This is Day 2 of our highlights of the SXSW Eco 2013 conference, held in Austin, Texas, October 7-9. This year's program covered everything from science, policy and economics, to art, design, fashion and style-- all on the razor's edge of the sustainability movement.
The second day began with one of our favorite talks of the conference, a panel discussion on the future of ethical fashion. The all-star panel began with the stunning model and entrepreneur Summer Rayne Oakes. Oakes studied environmental science and entomology in college, Oakes was most recently featured in the 2013 Pirelli Calendar, and even the secret muse behind the design of Toyota's Prius C! She spoke about the importance of ethical sourcing in the fashion industry, so that sustainability factors can be addressed in all portions of the supply chain. To this end, she co-founded Source4Style, an online platform that connects designers and buyers with sustainable textiles.
Next up was panelist David Dietz, founder and CEO of the incredibly cool Modavanti- our favorite online store for stylish ethical fashion. To show how far they've gone to take the granola out of green fashion, their tagline is actually "making sustainable sexy". Before founding Modovanti, Dietz was an international conflict journalist. His friends joke that he went from the Arab Spring to the Spring Collection. His aim is to make sure that sustainable wear on Modavanti tells a story, but is foremost fashionable, young and hip. If not, the story behind the clothing won't matter, says Dietz.
The third panelist, Erin Schrode, spoke about her non-profit Teens Turning Green, which strives to educate and inspire young adults to promote environmentally conscious and socially responsible choices. They create toolkits related to different aspects of teen life. For example, they have a campaign called Freshman Green 15 which promotes awareness around personal and campus sustainability starting from day one of the freshman year. Another campaign is Project Green Prom, which helps teens find ways to make their prom full of "green, glitz, and glam".
Last on the panel was Amber Valletta, the gorgeous actress, fashion icon known for her humanitarian and environmental efforts. She spoke about her new venture called Master & Muse, a socially responsible fashion and lifestyle brand. She spoke passionately about injustices in the making of clothing in unsafe conditions and stressed that we as a country need to "make it better...and buy better".
The keynote speaker for the second day of SXSW Eco was none other than Shepard Fairey, the contemporary graphic designer and street artist, probably best known for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster and his OBEY GIANT art campaign. His talk at SXSW Eco focused on his lesser known works addressing environmental degradation. Fairey often works with non-profits to create imagery for their causes, and often donating money from his clothing line to charitable causes. He stressed the need for those in the sustainability movement to push desire rather than guilt, saying that desire is much more motivating than guilt. In his own words, the solution is to "make giving a shit cool".