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A Look Back at Fashion Circle: Impactful Storytelling

Last week we held our first in-person Fashion Circle event in collaboration with The Trampery. Designed to enable fashion businesses to learn and develop their network, Fashion Circle: Impactful Storytelling brought together industry experts, founders and fashion professionals at London’s brand-new fashion campus – The Trampery Fish Island Village.

The theme for the evening focused on greenwashing and how to communicate sustainability claims without misleading consumers, which has been a hot topic since the launch of the Green Claims Code in September 2021. In order to provide our community with a well-rounded and informative understanding of the theme, we brought together an incredible line-up of speakers with expertise in impact policy, ESG communications, corporate responsibility and conscious advertising.

CEO and Co-Founder of Compare Ethics, Abbie Morris, kicked off the evening with an overview of the Green Claims Code, it’s six key principles, and guidance on how to meet these principles using data as evidence. Abbie’s key tips included:

  • embedding data requests into contracts with suppliers
  • creating compliance data request forms
  • working with consultants, experts or appropriate tech companies to help make claims based on available data

Next up the audience heard from Valentina Okolo, Environmental Manager at PANGAIA, who talked through the company’s sustainable and ethical goals as outlined in their Earth Positive Philosophy. From water health to elevating human potential, Valentina provided a deep-dive into the practices, partnerships and ambitions that makes PANGAIA an exemplar of good practice, which can be explored further in their annual Impact Report.

During the evening, a member of the audience posed the question of how PANGAIA has been able to implement such a thorough impact strategy. Valentina attributed this to the development of a dedicated impact team, who could ensure that the UN’s SDGs remained central to their purpose and growth, and to contribute towards accurately communicating their current practices and goals going forward.

George Harding-Rolls, Campaign Manager at Changing Markets Foundation, reiterated the importance of accuracy and transparency to avoid greenwashing, since falsifying or overstating green credentials stunts progress where it is most needed. Phrases such as ‘carbon neutral’, ‘better for the planet’ and ‘conscious’ were highlighted as examples of statements that were ambiguous and lacked clarity, which draws directly from one of the six principles to avoid greenwashing, as outlined in the Green Claims Code.

The audience were tasked with listing their sustainable practices and ambitions, taking into consideration the tips and advice provided by our expert speakers. This sparked further conversation about the challenges of marketing, how to juggle multiple roles as a founder, and the potential to collectively create positive change in the future.

Through developing clear communications with consumers and following the guidance of campaigns, such as the Green Claims Code, we can all contribute towards building more trust in sustainability claims. In the meantime, as consumers, we can approach sustainability claims with a critical eye and check whether brands and businesses are supporting their claims with reliable evidence.

Interested in joining a thriving fashion community? Discover The Trampery Fish Island Village – London’s newest campus for fashion, innovation and sustainability. Check out the co-working, studios, event space and manufacturing facilities open now. Learn more here.

Photographer: Christian Sinibaldi

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