What will your legacy be? It's an existential question and perhaps a lot to think about this late in the day, but it's a question worth asking considering that fashion is soon to surpass oil as the world's most polluting industry.
I'm the kind of person who can’t even decide what they’ll be having for dinner, let alone decide what kind of memory I’ll be leaving behind for those that outlive me, but after mulling over this question myself for a while, I've realised that most people wouldn't be able to answer it either.
What I do know though, is that there are a handful of people in this world that will undoubtedly leave a positive legacy. These are the go-getters. These are people that ensure their lives are full of meaning and conscious consideration. These are people who put their life's work towards the betterment of others.
My mind is instantly drawn to well-known figures like Barack Obama and Mala Yousafzai, but I’m sure even these people have questioned what their legacy will be. So, how does a 22-year-old, recently-graduated uni student come to be so lost in the thought of this larger-than-life question?
Melinda Tually is how. She's Fashion Revolution's Australian and New Zealand Coordinator and a Responsible Sourcing Strategist for Ndless: The New Normal. She's an inspiring woman, to say the least, and she's recently added 'Founder of the LEGACY Responsible Fashion Summit' to her impressive and extensive resume. Given the name of the summit, it may now seem obvious how I came to this self-reflective point, and this is exactly Melinda’s intent.
I've only been a part of the sustainable and ethical fashion world for a short but sweet three months after joining The Fashion Advocate, and what this exposure has clarified for me already, is that this sector of the fashion world is as consciously aware and present as it gets.
The fashion industry's issues are broad. From fabric dying and water pollution, luxury brands burning leftover stock, and landfill overflowing with fast fashion; ours is an industry with a lot to answer for. I've become determined to join the revolution and be part of the positive change though, and such change is the focus of the upcoming LEGACY Responsible Fashion Summit too.
LEGACY's list of speakers and panellists includes go-getters, advocates and visionaries, all of whom are committed to positive change. Industry leaders such as Lizzy Abegg (co-founder of Spell & The Gypsy Collective), Kit Willow (founder of KITX), Bianca Spender (founder of Bianca Spender), Clare Press (author and Sustainability Editor-At-Large of Vogue Australia) and Eliza Ward (of the Ethical Trading Initiative) are among the best attending, and with a lineup like this, I feel excited about the future of the fashion industry.
Sydney will play host to a very complex conversation on March 13th and 14th, and no topic will be left untabled; responsible material sourcing, supply chain transparency, traceability, circularity, climate change action, ethical sourcing programs, textile exchanges, and much more.
As The Fashion Advocate’s Ethical Fashion Community Manager, I particularly hope that I may gain some insight into how the politics of sustainable fashion relate to and effect Australian designers and consumers. This too is a conversation unto its own.
I’ve come to realise that the conscious decisions I make on a day to day basis continue to affect those around me whether I know the extent of it or not. These are the realities of life that can no longer be ignored. When I think about my own consumer habits and how this directly affects my surrounding environment, I know that I have vast room for improvement.
If you are committed and acutely aware of your own legacy and your capacity to elicit change, you have an incredibly transformative power at your fingertips - and it's time to use it.
Be a part of the solution and buy tickets to LEGACY at legacysummit.com.au and as always, shop locally and think consciously with your wardrobe.
Kate Dangar for The Fashion Advocate x