Rio Ethical Fashion promotes dialogue on sustainability in the fashion industry


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was once the site of significant environmental discussions, such as Eco-92 and Rio+20 and was a popular venue for significant sustainability discussions. In June 2019, the city hosted its first big event to create awareness and spread the values of sustainable fashion in Brazil at the Rio Ethical Fashion.

The two-day event, supported by C&A Foundation, discussed a variety of topics such as new circular business models, transparency and new fibres.

Giuliana Ortega, Head of the Brazilian office of C&A Foundation took part in the panel “Challenges to sustainability in Brazilian fashion” and addressed the complexity of the sector and its environmental, social and economic impacts on the country. She stressed the importance of transparency in the sector saying that by having access to information, society receives the power to decide, so it is crucial to make the data from the supply chain available. “There is another world beyond the big brands where working conditions need to be improved, especially for women, since many are still invisible. Brands need to take the first step and be accountable for their supply chains from beginning to end.”, Giuliana added.

The message about transparency was echoed by important organisations also speaking at the event, such as the NGO Repórter Brasil and Fashion Revolution, both local partners of C&A Foundation, “Transparency is a means to change. It shows us where the problem is so that we can work to solve it,” said Fernanda Simon, coordinator for Fashion Revolution Brazil. “Because the fashion industry depends on long supply chains, small producers at the edge of production are largely invisible,” said Marcel Gomes, Executive Secretary of Repórter Brasil.

Such change requires a collective effort and the complementary views of several industry players to envisage solutions and, indeed, to promote a systematic change. That’s why it was important to have on the event different brands, civil society organisations and important personalities, such as UN official Simone Cipriane, founder and director of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, as well as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Culture of Peace and Sustainability.

Rio Ethical Fashion showed us the conversations around sustainable fashion in Brazil are evolving and the different players of the fifth biggest producer of the apparel industry in the World are becoming more committed to making fashion a force for good.