or stand on their own as mini art pieces. Smaller remnants go to schools and children’s organizations, to be used for art projects.

The garment industry is the second highest polluting sector in the world, right behind oil. Yet, many consumers are unaware of the impact of this industry, of the amount of pollution and waste created by the processes for creating textiles and I also encourage my team to bring their lunches both economical and waste-minimizing. I insist making garments.


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