What are you wearing these days? How have your clothing choices evolved since you put your sweatpants down and put on your real pants again as life reopens after the pandemic?
There is a one in six chance that it was created by a woman, according to the UN. There is also a one in eight chance that a woman will have purchased it for you as women make or influence 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. For example, “millennial women spend 226% more on clothes per year than their male counterparts,” according to Smart Asset. How each of us spends our budgets on clothing has power.
Still, few women are in the $ 2.4 trillion fashion industry executive suites. For example, only 14% of the top 50 fashion brands are led by women, although around 80% of the graduates of the famous Parsons School of Design, a leading school for the fashion industry, are women.
The fashion industry needs more women at the top and it needs more women at the top who are committed to reducing the industry’s massive impact on the environment. Like any industry, frankly.
And this industry is undergoing a radical change, which means there are a lot of opportunities.
Scary statistics = opportunity
Here are some statistics on the impact of the fashion industry on the environment: it contributes 8.1% to global greenhouse gas emissions and between 20% and 35% of microplastics in the marine environment. It also uses huge amounts of water – it takes 10,000 to 20,000 liters to make a shirt and a pair of jeans, according to Ecothes.
McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2022 report says this push for the industry to go greener and treat its talent pool better presents tremendous growth opportunities – and it sounds like job and promotional opportunities. It is time for the fashion industry to be mostly run by its main consumer: socially responsible women and women.
Do something about it
Kerry Bannigan is putting her money, time, network and clothes where her values are to try to change these dire trends, as founder and CEO of the Fashion Impact Fund and as co-founder and CEO of the Conscious Fashion Campaign. The United Nations Office for Partnerships is one of her partners in the Campaign, among many others.
There are also many other organizations trying to clean up the action of the fashion industry, including the Sustainable Fashion Coalition and nonprofits like Fabscrap.
7 Career Tips for Women Who Want a Job That Makes a Difference
If you want a job that aligns with your values while simultaneously advancing your career, whether in the fashion industry or any other industry, here are seven career tips Bannigan recently gave in my Podcast of Electric Ladies:
1. Ask yourself “Am I happy?”: This is a question Bannigan asks “often,” he said, adding, “What would make me happy?” And he really listens. “Mute the noise.”
2. Go for “it” – no matter how crazy: “No matter how crazy it sounds. Just do it. You know, we live in this society of labels and levels and to me it’s all fake. None of this is really necessary. If you want to get into something, (try). It is a question of breaking down barriers ”.
3. Keep your salary while you figure it out: Bannigan says, “There are a lot of people where we’re not always in a place where we can quit the current job we’re in to take the time to find out what we’d like to do on a purposeful mission.” So, don’t quit your current job until you have another income online.
4. “Research what’s out there”: If you’re not sure what your next move is, if you can attend events, how can you help us? “For example, ask if you can do a project with them to learn more.
5. Ask, ask, ask: Ask for the special job or assignment you want, or create a special project to show your courage and position yourself for the next step.
6. Be willing to try something new: “There’s always something to learn from each chapter,” Bannigan said.
7. Do good where you are: “People don’t need to quit their jobs in order to drive well. They can do it internally. They can fight for something they believe in, in their current company, “she explained.
“People can do good by giving their time, their resources, sharing their network and even giving,” added Bannigan.
“We are in a space and time in society where we all have a role to play in driving change.”
Listen to the full interview with Kerry Bannigan on Electric Ladies Podcast here, or wherever you listen to podcasts.