British Fashion Council launches the Institute of Positive Fashion platform

British Fashion Council

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has launched the Institute of Positive Fashion Platform (IPF) to help the British fashion industry “lead in the goal to be more resilient, circular, equal and fair through global collaboration and local action”.

Launched today, on World Ocean Day, the platform brings together resources, information and campaigns to help businesses increase knowledge and embrace sustainable and people-led best practices.

To tie in with the launch the BFC has also announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans that will see its CEO Cyrill Gutsch join the BFC advisory board and the IPF steering committee. To reciprocate the partnership, Caroline Rush, BFC CEO will join the advisory board of Parley for the Oceans, which is a network designed to raise awareness and collaborate on projects to protect the ocean.

The result of this partnership will involve pro-active projects for students, education and mentoring, with Parley providing dedicated missions for the BFC and IPF network. The BFC and IPF network will help raise awareness for ocean conservation and, in line with the IPF environment pillar’s initial focus on reducing waste, the organisations will support Parley on a campaign to phase out single-use plastics as part of its commitment to Parley AIR (Avoid. Intercept. Redesign), Parley’s strategy to end marine plastic pollution.

In February 2020, the BFC launched the IPF Global Initiatives Map at Downing Street, as the first step to bring global resources into one place and align to the IPF pillars of responsibility Environment, People, Craft & Community as well as identify how they support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

BFC
BFC chair Stephanie Phair and CEO Caroline Rush at Downing Street in February with Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

At the time, the BFC set the ambition to help future proof businesses in the context of adapting to climate change. Now it is calling on businesses to also adapt to the COVID crisis and answer the call to finally end prejudice, racism and injustices against human rights.

The BFC said it was time for the industry to “focus on a re-set, and reinvent the status quo with collaboration, compassion and eco-innovation” and that the IPF would become the “engine room for change” bringing stakeholders together to support one another.

It added that it recognised that the website was just a start and that it was planning to work with government, academia and NGOs openly to further develop the content, and also invited creatives, innovators and industry leaders to connect and collaborate on the initiative.

The three pillars it will focus on are:

Environment

Exploring circular business models, circular design principles, innovative production processes, consumption and waste reduction.

People

Encouraging equal, diverse, empowered workforces from head office, to supply chain to shop floor. With open, considerate and fair places to work.

Community & Craftsmanship

Focusing on the positive impact the fashion industry has on communities and role skills and craftsmanship can play in sustaining local livelihoods.

BFC CEO Caroline Rush said: “At times of crisis there is an opportunity to vision a new future. The UK’s creativity leads not just in design, but business thinking and there are no better businesses to now focus on what the industry should look like, who our workforces are, how they should be treated and the impact innovation can have on our national communities.

“We are proud to announce on World Oceans Day, but also to share a platform where we can pool global resources and unite in action. There is so much more our industry can do, in so many ways. It has a powerful voice that influences many and it should be used to confront issues from environment to tackling racism and prejudice.

Parley for the Oceans CEO Cyrill Gutsh added: “Fashion is made from this innovative fabric of creativity, craftsmanship and collaboration. It is built on dreams. Our partnership with the British Fashion Council will support us to make our AIR Strategy the new standard for a new dream, one where toxic ingredients and harmful production methods are relics of the past. Together we will drive the Material Revolution! Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.”

The steering committee who worked on the launch of the IPF are: Adam Mansell, UKFT CEO, Claire Bergkamp of Stella McCartney, Cyrill Gutsch of Parley, Dax Lovegrove of Swarovski, Jalaj Hora of Burberry, Judith Rosser Davies of the British Fashion Council, Lynda Petherick of Accenture, Shailja Dube of Accenture, and Simon Platts of ASOS.