PRESS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
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“If you’re leaning into Americana to sell items that aren’t American made, I find it disingenuous,” said Kristen Fanarakis, the founder of Los Angeles-based fashion brand Senza Tempo and an advocate for locally-made apparel.
“Most designer brands today are just that — brands. They’re marketing machines not manufacturers. Most brands, not just fast fashion brands, want and need you to continue to repurchase to maintain their revenue growth for their private equity or public shareholders. They don’t have the incentive to create a quality product.
“In the past, the price of a garment gave us some indication of the quality of a garment. Clothing was broadly made better prior to the 1990s, and in general you got better quality or finer materials the more you paid. When you bought a logo you were buying quality, now you’re just paying for the logo — literally.
"She takes a far longer-term view on design than virtually every designer working today....When you cannot afford a new wardrobe constantly, then it’s better to go with more timeless styles. You then ‘amortize the cost of the item by wearing it frequently and for many years,’ explains Fanarakis."
What’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to creating a more sustainable fashion industry? Many will say it’s a lack of transparency or data with respect to a brand’s supply chain. Brands try to sell us on the idea of QR codes or other types of digital IDs as “game changers” to make their business more “sustainable." The problem with voluntary data is that companies tend to cherry pick and only disclose non-material information — a well-documented and researched fact as it relates to climate and other ESG-type disclosures. This data isn’t really data. It is information used for marketing. What good is transparency if the information provided doesn’t translate into meaningful action or create a path to accountability?
“The fashion industry is just one big David vs. Goliath struggle,” Kristen Fanarakis, founder of Senza Tempo, a luxury women’s wear label produced in Los Angeles, recently wrote on Twitter.
Apparel Insider Op-Ed: Will Independent Brands Soon Disappear?
"Large established brands along with VC or PE start-ups promote the misguided narrative that shopping sustainably is about consuming products that feature a checklist of meaningless adjectives and unregulated certifications. It’s a narrative that works against the philosophy that drives most independent, quality-driven brands."
Fast Company: Fashion is finally designing for women over 40
"Senza Tempo, a brand that also targets women above 40, says that her customer prioritizes quality. They’re looking for pieces made from the best possible materials, like silk, wool, and high-end cotton."
Apparel Insider Op-Ed: The media's role in sustainable Fashion
The Fashion Law: As Companies Turn to Alternative Textiles, Greenwashing Risks Remain
“Most of our clothing is made from polyester [not forest fibers], produced in places far from where it is consumed, and produced in countries with the dirtiest energy grids,” sustainability policy expert Kristen Fanarakis says. As a result, commitments to “reducing the amount of polyester used, shortening the supply chains, or shifting production away from existing centers” would be a “more meaningful” approach. (Fanarakis notes that polyester is the most commonly used textile for apparel, making up at least 52 percent of all fiber production, according to Common Objective, and a particularly problematic one, “given how it is produced (using oil), what happens when we use it (micro-plastics shedding), and where it ends up (living in a landfill forever).”
"It could “put a damper on [H&M’s marketing of] ‘conscious’ collections,” but the wording of the CMA’s release “suggests that H&M could simply use recycled or organic fabrics” in these collections in order to substantiate its existing “conscious” claims and without altering its offerings or the practices that go into manufacturing and/or distributing them."
The Fashion Law | Op-Ed: As New York Lawmakers Unveil the Fashion Act, is Larger Reform on The Way?
The Fashion Law | Op-Ed: Fashion's Buzzy Tech Initiatives Alone Won't Solve It's Sustainability Issues
“You can push product back and move other things up to respond to what’s happening in the market a lot easier when it’s right here.”
"Fanarakis is skeptical of marketing efforts to sanction conscious consumption (if there is such a thing) and bypass major issues like overproduction or garment utility. She urged brand leaders to lean more into social data (like a living wage) and follow advocacy efforts to put a price on carbon.
Her lingering question was, “Are you doing sustainability for marketing or are you doing sustainability for actual change?”
Fash United: How to move away from greenwashing?
"Fanarakis also said that certifications will continue to play a role in the sustainability movement, but we need to have more transparency in certification if it’s going to play role in the sustainability movement. The government needs to have standards in place for sustainability practices, and eventually we can get to a point where there’s a global harmonization among the supply chain once enough power players are involved."
“This legislation has the potential to finally address the roots of fashion’s environmental offenses: declining quality and overproduction,” she said. “No one is paying for the externalities of the fast-fashion business model or the high volume, high use of fossil fuel-based fashion. The potential for extended producer responsibility requirements would increase prices, making companies liable for their cheap clothing in the manner that a toxic plant is responsible for the waste or pollution they emit.”
"Just because you preorder thousands of cheaply made goods that will be worn a few times then discarded, doesn’t make that strategy any less wasteful."
"Kristen Fanarakis called the bill’s passage in the Assembly a “step in the right direction toward correcting the externalities that fashion imposes on society.”
"A vocal supporter of the bill, founder and creative director of Senza Tempo Fashion Kristen Fanarakis said it “must pass” for the “state to truly be the progressive leader it claims to be on sustainability.”
You can hear Kristen's full testimony here:
Testimony to California State Senate in support of the Garment Worker Bill, SB62 by founder Kristen Fanarakis
FAST COMPANY: Amortize Your Dress
OTHER SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & ACTIVISM
American Center for Lifecycle Analysis (ACLCA) Annual Conference
Pre-Conference Keynote — Utility: The Hidden Hotspot
Panel Discussion: Lifecycle Analysis & Policy | November 2022
PI Apparel - Innovation: Greenwashing & Re-Shoring | New York, September 2022
Environmental Lifecycle Assessment and Design Symposium: Designing for Longevity in a Changing Regulatory Environment | March 2022
PI Apparel - Sustainability: Value over Volume | Los Angeles, March 2022
California State Senate SB62 Bill Testimony
Listen to Kristen's full testimony to the California Assembly here: Testimony to California State Senate in support of the Garment Worker Bill, SB62 by founder Kristen Fanarakis
Call to update The Green Guides
PI Apparel Virtual Conference on Supply Chain Sustainability: Transforming to a more Sustainable and Ethical Supply Chain | March 15, 2021
Garment Worker Protection Act SB62 Launch
December 9, 2021: garment workers and advocates introduce SB 62, The California Garment Worker Protection Act, authored by California Senator Maria Elena Durazo and principal co-author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
Senza Tempo Founder, Kristen Fanarakis spoke at the press conference in support at the launch of this bill. Watch the press conference