Collective Fashion Justice is an international organisatoion, working for a fashion system that upholds total ethics, by prioritising the life of all animals; human and non-human, and the planet. Their mission is to illuminate the interlinked injustices in fashion supply chains that harm the planet and human and non-human animals. By uprooting their intertwined harm, we work to create a total ethics fashion system.
Emma Håkansson is the Founding Director of Collective Fashion Justice, creating much of the social, web and campaign content. She is the author of How Veganism Can Save Us, with another book on the way. She writes for publications on sustainable and ethical fashion and consults with brands on their ethics and environmental impact.
Recently Denim Focus Coordinator Pranta Biswas had a conversation with Ms Emma about the organization’s activity and fashion sustainability. The conversation is highlighted below for our readers-
Could you please share the aim of Collective Fashion Justice?
We aim to create a fashion industry where ’sustainability’ is understood in a holistic sense, in which the well-being of us all and our shared planet is intrinsically linked.
What inspires you to lead such an innovative and social awareness-creating platform?
I had previously worked as a model, and as I learned about the exploitation of garment workers, the needless killing of animals and the destruction of the planet, I became uncomfortable using myself to sell products that came from such harm.
I worked for both gender-based violence and animal protection organisation, but felt I couldn’t be collective in my approach to change: I couldn’t talk about the environment or the interconnected harms going on. Too, I realised that if I wanted to change the fashion industry – and fashion is what I was and am interested in – I had to be a part of it. Fashion is creative and uninterested in external opinions much of the time, so Collective Fashion Justice sits alongside the industry, appreciating the self-expression and innovation of the industry, but urging a shift beyond that expression coming at the expense of life.
Lots of sustainability campaigns are ongoing all over the world, still fashion products go into landfill and break the environmental balance. What is your opinion about this?
Until degrowth becomes a central part of the discussion in sustainability spaces, we won’t make progress in addressing the issue of waste. Circular, biodegradable and recycled materials and systems are so important, but if we continue to encourage constant production and consumption, we will still be extracting more from the planet than it can regenerate.
What is the success rate of the Collective fashion justice campaign?
We have big and ambitious goals, so we can’t say that we have achieved our ultimate goal of creating a total ethics fashion system, or of creating major, widespread cultural change, but we have made significant, even if incremental progress in the nearly two years since launching. We have consulted on now passed legislation, we have helped brands make significant changes to shift beyond cruelty and destruction, and we have helped bring to life a conversation about the need for animals to be considered when we speak about ‘ethical fashion’ which was previously fringe and seen as separate, rather than a critical part of a collective liberation approach.
What is your future plan for Collective Fashion Justice?
The future of Collective Fashion Justice will involve broader education, working with fashion schools, and consulting with more brands. We will also be working on ways to help guide citizen consumers to make better choices, and we will continue to work at a policy level, too. Our strategic plan for the next two year period will be released at the end of 2022.