Column - Fashion

unsustainable sustainability



Yusuke Koishi (KLEINSTEIN CO., LTD)
Yusuke Koishi / Representative of Kleinstein.
Founded Kleinstein in 2014 with his partner Koishimiki. Disgusted with Japanese society, where katakana is prevalent, he proposes a translation word for fashion, 'yoso'. Worked on design and creative direction for Novesta, a sneaker brand in Slovakia, and produced “BIÉDE”. Operates the Kleinstein gallery and showroom “STEIN BOX”.

Greta Thunberg

Recently, we often hear and see the word ESG in SDGs. Even if it is called SDGs, it may not come into focus. This is the “Sustainable Development Goals”. What are ESG? It stands for “Environmental, Social, and Governance”. When we talk about “sustainability,” most people think of things like “environment” and “ethical,” but it's actually not that simple. Environmental issues, human rights issues, correction of social disparities, and economic growth are intricately intertwined and sometimes contradict each other. The current situation is that SDGs and ESG are unconsciously mixed up and talked about in various parts of the world like ingredients for a dark pot.

Speaking of “environmental sustainability,” some of you may vaguely remember the scene from 2019 when Greta Thunberg wore a purple dress and yelled “How dare you!” Sustainability has been talked about frequently since around this time, and I may not have had the opportunity to hear the word carbon dioxide so often since my science class when I was a student. And the “How dare you!” scene became a perfect meme material on twitter.

In fact, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and environmental issues have been a hot topic for quite some time. Former presidential candidate Al Gore also released a documentary called "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006, but environmental issues were not as popular as they are today. Unprecedented President Clinton, who had an affair in the Oval Office during his presidency, and Vice President Al Gore, who was protecting the president under it. No matter how "good things" he was talking about, the character of a middle-aged white man in a suit with vested interests might not have resonated with the masses. I don't remember what I was confused about at the time, but I went to the cinema to see "An Inconvenient Truth" by myself. I even forgot about it. Unfortunately, it didn't have the same impact as the angry shout of an eccentric white girl in a purple dress.

Until November 2020, Donald Trump reigned as the face of Western society. symbol) and became a keyword of the counterculture. Fostering culture sometimes requires an "enemy".

Unsustainable Sustainability and Eugenic Ideas Lurking in It

Well, let's get back to it. Some of the "environment" and "ethics" talked about in the media are not sustainable. A joke called “sustainability that is not sustainable” is happening all over the world. The most characteristic is this story told by some environmental fundamentalists. “Rapid population growth is likely to increase human consumption and have a negative impact on the environment.

Among the books that have become a hot topic in Japan's discussion circles, electric vehicles and initiatives for clean energy will not solve environmental problems after all, so quitting the pursuit of economic growth itself is the abandonment of capitalism. is now being picked up as a solution to environmental problems.

However, I think we should stop here, frown, and say, wait a minute. Like the National Tax Agency staff who notice tax evasion. Wouldn't it be electoralism to say that "population growth" and "economic activity" are bad? It is not unfair for the people of the wealthy powers, who have become rich through economic growth and consumption, to debauch themselves, and the people of the GDP top 10 countries, to speak directly to the developing countries that are currently developing. mosquito? "We have to do something about it" has something in common with the implied coercion of the executives of large companies and politicians who press for window dressing and data falsification.

To say that economic activity must be curtailed for the sake of the environment, or that the number of people must be reduced, is an outrageous argument, similar to the Human Seppuku Plan. However, accompanied by fashionable visuals, there are too many fashionable and unconscious "Harakiri recommended movements (I won't commit seppuku, but why don't you commit seppuku?)".
This is why I ridiculed the topic of SDGs – ESG as a “dark pot” at the beginning. After the Second World War and numerous ethnic conflicts in modern times, the eugenics and chosen peoples ideologies, which should have been pushed to the margins of society every time we reflect on them even if only in form, are advocated in a healthy and fashionable way. In the shadow of the keyword that can be used, the ingredients of such a dark pot are lurking.

Fashion Activism as a Canary in a Coal Mine

Canaries were once used in coal mines to detect poison gas. Canaries, which are sensitive to the toxic gas produced by mining coal mines, stop vocalizing when they sense the gas. It seems that the miners were able to detect danger by doing so. SDGs and ESG-themed rules are being formulated in various industries, including fashion. But maybe we should be a little more cautious about what's really going on inside. There are various certification bodies that have appeared out of nowhere, and it seems that the position of the rule-making side is economically advantageous. Aren't superficial efforts being taken up as the royal road? Are there any SDGs-ESG initiatives that are not attracting attention at all because they are sober, even though they are real?

Like the canary in a coal mine, both fashion and art have sensitively sensed suspicious movements in social phenomena and used them as the driving force for creation.

While criticizing economic activities under the slogan of environmental protection, he eats artificial meat developed by startups born from financial capital investment. For luxury brands that advocate the importance of recycling, people in emerging countries who have created wealth on the scene of mass consumption are the biggest consumers of new products. Our society is full of such contradictions. What is needed now is the ability to accept contradictions as they are, and to think on that basis. Originally, people involved in culture must have been not good at "copying right". When I see them stop thinking and somehow do something like "Imitate the right way", I can't help but feel that the canary in the coal mine in my heart is giving a signal to stop barking.


Published: almanacs Vol.01 (2022SS)
text: Yusuke Koishi (KLEINSTEIN CO., LTD.)



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