A Week in the life of Fashion Roundtable's Tamara Cincik
Last week I was part of 3 events—one for Fashion Roundtable and two as a guest speaker—all encompassing hugely varying audiences.
On Wednesday, I was the keynote speaker at the Westminster Business Forum on “Sustainability and Ethics in the UK fashion industry, the next steps for business practice and scope for policy.” Hosted in the art deco corner of St James at The Royal Over-Seas League, the room was filled with everyone from Whitehall civil servants, to sustainable policy leaders (at brands such as Boohoo, H&M and the BRC) and the editors of Vogue Business, The Sunday Times and BBC.
I spoke about our Fashion Roundtable Election Manifesto outlining some of our key policy asks, which include:
1) Implement legislation that sets targets for the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, based on the following goals Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production and Climate Action.
2) Implement tax incentives for businesses investing in technology and infrastructure to transition to a more sustainable business model
3) Implement a 2-year window for international students to live and work in the UK after graduation
I then took part in the Q&A which followed—alongside Professor Dilys Williams, Director of CSF, and chaired by Lord McNally.
On Thursday, we hosted our “Are You Represented?” workshop led by Caryn Franklin MBE, in many ways the trailblazer in highlighting the need for diversity to become the key topic for everyone: as consumers, as creatives and as citizens.
The panel conversation was filled with insights: with speakers including photographer Jermaine Francis (whose recent exhibition highlights the homelessness epidemic happening on our streets); TV presenter and former stylist Grace Woodward, speaking about her #BodyOfWork project examining body image, ageing and inclusive glamour in a series of nude portraits; trans activist and model Miss SaHHara; disability activist and model Clara H; textile designer and artist Kay Davis; and Arif Miah, a creative strategist whose work has understood the need for inclusion of the UK’s growing Muslim demographic in campaigns (which he eruditely pointed out, doesn’t include buying 50kg bags of rice during Ramadan).
Our Q&A was filled with some emotional conversations. Naturally, these are not easy topics, led by a wide range of people who clearly haven’t been visible in the planning, marketing or strategy of too many businesses. To me, this seems so utterly flawed: not only as a pointer for humanity, but it’s clearly bad for business. If your business model is not meeting the needs of so many, be that adaptive clothing, diversity in the teams, valuing the ageing markets, or those who do not fit narrow gender norms… then who are you aiming your business at, what are your values and how successful do you think it will be?
If you haven’t already, I urge all of you to take our Representation and Inclusion survey. It takes just 5 minutes and gives you the chance to have your say, as we compile the first ever paper for fashion examining the state of where we are now, with solutions which will support how we map a more inclusive business future.
On Sunday, I was asked to chair a talk on Fashion & Ethics for an event organised by Lily Allen and Sam Duckworth: Last Registration, a celebration of our right to vote at King’s Place. It was especially pertinent given the Election next month. “Have you registered?” has been my opening gambit to most people I don’t know recently. Readers, I hope you have. Author Tansy Hoskins, Asad Rehman Executive Director of War on Want and Tolmeia Gregory sustainable fashion activist and blogger, were on the panel answering questions around the intersection of fashion industry issues and political will and focus. There will be a podcast of the event very soon, which I will share as soon as we have it. Lily told me they organised the event in 10 days, which is pretty phenomenal: I know just how much planning goes into any event we host. Impressive.