Interview with Donny Lewis
Approved: As you have been dubbed in other articles “the male face of sustainable fashion” Was bedeutet für Dich Nachhaltigkeit im Kleiderschrank? (What is sustainability mean to you in your closet?)
Donny Lewis: My closet? Well, first and foremost I try to consume little and buy quality that lasts for years. Great materials and quality construction are my top priorities. Recycled materials are preferred if I can get it and it is produced in a transparent way that allows me to trace back exactly where it comes from before I buy. I tend to buy great quality secondhand or swap with other like minded people to change things up. This spring, actually I will be hosting a swapping event in Munich so keep a lookout for details on that!
Approved: Sind nur recycelte Materialien für Dich nachhaltig? Oder müssen wir auch einen neuen nachhaltigen Luxus einkaufen? (Is only recycled material important for you or should we only buy long lasting sustainable luxury?)
Donny Lewis: Recycling is certainly a part of the sustainability and circularity movements. We make too much waste and one of the best things we can do with that waste is to turn it into new products. Though I see far too often an attempt to add just a bit of recycled material to a new product and then label it a sustainable product, a marketing practice called “greenwashing”. I have also seen brands push recycled polyester or nylon as a sustainable material but the truth is that the recycled polyester as far as fashion is concerned is just as polluting as virgin polyester. Every time it is washed micro plastics enter our water supply. Oil and plastic based materials have no place in any sustainable system. Recycle the plastics and polyester, yes please! No need to make any new we have more on the planet now than we have ever needed. When you recycle those materials make durable goods from them not cheap fashion. Recycled wool, and cotton including denim, are fantastic. Ethical organic materials with transparency are also great, and can be recycled. There are also lots of innovative new materials like shoes made from old coffee. Though buying great quality and only what you need is the best we can do now. We cannot consume our way out of this mess. We need to slow fashion consumption until the supply chain can catch up with sustainable necessities.
Wie kann man sich Deiner Meinung nach am besten informieren? Welche Organisationen findest Du wirklich nachhaltig? (How can people inform themselves about this topic? Can you give us some examples of organizations you like?) My partners at the global fashion exchange are a great place to start, as well as fashion revolution, and the Ellen McArthur Foundation. All have a wealth of information regarding creating a truly sustainable fashion ecosystem as well as
practical advice on individual behaviors that can help drive the change. All of the transparency and traceability companies like Circular I.D., Digital I.D., the Good on you app, are all helping consumers make conscious choices when it comes to clothes. I was very happy to see that Giorgio Armani recently announce his partnership with Digital I.D. It is a great step in the right direction. There really is no excuse for all of the major fashion brands not to utilize this vital technology to manage traceability. If all of the major brands can do it, the prices of this new technology will come down making it available for all brands and having transparency throughout the industry on every level is of course the goal. If you don’t have the time to follow all of the above recommendations you can of course always just follow me and check out my website. I am always sharing all of the information I can on the subject, including blog posts about bigger movements. donnylewis.com @donny7lewis on social media instagram twitter and the like.
What technology do you thing will have the biggest impact on sustainability in fashion moving forward?
Donny Lewis: This may seem like it is coming out of nowhere but crypto currency and blockchain technology I believe will be one of the biggest drivers of sustainability in fashion. The rise of fashion NFT’s, like Nike’s among the generation Z and beyond is growing exponentially. They are a generation that has grown up changing “skins” on video games being as important as changing outfits on themselves. As the gaming ecosystem matures into VR we are seeing more NFT’s utilized in the creation of personalized worlds within games. It’s very social. It also allows for people to get the consumer fix without the consumption of precious materials. The first NFT’s that have utilized some first round block chains were more energy intensive but the emanate introduction of Ethereum 2.0 as well as many other proof of stake (almost 0 energy), processing systems on blockchains like Cardano, Tezo’s, Solano, have mitigated the energy question to a large degree, making it scalable without being detrimental to the environment and in fact if it leads to less overall consumption of material goods it will be a wonderful addition to the fashion ecosystem for circularity. Blockchain technology is also what will be utilized to authenticate the transparency for each item of clothing, securely tracing its history back to the origin of the fiber. That will eliminate greenwashing giving consumers confidence in every purchase.
Photography Kristina Lewis @kristinalewisphotography
Styling Oliver Rauh @oliverrauh
Styling assistant Samir Abou-Suede @abousuede_samir
Hair and Makeup John Elliot @johnelliottmakeup