Last weekend, fashion designer Derek Lam spoke with Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps at Savannah College of Art and Design's FASHWKND event, where he was honored with the Étoile award. He spoke about a number of topics like the strangeness of dressing celebrities for red carpet events and the future of fashion. He told the audience that American brands should try to think beyond sportswear and make "something that's even more relevant," emphasizing the benefits of designing accessories like shoes.
He added that sustainability is the future of the fashion industry, telling the audience that consumers and designers have to think to themselves, "We can't consume the way we've consumed, so let's go back and figure out how we can do more with less." He said is currently learning how to make his company more sustainable, he says.
Indeed, there are countless environmental bypoducts of clothing manufacturing, like toxic dyes and polyester microfibers that pollute water sources, making them uninhabitable. The amount of waste created by the fashion industry is expedited when fast fashion brands encourage buying and discarding cheaply-made clothes quickly.
Lam's statements come at a time when discourse about sustainability is buzzing in the fashion world: Companies like Gap have pledged to reduce their water consumption by 10 billion liters by 2020, and H&M recently launched a sustainability initiative which has a number of goals, including sourcing all of the company's cotton from sustainable sources by 2020. Singer Jaden Smith also just released a line of sustainable denim.