The Beach Co-op’s founder Aaniyah Omardien headed to New York and UN headquarters in February this year to speak at a high-level conference hosted by the prestigious Library Study Hall. The conference, part of a critically acclaimed series, focused on the need for a material revolution to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Aaniyah was invited to join the “Sustainable Design: Fiction or Reality” panel discussion to discuss how to improve supply chains, introduce new materials and close the loop on material waste in the textile and apparel industry.
The Beach Co-op mingled with the likes of the Chief of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women Aldijana Sisic, NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, and renowned designers and activists like Dapper Dan and Dio Kurazawa. “It was so inspiring to be among the brightest and best in the world, all concerned with saving the planet. It has given me a renewed determination to drive the work of The Beach Co-op further in South Africa”, said Aaniyah on her return.
Celine Semaan, who launched the Library Study Hall, is also the founder of the #FashionActivism organization The Slow Factory. The Library Study Hall, allied with companies like Tesla, Adidas, G-Star Raw and Swarovski, is a space to discuss the sustainability challenges that the industry faces, and to come up with solutions. It operates as an education and advocacy platform for both consumers and industry.
Celine has called for “a redesign of the current system with the environment at the heart of it. Not to harvest virgin resources that destroy natural resources. We believe that the recycled fibers and recycled materials are worth being explored in the hopes to replace some of the virgin sourcing and production with a waste to material kind of production.”
This aligns perfectly with The Beach Co-op’s mission to eliminate single-use plastic from supply chains. We have been engaging with national partners and looking for international partners to help us find ways to transform waste into new material locally. We want to encourage the adoption of relevant international technology to create new sectors in South Africa.
Key take-outs from the conference are:
- Inclusion and diversity are a core part of solving the lack of sustainability.
- Waste must be looked as a resource.
- Intersectionality is key in order to foster cutting-edge innovation.
- Solutions already exist.
- Marketing is dead.
Keep following our blog as we unpack these important points in the upcoming months.