Daily Digest

China Poised To Make Sustainable Fashion Work


Make Sustainable Fashion Work.

Chinese fashion brands are going green with the help of Shaway Yeh, the founder of creative sustainability consulting agency YehYehYeh.

Like many editors working in luxury publishing, Shaway Yeh began to feel disillusioned with the direction the fashion industry has taken.

For the last 12 years, Yeh was the editorial director of Modern Weekly, one of China’s most influential conscious lifestyle magazines.

Shaway Yeh professional picture in black and white - Make Sustainable Fashion Work

“I saw many important people talking about sustainability. Like many others who start learning about it, I was quite shocked because there were so many things I didn’t know about and its the negative impact. It was my wake-up call,” says Taiwan-born Yeh.

How to Make Sustainable Fashion Work?

She then realised that if she wanted to make a difference, she had to learn more about sustainability.

“China is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions, but it’s because it’s rising and growing fast. The Chinese have started to enjoy buying many beautiful things”, she said.

To Yeh, the solution is to buy less and buy better, but always with a dose of common sense and pragmatism.

China's pollution, factories with smoke

“Instead of buying cheap, polluting clothes you buy pieces that are ethically made. But even then, if you want to buy everything that’s high quality and ethically made you won’t have much money left”, she admits.

YehYehYeh’s primary focus is to help Chinese companies change their practices.

“China is a great place to work on sustainability,” says Yeh.

Implementation of Sustainable Fashion

When I started YehYehYeh, it was at a time when many Chinese companies were changing from just companies and manufacturers into brands.

They all wanted to be transformed, but they didn’t have any guidance.

They were hiring supermodels or Western photographers to create an image, so why not spend that money on doing something better and become a sustainable brand?

So, instead of just working at a grassroots level, I work with big companies.

While Yeh believes that changing consumers’ mindsets is paramount, she feels that working directly with fashion brands is the best way to effect meaningful change.

Shaway Yeh having talking at a conference Make Sustainable Fashion Work

“Once you change the minds of consumers and open their eyes to sustainability, what are they going to buy?” she says.

There are not many nice-looking products made sustainably.

Thus, why not start working with fashion companies who already produce quality and charming product.

Meanwhile, teaching them how to make the product in a sustainable way?

This strategy has so far proved successful.

With clients such as Erdos, it controls its entire supply chain.

From raw material to complete product, and therefore it is easier to implement changes.

Similar Read: Fashion Industry 2018 – Overview On Digitisation, China, Sustainability

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