“I still think the biggest challenge is making sustainability sexy. Often the quality is there but the desire in design is not,” explained Hassan Pierre recently to the CFDA’s Teslin Doud. The co-founder of Carmen-backed MAISON-DE-MODE.COM, the New York-based luxury ethical retailer, is serving on the Advisory Board for the 2018 CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative 2.0., and was interviewed as part of the CFDA’s ‘Word’s With Fashion (Friends)’ series.
As a pioneer of the sustainable fashion movement, Pierre is well placed to mentor the initiative’s participants, given that the primary goal of the program is to further American fashion’s journey to sustainability. “There is a huge opportunity today for ‘ethical’ brands as consumer demand has tripled in the last five years,” he said. “Consumers are finally awake. They are looking and questioning everything.”
Five selected brands are participating in the initiative, which began last October and is set to conclude this coming June. They are charged with devising design and business strategies across several key areas including consumer consciousness, bespoke product and service innovations, and ethical methods. “Each business needs to manage how they can minimize or eliminate their negative impact,” explained Pierre. “For me, the easiest way for a business to start reducing their negative impact is becoming more energy-efficient.”
In the interview, Pierre was also keen to emphasize that transparency is key. The products stocked by MAISON-DE-MODE.COM must adhere to standards determined by a set of ‘sustainability icons’: Recycled, Organic, Made In USA, Artisanal, Cruelty Free, Fairtrade, Charitable and Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark. “There’s no more being able to hide in our industry,” he said.
The brand with the most visionary, viable and impactful strategic blueprint for a positive future will be awarded a prize of $80,000. And when asked whether he had one wish for the industry’s future, Pierre didn’t hesitate, “To remove ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ from our vocabularies and have those principles be the norm in our industry. It would be really interesting to see items tagged as ‘NOT ETHICAL’ or ‘HARMFUL’ in the future.”
Read more about MAISON-DE-MODE.COM here.
Photos: Jacopo Moschin / kinfolk.com