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Essay: Investigating Sustainable Fashion: The Approach of Designer Ada Zanditon

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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This assignment will investigate the designer Ada Zanditon’s approach to sustainability and social responsibility, in order to better understand the principals involved and importance of sustainability and social responsibility for the fashion textile embroidery industry.

Our world is being destroyed through our desire to stay relevant by buying fast fashion.  This is why the fashion industry is one of most polluting industries according to Lucy Siegle (2017), Starting at the source of the garments, this assignment will look at the ways that textiles and fashion designers can reduce the way we pollute our planet.

Ada Zanditon is a British fashion designer who works with upcycled leather and PVC in her designs, which reduces the amount of energy put into creating new materials, it also reduces the amount of waste which would’ve been put into landfill otherwise. However, she does not always use recycled leather meaning that she is still supporting in the use of animals in her designs, whereas Stella McCartney has never used leather or fur instead uses substitutes such as recycled polyester instead of leather in her designs as it is 24 times less environmentally impactful than using Brazilian leather (Stella McCartney 2016). Larger

companies such as Stella McCartney are able to  

    Fig 1

review and measure their global environmental profit and loss account (otherwise known as E P&L), and after 3 years of reviews you can see that her use of materials has reduced environmental impact by 35% (Stella McCartney 2016).

Fig 2

Demand for fashion is at an all-time high there used to only be 4 collections every year but now some companies now offer new collections every week and new trends come in as fast as they go out, resulting in our throw away culture. (Stacy Dooley investigates fashions dirty secrets, 2018). Stacy Dooley (2018) also states that ‘300,000 thousand’s tons of clothing dump in landfill every year’.  Matilda Lee (2007, p82) points out fashion companies don’t think of the environmental impact of an item of clothing they are more concerned about how cheap it can be produced. This is why it is very important for brands to look at the life cycle of every garment they produce, if a garment is designed for longevity it will not be thrown away as quickly and therefore not be as polluting as a cheaper version.

Hye Eun Kim (2015) states that Designer Ada Zanditon thinks about the full life span of her garments from production to the use.  looking at all aspects of sustainable design methods such as; fair trade, organic or recycled materials and less harmful dyeing methods, but she also considers how the costumer is going to care for her garments after they’ve bought them, she has worked with brands like ecover to promote environmental garment washing care (a practical guide to sustainable fashion 2014).

In figure 2 u can see all the environmental and ethical issues produced by the fashion industry, so that’s why it is important for designers like Ada Zanditon to do everything they can to be sustainable. It is definitely a lot harder for smaller designers to be sustainable unlike bigger designers like Stella McCartney as her business has more money to spend om investing into sustainability, and ways of measuring her sustainability.

Stella McCartney is really clear and transparent on her policies for sustainability and other ethical considerations such as diversity and social responsibility and makes more of it in her marketing. However, it is quite clearly juxtaposed from Ada Zanditon’s as she only has one tiny bit of evidence about upcycling on her personal website and it is not clear what items she has used upcycled materials. She has collaborated with brands like Ecover that have evoked sustainable considerations about the garments care, but she does not go onto any further detail about the disposal of her garments as leather and PVC aren’t exactly the most sustainable fabrics and certainly will not decompose easily because of the chemicals used to make them. Ada Zanditon does use her designs to raise awareness of environmental problems such as her work to highlight coral reef, bee and bat population depletion according to Farameh (2011) see figure 3.


       Fig 3 Bee 2010 collection.

Recently Burberry has been put under scrutiny as it destroyed over £28 million pounds worth of products, they do this to withhold their desirable exclusive image, Allwood (2018).  Because Her designs take many hours, Zanditon is seen as more of a couture designer. She only makes to order which reduces over production.   She works with very embellished, couture items, considered as more valuable than your everyday high street clothing, and therefore less likely to be thrown away after a month.

In conclusion, whilst it is clear from some of the fabrics that she uses she is at times sustainable she is not always because of the use of leather and is not as clear as Stella McCartney in the policies and procedures she uses. For the future of our planet it is important to be forward thinking in the production of our threads, dyes and fabrics in the production of our clothes. There is a strong juxtaposition on the way Stella McCartney and Ada Zanditon market themselves on their websites, Stella McCartney is completely transparent, but Ada Zanditon is not very clear about the policy’s or even what item is or is not recycled. However, any considerations for sustainability can only be beneficial for life on earth.

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