Executive Strategist & Innovator KYUREEOSITY
Author, CFDA Sustainable Diagnostic Toolkit
Lauren is currently the lead strategy development at KYUREEOSITY— a consulting services firm that helps company leaders take steps towards integrating more sustainable solutions and models by thoughtfully guiding the discovery and framing of strategies and marketing opportunities. For 19 years, Croke was at the helm of apparel brand EILEEN FISHER’s digital transformation, e-commerce, creative, marketing, and technology division. She paved a pathway for the future by designing the vision, strategic direction, and implementation of initiatives and new business models that accelerated organizational growth and profitability.
Author, CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies
Domenica Leibowitz, who authored CFDA’s just-released Guide to Sustainable Strategies, studied International Relations with a focus in development and social entrepreneurship, and pursued a career in the non-profit sector of fashion to help the industry with best practices in both production and consumption. Nine years go, she co-founded Global Action Through Fashion(GATF), and in 2014, launched the Averti fashion label. We caught up with Leibowitz to discuss her drive to work in sustainability, and advice she has for brands looking to embrace it.
In this masterclass, we’ll discuss how a large organization, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), who represents the US-based fashion design community, is cultivating sustainable business practices through its resources. The discussion will focus on how the report can encourage change by supporting existing and new, small and medium design businesses and the staff that work within them. The video will also address some of the issues facing designers as they embark on employing sustainable practices both as it applies to manufacturing as well as material choices. Domenica and Lauren will discuss ways to facilitate creative solutions and activate positive change towards a more sustainable future.
Design for Sustainability
Designing for sustainability doesn’t only take into account the environment, but also the economy and social construction. Before venturing into a sustainable system, one needs to ensure that the costs of the system don’t outweigh the benefits. Sustainable designs use renewable resources to connect people together in a natural environment. The objective of sustainable design is to eliminate negative environmental impact and establish a continual system that can be sustained into the future.
Sustainable design first begins with materials: choosing non-toxic, sustainably produced or recycled materials. Manufacturing processes must then become energy efficient, reducing consumption and waste between consumers and products. Afterward distribution, reuse and recycling become important to the afterlife of a sustainable system. More recently, there are different certifications that measure levels of sustainability. For example, fair trade certification applies to numerous sustainable products, LEED certification applies to architecture, and B-corp certification is used for a range of sustainable companies.
“To me, sustainability is just good design. Plain and simple. And good design not only takes people and the environment into account... The data shows that [by] having a sustainability strategy and plan in place [with]in your company, those companies do better over time in terms of profitability.”
-- Domenica Liebowitz
You Can Start Anywhere
“There are so many different ways to approach sustainability and to start. ... you can find a way that’s really easy. And you can really start anywhere. Anywhere at all. And once you start it just kind of snowballs from there.”
-- Domenica Liebowitz
Go On a “Learning Journey” With Your Team
“[I learned about] the importance of [showing employees] a ‘learning journey.’ ... The value of [the learning journey] was so huge for people to feel like, ‘Oh, I get this now. I can step into this. I can start to ask questions. I feel like I can engage.’ The power of something as basic as a learning journey is huge.”
-- Lauren Croke
Tie Sustainability to Team Performance
“I’ve heard there are some CEOs that are tying it to their leadership team’s performance and making it part of their objectives, which I think is brilliant. Because they are being measured and reviewed against these core sustainability goals and then they are working with their teams. So, [they] are pushing the shifts throughout the culture.”
-- Lauren Croke
You Can Do It. Now is The Time
“So it makes you more money. All of the information is out there for free anyway. Everybody wants to work with you. The team are probably already doing it. And by the way it’s better for the world. It’s really hard to argue with all of that isn’t it?”
-- Simon Collins
“Use the resources we put so much love into. Hire a consultant. Find great partners. It’s personal. Start with the culture but... there are so many ways to get started and do whatever you can. And be creative.”
-- Domenica Liebowitz
How would you define sustainability?
What excites you most about sustainability and the future?
What are your thoughts on where we are with sustainability in the fashion industry？
Continue Your Learning
As annex to the Guide to Sustainability Strategies, the “Sustainable Strategies Toolkit” aims to visualize the mapping and framing of sustainability priorities. Check it out at: CFDA Sustainable Strategies Toolkit
The CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, authored by Domenica Leibowitz, seeks to provide a “how to” overview for sustainable fashion. View and download at: CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies
“TED has been developing a set of practice-based sustainable design strategies that assist designers in creating textiles that have a reduced impact on the environment.” Check out their top ten important strategies for designers to consider here: http://www.tedresearch.net/teds-ten/
Patagonia has long been a leader in the sustainable fashion landscape. Their blog hosts important insight on microfiber pollution, a sustainability issue close to their core business operations: http://www.patagonia.com/blog/2017/02/an-update-on-microfiber-pollution/
Leading environmental NGO, Greenpeace launched its “Detox My Fashion” campaign in July 2011 to address toxic pollution caused by creation of fashion product. The campaign “has secured global Detox commitments from 76 international brands, retailers and suppliers and has had political impacts, triggering policy changes in the Europe and Asia.” Read up on the full campaign here: https://www.greenpeace.org/archive-international/en/campaigns/detox/fashion/detox-catwalk/
Documentary, The True Cost, sets the stage for the CFDA Report by outlining some preliminary concerns around the adverse impact of fast fashion and current fashion making practices on the planet and people: https://truecostmovie.com/
Kering Environmental Profit & Loss Statement is a major value-add to the fashion and sustainability conversation. Please visit for more information: https://www.kering.com/en/sustainability/environmental-profit-loss/