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Futerra Fashion Revolutionaries – Jeanine Ballone of Fashion 4 Development

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.

Jeanine Ballone, is the Managing Director of Fashion 4 Development. She provides advisement to Fashion 4 Development on sustainable global sourcing and all other areas of the fashion supply chain. She remains deeply engaged within the fashion industry and acts as a mentor to many young and aspiring fashion industry up-and-comers. She has a deep and rich history in global sourcing and supply chain functionality garnered from industry roles in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South and Central America.

Why do you work in sustainable fashion?

Because it’s about time that organisations and people like us really tried to be part of the solution and not the problem to the endemic damage that the fashion industry and its supporting industries have been causing to our planet for too long. This is not a new concept but for there are still far too many who are screaming that the house is falling down, without coming up with a way to fix it. We want to be a positive voice among the many.
The team at F4D have been working in the industry for sometime, but perhaps we are part of the problem too. It’s time to change that.

Tell us about one item of clothing from your closet that embodies sustainable fashion.

A t-shirt I recently purchased from a UK based small business called Birdsong. They are a sustainable cotton business that work with vulnerable and elderly local people within Greater London. They have a strong link to their greater supply chain and takes into account the Co2 footprint for each journey the t-shirt makes, while supporting local textile skills.

We also had the pleasure of recently working with a sustainable pop up company (Pause Fashion). They travel across cities to promote and work with small set up business that are completely sustainable and meet a certain set of standards. We hope to work further with them in the future.

What do you think is the biggest achievement of the sustainable fashion movement?

I would argue that such a moment has yet to really come. There have been some progressive commitments from some of the larger fashion brands and the sub brands to make a change, which we always welcome, however more will always need to be done.

With regards to making progress towards building a sustainable fashion industry, who do you want to thank and why?

We think that there are too few companies really pushing forward on sustainability for more than a few products and “capsule collections” to be a sign that they, or we, are really making the difference.   We need much more than that to have any impact on  or to change our current situation and path forward.

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.

We are working to build and connect and support a system that really brings this vital industry into the 21st century. This is the age of maturity for many of the planet’s businesses that caused so much damage during their creations over the last 100 years. In the future we see a way that all the links of the chain become much smaller. We return to some of the basics, whilst still giving the consumer choice and freedoms. But they can make the choice with the knowledge of where the piece was made, the conditions of which is was made, and knowing the material or quality will not leave an ever lasting effect on the planet. Business owners will have accountability to follow a universal and truly global set of golden standards to the consumer- that’s where we come in. This is not about removing choice, but about raising the bar; removing the worst practices that we have become all too familiar with, from the sweatshops of Bangladesh to the over consumptions of plastic clothing to record pay outs to shareholders.
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