Première Vision New York took its new focus on sustainability to heart this week at its new venue, Center 415, with a “Smart Creation” platform that takes a “global eco-responsible approach.”
Interviewed in the midst of the bustling Fifth Avenue fabric show, Première Vision fashion director Pascaline Wilhelm said the Smart Creation platform encompassed the exhibitors and the seminar series for a consistent focus.
The purpose of Smart Creation is to propel textile producers toward a new set of values in a fashion industry focused on “creativity, sustainability and innovation,” Wilhelm said. It’s also meant to inspire companies to invent new business models that reconfigure the value chain and work toward a circular economy.
“Smart Creation is founded on three pillars and is included in every aspect of Première Vision,” she said.
The first pillar is “the company” being socially and ethically responsible and judged on its environmental performance. The second is “the process” that involves “traceability and management of chemicals for finishing and dyeing,” while the third pillar is on “material choices,” with a focus on recycling technologies, organic content and innovative materials.
“The feedback we’ve gotten and the result is that the new concept seems to be well-received, and Smart Creation and an eco-minded way of creating fabrics and accessories is the future,” Wilhelm said. “We conducted an extensive survey…and it showed the demand for sustainability is really high in the U.S. We have highlighted exhibitors who make product with sustainable aspects, which led to the pillars.”
Exhibitor areas were marked based on minimum percentages of their collections deemed sustainable and certified as such. A visitors’ guide explained the process and criteria.
One area of the show also outlined detailed explanations of the pros and cons of various materials, Wilhelm noted, “to show how serious we are about this and to inform people about the complexities of sustainability and that it’s not just greenwashing, and help them make good material choices.”
Seminars within Smart Creation covered the future of sustainable materials, recycling technology, labor conditions and the role of certification programs.
“A few years ago, fashion and sustainability were two different things,” the PV fashion director said. “Today, they are absolutely connected and people cannot imagine or conceive a collection without the idea of consuming and taking care of the environment.”
She cited the leather industry as an example of one sector that always relied heavily on chemicals for tanning, processing and dyeing , whereas today, natural colors that allow for reduced or no chemical use have become more fashionable.
“The industry has also found that materials that are better for the environment can perform better and feel softer and are designed for reuse or recycling,” she said. “The exhibitors here today at Première Vision New York have creative and commercial answers to what people want.”
Going forward, Wilhelm said “the deepness of our commitment” will continue next season at the same venue, with some fresh touches added to advance the theme and enhance the exhibition.