Over 2021, we wrote to Fashion Week CEOs worldwide, we wrote to Fashion Councils and Consultants, and we wrote to sustainable fashion influencers. In each case we asked a handful of benchmarking questions, such as, “Does XX Fashion Week have a statement and/or policy about the sustainable use of endangered and exotic species in the collections you profile?”, to gauge their knowledge regarding the use of endangered and exotic species in fashion. So, what was the response?
In the main, there was no response. While this is not a shock, it highlights that there is little or no real evidence that that the use of endangered and exotic species has been factored into the evolving sustainable fashion strategy. Examples of the types of responses we did get are, for one, being told the team was small and couldn’t responded to every request (as a reminder Nature Needs More and HowToSpendItEthically.Org is run by volunteers). We certainly didn’t see answering four to six benchmarking questions as being onerous.
We were also asked about HowToSpendItEthically.Org’s readership numbers and circulation. I responded small but continually growing. I didn’t hear from them again. In another response, I was also told that in 2022 there would be a big push to develop guidelines on how to ensure the sustainability of textiles. I asked if a skin should be considered a textile, highlighting that such labelling is part of the problem because it sanitises and normalises that animal’s die to give their body parts; exotic skins are not the by-product of the food industry. In my response I asked that they consider, ‘When is a textile not a textile?’ – I didn’t hear from them again.
So, you are getting the picture. The fashion industry, its consultants, its enablers and its influencers, appear to have little interest and knowledge of how the industry is driving biodiversity loss and the extinction crisis.
We have chosen not to name any of the fashion weeks, organisations or people we have contacted to-date. Going forward, we will provide a list on the HowToSpendItEthically.Org website of who we contact. Why, because it is time for the fashion industry to pull its head out of the luxury, exotic skin bag.