Can we live in a sustainable world? This is a question we get pretty often. When you think about being sustainable, I’m sure a few things come to mind; the first thing would typically be if what I’m doing/wearing harms the environment. Next would be its impact. But have you ever wondered how it was made? These tips can be applied to clothes, accessories, or items like water bottles, containers, and packaging.
Let’s focus on clothes and accessories for a minute (which also happens to be the subject of this podcast). We had the opportunity to talk to Dan Pontarlier, a Spanish college professor. A sustainability consultant made a fashion icon. He first moved to France to pursue a career in marketing for tourism and hospitality. Then, he fell in love with sustainability and re-invented himself into a consultant for those industries, AND fashion made sustainable.
When asked what being sustainable really is, his answer was very easy, CARING. When you care about how things are made, their impact, and the conditions they were manufactured, you start to choose better options for yourself, the environment, and others.
After years of teaching college students, he decided to focus on his career and become a full-time entrepreneur. Dedicating his full time to leading a more sustainable life and helping others, including brands, Dan discovered he was getting people’s attention on social media because of how he looks (yes, he’s very handsome, look at the pictures). His tattoos, and the impeccable taste that went into his wardrobe. He became a Partner in Digital Strategies for the Ethical Brand Directory in London to increase fashion brands’ level of commitment with sustainability and boost and empower female-led brands not only in the UK but in Europe. Dan is also the Co-founder of the European Sustainable Hospitality Club, working to increase the sustainability level of commitment to the hospitality sector.
So, you can see commitment and sustainability are essential here (if you don’t believe it, count how many times they are mentioned in the last 2 sentences). Getting serious now, the reason why these 2 words are so important and should have a significant impact is so that we can “try” to do something. Still, if you don’t commit, there won’t be consistency. If you’re not consistent, it won’t be sustainable in time, and if it’s not sustainable… well, you’re missing the whole point.
When asked if the product’s material is the only thing that matters, or, if what we (Jason Hyde) are doing, is the right way towards becoming a more sustainable brand every day, Dan stated, “We are in a year (still 2020, yes) where making a cotton shirt is no longer enough… You need to upcycle. Try to make a better impact on the environment than the one that you’re doing”.
Not only do we use upcycled and organic materials for our products, but we take the time to choose the right packaging like our cardboard boxes for lower impact. This, for Dan, is what brands need to be doing today. Another big thing for brands out there reading this post: TRANSPARENCY. You won’t get anywhere without being honest, for example: where your material comes from and how they are made, not only the process of doing it but how are the manufacturers treated, “…brands don’t think this is relevant, today, consumers are taking interest on this and even started to boycott brands that are not doing it”. Remember that “behind a piece of clothing that is cheap, there are two types of poor people, the one that is producing the shirt and the one that is buying it… imagine how much the person who made it in a sweatshop is getting” this is the problem with fast fashion and why it is vital for consumers also to realize what these brands are doing, saying that you care, is not enough anymore, you have to keep demonstrating it with actions.
Finally, when asked if he wants to leave something behind for the next generations, his answer was, “…the European Sustainable Hospitality Club (his baby), because they were able to create something that will help people and companies that have no idea about sustainability in the hospitality industry by creating a community for people to help each other, and realize that sustainability is not complicated and that there are many things you can do by yourself without having to hire an expensive consultant, all it takes is WILL, and you will (get it? 😉 ) succeed.
To catch the full interview, listen to the podcast and get the whole conversation between Jony and Dan, available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.
What are you waiting for? You know there’s no TIME to waste! More doing and less thinking about it.