“What kind of world do we want to live in, and how can we work towards this?”
This is the key question addressed in Rise & Resist, a new book on fashion activism and social justice by Clare Press, Vogue Australia’s Sustainability Editor and Founder of Wardrobe Crisis Podcast.
On November 28th, Clare will be in Amsterdam for the European launch of her book at Fashion for Good. We were lucky enough to speak with Clare prior to this event about her journey and why, in the face of ‘doom and gloom’ she remains optimistic.
Today, Clare is on a worldwide mission to raise awareness about sustainable living. However, she admits, this wasn’t always the case. Despite studying politics at University, early on in her career she was driven to “build a serious CV” and put politics aside to do this.
“For three-quarters of my career I didn’t activate my political voice. I used to write about what shoes to wear, or which hemlines were in for Spring.”
In 2013, when over 1000 factory workers were crushed in The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, Clare, along with the world, stood still. This event prompted her to dive deep into the fashion industry and learn more about its damaging effect on both people and the planet.
“As part of my own search for meaning, and a growing awareness of my role in all this, I switched gears. My eyes were open, and I became a slow fashion advocate.”
Then, in 2017, on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Australia’s Climate Council, Clare saw first-hand the effects of a warming climate. She says: “It left me with a burning passion to do something more, and my answer was to write this book.”
At a time when many feel overwhelmed with the state of the world, Clare believes the antidote to dismay is found in action. Why fashion? “Why not?!” she responds, quick to note that, as a giant global industry, fashion has great influence and reach. She adds:
“For me it was fashion, but whatever sector or community you’re in, I believe it’s essential to exert influence and fight for change. Everyone has a role to play across all aspects of their life. We should all be activists!”
Despite covering ‘heavy’ topics such as climate change and capitalism, the tone of her book is one of optimism.
Clare notes that the purpose-hungry tide sweeping the world is similar to the energy of the 1960s. She adds:
“Recent research confirms we are living through ‘a period of rising outrage and discontent’ not seen since the 1960s. It’s time for fresh thinking because quite simply; if everyone continues to consume at this rate, we’ll need several planets!”
Rise & Resist is packed with tools and motivation featuring ordinary people doing extraordinary things. As Clare explains:
“There are many ways to be more sustainable, whether it’s the choices you make about your food, your wardrobe, or your general way of living; it’s all connected.”
Sign up to the event here.