To celebrate Fashion Revolution and the progress the fashion industry has made towards becoming more sustainable, we’re asking experts in the field who we think are fashion’s revolutionaries to share some of their insight into the industry and the future of fashion.
Leslie Johnston joined C&A Foundation as its first Executive Director in late 2013 and brings over 20 years of management experience across multiple sectors, including smallholder agribusiness, entrepreneurship and corporate philanthropy. At C&A Foundation, Leslie led the development of the foundation’s first global vision, mission, and strategy, anchored on making fashion a force for good.
Leslie currently serves on the boards of Fashion for Good B.V., COFRA Foundation, GoodWeave International, CottonConnect, and the Organic Cotton Accelerator.
Why do you work in sustainable fashion?
I work to improve the lives and livelihoods of the millions of women and men – from farmers to factory workers – who depend on the global apparel industry.
Tell us about one item of clothing from your closet that embodies sustainable fashion.
My closet is pretty bare, as I tend to wear the same, well-loved pieces. But tucked away in my socks basket is a beautiful, hand-woven scarf I purchased from a social enterprise Tsandza Weaving, when I was living in Swaziland, which has trained and enabled over 60 rural women to hone their weaving skills and earn a dignified living.
What do you think is the biggest achievement of the sustainable fashion movement?
While we still have a long way to go, I am thrilled to see that transparency (and, as a result, accountability) is becoming, well, more fashionable. As that inspiring Fashion Revolution video on the 2 Euro t-shirt shows us, people care when they know.
With regards to making progress towards building a sustainable fashion industry, who do youwant to thank and why?
I would like to thank those brave leaders – like Nazma Akter of Awaj Foundation in Bangladesh – who work tirelessly to give a voice to the voiceless worker, the backbone of the global fashion industry.
Tell us a story about a sustainable fashion industry in 2030 – a day in the life of a worker, a consumer, through the lens of your business, etc.
If we succeed in our collective efforts to create a more transparent and accountable fashion industry, by 2030, we (as consumers) will have the information we need to make informed choices, thus rewarding those brands and retailers working to make fashion a force for good.
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