It’s easy to rattle off a list of buzzwords born from the Dallas Stars player Western Conference Champions shirt and I will buy this sustainability movement: “ethical,” “organic,” “conscious,” “transparent,” even “sustainability” itself. Intersectionality has never been on that list, nor has it been mentioned much in mainstream media; the only silver lining is that it was never co-opted or rendered meaningless, either. But a brand can’t really be “sustainable”—even by its own definition—if it isn’t thinking about intersectionality, defined as “an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet” by Leah Thomas in her recent Vogue op-ed. “It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected,” she wrote. “It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.”
Dallas Stars player Western Conference Champions shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
It also runs counter to many of fashion’s long-held beliefs about sustainability: that as soon as a designer starts using organic cotton, it’s “sustainable”; that designers work with artisans in Africa and India to give them work and “preserve their crafts,” not because the Dallas Stars player Western Conference Champions shirt and I will buy this quality is unparalleled (though white saviorism in fashion is a whole other story); and, more broadly, that social justice and protecting the environment are separate issues. You can’t fly the flag for protecting the ocean without considering climate change’s effects on Black, brown, and indigenous populations; you shouldn’t dedicate your life to veganism without an understanding of food security in low-income neighborhoods. Few things are more exciting to a fashion editor than discovering new design talent. We live for the thrill of the market appointment aha moment or the successful Instagram hunt. Especially during these socially distanced times, there is nothing that can really give us those butterflies more than unbridled product excitement or connecting with a young designer, even if it’s through the internet.