Vogue Education Presents welcomed Philippa Grogan to Condé Nast College to inform students about her career as a Sustainability Consultant at Eco-Age.
“I much prefer complaining to drawing,” Grogan laughed. Grogan started her career in print design at Brighton University, before a turning point led her to travel and live in India. It was during her time in India that Grogan discovered a love for natural dyes. She was able to experiment with producing her own prints using ancient methods of dye creation, and this experience furthered her interest in sustainability.
Eco-conscious practices in Fashion
What came next was a career path dedicated to eco-conscious practices in fashion and textiles, complemented by more travel. Now, she and Eco-Age work with top-tier clients to implement such practices in fashion business models, and advocate for fashion sustainability on a massive scale.
Eco-Age successfully works as an agency to combine science and alchemy — sustainable practice and aesthetics — and implements its strategies into some of the top fashion and textile companies in the world. The company is known to set the standard for fashion brands and consumers, and it works to integrate climate-minded systems into these businesses.
Clients of Grogan have included Diesel, Sweaty Betty, The Woolmark Company, Ugg, and Alpine; she also acted as a mentor for Saul Nash, winner of the 2022 International Woolmark Prize, which awards excellent designers for their use of wool.
Philippa Grogan, Eco-Age Industry Talk
Passion for the subject was evident in Grogan’s talk, as she emphasised the importance of the current state of the planet, and how fashion contributes significantly to a frightening set of statistics. One slide showed how, if the planet continues to produce and consume at its current rate, we would need four planets to sustain it.
She dug into the different topics of greenwashing and marketing manipulation, stressing the psychological impact these tactics have on the general consumer. Marketing tactics are used to prompt consumers to consume, and fast-fashion brands are the ultimate masters of this — their constant production of the latest trends tempts consumers, ultimately contributing to an endless cycle of waste.
Positive change for Fashion
She explained to students the UK’s current and past systems, and what those systems need to become, describing the circular economy theory by means of an apple core metaphor. Grogan was quick to remind the audience of each part of the climate crisis conversation, including unfair labour practices, quoting that you can’t talk about the climate crisis without addressing the social side as well.
While the topic of climate change is a daunting one, Grogan’s confidence instilled in students a sense of action. With Eco-Age, Grogan is making real policy changes to some of the most important brands in the world, and working at government level to assist with the climate crisis, working to better one of its biggest contributors — fashion and textiles.
By Abigail Gallen, studying on the BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Industry Practice