Photo by Shutterstock

The Natural Resources Defense Council has gained two formidable allies in its quest to clean up the fashion industry: the Council of Fashion Designers of America and fashion bible Vogue, which feted their support for the nonprofit’s “Clean by Design” initiative at a breakfast in New York City on Monday, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Hosted by NRDC trustee Anna Carter, the event drew the likes of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), an early supporter of the program, along with industry heavyweights such as Anna Wintour, Graydon Carter, Diane von Furstenberg, David Lauren and Lauren Bush Lauren, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, Tory Burch, Derek Lam, Behnaz Sarafpour, Nanette Lepore, Zac Posen, and Joseph Altuzara.


The NRDC launched Clean by Design after assessing the real-world manufacturing processes of five typical textile mills in China. In 2010, the program published its “10 Best Practices,” a series of easy-to-implement and low-cost opportunities to curb pollution while saving factories money. “This initiative does not call for large-scale retooling of the textile industry,” Linda Greer, director of NRDC’s health and environment program, said back then. “Even absent concern about environmental impacts or government oversight, these opportunities should be pursued because they enhance the productivity of mills and are good for business.”

Most factories in the textile-manufacturing hubs of China and India operate far below global standards.

Among Clean by Design’s goals is to encourage designers, brands, and retailers to examine their supply chains and push for improvements at the facilities they employ. Most factories in the textile-manufacturing hubs of China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, Greer told WWD, operate far below global standards. “The era of operating without knowledge of your factories abroad is ending, and the curtain is rising above the sorts of problems and aspirations that we have abroad,” she added.

That’s where the CFDA and Vogue come in, Greer explained to Ecouterre over email. Although Clean by Design has been working with big-box labels such as Walmart, Gap, Levi’s, Nike, H&M, and Target, the partnership will extend its reach to individual designers and their respective supply chains.

PPR Group, the parent corporation for some of the world’s largest brands, including Stella McCartney, has already agreed to take part. McCartney herself wasn’t present at Monday’s event, but she sent a video statement in her stead. “You only live once,” she said. “And what is it that you leave behind as a business person? Is it just some great handbags and a nice pair of shoes, or is it actually that and a conscious business?”

+ Clean by Design

[Via WWD]