How do you grow a fashion brand on sustainability? This question was the purpose of the E Factor Sustainability in Fashion panel discussion at the Flood Building last week.
Five panel members took the stage on Wednesday to talk about their brands and sustainability. Sally Rosen of Discarded to Divine fosters sustainability by allowing people to give clothing a second life through charitable student competitions. Joslin Van Arsdale researches the environmental impact of garments sold in Eco Citizen, and Jasmin Zorlu sews her headwear from found fabrics to ensure that her production process doesn’t create unnecessary waste.
Together these women, along with Platinum Dirt founder Dustin Page, who produces leather jackets from reclaimed vintage auto upholstery, are representatives of true sustainable fashion here in San Francisco, according to keynote speaker Connie Ulasewicz of San Francisco State University.
“People, processes and the environment must be considered at every step to build a sustainable brand,” she says.
There was a considerable amount of inspiring and useful information that we took away from this event. No matter the amount of experience you have in the San Francisco fashion industry, Wednesday’s words from the wise will set you in the right direction. The following are tips we think will be useful for any sustainable fashion brand’s future:
- Challenge your current business model with the following: people, process and environment. How can your brand be better and more green through these elements?
- Having trouble connecting with your customer? Sell and market your products through your brand story to give them a bigger cause to want to follow.
- Sourcing, sewing and selling can be a lot for just one person. We understand that nobody knows your brand like you do, but perhaps an intern can take on creative marketing tasks while adding fresh perspective to the brand identity.
- If you’re just starting out in the fashion design field, it’s helpful to know that having a brand is just the first step to building a brand. Brand building includes market plans, consumer following, support and commitment (to name a few).
- Due to the number of times commitment and support were referred to during the conversation, we’ll mention it once more. Building and maintaining a fashion brand doesn’t happen overnight and, in some cases, not even within the first year. Don’t get down on yourself if things don’t work out as quickly as you think they should. Instead, think through your products and try to recreate some invigorating changes.