What exactly is sustainable fashion? Is it about the use of natural materials? Compliance with fair working conditions? Or is it about wearing less fast fashion and more second-hand clothes? There is much discussion about a clear, consistent definition. This may be due to the complexity of the facts, to the interplay of many different factors, to which each attaches a different importance. For some, sustainable fashion is about a more conscious consumer behavior. For others it is a decline in production and a smarter design. Some deal with issues of origin and identity, with traditional craftsmanship and manufacturing techniques, and others with new innovations and business models. Some fight for human rights and higher wages, others simply for survival.
The fact that one approach to sustainability does not exclude the other was shown at this year's Fashion Film Festival in Milan. The category "Awareness & Change" presented the best films of the year on sustainable fashion. The films shed light on the topic from different perspectives and make clear that sustainability can not be reduced to just one factor. Rather, it is the interaction of different perspectives and initiatives that inspires people and makes sustainable developments possible in the first place.
Director: Tom Ivin
"We are still here. We are still fighting. We are still doing our traditions.” A film about the lives of young Native Americans looking for their place in the past and today. Fashion becomes the expression of identity, origin and strength. The portrayals combine Fenty Pumas with traditional costumes, and it turns out that sustainability also means preserving and reinventing cultures.
Director: William Farr & Jon Emmony
It's almost grotesque how humanity deals with the planet. Waste has become a natural phenomenon: plastic waste and such are now as much a part of the landscape as trees and lakes. We have forgotten that humans are also part of nature. The film Earth (The Unseen) reminds us and asks us to be more responsible with our earth.
Director: Frédéric Laffont
Filmmaker Frédéric Laffont visits studios, workshops and factories around the world for Hermès - from Sorède, a small village in the south of France, to the Japanese capital Tokyo. He portrays artists, craftsmen and technicians and shows the intimate relationship between makers and crafts, material and users. Particularly impressive: the portrait of the French saddler Laurent Goblet, who has been producing saddles for Hèrmes for 40 years. Also worth seeing: The visit of a family-operated textile printing company in Kyoto. The family masters the rare art of silk marbling.
A Plentiful Feast accompanies a fisherman boy in search of food for his family, and tragically shows the consequences of human action. His search leads the young man into the fascinating underwater world of the Caribbean. What he finds there is almost fictitious - yet it is so real.
Director: Biswanath Rath
The inhabitants of the Indian tribe Kotpad are experts in sustainable textile production. They make fabrics on handlooms and dye them with vegetable materials -traditions of craftsmanship that have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. But that could change soon.
+ Words: Lena Bäunker
After living in Hamburg, Shanghai, Groningen and Milan, now Lena works and studies in Rotterdam. Lena is committed to Fashion Revolution, helping sustainable brands tell their stories, and writing about the interfaces between sustainability, art, culture and business.