Designers, Academics and Journalists are joining forces to urge the new US administration to appoint a fashion czar to advocate sustainable and humane practices in the industry.
In recent years, we have seen a positive surge in sustainable fashion across the global landscape. While brands are putting their best efforts into reducing their environmental impact, some even defining eco-criteria for their suppliers, their efforts can only be considered small-scale relative to the global problem.
While there are regulations in the automobile and oil industries, Segran highlighted that there seems to be no plans to regulate fashion despite it producing 10 percent of global carbon emissions. The recent COVID-19 has also magnified these issues and she believes that this is an opportunity to deal with this deeply problematic sector while encouraging transparency.
“Biden could appoint someone who would hold the industry responsible for its environmental and human rights violations,” she wrote. Segran contended that a fashion czar could advocate for Congress to pass laws that take place across their supply chains and incentivise companies to come up with creative technologies that would tackle pollution – essentially “transforming America into a global hub for sustainable and humane fashion, ensuring it stays a thriving part of the economy.”
Hilary Jochmans, a political consultant specialising in sustainable fashion, picked up on Segran’s story and turned it into an official letter, planning to present it to the White House and members of the Congress. Many fashion brands including Thredup, Eileen Fisher, Everlane, and Allbirds have co-signed and given support to the notion of a “fashion czar”.
The Role Of A Fashion Czar
The fashion czar would essentially be able to unify these disparate individual efforts into a coherent cross-national strategy. Besides collaborating with scientists and business leaders to develop innovative technology to reduce waste, the role could improve labour conditions globally.
The fashion czar would also be responsible for championing the White House’s agenda in discussion with Congress as well as federal agencies. With the Biden administration’s intention to crack down on human rights abuse, the government could and should hold American fashion labels accountable for deplorable conditions and violations experienced by workers throughout their supply chains.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is crucial to address human rights abuse in American factories where these workers are bearing the brunt of the crisis by operating under unsafe conditions and for sweatshop wages.
There are laws that benefit workers, but the lack of enforcement is often cited by experts as one of the key factors to why their problem persists. A fashion czar could be the beginning of a cohesive solution to these multivariate problems and a unifying appointee could tie all the piecemeal efforts together.