This is the question that Kamila Boudonova, founder of Sustainable Fashion Day Prague, openly asks to the Czech/Slovak consumer.
A few years ago Kamila, a professor at Mod Spe-Paris and founder of Moyomi Workshop (online fashion business programs), decided to go back to her hometown to promote a new way to make and consume fashion. Today, after more than three years of continued work, she has become one of the main voices of sustainable fashion in her country. She has also managed to bring together the independent efforts of a group of actors committed to make a change in their fashion and beauty market.
As if that wasn’t enough, she has succeeded to arouse the interest of local consumers and even that of fashion students, who now consider sustainability a key factor in their professional projects.
The approach that Kamila takes on the subject is very clear, far from trying to raise awareness through images and news about labor exploitation, environmental disasters and waste generation from which fashion industry is responsible, she seeks to show sustainability for what it is (or can be): the coolest way to be, the new way to be.
The logic is simple. People around the world already have too many problems to deal with. Bad news comes every day from everywhere and somehow we have manage to block this information unless it affects us directly. Denouncing more injustices can generate an initial impact, but it will not necessarily change consumer behaviour. The average consumer will not choose their purchases based on remorse, he will choose on what attracts him. He will choose that which he wants to be associated with. After all, sustainable fashion is still fashion- why not take this niche to the coolest position possible?
If we look at it, most sustainable fashion brands produce quality clothing and all in a limited edition collection with a beautiful story behind it. Typically, these types of projects use materials of organic or recycled origin produced in small series which bring fair work to the local community and have a transparent production chain. In several cases we can even come into direct contact with the people who produce it. What’s not to love?
Of course, we can’t leave behind the “fashion” factor. These projects should also offer a defined style. Whether it is rich and colourful or basic and minimalist, consumers must be able to “see themselves in it” or “see that piece in their wardrobes”. Lastly, we must communicate all of these benefits in the right way.
With this vision, Kamila, who is also project manager in Fashion Revolution Czech Republic – Slovakia, created Sustainable Fashion Day Prague, which held its third edition last September under the premise Are you cool?
This edition took place for over two days at the Historic Kafka House (birthplace of Franz Kafka) on Prague’s Old Town. Besides bringing together a variety of projects in fashion, beauty and up cycling, conferences and workshops were organized to involve general public with the impact of the fashion industry and alternatives to improve it.
More than an expo-sale space, it has become a space for ideas exchange that has gradually taken over the public. Especially over the young public which I consider to be one if its biggest merits. To be able to connect with this audience isn’t necessarily an easy task; still, over the event we could see a lot of young students and young parents coming over to participate and meet the actors behind this movement. Not only local but also from neighbor countries of Eastern Europe.
A clear and appealing communication combined to several style proposals, the sustainable fashion world could take a couple of notes on this initiative.