PODCAST #12 · CARA SMYTH · DRIVING THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT IN FASHION

PODCAST

Cara Smyth is a leader in the Fashion Industry. She has built her career in management, brand building, and global scaling and has served as President of Jill Sanders America, a Director of Burberry and the CEO of Menichetti International in Milan. Today, Cara is an Executive Board Member and Vice President of the Glasgow Caledonian New York College (GCNYC) and is also the passionate founder of the College’s Fair Fashion Center.

The Fair Fashion Center (FFC) “focuses on the intersection of profitability and sustainability. With the unique mission to facilitate the incorporation of sustainable practices into fashion, the FFC is proving the business case for sustainability by turning global issues into industry opportunities. The Center is closely aligned with industry leaders and strives to create a fashion industry that is a respectful, regenerative ecosystem supporting people, planet and profits. Its efforts are built upon the recognition that systemic change in the fashion industry requires an approach that is aligned to the industry’s disciplines, and reconciled to the bottom line.”

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Read our article about Cara and The Fair Fashion Center here

One of the most exciting things we’re doing is looking to unite the community around the world to address, heal and correct fashion’s impact
-Cara Smyth

Cara gave us renewed hope that work is being done in the background to address the Fashion Industry’s contribution to social and environmental problems around the world. We covered the following:

  • Cara’s background living and working around the world (~1.10)
  • How and when Cara developed a passion for fashion and why it’s important to her today (~2:20)
  • Cara’s early career in fashion and her evolution into an industry executive (~3:45)
  • How Cara became interested in sustainability and how Nobel Prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus challenged her with the question “Could fashion be used as a force for good?” (~6:50)
  • “Fashion’s bad numbers” and what’s driving these (~9:55)
  • How change is starting to take hold in the fashion industry (~13:00)
  • How the industry is starting to think about systemic change and areas of focus (~14:00)
  • If we were to design the industry from scratch, what would we change? (~16:10)
  • Consumers’ role in driving this change in the fashion industry and how we can’t necessarily rely only on changing human behavior (~19:10)
  • The role of big business in driving change to a more sustainable future (~22:50)
  • Examples of changes being made today and how players in the industry need to come together (~23:50)
  • The Fair Fashion Center’s “NoCo” project (~27:00)
  • Risk of not changing business practices to long term business viability (~30:30)
  • Fashion innovations Cara is most excited about (31:55)
  • How the fashion industry is hard wired for change and well placed to make it happen (~35.30)
  • Glasgow Caledonian College and the Fair Fashion Center overview (~36:10)
  • How Glasgow Caledonian College’s fashion courses are leading on industry sustainability education (~37:35)
  • The Fair Fashion Center’s work including involving the investment community and technologies like blockchain (~40:20)
  • Major 2018 projects for the Fair Fashion center (~44:30)
  • Advice for those wanting to move their business or organization towards a more sustainable future (~45:25)

Investors are starting to say hey, you know, we can see into your supply chain and because of that we want to know what your material business risks are, we want you to be reporting on ESG issues
-Cara Smyth

NOTABLE LINKS

Cara Smyth:

Fair Fashion Center:

Glasgow Caledonian New York College:

Sustainable Jungle Podcast interview with Cara Smyth - Driving Fashion's Sustainability movement #sustainablefashion #fairfashioncenter #whomademyclothes

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