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August 20 2014

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1 posts tagged "Pedro Sanchez"

The Science of Sustainability

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No doubt sustainability is one of fashion’s hottest topics—first and foremost because we need to preserve the environment, and consider how what we wear impacts where we live. But all that is green has also become “trendy”—and for those not in the know, it’s hard to decipher the most important qualities when picking your socially conscious eco-chic duds. So in honor of Earth Day, Style.com spoke with renowned agronomist and 2004 MacArthur Fellow Pedro Sanchez of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Sandy Black, sustainable-fashion expert, professor at the London College of Fashion, and author of Eco-Chic and The Sustainable Fashion Handbook, about the dos and don’ts of sustainability. “It’s complex,” says Black, when asked to define sustainable fashion. “The big definition is about long-term sustainability, but also there’s the economic sustainability, then there’s ethical and social issues. So in a way, the best type of businesses have combined all sorts,” she adds. Meanwhile, Sanchez qualifies “sustainable” as having to do with the source of textiles. “Production has to be economically profitable, environmentally OK, and agronomically OK.” However, he continues, “Nothing is completely sustainable. We’re all going to die. And people need to think about the time dimension. For how long is something sustainable?” he asks.

This brings us to the question of natural versus synthetic fibers. “I’ve made some mistakes in buying polyester,” laughs Sanchez, noting that due to the carbon released into the environment during synthetic production, he’s a natural fibers kind of guy. But Professor Black suggests that we need to factor in the time component. “It’s not natural’s good, synthetic’s bad. You have to take the whole life cycle into account,” she says. “You only have to consider the amount of water and energy that’s used in washing T-shirts and jeans that isn’t needed when you have a polyester item. Polyester lasts an awful long time, and people can keep it for a long time.” Continue Reading “The Science of Sustainability” »