Research: In conversation with industry professionals

As mentioned before I have some links with industry professionals through interning at Katherine Hooker. In conversation with the production manager there, and also assistant manager of Kate Spade (flagship in London) I gained some valuable knowledge to put towards my research.

The first topic of conversation was on Burberry. The KH production manager is in close contact with one of the sustainability managers at the heritage brand and informed me of the very hard focus on sustainability. Following recent controversy of the ‘Burberry burning’ scandal the company has worked relentlessly to improve the company image and are now respectfully one of the most sustainable of high fashion names. She gave me the details of her Burberry contact and said that she’d be more than happy to speak to her regarding my research. She came back to me the next week with information that I was able to email but due to obligations of privacy, the team couldn’t reveal any information that isn’t already in the press.

The next topic of conversation was surrounding the cashmere industry. Assistant manager of KS was formerly employed by Brora and therefore has a highly developed understanding of the production processes. She told me that the industry is in jeopardy due to lack of resources where cashmere had not been soured sustainably and now due to a shortage of animals for growing, the prices have soared and stock is limited. I found it interesting to see that it is still the case that only when issues begin affecting sales, fashion labels actually start to think about the impacts they’re having. She informed me that although the problem seems small scale now, retailers of all size and stature are dependent on cashmere sales and additionally with Brexit up and coming and importing fees potentially fluctuating at almost unpredictable rates, many businesses will be at risk.

The conversation continued but these two topics really gave me some food for thought towards the topics of ‘throwaway fashion’ and ‘Burberry burning’ not disregarding any status of fashion name but generalising the impacts industry practises. The problem is all to do with mass production. Creation is not the issue as there are so many ways we can innovate sustainable methods to bring creative content into the world – the ultimate factor surrounds this word ‘mass’. Our greed for producing maximum for minimal, and the taboo surrounding ownership leads us to exploitation of people and resources and must be bought to a close. I want my photo shoots to highlight this message and be appealing to people of all audiences.

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