Bonnie Young has a thorough grasp of the fashion industry because of her 20-year career working for Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, during which she was stationed in both Europe and the United States. Although she comes from an environmentally conscious household, she is painfully aware of the ways in which the industry gets things so wrong. A former head of fabric development located in Milan, she developed a luxury aesthetic during her early years at Donna Karan before becoming Creative Director of Collection in the mid-2000s. She traversed the world in search of inspiration, seeking out the latest and most innovative trends. There were different times back then. Bonnie Young’s choice to use solely deadstock fabric and current materials for all of her upcoming collections as the founder of BY. Bonnie Young shows how she has gone full circle.
Her search for the latest and greatest has shifted to sifting through the old with an eye toward renewal, but her sight remains set on the future and the generations yet to come. “My family, particularly my spouse and children, have had a significant impact on me. They are all environmentalists who are well aware of the challenges that we are currently confronted with. Young tells FashionUnited that “they are angry by the amount of trash that the fashion business is responsible for.” ‘Save the world’ is the topic of debate, yet the Earth has the ability to adapt and endure.’ The fundamental question is whether the human race will be able to endure. I have a responsibility to do my share to safeguard the future.”
The fashion industry’s complicated connection with environmental responsibility
Like many others, Young has come to doubt the meaning of the term “sustainable” as well as the legitimacy of its usage in our business, and the phrase no longer resonates with her. Her creations have become a go-to for a discriminating audience looking for elegance without the use of logos. Her collections are modest yet assured, with an artistic sense and meticulous attention to detail. The choice not to acquire any new textiles, on the other hand, will result in substantial changes to the business she has created. The following is how Young expresses it more succinctly: “Sometimes I am compelled to sacrifice my vision.” Sustainability should be seen as a driving concept, rather than a marketing tool or an afterthought.
In the long run, sourcing from deadstock will not solve the fashion industry’s carelessness towards the environment. Existing materials will eventually run out of resources, and abandoned clothes will continue to wind up in landfills. However, for designers such as Young, the measure can serve as a stepping stone to the next breakthrough in our worldwide drive for sustainability. Yes, we are all in this situation together, but each company owner must chart his or her own route forward, and it may be sufficient that we are all moving in the same direction.
After several years of suffering, we are now emerging from the epidemic, and the sector is rallying to recoup its losses. As a result, brands are reporting quarterly profits for the first time in years. Early indications suggest that customers are unlikely to commit to a significant reduction in their fashion expenditure. Product development for brands will continue in order to meet our demand, and Young, as the owner and creative brain behind a manageable-sized company, believes that her decision is a positive step forward. However, she is also prepared to pivot if and when new avenues towards meeting our collective sustainability goals become apparent. “It will take a long time for the present resources to deplete themselves. According to Young, this will only be possible if the majority of the industry upcycles. « At some point, all of our enterprises will have to adjust. “Because my company is still in its early stages, I am not under any obligation to continually develop huge collections.”