Even though the above quote refers to the climate activists, we felt that Greta’s words describe deeply why Savannah Morrow exists: we are hopeful that we can change not only the fashion industry but how we make and wear clothes. We are hopeful that we can change the way we consume today.
Let us take a step back to explain.
The fashion industry’s link to climate change:
Earlier this year, an 18-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg gave an interview for Vogue Scandinavia that immediately caught the attention of the whole industry. Greta, who has been called the voice of her generation and is known for challenging the world’s biggest leaders to take immediate climate action, reflected on her journey and her own actions. Following her interview, she made sure that her thoughts on fashion are heard clearly. Greta used the most influential fashion magazine to remind us that fashion is a big contributor to the environmental crisis. Her statements are based on a treasury of data we have today about the industry.
According to one report, the fashion industry emits about the same quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined. Unless serious changes are done, the industry will exceed the pathway set out to mitigate climate change. Apart from a direct link to global warming, as a result of the amount of GHGs emitted, the industry also creates tonnes of waste and is responsible for deforestation and resource deflation. The business of fashion today impacts the communities around the world and is one of the top five industries to drive modern slavery.
The industry’s response to this is only a start. Many brands today have outlined their ambitions to cut emissions in the upcoming decades, and many more have created their sustainable collections. However, none of these actions address the core problem: the mass production of fashion cannot be sustainable. Or, as Greta puts it, fast fashion will never be sustainable.
Fast fashion doesn’t refer only to cheap clothes made fast. This is a business model in which we produce large amounts of clothes, more and more each year, only to sell them quickly. Having hundreds or even thousands of new styles and items each day prompts us to consume more than we need, only encouraging further production. This consumption cycle, which continues to grow, is taking a toll on our ecosystems and the inhabitants of our planet.
What is the answer to this?
Should we stop consuming fashion?
There is no simple answer to the complex problem of consumption. We, as a society, cannot simply stop consuming. Consumption is much more than obtaining material goods. It is about expressing ourselves and showing our belongings. In fashion particularly, clothes always go beyond a pure necessity to warm, cover, or protect our bodies. Clothes are our social skin, meaning that clothes are a part of how we fit into but also negotiate our role in society. Clothes always have meaning beyond being things we wear on our bodies. Thus, wanting to update, change, and experiment with our clothes is something humans have been doing for centuries.
In other words, it is not the consumption nor our desire for fashion that is the issue. Nor it is something that is likely to change soon. Rather, it is the way we consume today that is highly unsustainable because it is based on taking away from nature without giving back.
We believe that it is possible to find ways to continue to consume without harming nature.
Our small actions matter:
This is where sustainable fashion comes to the scene. As a part of it, we at Savannah Morrow believe that it is our role to rethink the future of consumption. We make it our personal responsibility to find ways in which fashion and consumption of clothes can continue to exist but, from now on, in tune with nature and our planet’s boundaries.
Acknowledging the simple fact that we want to look good when wearing our clothes, we started our brand three years ago to look for answers. While the challenges of both the fashion industry and climate change are immense, we learned that every small action matters. This goes to both our personal and professional lives.
We don’t do this because we are naïve about changing the world. This past summer, marked by wildfires, droughts, and other natural disasters, reminded us just how serious the breakdown of our ecosystem is. But, when our world is burning, we ask ourselves what are we doing to contribute to the fire. We start with ourselves and we recognize that we can also do things to prevent it. We are a part of this ecosystem and as such, we are active agents in how it changes and behaves. This is what we mean when we say that our small actions matter.
To go back to Greta, in her Vogue interview, she thinks about the actions in our personal, daily lives, this way:
“You don’t stop flying, you don’t stop consuming or you don’t go vegan because you want to lower your own individual carbon footprint. […] We do it because we want to influence the people around us, we want to send a clear signal that we are facing an emergency and when you are in an emergency you change your behavior.”
This is precisely how we think about our actions as well.
The future starts now:
We are in a business of changing behaviors: our own, individual, and collective.
That is why every step in our clothes-making process matters. From growing the raw materials to wavering, dyeing, and sewing, we are making sure to leave as little impact as possible. The garments we make are of the highest quality so that you can wear them proudly for a long time. To us, each step is an opportunity to influence how we act and respond to the climate emergency.
Our future starts now, with the clothes we wear.
Will you join us?