Last week I had the pleasure of attending Zady and Whole Food’s panel. The organic nibbles alone were enough incentive to go, but I also got to network with some Very Important People in the sustainable fashion scene. Zady asked me to write up the recap. Here it is:
Last Wednesday we teamed up with Whole Foods New York at their Bowery Street location for an evening of discussion titled, “Food, Fashion and the Future: Where Will Conscious Business Take Us Next?”
As attendees, including journalists and New York City designers, nibbled on delicious, organic hor d’oeuvres and sipped organic Italian sodas, experts from the sustainable fashion and food worlds discussed the current state of conscious consumerism, and what they see coming in the next few years and decades.
For fashion, Bee Shaffer of The New York Times moderated a panel with our own Maxine Bédat of Zady, Summerly Horning of Tau Investment Management, and Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.
In general, there was the sense that consumers are ready for a more sustainable fashion model. “We live in an era of conscious consumerism. Consumers don’t want to feel that if they shop or shop affordably, what’s at stake is somebody’s life. That’s not acceptable in 2014,” Cline stated.
Bédat pointed out that consumers started clamoring for organic food because they could see that they were ingesting pesticides and chemicals. But clothing is just as important. “The clothing we wear on out bodies has dyes and chemicals as well. So it can affect us just like food that we ingest,” she said.
Of course, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza Collapse in Bangladesh is approaching at the end of the month. “Retailers split into two camps,” Cline explained of the aftermath. “Some European retailers signed a legally binding accord on safety. The American companies signed a nonbinding, non-legal agreement. When consumers see that, it’s so confusing. They want to know, ‘Is it ok for me to buy clothes from Bangladesh?’”