CFDA Teams Up with the National Resources Defense Council

Kirsten Gillibrand
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Kirsten Gillibrand.

Eco-friendly fashion has made great strides in the last several years, but there’s still a long way to go—and the Council of Fashion Designers of America is ready to give designers the push they need.

The CFDA has teamed up with the National Resources Defense Council for the Clean by Design Initiative, championed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

“This is such an opportunity for all of us—as an industry, as New Yorkers, as people who do an extraordinary job in creating economic growth—to join with the NRDC to take on this mission, which I think is unprecedented, and really herald a new era of what social change can be done by industry,” Gillibrand told Women’s Wear Daily at an event for the program on Monday. “In this very difficult economy, my first priority is making sure that New York maintains its leadership as the fashion capital of the world, and that it continues to be an agent for job growth. We have to make sure we can impact our communities and our world in how we run our businesses.”

According to Linda Greer, director of the NRDC’s health and environment program, the fashion industry’s green efforts thus far are just not enough, with overseas factories using excessive amounts of water, energy, and electricity.

“The standard of operation of many, if not most, factories was far below global standards and desperately needed to improve,” she said. As part of Clean by Design, the NDRC has developed 10 steps that can be taken to dramatically reduce waste and pollution.

Designers like Derek Lam, Joseph Altuzarra, Zac Posen, Tory Burch, and more showed their support for the initiative, and one particularly passionate designer even sent a video message from overseas.

“You only live once,” said Stella McCartney in her message. “And what is it that you leave behind as a business person? Is it just some great handbags and a nice pair of shoes, or is it actually that and a conscious business?”