Fashion Reimagined: Justice for Jeans

Fashion Remagined follows award-winning designer Amy Powney as she embarks on a journey to develop an ethical and sustainable fashion collection. Giving herself 18 months to create the line, Powney travels to the origins of her material in order to ensure that every aspect of the process is at its environmental best. However, as Powney draws closer to her time limit, she learns that change is never an easy process.

Directed by Becky Hutner, Fashion Reimagined is an eye-opening journey into the world of high-class couture. As Hutner follows Powney along her journey towards sustainability, the film peels back the complexities of the fashion world and the ways that it continues to harm our planet. I have to admit that, with my limited knowledge of the industry, I had made many assumptions about this film before it began. Frankly, I simply assumed that Powney‘s journey would involve recycling clothing from thrift stores to create some new form of high fashion. 

My assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Amy’s commitment to sustainability was far greater (and more in depth) than I could’ve ever imagined. Her desire to follow the thread to its origins (literally) reveals the compromises that are made by companies along the journey from farm to store. From toxic dye to animal abuse, Reimagined strips back the layers of the manufacturing chain to reveal the unbelievable damage left for the sake of profitability. But Powney is determined and unrelenting. To her, sustainability means nothing if we aren’t willing to do our absolute best at every level. From visiting sheep farms to awareness of water usage, Powney’s passion for integrity is nothing short of admirable. 

But Hutner’s doc highlights the overwhelming challenge of redefining an industry that has built itself on the backs of underpaid workers and poor environmental records over the years. Generating billions of dollars every year, the fashion industry is fairly set in its ways and major changes that increase prices aren’t necessarily welcome, no matter how much ‘better’ they may be for the planet. What’s more, cost effectiveness is certainly an issue as these sorts of changes may result in higher prices for the average consumer. 

However, at the same time, Reimagined refuses to let the viewer be overwhelmed. Although the film recognizes the difficulty of making major changes, the film also speaks to the innumerable ways that the average person can make a difference in their own small ways. Here, Hutner recognizes that change begins with the viewer. Although Powner’s determination to change the industry anchors the film, so too does Hutner want to inspire her viewers to alter their own shopping habits. (The section on fashion pledges is particularly are inspiring.) In doing so, Reimagined refuses to allow the viewer to sit idly by in passivity. Instead, it puts the call directly to the audience, asking what we are willing to do to change ourselves. 

Because, in Fashion Reimagined, the ultimate responsibility for the industry lies with us.

Fashion Reimagined is available on VOD on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

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