Learn about the Eco-Age team’s empowering initiatives, including the Green Carpet Challenge, and their recent collaboration with Aquafil.
With strategic initiatives dedicated to driving positive, compassionate change within the clothing industry, Eco-Age is bringing sustainability to the forefront of fashion. We spoke to them this month about their latest innovative collaboration, and how they are turning ocean waste into something beautiful.
Parvati Magazine: Your creative director, Livia Firth, works tirelessly to bring awareness to the fashion industry’s environmental damage, and human rights violations – particularly the garment industry’s detrimental impact on women. How do Eco-Age’s initiatives, such as the Commonwealth Exchange project, help poverty-stricken women across the globe?
Eco-Age: There are some 75 million workers in the garment manufacturing industry worldwide, and the majority of workers in factories are female. Our drive comes from representing women in the supply chain and utilising our power to fight for other women. We partnered with The Lawyers Circle to launch a ground-breaking report that sets out the legal argument that the living wage is a fundamental human right. This document was developed with the assistance of lawyers based in fourteen countries and is now going through the European parliament.
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange was the biggest fashion exchange ever and a project that united artisans and designers in 53 countries. Participating artisans had the opportunity to join the Nest Artisan Guild, providing market opportunities and potential for increased wages and business.
Parvati Magazine: Your Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) has garnered incredible support from designers and celebrities, including Emma Watson, Stella McCartney, and Meryl Streep! What have been some of the most impactful looks you’ve seen under the GCC?
Eco-Age: Behind every GCC look is an incredible story. Two years ago, we worked with Emma Watson on her press tour for “Beauty and the Beast”. Over four weeks, Emma’s sustainable looks included bespoke sustainable pieces by Oscar de la Renta, Ellie Saab, Louis Vuitton, Phillip Lim, Emilia Wickstead and Givenchy, who all collaborated with Eco-Age for this special project. Harnessing the power of social media with Emma’s influence and following, allowed us to reach a global audience to tell the story behind the clothes – with Eco-Age’s commentary and certification, ensuring the highest environmental and social standards at every step of the creation process.
Making business more sustainable
Parvati Magazine: What advice would you give brands hoping to become more sustainable?
Eco-Age: Start by looking at your supply chain and ensure that the people within it are benefiting, being treated and paid fairly – a living wage is a human right. We need businesses to move towards a more circular way of thinking and operating, for example, ‘what will happen to this garment or product when it reaches the end of its life?’ We are depleting the earth’s resources at an alarming rate, so if products can be designed for longevity and then eventually reused and recycled, this is a step in the right direction.
Parvati Magazine: You just worked on a recent project in collaboration with Aquafil and Healthy Seas to remove harmful fishing nets from our oceans and create what is literally a green carpet!
Eco-Age: Experts estimate there are some 640,000 tonnes of plastic ghost fishing nets left in oceans and seas each year, accounting for ten percent of total plastic waste. And so we know this is a global problem that requires our urgent attention. Last month our Eco-Age team joined Aquafil and Healthy Seas off the coast of the Aeolian Islands to tackle the problem of marine litter head on. Over three days, volunteer technical divers rescued more than four tons of plastic nets that would otherwise continue to catch and kill marine life for hundreds of years. The nets were sent to Aquafil’s plant in Slovenia for processing, combined with other textile waste and transformed into ECONYL regenerated nylon, for fashion and interior houses across the world. For the second year running, our sustainable green carpet at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in September was made from more than 1,700 square metres of ECONYL.
Parvati Magazine: What do you feel are the key takeaways from a collaboration like this?
Eco-Age: That it takes collaboration across an entire supply chain to initiate positive change. To introduce the ECONYL® Regeneration System, Aquafil had to implement a completely new supply chain to procure the waste, invent new machinery and engage with industries that didn’t belong to its existing supply chain. Another takeaway is that waste is a problem but can also be a resource. Aquafil developed a system which repurposes waste into beautiful sustainable textiles that can be recycled infinitely without ever losing quality.
Eco-Age is a specialist sustainability and communications consultancy. Experts in bringing positive, sustainable change to key audiences, Eco-Age’s evidence-led sustainability narratives and programmes of change resonate with both conscious consumers and industry insiders. The team’s sole purpose is to distill expertise, enthusiasm and talent into client campaigns, strategies and programmes that bring real and substantive change.