Textile Exchange Conference: Ritika's Perspective
posted by Ritika Sharma
I was so excited when I found out that I was selected to represent LIM college at the Textile Exchange Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
The selection process involved a question, “How would attending this conference complement your future goals?”
My answer was that I have worked with craftsmen and artisans in an obscure village in Gujarat, a state in India. They are extremely adept at their skill and produce ethereal designs day in and day out. My dream is to take their skills to the next level and help their business to flourish. I want to take the knowledge I gain at the conference and educate them about how it is essential to take sustainable measures toward our environment. I also want to educate export houses in India about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.
I was inspired when I read the mission of the Conference: “Textile Exchange inspires and equips people to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain. We focus on minimizing the harmful impacts of the global textile industry and maximizing its positive effects”
Driving through the trees dipped in hues of autumn, I was already extremely mesmerized with Washington D.C. and was eagerly looking forward to the event.
My companion, Savita Pandya and I finally reached the Bolger Centre, located in Potomac, Maryland. We were ready to immerse ourselves in what the conference had to offer.
I was extremely inspired by Mina Guli, founder and CEO of Thirst. She ran 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks to raise awareness about the global water crisis. I learned that our minds need to evolve when it comes to making decision about buying. I realized how our mindless purchase decisions could impact our environment in hazardous ways.
Next we spoke about various sustainable development goals with Marissa Pagnani, Group Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at PVH, Corp.
The SDGs involved empowering people, preserving the environment and supporting communities.
What intrigued and inspired me the most was the H&M presentation. Helena Hemmerson, The Global head of production at H&M spoke about their agenda. I was highly impressed upon learning that by 2030, H&M aims to have all of their products be made from recycled materials or produced from sustainable sources. Also, H&M is coming up with a brand called ARKET, which is aimed at providing transparency at the product level. Clothing from its swimwear collection would be made from a unique fiber called Econyl, a chemically-recycled fiber.
I am delighted to see a number of brands and businesses work diligently toward the protection of our environment. They are always looking for people and companies to collaborate with who have a similar thought process and agenda in mind.
On my way back from the conference, I kept thinking about how a change in my behavior could lead to a better world. I shared what I learned at the conference with my friends and family and we feel that together we have the power to change the world for the better.
Attending the Textile Exchange Conference was a memorable experience and I look forward to attending this event next year.