Promoting sustainable change in the fashion industry

Colombo Fashion Week has introduced a first-of-its-kind audit system, the Responsible Meter, where every garment presented on the ramp will have a Responsible score making it accountable and transparent. Responsible Meter as it is called was developed in association with the Responsible Fashion Movement (RFM).

A special panel appointed by CFW and RFM, trained and briefed the participating designers on the process so that their collection planning and creation can follow the new system.

The audit is a part of a new concept titled “Responsibility in Fashion” to drive sustainable change in the global fashion industry. The audit system is a result of progressive feedback, research, and professional input from the design fraternity and has now been formalized with 14 high-profile designers. Together with CFW and RFM, these 14 designers are the first group that is pioneering this new direction and they take the lead towards transforming how the global fashion industry operates.

“This was in the works for the last couple of years and we really wanted to be the first fashion week in Asia, if not the world, to introduce a system of accountability which encouraged and celebrated Responsibility in Fashion, which is such an urgent need. This system of audit is very different to what is available, it is does not take the route of policing and accusing, but of training, of aligning hearts so that this path of change is embraced by all designers and stakeholders to lead towards positive impact” said Ajai Vir Singh, Founder & Managing Director of Colombo Fashion Week. “This initiative also educates the consumers on the choices we make. It is definitely the next step in Responsible Fashion and is easily transferable to any fashion platform,” he added.

Currently, phase 1 of the Responsibility in Fashion program is the Responsible Meter, which is a 10-point audit system focused on environmental, societal and organizational well-being. The 10-points are based on CFW’s three main pillars for Responsible Fashion, namely, Garment

Enhancement Guarantee, Disposal Plan, and Return After Use Policy. The program will evolve with time and practice as it is a progressive system.

“CFW and The Responsible Fashion Movement’s Responsible Meter for sustainability is a wonderful idea towards encouraging designers to think about how they can transition towards designing for a more sustainable future, with both environmental and social impacts in mind. There is an urgency for the fashion industry to make changes, and I am so proud that Sri Lanka is amongst the pioneers in implementing this change” said Ms. Sharika Senanayake, Director of Environmental Sustainability of MAS Capital.

It is important to note that the Responsible Meter is not a one-time format, but a shift in direction, and a new way of doing things in the industry which is geared towards a more sustainable future for all. It starts with a basic shift where a designer’s journey with their garments does not end with one transaction but it is enhanced over a period of time.

The Responsible Meter aims to foster a culture of collaboration between designers and stakeholders. The concept of Responsibility in Fashion encourages a culture of celebration for every step taken by a designer towards being more responsible and reducing their impact on the environment. This growth culture also educates fashion consumers and creates a more lasting relationship with the designers and the garments they purchase.

CFW has made it easy and accessible for designers and brands to start their Responsible Fashion story with transparency and accountability as they strive to reduce their negative impact on our environment. The Responsible Meter is available for any fashion week or fashion/design brand to adopt – it simply requires a short training to familiarize oneself with the process and thinking behind the program.

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