John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation

"Wear What You Eat: A New Era in Sustainable Fashion” – Marketing Professor Addresses Sustainable Solutions

November 16, 2023 | John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation News
By Staff

On Thursday, Nov. 16, Neff College of Business and Innovation assistant professor of marketing and international business, Dr. Elizabeth Napier, addressed a visionary approach to combating the toxic elements of the fashion industry with UToledo’s chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Dr. Elizabeth Napier presenting to the American Marketing Association on Nov. 16.

Dr. Napier, an expert and researcher in sustainable fashion, used this guest speaking appearance to emphasize that while fashion itself is not inherently harmful, the industry's practices often are, citing issues such as worker exploitation, environmental damage and the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards.

Historically, the fashion sector has thrived on a rapid mass-production model, churning out trendy, inexpensive clothing to satisfy consumer demands.

However, Dr. Napier highlighted that solving the problems of fast fashion demands a collective effort from all stakeholders: consumers, fashion companies, policymakers and civil society.

To combat these challenges, Dr. Napier suggested several strategies: consumers should opt for apparel from certified B-corporations, fashion companies must embed sustainability into their core business models, policymakers should enforce regulations for transparency and accountability and civil society needs to raise awareness and advocate for ethical alternatives.

The core of Dr. Napier's presentation was the concept of biomimicry.

This innovative process involves studying and emulating natural systems to create sustainable designs.

It offers a pathway to reducing the fashion industry's environmental impact through creativity and collaboration across supply chains and civic engagement.

Dr. Napier's insights provided a hopeful perspective on a more sustainable and ethical future in fashion, rooted in the principles of nature itself.

“The new revolution of fashion is not on the runways; it is under our bare feet,” said Dr. Napier.

“Biomimicry is transforming sustainable fashion by providing inspiration and guidance from nature’s own designs. As of now, the fashion industry has a massive environmental footprint, as it is one of the most globally polluting industries. Designers are going back to their roots to craft garments in conscious harmony with our natural environment for a more eco-conscious and stylish future.”

Last Updated: 11/21/23