The Fashion Knowledge Report
I’m super excited to have Kelly Drennan, founder and producer of WEAR Conference, which is happening during Nov 13-14th in Toronto and is one of the biggest conference on ethical fashion out there to share with us on this issue of The Fashion Knowledge Report™! This regular publication will provide you with ideas, strategies and information to help you succeed in your fashion business.
What drove you to do the WEAR conference?
When Fashion Takes Action first began 10 years ago, there were very few large brands engaged in CSR & Sustainability. It was a movement driven by smaller, independent designers. However over the years, big brands have taken steps in the right direction. We first began to notice this in 2013 and decided it was time to engage that side of the industry, and the larger global supply chain, around best practices. Some Canadian brands and retailers have a long way to go yet, and many have not even engaged, and so WEAR formed out of a desire to inspire and motivate the industry here in Canada to take action. Our global roster of speakers each year has had a tremendous impact on attendees who not only benefit from the learning opportunity, but also from the networking.
What kind of progress or change you have seen from the 1st conference to this 4th one?
The first year was a challenge in securing international speakers (who was Fashion Takes Action? and why travel to Canada?) and now we are having international speakers reach out to us requesting that they have a speaking opportunity!
Similarly, sponsorship was a huge challenge, as it is with any “new” project or event. And now in year 4, it feels like less of a risk to sponsors given how successful the past 3 years have been – both in terms of number and quality of attendees, as well as the content that we pull together for the 2 days.
And finally, attendees is probably the most significant change. Each year our attendance increases by 20% and more brands are showing up now (which I think has a lot to do with timing). And we are even seeing a growing interest from fashion institutions, with educators bringing multiple staff from various faculties.
Any good closed-loop or sustainable movement out there you see will catch on and change our industry that you have heard from the speakers in the conference?
We are very excited to have the CEO of Evrnu (Stacy Flynn) as a keynote who will be talking about the move from “sustainable” to “regenerative”. Their work with Levi’s in particular with respect to recycling denim is ground breaking and has the potential to revolutionize our industry and the textile waste value chain. Technology and innovation are key to transforming this industry and there is so much happening around the world in this space, so we’re thrilled to have some of it represented at WEAR. We also have Kathleen Talbot from Reformation as a keynote speaker who will be sharing their model of Impact Measurement – a great customer engagement tool.
How can consumers do more to be more sustainable without breaking a sweat?
BUY LESS. For sure Reduce is the most important of the 3 R’s. In fact at FTA we believe in the 7 R’s of Fashion:
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Research, Repurpose, Repair and Rent.
All of these are manageable on a budget!!