Episode 7

Fashion Takes Action: Advancing Sustainability in the Fashion Industry

Join Avril Tomlin-Hood in this episode of In With the New as she talks with Kelly Drennan, Founding Executive Director of Fashion Takes Action, about sustainability in the fashion industry.

38 minutes | Mar. 15, 2023

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Kelly Drennan is the Founding Executive Director of Fashion Takes Action (FTA), Canada’s only non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability in the fashion industry. Her role at FTA is to remove the barriers to sustainability that exist for the entire fashion system, through initiatives such as the annual World Ethical Apparel Roundtable conference (WEAR), Sustainable Fashion Toolkit, and My Clothes My World, FTA’s youth education program. In 2017, Kelly was the recipient of the prestigious Clean 50 award given to Canada’s climate leaders, where she was recognized for Education & Thought Leadership, and was the first recipient of the award for the fashion industry. In 2022 Kelly won the Sustainability Award given out by the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA).

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Kelly Drennan shares how she started Fashion Takes Action (FTA)
  • How major fashion brands have evolved to adopt sustainable practices
  • The challenges surrounding widespread sustainability in the fashion industry
  • Kelly talks about My Clothes My World’s mission
  • The challenges of recycling clothing
  • Kelly’s favorite sustainable fashion brand

In this episode…

In recent years demand for apparel and footwear has grown – particularly with the rise of fast fashion – at great environmental cost. While the precise environmental impact is difficult to measure because of the global nature of the fashion industry and supply chain opacity, it is estimated that the industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply. Despite years of pressure to become more sustainable, the industry has made little to no progress to reduce its impact on the environment. And yet consumer demand for sustainable fashion is on the rise. So, what can individuals and brands do to promote more sustainable practices?

Although widespread sustainability within the industry isn’t likely to transpire in the near future, Kelly Drennan says that small lifestyle and business adjustments can foster meaningful change. For instance, consumers can choose to buy thrift instead of new items, and donate old items for resale or recycling. And brands can choose to manufacture apparel using recycled materials, or organic materials that can eventually be repurposed through circularity. For businesses, it’s crucial to develop an actionable sustainability plan and prioritize sustainable practices.

Resources mentioned in this episode: