This week as Storm Dennis began to wane, Global Fashion Agenda hosted a media masterclass in The Business of Fashion’s London headquarters. Bringing together journalists and industry insiders, the masterclass yielded a vibrant discussion about how the media can create a more nuanced portrait of fashion and sustainability, particularly when it comes to growth.
Moderated by our Communications Director, Dana Schou, the panel consisted of Hendrik Alpen, Sustainability Manager of H&M Group; Hana Kajimura, Sustainability Lead of Allbirds; Daniella Vega, Group Director of Sustainability of Selfridges Group; and Sarah Kent, Senior Sustainability Correspondent of Business of Fashion. The masterclass was kicked off with an introduction from Global Fashion Agenda CEO, Eva Kruse and Chief Sustainability Officer, Morten Lehmann. The masterclass invited panellists to discuss their own efforts towards achieving sustainability and why they are often reluctant to communicate their efforts openly to the public – fear of media scrutiny being the main deterrent.
Another key theme that emerged was why the media and brands must work together. How can fashion brands become less wary of media criticism? How can the media compellingly document this unfolding narrative of redesigning growth while also showing how the fashion industry has a unique role to play when it comes to issues involving sustainability? How can brands communicate their efforts towards achieving sustainability both openly and boldly—regardless of what the backlash might be? And how can journalists, covering the intersection of fashion and sustainability gain better access to data and facts that can bolster their reportage and convince readers to take informed decisive action?
Reporting about sustainability in fashion is no easy feat. It’s still unchartered territory but as it continues to gain traction, it’s evident that both brands and media must have a detente, a sort of cease-fire, in which concerns can be vented, facts revealed, and the work—however imperfect or incomplete can be documented. Radical transparency is required to move the needle forward.
“No one has the answers,” said Kajimura,”But this is why we need to tell the stories of the good things—however small they are— that are happening in the industry.”
By taking an even-handed approach to covering stories on fashion, growth, and sustainability, the media can play an important role in educating the public about the issues at stake and the efforts that are currently underway to address them. It’s time to change the conversation.
To create a more constructive dialogue between brands and media, Global Fashion Agenda regularly hosts media masterclasses that provide a forum for journalists to connect with brands and gain a deeper understanding of the issue. To learn about previous media masterclasses, go here.