Why do you work in sustainable fashion?
Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, and each industry has a unique role to play in solving the climate crisis. I believe that fashion will be the storyteller, bringing the complicated topic of climate into mainstream consciousness and quite literally making the conversation “fashionable.” Allbirds has a direct line to customers to help them understand complex ideas like carbon neutrality and emissions taxes, and a growing platform to reach a lot of people.
Tell us about one item of clothing from your closet that embodies sustainable fashion.
A vintage skirt I bought in Amsterdam. One of the best things we can do is to keep our clothing in use for longer – if you don’t want to wear it anymore, pass it along to someone who does! Trends are cyclical – I think it’s from the 90s but the floral print is classic. It’s probably my most asked after item of clothing and I love saying “it’s from a vintage shop in Amsterdam.” It feels even more special knowing it has a history.
What do you think is the biggest achievement of the sustainable fashion movement?
Turning sustainability into a competitive advantage. I do think that sustainability has reached the CEO’s agenda and is viewed as something that drives value for customers. We’re seeing new climate commitments every day and sustainability ads at the Super Bowl. Now we have to ensure that we continue to collaborate and share learnings in order to enable emissions reductions at scale.
With regards to making progress towards building a sustainable fashion industry, who do you want to thank and why?
My peers who are in the trenches every day fighting for better decisions within their businesses. The more sustainable decision often takes longer and is more expensive and needs a tireless advocate. Sustainability professionals are so acutely aware of the consequences of climate change and how little time we have to turn things around. Yet they find a way to maintain a sense of optimism and keep pushing the movement forward. I am inspired every day by this community and how supportive and collaborative it is.
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.
In the year 2030, carbon footprints on garments are as ubiquitous as nutrition labels on food. Companies are required to label everything they make with its carbon footprint, and must offset that carbon footprint to zero. As a result, we have all developed a relational understanding of the carbon emitted to create things – a shoe is less than a bicycle which is less than a plane flight – and are empowered to make smarter decisions.