We had a fascinating discussion this weekend at Pure, the UKs leading fashion tradeshow. It takes place two times a year at Olympia, in London. The topic was Fashion Takes Responsibility and centered on how the panelists have each responded to, or indeed, have initiated positive trends in the fashion industry. I loved how the panel included a genuine cross section of the industry: retailer, campaigner and designer.
Merryn Leslie, founder of 69b, has decades of experience in buying, styling and retailing. She has unique insights into what customers want, what engages them and in particular what makes them care. It was this word, care, that kept rising to the surface. Her customers want great design and quality, but they are also very curious. Where was this made, who made it, what is it made from. Does this product care for the environment or the craftspeople who made it? The buyer cares. They want to be a part of positive stories. They want to be able to articulate and share.
Tamsin Lejeune, founded the Ethical Fashion Forum 10 years ago. She has seen many brands come and go but is buoyant about the current opportunities for scale. She sees how many traditional brands are working hard to catch up, to understand, and be part of where the true innovation in fashion really is. I also got the distinct impression that she wants us to move faster and be braver about how we communicate. Now is not the time to be quiet about positive change. We need to shout.
And then there was us, Elvis & Kresse, and our 10 years of experience. For us sustainability means being able to work, forever, in the way we work today. It means we will protect and cherish natural resources, that we build to last and are happy to repair. It means that any success we have needs to be shared across our stakeholders and supply chain. Our customers care about this story, and although we have been quite subtle about it over the last 10 years we are ready to take up Tamsin's challenge to be bold. We will get better at celebrating what we do and how we do it. We will raise our voice.
If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to visit the home of Elvis & Kresse at Tonge Mill. We are an hour from London by train. Just get in touch and we can arrange a date.