The world of fashion is more than models, make-up, ramps, divas and fabulous designs. That’s exactly what a UN panel on sustainable fashion plans to discuss next week and South Africa has a seat at the table.
Chief executive at Imprint Luxury, an events, PR and marketing company, and founder of the Fashion Revolution in Cape Town, Cyril Naicker, will be joining fashion gurus from around the world at a sustainable fashion show and panel event on February 24 where they will discuss the importance of sustainable fashion.
The event will also showcase fashion designers at the forefront of sustainable and culturally diverse clothing and ethical consumerism.
Panel members will highlight the different ways to systematically change the processing and supply chain management of the fashion industry as well as their experience in promoting sustainable fashion around the world.
Topping the agenda will be harmful practices and human rights violations of the fast-fashion industry, which hurts millions of people and has been justly criticised for perpetuating poverty in developing countries and unsuitable manufacturing methods.
In 2014, Naicker was contacted by Brittany Chambers, a researcher and education advocate with a passion for sharing insights on the workplace. In 2017 he was asked to be part of the UN panel but due to funding issues, he had to decline. Fast forward to 2021 and Covid-19, the event is taking place online and Naicker would not miss it for the world.
“I have worked as a fashion consultant for sustainable clothing brands. I am a fashion designer by qualification but spent the last twenty years working at almost every point of the fashion value chain. I built a reputation for an ethical stance on fashion and am very involved in the sustainable fashion movement in South Africa.
“My work with Fashion Revolution South Africa and my dedication to sustainable and ethical fashion made by local people who are paid a living wage and work in decent workplaces is what we will be highlighting at this event,” said Naicker.
He said while he’s the only African on the panel, he knows there are many like-minded people in South Africa and on the continent.
Naicker said sustainable fashion is a movement and process to bring about change in the fashion value chain.
“It is about addressing the impact that the manufacturing processes has on our environment and it is about social justice. The people who made our clothing. What working conditions do they work under? Do they get paid fair wages? In summary it is about a fashion industry that is fair to the planet and fair to the people that make our clothing,” he said.
On ethical consumerism Naicker said: “It’s voting with your money. It is the practical side of consumer activism based on their shopping habits. An ethical consumer cares about understanding the process of how the item that they are buying was made. It is about caring for the artisans that make these items, boycotting items made while exploiting children as workers and avoiding items that damage our environment.”
“I have a sit-down interview with sustainable textile designer Sindiso Khumalo and we feature fashion from local South African designers, Mmusomaxwell, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Thebe Magugu as well as Cute-Saint from Lagos, Nigeria. Imprint Luxury’s focus on sustainability as a business consultancy company has led to several large companies approaching us for advice and business ventures with respect to them achieving the UN Sustainability Development Goals,” said Naicker.
He will be joined on the panel by Hyejune Park – Professor, Oklahoma State University Specialist in Sustainable Fashion Production, Ayesha Barenblat -Social entrepreneur and sustainable supply chain advocate and founder and CEO of Remake Tara Rangarajan – Head of Communications, Brand Relationships and Country Programmes, International Labour Organisation and the discussion will be moderated by Jeff Trexler from the Fashion Law Institute.