This week we read “Closing the Loops in Commerce: Running a Business like a Redwood Forest.” As many weeks before, I did not have an epiphany. I do not think that a lot of the principles that were discussed in this article are practical or applicable to our industry. I think that a lot of the principles can be applied on a small scale but cannot be implemented long term or on a large scale.
The ten commandments of the redwood forest are basically ten principles that can potentially be implemented into society to improve sustainable practices. The two principles that are most likely to have a practical application in our industry are using materials sparingly and shopping locally.
Using materials sparingly is a practical application because our industry can easily cut back on material usage. This is useful for our generation to understand so that we can be “warriors” for this train of thought and as we graduate, we can begin to apply it to our industry and teach others to follow this principle as well. The drawback to this is that our industry is wasteful, that is the nature of the beast. The most difficult part about changing toward sustainable practices is that you must first change your train of thought to sustainability; you cannot just begin with practices. The thought process and cognitive process must be changed before the actual practices can be altered.
The second most applicable commandment is shopping locally. This idea is already beginning to be implemented in our industry. Shopping local is turning into a trend within the fashion industry. It is great to shop local and keep the economic development within your own community! The drawback to this is that you cannot completely sustain your community with items from your community. For example, you cannot completely manufacture and create apparel items in a small community. It is not possible to completely sustain yourself in one small community. However, this can be implemented on a small scale. Creating the mentality of trying to shop locally whenever possible is a great place to start. This could greatly affect our industry because is could cause the increase of small business commerce traffic and a decrease in large company industry shopping. For example, if you began your career with a large corporation such as J. Crew, the likelihood of losing your job could be higher if small businesses continue to grow.
There are pro’s and con’s to each of these principles. While it is important to move towards sustainability, this is the industry that we chose to create our careers and therefore we must also think about our future livelihood as well. Sustainable practices are key to our future and are definitely something that we in the fashion industry need to pay attention to.