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Emma Watson on her new role in (sustainable) fashion: “This job is a relay marathon, not a sprint”

It’s only logical that she is now teaming up with Kering – the company has already made sustainability efforts in fashion, announced last year that it would make its own operations and supply chain carbon neutral, and spearheaded the G7 “Fashion Pact,” in which (meanwhile) 65 brands have agreed on commitments to curb climate change, improve biodiversity and protect our oceans.

Here Watson shares more about her new role at Kering and what sustainable fashion means to her.

Why did you decide to take on this new role at Kering?

As the Covid 19 crisis has shown, sustainability is an urgent topic that is closely related to issues of justice and equality for women, BIPoC, and the environment. The work that Kering does [um Nachhaltigkeit in der Mode zu fördern], feels more important than ever, and I am very grateful to be able to join this effort and support a company that shows that it takes this responsibility seriously.

I’m looking forward to helping Kering set the pace [seiner] Keep accelerating work and building on what it is already doing. I am also extremely excited to work with Kering’s Foundation for Women’s Rights. I just always enjoy learning.

Why is sustainability in fashion so important to you?

I’ve been interested in sustainability in fashion since I first really had to deal with fashion during the press trips and promotional tours for “Harry Potter”. It started when I was 12 years old. At school I was interested, supervised by a really inspiring geography teacher, especially in fair trade fashion and renewable energy sources. This led to a trip to Bangladesh in 2010 with the sustainable brand People Tree.

I realized then that sustainability in fashion is a critical issue when you consider the harmful effects industry can have on the environment, workers’ rights and animal welfare. It’s a feminist problem too. It is estimated that around 80 percent of the world’s people employed in the clothing industry are women between the ages of 18 and 35.

At this unprecedented point in history, we must make big decisions and take action to positively reinvent and transform what we do and how we do it. It feels like an exciting time to have such an opportunity right when things are about to change. For example, when I saw last year that Kering announced that the group would become carbon neutral within its own operations and along its entire supply chain, with a priority of first avoiding, then reducing, and then offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, I listened!

There are many different ideas about what sustainability actually means. What does it mean to you?

I understand sustainability as the interrelationship between society and community, economy and environment. Issues of justice, fairness and equality are key to what sustainability means – whether it is about environmental justice and the impact of the fashion industry on our planet, or about the rights of workers and the impact on the ability of families to care for themselves supply.

How does this new role at Kering relate to your other work?

During this pandemic, like many of us, I had time to think about the work I want to be involved in and what will matter to me in the future. After getting so much in the public eye by making films and being so active on social platforms with my activism, I am curious about a role in which I advocate making more voices heard, further from people with different experiences to learn (from textile workers to designers to company bosses) and to ensure that a wider range of perspectives is taken into account. I hope that now I can help make a difference behind the scenes.

When people notice a new silence on my part, it doesn’t mean that I’m no longer there or that I don’t care! I’ll just do my work differently – less red carpets and more conference meetings! This is a unique moment in history and I want to seize the resulting opportunity for change. Like my friend [der Künstler und Gelehrte] Dr. Fahamu Pecou says – this work is a relay marathon, not a sprint, and I know that I want to be there in the long run and be in the right place when it’s time to run my relay.

Emma Watson wearing Emilia Wickstead to attend the UK launch event for “Beauty And The Beast”, February 2017.Photography Getty Images

Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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