They said/We said: Just in time for Earth Day, The CFDA and Vogue have co-headed a new green initiative campaign, Clean by Design

Just in time for Earth Day this Sunday, The CFDA and Vogue have co-headed a new green initiative campaign, Clean by Design, in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council.

The campaign, which has already caught the attention and support of many renowned fashion faces including Tory Burch, Zac Posen and Diane von Furstenberg screened a video yesterday which made clear “how toxic fashion’s impact on nature can be,” unearthing the elephant in the room environmental damage that lies just beneath the industry’s surface.

The facts, we have to admit, are surprising. According to WWD, a key focus of the NRDC is the troubling conditions of factories (we’re looking at you, Alexander Wang!) and the dye-polluted rivers in China, revealing that over 200 tons of water is needed to produce just one ton of fabric. This is a pretty outrageous figure taking the current global crisis for clean drinking water into account.

So, what’s the solution? Most clothing is made in China, which makes it difficult for brands to govern what occurs in their own factories. But Linda Greer, the director of NRDC’s health and environment program thinks this problem is inexcusable: “[…] the standard of operation of many, if not most, factories was far below global standards and desperately needed to improve […] it’s really time to get moving and not just figure that ‘It’s halfway around the world and nobody will ever know.’”

This global issue has been put into higher gear in the last few years. Brands such as Stella McCartney, H&M (have you seen their drool-worthy Conscious collection?) and events like Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week have certainly increased interest for sustainable fashion to both designers and consumers. It has become necessary, and dare I say expected, that organizations like the CFDA and the like join the green movement.


NBC New York: “Sustainable initiatives in fashion aren’t necessarily new—the luxury group PPR, for example, has made sustainability a focus across its various brands (which include eco-conscious designer Stella McCartney). What’s more, the new FashionNYC2020 Report pointed out that sustainable fashion products are increasingly of interest to both designers and consumers, making it a good moment for American organizations like the CFDA to get on the bandwagon.” [NBC New York]

Fashionista: “[…] many designers, and American consumers, seem to have an out of sight, out of mind approach to fashion’s environmentally harmful manufacturing practices. But that needs to change. Hopefully Clean by Design will be a step in the right direction.” [Fashionista]


Caitlan Moneta, fashion market editor: “I think it’s going to be a long, smoggy road before they’ll be able to effect any change. In an industry with so many moving parts and important players (who aren’t known for their green thumbs), it’s bound to be a slow process.”

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