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DUTY OF CARE Is the fashion industry serious about social responsibility or is it all smoke and mirrors? By Hannah Doody. THE FASHION INDUSTRY is worth a ridiculous $3 trillion globally and it accounts for two per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. So it’s reassuring that the industry as a whole has started to wake up to its social and environmental responsibility in recent years. In the last year alone, Adidas created a shoe out of ocean garbage, and Miu Miu began offering an orthopaedic sandal for the health- and fashionconscious. The notion of fashion for fashion’s sake is being superseded by a need to embrace fashion’s duty to society.

Adidas x Parley ocean plastic shoes In fact, it has become so commonplace for companies to position themselves in this light that the terms “sustainable” and “ethical” have become somewhat of a cliché – umbrella terms used to indicate that a company is committed to being environmentally, economically, and socially aware. This wave of social awareness is largely due to the demands of consumers. As a direct result of the outpouring of public opinion, companies have begun using social responsibility as a marketing tool, though some continue to do so with only partial implementation.

Bruno Sohnle timepieces, made in Germany and Secrid wallets, made in Holland.

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IN 1963, PANTONE founder Lawrence Herbert created a system for recognising, matching and communicating colours. His insight led to the innovation of the Pantone Matching System; a book of standardised colours in fan format. Today, Pantone is globally recognised as the official language for accurate colour communication in a variety of industries. This summer, Melbourne label Gorman has joined forces with the world’s authority on colour to create an 11-piece collection. You’ll find a selection of classic Gorman summer staples featuring the brand’s iconic polka-dot print in an array of bright Pantone colours. The collection is available in-store and online now.

Sure, sustainability improves the image of many companies, but there is a danger that this approach could turn into “greenwash” – false claims used only to gain a competitive advantage. The issue with this approach is that the main purpose of all this (accepting responsibility) will be overshadowed by its profitability. It’s for you to decide the authenticity: are ocean garbage shoes and ortho-chic just PR stunts used to create an illusion of social responsibility? Or are they a sign of truly responsible acts to come from the fashion industry? Only time will tell.

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STYLE | January 2017