March 02, 2018
Over the years we have met some incredible people who are all working to make the world better, in many different ways, and we wanted to find out their thoughts on our industry. Why? Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world...
Right now, I'm chairing the board of New York City's High Line, and continuing to build Project For Good, a non-profit online venture providing information about consumer product companies with “more-than-profit” business models. After so many years thinking about the concept, developing and refining it, it is gratifying to have the site launched. I'm very excited about the possibilities for Project For Good, as I do believe, and statistics would confirm, that this is a growing field, with lots of consumer demand supporting that growth.
Marcus Tullius Cicero said: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” That is, to my mind, the ultimate luxury. And, of course, you need the time to enjoy them!*
I'm most proud of my work for The New York Public Library, where I was Chairman for seven years. The library is perhaps the most democratic institution I know. It's free of charge, with research centers and almost 90 branches in the city. The branches are vital community gathering spots, providing not only free books and internet access, but also homework help, literacy classes, job research resources, and more than 17 million programs for all ages. This is the kind of community service that inspired me to build Project For Good – to celebrate for-profit initiatives that provide these same services to those who need them.
Wouldn't that be wonderful if it were, and I do think there are many signs pointing this way. Consumer demand is there, particularly among millennials. And industry action is coming along. For instance, the cotton industry is working with denim brands to keep old jeans out of landfills. Established apparel brands like Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher, both founded on sustainability and environmental principles ahead of their time, remain true to their founding principles, continue to demand more research on critical sustainability issues, and are, as a result, celebrated as pioneers. B Corporation’s rise and ever-growing recognition also point to this trend.
I generally wear classics, so almost every item in my closet would count. It would be too boring to answer by saying a crewneck sweater, so instead I'll choose my favorite raincoat, from Prada, which I've had for well over ten years. It's one of those pieces that I can dress up or down. And it's my favorite color to wear -- navy blue. And, truly, what is better than a good raincoat that lasts and lasts?
The most recent items I purchased came from learning about two companies on Project For Good: Blue Avocado bags, and ECO-BAGS. Through studying our companies' missions, I've become more aware of the huge amount of waste, especially plastics. So, using these instead of tossing away packaging is meaningful to me.
More companies in this field of more-than-profit brands!
*We were inspired by Catie's definition of luxury to include the cover image of a garden library, it is an award winning design by Office Sian Architecture called The Hackney Shed