Are Design Students Our Best Hope For a Sustainable Fashion Future?
Yooxygen and Parsons School of Design have made a joint decision to work together for a more sustainable fashion future, awarding students for innovative visions on responsible fashion.
It seems very logical that if wanting to change the fashion industry—and in a larger sense, the future of this planet—for the better, approaching the new generation of designers would be a good place to start. The world’s leading design schools, like Parsons School of Design and London Collage of Fashion, have already made sustainability a vital part of the curriculum, giving their students values and knowledge that will enable them to pursue a career with people and planet in mind. Let’s just hope money won’t make them forget what they’ve learned.
Naturally, fashion retailers, and especially global and large-scale ones, should be forerunners in presenting a more sustainable and eco-friendly in-store supply. This, we think, is a positive trend still in its early days. Online fashion retailer Asos.com, for one, has introduced the “Eco Edit”—a section dedicated to sustainability—and Yoox.com has made “Yooxygen” (launched already in 2009) their socially and environmentally responsible destination.
If you compare fashion to food, this would be like a bit like adding one shelf or isle of eco-friendly and organic food to an overall conventional selection. That doesn’t exactly make you Wholefood’s, but at least it’s a first step in the right direction. If eco food can become mainstream, there must be hope for fashion too. That, however, is all up to us consumers.
Integrating conscious fashion retailers with the sustainable designers of tomorrow seems like a good way of raising awareness around and encouraging these issues. Yooxygen is doing precisely that as they partner up with The New School’s Parsons School of Design in a collaboration founded on joint ideas of sustainability, guided by principles such as: responsible consumption, fair production and trade, low- environmental impact and the empowerment of local craftsmanship. The aim is to “promote sustainable fashion practices through education and collaborations”, and by doing so they’ll strengthen and develop Yooxygen too.
As a part of this collaboration, Yoox also launched the “Yooxygen Award” at the 69th Parsons Annual Benefit on May 23rd, benefitting students with an innovative vision for sustainable fashion. The graduating BFA Fashion Design student, Ji Won Choi, of Parsons was announced winner from a group of six finalists, which earned her a six-month internship at the Yoox Net-a-porter HQ in Milan. During this time, she’ll be creating a sustainable women’s wear collection for SS18 to launch exclusively at Yooxygen in early 2018.
Maybe, hopefully, initiatives like these will infuse the new generation with a belief that sustainable and conscious work methods and ethics will be beneficial in both a smaller, personal, and larger, universal, sense.
Ji Won Choi is the winner of the 2017 Yooxygen Awards. Above are two looks from her collection.
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