Ralph Lauren and CFDA celebrate Indré Rockefeller’s Launch of The Circularity Project

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, a handful of America’s most notable designers gathered for lunch at The Polo Bar on 55th Street with one shared interest: an improved future for fashion. Celebrating the launch of The Circularity Project, a new nonprofit founded by fashion veteran Indré Rockefeller, Ralph Lauren and the CFDA co-hosted the occasion. Indré’s initiative champions design tactics that encourage longevity and minimize environmental impact and invites designers to learn from and support one another in the pursuit of a better—and more circular—way of making clothing.

“80-90% of a garment’s carbon footprint is determined in the design stage,” Indré said in her opening remarks. “I hope that this project empowers designers to feel they have the tools and community they need to shape the future and possibilities for design, in an open and transparent way.” The following speakers—including Emily Adams Bode Aujla, Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada, Maxwell Osborne of An Only Child, and Stuart Vevers of Coach—each touched upon how they think about textiles, longevity, craftsmanship, and design with circularity in mind. With their own unique perspectives and approaches to minimizing impact (while Emily Bode spoke to Bode’s focus on repurposing fabrics to last as heirlooms through generations, Hillary Taymour mentioned Collina Strada’s sustainable textiles, such as vegan leather and alternative silks).

“Designers are often so focused on their own work, whether for their own labels or a brand they work for, that it’s easy to forget we’re part of a community,” says attendee and Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon. “In New York, in particular, we have a friendly, tight-knit community that we don’t lean into enough. Remembering we’re a family is a great message of The Circularity Project.”

Across the table, Bergdorf Goodman’s very own Linda Fargo said that as a consumer and observer of fashion, she thinks another way to improve environmental impact is to produce less. “Most likely, we don’t need as many items as we have,” she says. “It’s tough because the business can be at odds with the intention. We built a world of ‘I shop, therefore I am.’ We can’t deny that we live in a consumer culture. But to Indré’s point, at the creation level, we can make better decisions about how and what is being created.”

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