Climate change. Deforestation. A list of endangered species that continues to grow. The environmental issues happening on this planet are endless, which means we all have a responsibility to be its conscious inhabitants. Recycling your soda can doesn't mean that you've done your full part: so many of our daily actions impact the world around us, without us even realizing. So, as a team of fashion writers and editors, we sought to learn more about the role of the textile and garment industry in putting our environment at risk.
This investigation, represented visually in one of the most important shoots we've done to date, comes at a crucial time in the international conversation about the future of our planet. Just because President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement in one of his most disastrous decisions yet, does not mean we need to step down from the global community’s effort to reduce carbon emissions. And for those of us who are conscious about what we wear, it's now more important than ever to also be conscious about how those choices can cause the planet to suffer.
In our need-more, want-more culture of fast fashion and perpetually changing trends, it's easy to dispose of pieces without thinking about how this behavior could impact the world around us. On average, Americans throw away 80 pounds of clothes per person annually, and synthetic materials can take hundreds of years to decompose. While it can be tempting to skip laundry day and just buy new undies instead, or to simply toss out that graphic top that seemed like such a good idea last year, the annual environmental impact of what goes into producing the clothing of the average household is "equivalent to the water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles." So how can we become more responsible shoppers?
Thankfully, there are brands not only making a difference, but positively shaping the relationship between the fashion world and the earth from which its designers source their materials. Consider the sneakers we used from Panafrica, for example. This brand supports the economy in West Africa by purchasing raw materials locally. It also donates 10% of its profits to various organizations, providing more access to education and job training to those in need in Africa. For this shoot, we wanted to showcase the kinds of brands that create clothes and accessories that we believe can inspire our readers not only with their designs, but also in how they behave more responsibly and show our world some love. We called it "The Power of Green" issue because the featured brands and designers are proof that sustainable, ethical and green practices in fashion are not at the expense of awesome style. In fact, there's something really meaningful about dressing in a way that shows you care.
Of course, we wanted all the elements of this editorial to reflect the eco-friendly concept at its core, so we shot at Le Citizen Hotel — a space located in the heart of Paris that practices ecotourism, not because it's trendy or a smart marketing tool, but because it reflects the way its owners and employees think about and treat the world around us. From a sophisticated waste disposal system, responsible purchases — the hotel supports local merchants and uses mostly organic products without phosphates or chlorine — and a building designed for maximum energy efficiency, Le Citizen Hotel teaches travelers that taking a vacation shouldn't mean taking time off from being considerate of our ecosystem.
We invite you to explore the power of green with us, and to challenge yourself to be a better citizen of this planet — cool threads not included.
Editorial Director: Amanda Randone
Associate Director: Thus Noumong
Photographer: Marwen Farhat
Stylist: Marina Manesi
Model: Grace Kanda
Makeup Artist: Bénédicte Ngiambila
Special thanks to Le Citizen Hotel and Emmanuelle Mary of Reprazent.
Correction: An earlier version of this article was missing the "Balancing Act" and "Break It Down" sections of this editorial. That has since been corrected.