Building a ‘Sustainable’ Business – Start up workshop
written by Charlotte Turner
As the researcher and project manager at The Sustainable Angle, I was recently invited to present a sustainable sourcing workshop to fashion start-up companies at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London, as part of the Creative Hub project led by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. I was delighted to take part to provide guidance on sourcing more sustainably, alongside a tailored series of talks on design strategy, manufacturing, and brand values and communication.
The Creative Hub is a new business-mentoring scheme run from the Fashion and Textiles Museum, with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion offering tailored business support to 30 fashion businesses over the next year. They selected “beneficiaries with an interest in and commitment to doing things differently, those who are willing and able to explore and instigate new business models; those with genuine creative flair and those who understand that good business involves 360 vision.”
This one-day workshop was designed to provide a snapshot analysis of the opportunities sustainability can provide for a new business, and the starting points for integrating sustainability into the design and business planning process.
As materials are often the starting point when considering sustainability in a design business, the sustainable sourcing session delivered by The Sustainable Angle provided simple framework for sustainable materials and supplier sourcing, as well as showcasing over a hundred sustainable textiles samples. The presentation included:
- Sustainable materials – an overview of how and why we need to rethink the materials and processes we use in fashion and clothing production
- Measurements and guidelines – What benchmarks exist and how can we best use them to our advantage
- Today / Tomorrow – How do we improve our sourcing practices / who should be involved?
- Fabric showcase ‐ What is available and a discussion of commercial viability and questions to ask mills and suppliers
It is exciting to see the diverse and boundary pushing ideas being explored by start-ups and small businesses, and so we hope that initiatives like Creative Hub, and sustainable sourcing platforms like the Future Fabrics Expo and online Future Fabrics Virtual Expo will continue to equip designers, buyers, product developers and more with the knowledge, resources and skills needed to run their businesses in the most sustainable ways possible.