Lifting the lid on the fashion industry The first six months of our fashion hub have been an eye-opener. Exploration of the industry has on the one-hand revealed a vibrant and financially successful source of creativity and energy. On the other hand are significant environmental impacts and huge questions about social practices in supply chains. We have determinedly kept an open-mind, seeking not to be swayed by simplistic solutions. Instead we’ve sought to get a deeper understanding of what forces are driving these often damaging practices. Our interview with Karl-Johan Persson, the CEO of H&M, gave us an insight from one of the largest fashion companies in the world. It revealed huge complexity and demonstrated that a lack of hard data is creating a fog through which it's hard to see clearly. Our view is that is that it is dangerous to automatically link cheap prices with poor environmental practice. There are mass market companies being progressive and high end brands doing little. Only the most determined consumers are going to fight their way through the noise of competing environmental claims; it is important to ensure that clearer and more accurate data is available with which consumers can make informed opinions. We’re increasingly convinced that the fast fashion business model can't be environmentally sustainable. We can’t continue with ever-increasing volumes of clothing being produced which end up either being landfilled or dumped in developing countries, harming their economy and environment. We need to persuade consumers to put a greater value on the clothes they buy and create a more circular fashion economy. Our campaigns in the first six months have aimed to achieve these dual aims. Our Refashion Events reconnected people with the heritage of the clothing industry and gave them new skills to extend the lifespan of their favourite clothes. The From A Mother to Another helped ensure that high quality baby and children clothing has been passed on to vulnerable households in the UK. We’re increasingly convinced that much needs to change with the fashion industry and aim to play an increasingly prominent role in the debate. New community initiatives will be revealed in the coming months and more emphasis will be placed on creating an overall manifesto for change, with a focus on collaboration from stakeholders across the industry.