Open Fashion London
Earlier this month I was invited to speak at the Open Institute London’s Future of Open event. I was delighted that they had included fashion in the mix as it is a vital part of our culture and economy in London. The context of the event was that the London Open Institute has £50million to develop new opportunities for Open education, enterprise, and everyday life for its citizens.
Over the course of the day many different subjects were covered from Open Retail to Open Democracy to Open Food. The full day stream and the slides from each of the speakers can be found here.
I spoke about the scale of the fashion industry and the need for access to the missing data to create a sustainable industry. The next steps are to put forward proposals on specific projects and ideas that could make fashion open in London.
In my talk I set the scene of the current landscape of the industry and used a few examples of where I have seen open create growth and opportunity in fashion.
* Ethical Fashion Forum – This platform started off as an informal open model. A simple round table bringing together like minded designers who were working in an ethical way to share their learnings, ideas, supply chains and best practise in order to create a sustainable industry. In this way the sustainable fashion movement works very differently to other areas in fashion, as it is born out of a desire to be open for the consumer, and also to share resources between competitors in order to grow the entire movement.
* Honest By – The label founded by Bruno Pieters is the world’s first 100% transparent company. For each piece that the label creates and sells, they give a breakdown of not only each ‘ingredient’ and where it has been made by also a breakdown of price so the consumer can clearly see how the pricing works and who everyone involved in the supply chain is paid.
* Making App – Created by Nike, this app gives designers open source access to six years of intensive sustainable materials research, allowing the designer to access and and use this information to create more sustainable collections.
* Consumer QR Code Readers – I have yet to see this done really well, but there is a hug opportunity for scanning labels or QR codes and consumers getting the information on their phones of where the product was made, who by and what from, basically the entire supply chain so they can make an informed decision of if they wish to buy it.
I saw the opportunity for Open Fashion and the challenge in three areas; Business Development, Consumer Power and creating a Sustainable Industry.
This could be through:
* Designers & Brands working together, sharing learning
* Open data on supply chains & production
* Full Accountability, No Hiding
* Consumer Power
* Your Ideas
There are many other ideas and options that we can explore. What ideas do you have to make the London Fashion Industry more Open? Please leave them as comments, and then together we can send our ideas to the Open Institute London.