Fashion and Automotive Design Meet to Talk About Sustainability

By Ford Social Member

A lot of people associate a “green” automobile with a hybrid or an electric car. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Ford puts a lot of effort into green or sustainable initiatives that aren’t so obvious in many of its vehicles.

To share some of these innovative ideas and to learn more from influencers, Ford worked with EcoStiletto to create the “EcoStiletto to the Metal: Sustainable Design Media Salon,” at the historic Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in Los Angeles.

We talked to Natasha Garber, editor of EcoStiletto, to hear what she thought of the program:

Ford Social: Why did you and EcoStiletto decide to work with Ford on this program?

Natasha Garber: When EcoStiletto began in 2007, the idea was to create an online space where women could learn more about sustainability in terms of style. When Ford came to us with the idea of creating an event where we could discuss the integration of sustainability into their design, especially as it relates to using “cradle to cradle” materials, we were thrilled.

FS: Your website covers all types of fashion ­ how does automotive design fit in with the great variety of things you talk about?

NG: Yes, we’re talking about cars, not a subject typically associated with fashion. At EcoStiletto, our focus is on style and sustainability. We learned that Ford shares the same focus.

FS: Do you see a lot of crossover between great fashion and automotive design?

NG: After this event, yes!

FS: What can the automotive industry learn from the fashion industry? And vice versa?

NG: Most importantly, I think both can learn that there is a place for sustainability in both industries. If Ford can create a car from 100 percent sustainable materials, then why can't a high-fashion design house – or a popular, mid-range retailer or designer for that matter – do an entire line in the same way?

FS: What did you hope to get from this program? How does that compare with what happened?

NG: The event actually exceeded my hopes. I knew that our Ford panelists would be full of valuable information, but I was amazed at how passionate and uncompromising they were about their work. Anthony Prozzi’s presentation on cultural influences, and the new demand for better, more efficient, greener cars was really inspiring. And I appreciated that Carol Kordich and Susan Swek excited everyone with their discussion of color, materials and the influence of fashion on Ford interior design, but they were also forthcoming about the real challenges of approaching difficult areas like carpeting and exterior paint from a sustainable perspective. And I loved how engaged our media audience was, I'm pretty sure they could have continued asking questions for hours.

FS: Any big surprises during the event?

NG: I think the biggest surprise was learning about Ford sustainable initiatives across the board, not just in the area of what we think of as “eco” cars – namely hybrid and electric vehicles – but across its entire fleet. It was great to learn just how much of an environmental impact even a 25 percent sustainable materials mandate can have in terms of resource conservation and waste reduction. I also loved hearing about the Ford C-max Energi plug-in hybrid, which I think is going to be one car that our readers will definitely covet.

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