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  • Patrick Cabasset

Earth Week: ESMOD’s commitment

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

ESMOD celebrates its third Earth Week on 2-6 May. An opportunity to highlight various responsible and innovative initiatives. A series of talks and round table discussions, a screening, various digital events and even a bring-and-buy sale demonstrate just how fun such new and positive steps towards encouraging more ecologically, socially and societally aware fashion can be. An exciting programme that is open both to students and to a wider audience (by prior registration).


Faced with the growing scarcity of energy sources, we are now all forced to question the processes by which we create, produce and distribute goods and services. And fashion is no exception; indeed, the industrialism and familialism-based capitalism of the 19th century, which has evolved into the more cynical neo-liberalism of the 21st century, is leading us down a dead-end in which our common future is at serious risk. Each action on our part, each object created, and each new business involves its own reckless use of energy. Which is why we no longer have any choice: we simply have to now rethink the ways in which we create, produce and distribute. And more importantly to question their raison d'être, their philosophy, their very existence! What is creation, whether in terms of fashion, design or business, if it doesn’t incorporate the notions of social progress, solidarity and a commitment to protecting the environment? It is nothing more than just of the millions of ridiculous and pointless gadgets we already have!


Starting on Monday 2 May, the school will be holding an Instagram live on @esmodparis at 6pm looking at the eco-friendly creations of former ESMOD student Julie Goldschmidt.

As of Tuesday 3 May, and every day that week, an interactive workshop will offer participants an insight into the art of pastel dyeing. Master pastel producer Bruno Berthoumieux of Château des Plantes will be giving a talk on this traditional natural dye, its history and the technique involved in the ESMOD Atrium at 9am every morning. The highlight of the week will be the workshop he will be running in the afternoons, looking at participants’ experiences with real clothes.

From 12-2pm on the same day, lawyer and specialist Ann Gwen Alexandre will be speaking about fashion and textiles in relation to legislative progress where CSR regulations are concerned, with particular emphasis on ways to contribute beyond mere greenwashing. In the afternoon, from 3pm to 5pm, ESMOD alumni Candice Bouchez will be talking about her experience as founder of Canada’s first vintage sales platform Bon Magasinage - a new idea in the country to which she owes the success of her start-up. Mathilde Lemaire will explain how online store Doog, which she co-founded, will soon allow users to become more ethical consumers by marketing the best responsible beauty brands. Last but not least, Luca Colossimo will be talking about creative bag brand 10.03.53 which he is developing at Parisian business incubator ‘Les Ateliers de Paris’.

Wednesday 4 May will see circular fashion and textile innovation expert Marlène Augereau take centre stage with a talk on new eco-friendly materials, with special emphasis on leather and its alternatives.

On Thursday 5 May from 9 to 11am, Armelle du Peloux of the Convention des Entreprises pour le Climat (Business Convention for the Climate, CEC) will be talking about the potential for a regenerative economic model as part of a round table discussion. She will be joined by Gaspard Bricout, CSR manager at French eco-designed knitwear manufacturer Lemahieu, and Dorothée Dufour of corporate clothing and uniform manufacturer Création et Image to discuss the development levers that could lead us towards a regenerative economic model.

From 3-5pm, brilliant ESMOD Fashion Business graduate turned marketing, CSR, fashion branding and eco-friendly fashion consultant Hiba Zielinski will be taking a closer look at the best way to understand consumer attitudes towards sustainable fashion in a talk delivered in English. Hiba’s research and teaching interests focus on sustainable luxury and fashion from the consumer, marketing and business perspectives. She also lectures at major business schools and universities both in France and abroad and is the founder of sustainable fashion brand Z Brand WalterZ.

On Friday 6 May, Hélène Pivert of Inclusion Conseil, which specialises in inclusive professional placement, will be giving a talk on valuing diversity in business from 9-11am. A final round table at noon that will bring together various digital players to discuss the potential for a simpler digital world and how an eco-designed virtual world really is possible!

This already rich programme of events will also be interspersed over the course of the week with a number of presentations and pitches by ESMOD students on the commitments they themselves have made.

This sort of exchange is essential in today’s world and will be epitomised in a fun but effective way in the form of a bring-and-buy sale to be held in the atrium of the ESMOD school in Pantin from 2-6pm on Tuesday 3 May.

The Pantin site will also host a screening of The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders, looking at the work of photographer Sebastiao Salgado, on Wednesday 4 May at 5pm. The screening will be reserved for students and followed by an evening of friendly discussion.

What the evidence shows

It is vital that we turn our backs on the indecent consumerist practices of fast fashion and instead live by the principles of upcycling, recycling and repairing if we are to redeem ourselves in any way. According to Caroline Bouquin, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) specialist and coordinator for the ESMOD International Fashion Institutes & Universities Group, a paradigm shift is what is needed:

“We now have to rethink how we do fashion, but more importantly how we make money, because the ecological battle we’re facing involves both social and economic aspects. We need to start appreciating the true value of things again, moving away from the previously functional frameworks that are too harmful from an ecological perspective in favour of allowing humankind and its environment to drive the economy, rather than profit. The economy as a whole has to change, and education will of course play a key role in achieving that”.

The Japanese concept of kintsugi, which involves repairing broken porcelain and ceramics with gold-dusted lacquer, could serve as a philosophy for the entire fashion industry. By valuing repaired objects over new ones, the new creative approaches adopted not only in schools but also in companies will bring about a fundamental shift in the rules of the game. More ethical and responsible practices will finally allow us to envisage a social and societal future that is sustainable, because despite the all too frequent obliviousness of politicians where such matters are concerned, this is ultimately where new sources of growth are to be found.

ESMOD: 12 rue de la Rochefoucauld, Paris 9 - Salle Boisée from 9am to 5pm.

And also: 30 Avenue Jean Lolive, Pantin.

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