Fashion for Good is making an industry-wide call for collaboration to transform the apparel industry at a gathering of innovators, fashion and sustainability thought leaders today in Amsterdam. As a holistic and inclusive open-source initiative, Fashion for Good invites the global fashion industry toreimagine how fashion is designed, made, worn and reused.
To celebrate the launch of this movement, we sat down with Tatiana Glad, Impact Hub Amsterdam’s founder and director, and talked about how the Impact Hub is helping to build and activate a circular apparel community.
Why is Fashion for Good so important to you?
Fashion for Good addresses an industry that touches so many aspects of our everyday lives. It’s one of the industries that needs the most work, as there are numerous social, economic and environmental dimensions that are intertwined and need to be addressed.
The Fashion for Good community involves a diverse range of entrepreneurs and organisations all committed to doing good. As a result, we have an opportunity to go deeper into this complex vertical than any initiative ever has before. Fashion for Good will enable people to study the different themes, issues, and challenges involved in taking on such a complex challenge. Making change happen through community is about leveraging the diversity and channelling collaborative effort, expertise and resources towards a shared purpose. That’s why it’s important to me – and to Impact Hub.
How is Impact Hub helping Fashion for Good achieve its ultimate ambition of good fashion?
Essentially, our role is to help activate and host a community focused on circular apparel. It’s about community-building and creating conditions that enable diverse people with a shared purpose to collaborate and accelerate the impact of their work. We also wish to strategically connect people with others outside their own communities to facilitate the collective action necessary for real change.
An essential aspect of that is our ability to make the most of the physical space we’re working with. It’s a matter of understanding the best way to run a collaborative working space to build a true community. That boils down to our ability to engage a community in contributing to the design of the space they will inhabit, and working with the architect in that way.
We work for the community to give it what it needs to thrive. It’s not a matter of imposing a way of working we think will work well, it’s about listening to the community and understanding where improvements and new opportunities lie. We see ourselves as hosts – creating the conditions and prompting connections. We want to see communities become greater than the sum of their parts.
How did you create such an amazing space in Rokin 102?
We ran a number of community co-creation sessions, which brought different stakeholders together, including the inhabitants to be, designers, technical experts, furniture specialists, our community manager, and the architects – all the people that represent the different aspects of what it takes to enliven the space.
During these sessions, people took part in interactive exercises designed to let them sense the space and let it speak to them, to try and understand how they would move in the space and what design decisions would most encourage maximum interaction. How can this space help the community achieve what it wants to achieve?
We developed some key recommendations from these sessions. People identified the need to balance the collaboration and interaction of a vibrant community with the practicalities of being able to work quietly when needed. The need to develop a strong sense of identity within the community while at the same time being open to the outside world. The need to focus on certain aspects of their work while opening up and making it visible to their peers in the space.
We also ran an exercise on exploring how different areas in the building made participants feel. It was about identifying spaces more well suited to interaction versus the areas that were more inclined to be quiet, focused areas. We looked at how we could work with the natural light and how to create a space that’s modular and adaptable. Whether you’re setting up a movie night or a formal event, or hosting very important business partners, or just having lunch as a team – we want it all to be possible. The space has to serve a variety of needs and continually evolve.
Every Impact Hub we create is about the relationship of its community with the building. People say our spaces have a similar feeling the world over, even if the venues are so different.
We create that feeling by engaging with local cultures and communities, and reflecting a community’s shared purpose and core values. That, in turn, creates a sense of co-ownership. The communities that use the spaces we design aren’t just tenants, they’re collaborators.
I am certain that by building and hosting a community, listening to it and helping it listen to itself, Impact Hub and Fashion for Good can make a big difference towards a more just and impactful fashion industry, together.