27/01/2020 – 2020 – what now? — auf Deutsch lesen

Make life better and more beautiful

Nowadays the concept of sustainability has finally gained a prominent place in our collective consciousness.


Thoughts at the beginning of the year from editor-in-chief Iris Schlomski. © Brian Jackson/stock.adobe.com


We’ve had a sad start to the new decade, one that has been overshadowed by the devastating bush fires in Australia and the floods in Indonesia, along with their fatal consequences for human, animal and natural life. Even just these two, current natural disasters show the extent to which our world is out of joint with severe drought in some regions and serious flooding in others. More and more people are realising that there has to be a correlation between their own behaviour and the global breakdown of our natural environment and climate. As a result, we are increasingly lending more attention to the management of our resources, whilst the concept of sustainability has finally gained a prominent place in our collective consciousness.

The textiles and fashion industry is making a concerted effort to embrace its social and ecological responsibilities. Companies who see this shift as no more than a fleeting trend and are simply jumping on the bandwagon to make a quick buck, will eventually fall by the wayside. The message is hitting home. Ever more people are realising that our (textile) world cannot carry on as before and that it is not enough merely to switch to organic cotton whilst continuing to produce mountains of clothing.

In her piece on “Economics without Waste”, Annette Jensen writes:

“Nature always produces something new from the same material. ... There is no waste. By contrast, the human economy has a largely linear structure. Ever greater amounts of raw materials are being extracted, used in the short term and then discarded.” Many approaches to a circular economy, she says, are doomed to fail because the return rate is so small. In addition, the debate about the circular economy does not focus on regionally adapted, small-scale projects that give priority to providing participants with basic supplies rather than maximising profit. (Jensen’s article appeared in German in: Atlas der Globalisierung – Weniger wird mehr)

In his current book “Climate – A New Story”, American cultural philosopher Charles Eisenstein believes we should be looking at the climate emergency in terms of the global breakdown of our eco-systems rather than the increase in climate gases. In his preface, Wolfgang Sachs from the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, states that the current debate disregards people’s motivations. “Environmentalists want more. They want to save the bees and the trees, they want to put an end to lignite and plastic waste, they want to be cyclists and vegans.” These are all protests against a world that is turning progressively ugly. “The environmental movement, or even better, the social world movement is driven by the quest for life and beauty.”

Life and beauty

Our textile and fashion industry, like no other, is predestined to deliver the right answers. After all, the motivation behind many textile products is to make life better and more beautiful. Exhibition organiser Messe Frankfurt is pointing the way forward by supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as part of a new collaboration with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships. At the opening press conference at the 50th Heimtextil, Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board Messe Frankfurt, stated: “We’re the first exhibition company in the world to collaborate with the UN. Moving forward, we shall present the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to the 23,800 exhibitors at our 58 textile fairs around the world and, in doing so, spark a meaningful debate.”

As the world’s leading provider of textile exhibitions, Messe Frankfurt is taking on a pioneering role and is encouraging us all to do business in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible way so that, ultimately, we can create a better world – and that, my friends, is simply fantastic!