Source: Stella McCartney 2017 AW
In Zhang Yimou’s “Dialogue and Fable 2047”, humans live amongst sea creatures, surrounded by toxic waste, and eventually prompt their own extinction – disturbing prophecy.
With her unique courage and conviction, Greta Thunberg came to symbolize the new generation’s sensitivity and initiative towards environmental change as she was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
The rising question of sustainable fashion
In 2019, 32 well-known companies/brands, including Kering, Chanel, Hermes, Burberry, Prada, Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani, and Adidas signed the “Fashion Pact” agreement, which finally established sustainability as a trend in luxury fashion.
Ninon de L’Enclos, a 17th-Century French writer, once said, “that which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful.”
Over the past century, the fashion industry has grown at a dizzying pace, championing the human experience of beauty.
However, this beauty came at a price: the industry’s wasteful practices have become one of the most dangerous sources of carbon emissions. According to a report by Global Fashion Agenda in Copenhagen, around 73% of clothes only worn 3 times or less are thrown out. As shown in the McKinsey Study, 20% to 30% of all microplastics flowing into the ocean originate from the fashion industry.
Such facts fuel the thinking of our society’s new elite. This new generation of elites is not defined by age, but is characterized by a shared concern and sense of responsibility for mankind’s future. Dubbing humans as the ‘elite’ species amongst all living things, they ask themselves strikingly relevant questions. What kind of life philosophy can maintain the balance between nature and the pursuit of human happiness? How does one define sustainability and identify responsible fashion brands while also avoiding overconsumption? How are we to live sustainably as a community? The new elite experiment with the possible answers to these questions. They partake in sustainable lifestyles, promote creativity in sustainable fashion, and push for a ‘greener’ production system. In championing the tangible aspects of sustainability, this new generation also creates spiritual values of responsibility for our society, humanity, and Earth.
Greenext, the new Chinese platform for sustainable fashion
25 years ago, as a representative of the University of Tokyo, I attended the forum on sustainable development held in Switzerland and completed my doctoral thesis on climate change and sustainable development. In 2004, I returned to Shanghai from Paris. In the following 15 years, I was engaged in communications for luxury fashion brands, helping international labels develop marketing strategies in China. These two seemingly unrelated career paths gradually amalgamated under the theme of sustainable fashion.
With my career paths from the past 20 years in mind, I now strive towards a more long-term and meaningful goal. This sense of responsibility towards ‘green’ fashion inspired me to create GREENEXT, an online and offline platform for sustainable fashion. GREENEXT advocates for a refined, sustainable life which strives for excellence. Moreover, GREENEXT is intended to serve as a gathering place for the new generation — a place for them to gather information on sustainable fashion brands, learn from the pioneers of ‘green’ fashion, discover new sustainable fashion brands and products, etc.
Through GREENEXT, the new generation of elites can better envision and implement a sustainable future. I hope to see GREENEXT accompany the new generation of elites in incorporating sustainable fashion into their cultural identity and in transforming it into a universal lifestyle.