The 2020 Fashion and Sustainability Summit session that I had the pleasure of watching was Week 4 on July 30 titled, “A Conversation on Sustainability at Outerknown, Away, and Mara Hoffman." The speakers were Dana Davis from Mara Hoffman, Megan Stoneburner Azim from Outerknown, and Katina Boutis from Away. All the women proudly were either the VP of Sustainability or Director of Sustainability in their workplace.
I knew there were career positions in sustainability, but I did not know it could be as big as becoming a director/president of sustainability. The day-to-day that Dana, Megan, and Katina described was made of a lot of thinking, problem solving, and research. Constantly, they are considering new approaches to how their companies push themselves into being better, more sustainable businesses. This includes their supply chains and finding creative solutions on how to execute their ideas on mass levels. Not only that; they vet the factories and other businesses that their company interacts with.
It’s a lot of work that must be done, but worth it in the end for a planet that has continuously, unwillingly, provided for us. The speakers mentioned that all parts are interconnected, and nothing has been more true. If consumers start demanding more sustainable items, companies will have to design with these ideas in mind. Outerknown has their sustainability team sit with the design team to come up with pieces that do not negatively affect everything around them. Mara Hoffman’s team not only thinks about the environmental impact with their water or chemical use, but focuses on the materials like where they are coming from, and if they are natural. They also consider the social justice of their actions, such as will this harm the earth and the people living in the direct area.
My key takeaway from the session was that companies are really taking this seriously. I have spent the last 7 years working in fast fashion, which hardly ever accounts for impacts businesses are creating. But there are companies putting their best foot forward, not only with the materials they use, but their whole supply chain down to the factories and changing them to be thoughtful about their impact.