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FUTURIZING ORGANIC
Sunday, 27 September 2009
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Please close your eyes, inhale deeply and imagine where you want us to be in ten years from now. What is your dreamed image of the future of organic textiles? Can you connect a word or symbol to that projection? What would it be?

This is how we opened the WCOC last Tuesday to create a common understanding that the future is us. During the week, I had conversations with people throughout the supply chain about their future vision of organic. Like Philip Chamberlain of C&A who summarized his image in 'acceleration'. 'We have laid the basis and now you see that things are coming together', he said. 'But it doesn't happen by itself, we have to keep pushing'. Or David Bennell of Organic Exchange who used the word partnerships: 'We need collaboration and not competition. Long-term partnerships is the way to reach our goals'. This was also the vision of Veronika Utz of GTZ in Laos who stressed the word 'linkage', between people, between organizations and between all the different stakeholders in the supply chain.

Not everyone views the future so bright as I found out when speaking with Peter Ingwersen, founder of Noir. 'If we don't start thinking about the product and the end consumer, organic dies', was his response to the futurizing question. 'I get scared when I see what producers offer here at WCOC, because it doesn't appeal to me. If producers don’t develop sexy fabrics in the next few years, I won’t be able to do my work anymore. Because designers don’t want fabrics that feel like cardboard, they should follow the lines of the body, flatter, be sensual. And we can do that with cotton, I work on it every day’.

Peter made a point here, but to me the only way to get there is to work together, to create the connections envisaged by many. The questions is: can we really do that?

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