The growth obsession

Can fashion survive without growth?

While reading the international news, it seems the growth obsession is here to stay despite climate change. Industries don’t see any problem or urgency. So, why should they make a change? They don’t really care because money comes first.

Sustainability and growth obsession

On December 22, Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic, moderated a task force of fashion industry leaders.

Sustainability is the goal of the fashion industry. But, according to the industry leaders, sustainability wouldn’t happen without changes to the business model and more efforts to educate consumers.

Ms Friedman said:

“At this point, it’s not about the chemicals. It’s about the sheer amount of stuff that we produce, that we buy and that we waste.”

Vanessa Friedman

But then Laurent Claquin, Americas president of the luxury group Kering, declared: “Growth is not a bad word.”
Well, this leaves us a little bit perplexed…

Although the conclusion was that the fashion industry needs to stop focusing on exponential growth, some contradictory positions emerged.

So, where is the fashion system heading? And can fashion survive without growth?

China, Covid and growth

In an interview with “Il sole 24 ore”, Alberto Forchielli, entrepreneur and expert in international business with a focus on Asia, said:

“In China, the Covid situation is truly explosive. Some factories have 80-90% sick employees. Experts estimate 250 million cases and two million deaths within the year.
Now everything is blocked and obviously, it will have consequences for the economy. Factories can’t keep up with orders, and containers don’t leave. But this situation will not last long.
Forecasts say that growth will return in the third quarter. And when China restarts, it won’t be easy for the West: gas and oil will rise again next winter because Chinese energy demand will explode.”

Growth obsessed industries vs climate change

On the one hand, the actual situation in China is a catastrophe facing many deaths. Yet, on the other, the imperative is growth. Growth, growth and more growth!

The big picture is this: extreme heat, rainforest burning, glaciers melting, flooding, ocean life dying, and insect numbers plummeting. And we could go on with the list!
Our lifestyle is destroying the planet and the ecosystems. And this destruction will soon revert to us.

Is growth still the only plan we have?

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