Sustainability in the fashion industry: A priority at Intermoda



Sustainability in fashion and the growing importance in the Mexican fashion industry were two topics covered at the recent edition of Intermoda, an international fashion trade show held at the Guadalajara Expo from 16 to 19 July.  

On Thursday, 18 July, the conference featured a panel discussion Sustainability in Fashion: The new standard, moderated by Patricia Barroso, Communications and Programme Manager at C&A Foundation. The panel included Marisela Reyes Salazar, Regional Liaison for the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico (REDIM); Rodrigo Olvera, a representative from the Maquila Solidarity Network; Rebecca Maccise, an image and fashion consultant; and Juan Carlos Carrillo, a representative from the Mexican Centre for Environmental Rights. Together, they addressed the most pressing issues facing the industry with regard to sustainability and the solutions that might be found for it.  

“The corporate responsibility that we’ve built up in Mexico appears to exist as an alternative: it’s optional when it should actually be mandatory for all responsible actors to make a change”, Barroso noted during her presentation, adding that circular fashion is one of the main areas that C&A Foundation and its global allies are working on. 

Meanwhile, Reyes and Olvera discussed some of the challenges facing the Mexican supply chain, such as the presence of child labour, ignorance of labour rights and the lack of improvement in working conditions for thousands of people in the Mexican fashion industry. “According to INEGI, 3.2 million Mexican boys, girls, and teens between the ages of 5 and 17 years were recorded working in 2018. We’re talking about 11 percent of the population. Fifty-one thousand of these children work in the garment industry. We need to join in the evolution towards a more sustainable industry—from its production to its supply chains—and we need to take an active role in transforming this industry into a livelihood that is more just and that upholding the rights of workers and respects children's rights”, Reyes stated. 

Carrillo ended by noting that the fashion industry loses some $100 billion annually by not recycling and by not using recyclable materials or renewable energy. He offered some alternatives that could help the Mexican fashion industry to move towards a more sustainable model, and he explained the measures that members of the audience might take to invest in the circular economy. “Knowledge, willingness and decision-making are the most important factors for generating true change in the industry”, Carrillo added.  

Thanks to panels such as these, sustainable fashion is becoming an ever more common topic within the fashion industry and continues to generate interest in decision-makers. Many unmet goals still lie ahead, and the panellists therefore called on government representatives, consumers and fashion brands to join in this change, so that everyone in the fashion industry can prosper. 

See the full panel at the following link