Slowing Down in a Fast Fashion World

Lauren Rankin - Freelance Commercial Stylist

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

In her work as a commercial stylist, Lauren seeks to only source from the most sustainable brands that are transparent about where and how their garments are made. This ensures that responsible practices have been used throughout the making of the garment, with as little negative impact on the environment as possible.

Author

Amy Fankhauser

Amy Fankhauser

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

In order to combat the fast fashion industry, Lauren strives to be “actively aware” of the brands from which she sources apparel for her work. Lauren says, “there are particular brands that I’ll stay away from because I know that they’re not working sustainably or being ethically considerate in their production." Instead, Lauren chooses to source from brands that are made in Australia or that are transparent about where and how their garments are made, as well as their footprint on the environment.

An example of such a brand is Bassike. Bassike aims to reduce their carbon footprint by producing over 90% of their products locally in Australia, using energy-efficient lighting in all their stores, and offsetting their carbon emissions (Bassike). They also use only recyclable and biodegradable packaging and uphold a code of conduct in their workplaces to ensure that fair labour conditions and workplace health and safety standards are being upheld (Bassike).


Slowing Down in a Fast Fashion World

Inspiration

The notion of fast fashion came under scrutiny following the collapse of Rana Plaza, a garment factory, in 2013. The factory produced apparel for a wide range of well-known brands, including Benneton, Primark and Mango, yet had been illegally constructed (Smithers 2013). Its collapse claimed the lives of 1,134 people and injured many more (Hoskins 2015).

Overall impact

With regard to the future of the fashion industry, Lauren believes that it’s the little steps that will make a difference. She comments, “there are always choices that individuals working in industry, or brands, can make.” Whether this is knowing more about your suppliers, or aiming to use more responsibly-sourced materials, Lauren believes that it is more than possible for fashion brands to take further steps to align themselves with the Sustainable Development Goals.

With individuals like Lauren pushing towards more sustainable practices, it is only a matter of time before attitudes in the industry begin to change overall.

Business benefit

As Lauren has only recently adopted this strategy for her business, it is difficult to track the tangible success of the innovation. However, it is likely to provide greater long-term benefits than short-term. As people become more enlightened to the environmental crisis, they will also become more conscious of the brands they are wearing. It is at this stage that stylists like Lauren will come to light, having been ahead of the game in only using the most sustainable fashion labels out there.

Social and environmental benefit

In 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning of irreversible environmental damage if global temperatures were allowed to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (IPCC 2018). They also acknowledged that limiting warming to this level, while scientifically possible, would require “unprecedented changes” (IPCC 2018). This has therefore contributed to a feeling of urgency surrounding climate action.

By choosing the most sustainable fashion brands, Lauren is doing what she can within her work to minimize her global footprint, thereby doing her part to take action against global warming. Lauren also tries to select brands that are transparent about their labour processes. This benefits society, as she only features brands that are fair in the treatment of their workers.

Interview

Lauren Rankin, Stylist

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Lauren Rankin - Freelance Commercial Stylist

Lauren Rankin - Freelance Commercial Stylist

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Business Website: -

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Lauren Rankin is a freelance commercial stylist. In her role she undertakes a wide variety of tasks from designing and managing corporate events to providing styling assistance on commercial photoshoots.