Interview with Simon Collins, Chair of Parsons School of Fashion at The New School on: Carving a Path to Sustainability.
NATALIA: How did you first become interested in fashion?
SIMON: As a teenager it became obvious to me that girls liked boys who looked
cool. Hence fashion called to me
NATALIA: Give folks a bit of insight on what exactly your new role entails?
SIMON: I look after our BFA, MFA and AAS (Fashion) courses, for the first time
they all come together as the School of Fashion. I am charged with
creating links between Parsons and the fashion industry in new and
innovative ways. More than providing interns we will be looking for ways
to provide information and creative thinking – particularly in the
sustainable arena where industry is not yet at the forefront.
NATALIA: Is sustainability important to you. Why?
SIMON: Sustainability is important to me, just as it should be to everyone.
Frankly it’s hard to see how anyone can genuinely not think
sustainability is important. The earth’s resources aren’t ours to use up
and discard, we all have responsibilities.
NATALIA: How do you envision sustainability influencing fashion?
SIMON: It used to be that being ecologically conscious meant you had to rule
out many things. Now new options are opening up all the time and instead
we have a whole range of new materials and processes that didn’t exist
before. Fashion isn’t going to change any quicker than it ever has, but
it is going to adopt more and more sustainable aspects.
NATALIA: What challenges have you had with sustainable fashion?
SIMON: Mainly with business managers refusing to use anything sustainable if
it meant a single extra penny on the price of a product. I could name
NATALIA: What are some of the current sustainable projects you are working on?
SIMON: At Parsons we have our sustainable fingers in many different pies, too
numerous to mention here.
NATALIA: Why do you think sustainable fashion does not get as much attention
as hybrid cars or organic food?
SIMON: Because the ad budgets for those fashion companies using sustainable
products cannot compare to those of the food and auto industries. Until
one of the big fashion corporations decides to actually do the right
thing (rather than just garner PR by talking about it) we will be
reliant on small companies with small budgets.
NATALIA: Where do you see the sustainable fashion in 10 years?
SIMON: I don’t expect to see a revolution. But I do anticipate a slow and
inexorable movement towards sustainability without any design
compromise. Only when it looks the same and costs the same (as
unsustainable) will it truly take off.