LONDON – A few days ahead of staging the first all-digital London fashion showcase, the British Fashion Council is moving with the times, broadening its new sustainability platform to include a social and human rights agenda that reflects the dramatic impact of COVID-19 and the anti-racism protests in the U.S. and the U.K.
The BFC will today unveil the website for its new Institute of Positive Fashion. Originally, it was meant to be a resource for businesses looking to ramp up their sustainability efforts, urging them to meld global collaboration with local action. The site includes information and campaigns aimed at helping fashion businesses increase their knowledge of environmental issues and to embrace sustainable best practices.
Given the world-altering events that have unfolded since the launch of the institute, the BFC now wants to help businesses address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and “to end prejudice, racism and injustices” against human rights. “The industry must take this time to focus on a reset, and reinvent the status quo with collaboration, compassion and eco-innovation,” the organization will say today.
The BFC said the IPF aims to become the “engine room for change,” bringing stakeholders together to support one another and address these significant challenges as a collective. The hope is that the fashion community can work with government, academia and NGOs.
The BFC and the steering committee are inviting creatives, innovators and industry leaders to connect, collaborate, and recreate a more responsible fashion industry.
In February, the BFC launched the IPF Global Initiatives Map during a reception at Downing Street, initially with the ambition of helping businesses future-proof themselves and adapt to climate change. In addition to promoting environmental sustainability and “equal, diverse, empowered” workforces, the IPF will also examine the positive impact that fashion has on communities, and the role that skills and craftsmanship can play in sustaining local livelihoods.
To tie in with the launch of the IPF website, and World Ocean Day on Monday, June 8, Cyrill Gutsch, chief executive officer and founder of the environmental organization Parley for the Oceans, will join the BFC advisory board and the IPF steering committee. In return, Caroline Rush, ceo of the BFC and chair of IPF Steering Committee, will join the advisory board of Parley for the Oceans.
“At times of crisis, there is an opportunity to vision a new future,” said Rush. “We are proud to share a platform where we can pool global resources and unite in action. There is so much more our industry can do, in so many ways. It has a powerful voice that influences many, and it should be used to confront issues ranging from the environment to tackling racism and prejudice.”
The two organizations will look to cooperate on projects including education and mentoring for students; raise awareness for Ocean Conservation; and support Parley on a campaign to phase out single-use plastics and end marine plastic pollution.
London’s first digital fashion showcase, a three-day display of rtw, accessories, and creative content from designers, will run from Friday, June 12 through Sunday, June 14.