If your New Year’s resolution was to shop more consciously in 2021, you might be taking a closer look at your garment tags, researching your favorite brand’s ethical standards, or simply choosing to shop secondhand and vintage. Our efforts to lessen our wardrobe’s carbon footprint typically revolve around the clothing itself: organic cotton T-shirts, recycled cashmere sweaters, vintage jeans, faux fur coats, and so on. But a key part of making our industry—and the world—a better place has little to do with the materials or a brand’s sustainable certifications.
Educating and empowering women in fashion’s supply chain (particularly in Asia, the Global South, and Africa, where the bulk of garment production is done) can do just as much, if not more, for the planet. Educating women is the sixth-greatest mitigator of climate change, according to the Drawdown Report. “We all know women build resilient communities,” Cara Smyth, the chair