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Arizona Muse and Dana Thomas on the importance of regenerative fashion

By Huw Hughes

19 Jul 2022


Image: Dana Thomas [left] and Arizona Muse, courtesy of Hyve Group

The fashion industry should look to indigenous values of regeneration and slow fashion if it wants to clean up its act, said supermodel and sustainability consultant Arizona Muse during a talk at Pure London on Monday.

Muse, who has fronted campaigns for Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Prada, said her sustainability journey began when she became curious about where her clothes came from.

“Everything I looked at led me back to farmers. I didn’t really think of my clothes as being farmed for me,” Muse said.

She has since founded Dirt, an organisation that supports and promotes biodynamic farming, engaging with brands to fund regenerative farming initiatives which improve soil health.

“Regeneration is the word that’s so exciting to me now. Sustainability means to sustain, to stay the same. We can’t do things the same as we have always been doing,” Muse said.

She continued: “Regenerating soil is one of the most important things we can do to deal with the climate crisis.”

Muse said we should look to indigenous communities to understand how to go about that.

“I found that listening to talks by indigenous people and reading books by indigenous people was one of the most transformational in my own journey with regeneration,” she said.

Biodegradable fashion

One way to boost regeneration in the industry would be for more brands to create completely compostable products, so when they are eventually thrown away, however far down the line that might be, they can feed the soil rather than poison it.

Muse was speaking Monday with Dana Thomas, the author of Fashionopolis, a book that investigates the damage the fashion industry is inflicting on the environment and the efforts being made to mitigate it.

Thomas, who is also the European sustainability editor for Vogue, noted that many Native American tribes make decisions as a group by considering the impact those decisions will have on the next seven generations.

“We need to play a long game with everything we do in fashion, and life,” she said. “Everything we make today needs to last for a long, long time, whether that’s by becoming new products, or becoming soil.”

The fashion industry - particularly since the advent of fast fashion - has long been one of the biggest culprits when it comes to its environmental footprint.

The sustainability talk on Monday took place against a backdrop of sweltering heat in London as well as elsewhere in Europe - an eerie reminder of the immediacy of climate change.

Temperatures in some parts of England exceeded 38C on Monday and are expected to be even higher on Tuesday.

Pure London has returned for the first in-person event since the beginning of the pandemic. The event is taking place from Sunday 17 July to Tuesday 19 July at Olympic London.

Arizona Muse
Circular Fashion
Dana Thomas
PURE London