On April 22nd schools, shops, companies - establishments of all shapes and sizes - joined in the international celebration of Earth Day 2010. The fashion community didn’t miss a beat, featuring eco-friendly wear on every front, and demonstrating innovations in integrating re-used and recycled materials and packaging in retail products. Students and faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology paid homage to this important holiday through hosting their fourth annual sustainability conference, and Nomi Network was invited to present a breakout session on our commitment to the sustainability of the human resources used in product production.
This year’s conference was titled "Redesigning for a Sustainable Future," and consisted of a day packed full of programming including three keynote addresses and 10 breakout sessions. All of the keynote speakers spoke with passion and expertise, but I was particularly interested in a presentation by Mark Alt on "Sustainable Cities: Designing Future Systems." Mr. Alt is the Founder of Marc Alt + Partners, a design, research and strategy agency dedicated to sustainability and social innovation. His presentation was essentially a fascinating laundry list of open source resources that he suggested are laying the ground work for imagining a solution to the massive challenge of “designing future systems of food, shelter and mobility for the projected billions of people who will join urban populations.” Out of the various websites and wikis that he mentioned, I chose three to highlight because I believe they demonstrate how a single company is addressing this issue (Patagonia), how a community is addressing this issue (Open Architecture Network), and how a central question to this issue (where does our stuff come from?) is helping to inform dialogue around this challenge.
Mr. Alt’s ability to identify the pressing need to feed an increasingly crowded planet while protecting and restoring the ecosystem services available to us for free from nature (access to clean air, water, soil and other systems that support life) reminded me of how important Nomi’s work is, and particularly the “network” portion of our vision. This presentation also reignited my excitement over our fair-trade map that features retailers in New York City that carry fair-trade products, and eventually will carry slave-free products. I found this presentation particularly important to Nomi’s mission because of its ability to address the need to engage holistically around sustainable design, and the growing synergies between social transparency and the fashion industry.
Check out sustainability practices in action:
Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles
Sourcemap’s Open Supply Chains
The Open Architecture Network
- by Alissa Moore