Elle UK dedicates September issue to sustainability

Laura Rutkowski

Elle UK’s September issue is dedicated to encouraging a more environmentally-friendly fashion industry.

In a first for the industry, Elle is the only mainstream women’s magazine to use its biggest fashion issue as a platform to explore sustainability. The issue addresses how the fashion industry and consumers can make meaningful changes to the way they work and shop to help the environment.

The brand conducted research to find out the attitudes and awareness of sustainability in fashion among young women in the UK.

Key findings included:

  • 9 in 10 wanted to know more about sustainability in the fashion industry
  • Two-thirds (62%) were unaware that the fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters
  • 62% were more likely to buy an item of clothing from a brand that values sustainability
  • 55% found it important or very important to know where the clothes they buy come from and that they are ethically made
  • 51% wanted to know what they can do to become more sustainable

In the issue, Anne-Marie Curtis, Editor-in-Chief of Elle UK, points out that the September issue of Elle is not 100% sustainable, but the magazine has taken great steps towards progress.

“It’s a fashion issue talking about sustainability – one that strikes an optimistic note. In adopting a more sustainable way of shopping and dressing, you don’t need to embrace fashion, its colour, creativity and life-affirming joy any less,” Curtis said.

Within the magazine, Elle speaks to influential Designers, Authors, Experts and Icons about pushing for active change and creating a more sustainable, cleaner future.

Key quotes include:

Pamela Anderson: “Can we make sustainability sexy? Compassion is sexy – empathy is too. It’s a romantic struggle to free the world by educating it.”

Stella McCartney: “The fashion industry has been using the same 10 materials for the past 200 to 300 years. Come on, guys – the food industry is changing, but the fashion industry is doing the same old stuff and getting away with it.”

Naomi Klein: “I feel like a rallying cry for our age is save what you love, whether it’s places, people or even things.”

Livia Firth: “When you look at the #MeToo campaign and the concept of feminism, you think, ‘How can we just be feminists in our little world?’ When you are a feminist, you have to consider women everywhere. When you get dressed, you are wearing the story of another woman who is getting exploited. If you are a true feminist, #MeToo also has to apply to them. You have to make the connection and remember those stories.”

Jaden Smith: “It’s the words we use around sustainability that put people off. It’s really about life and death and about how our way of living is being threatened.”

In a first for Elle, the September issue will be printed on recycled paper. Going forward, Elle has pledged to make fundamental changes to its working practices to support the cause with the following guidelines:

  • CONSIDER the working environment in the production of the magazine
  • MEASURE the environmental impact of the business and set benchmarks for change
  • WORK WITH suppliers and improve practices
  • USE Elle’s multimedia platform in print and digital to raise awareness of climate issues
  • ELIMINATE the use of single-use plastics both in the office and on photoshoots
  • CONSISTENTLY shine a light on sustainable designers and brands that are worth shopping from
  • HIGHLIGHT the campaigners and people working to save the world
  • USE recycled set props as much as possible

In the words of Curtis, “If we don’t act, fashion as we know it will simply not exist anymore.”

Elle’s sustainability issue is available from August 8.

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