Hilary Jochmans: "Fashion is a major economic driver the world over"

12 Oct 2022 , 10:09pm

PoliticallyinFashion founder talks about her work and why brands should engage in activism in advance of Luxury Law New York presentation on 2 November

How did you get involved in this area?

I have a personal and professional interest in fashion. I respect both the art and the artisan in fashion. The creations should be valued and constructed in a manner that does not harm our planet and people. And the women and men who physically produce the items must be treated with dignity and respect and work in a safe environment.  Professionally, I recognize that fashion is a major economic driver the world over. This robust industry is impacted by laws and regulations on labor rights, the environment, trade, transportation, technology and immigration, among others. 

Over the course of my career, I was looking to engage with an organization that looked at these policy issues. While there are opportunities for larger scale ventures to do this, I realized individuals, activist organizations and smaller businesses in the fashion industry lacked access to a centralized and objective source for information on these critical topics.  So, I decided to create such a space: PoliticallyInFashion. 

What are the most interesting aspects of your practice?

I love interacting with people around the world who are passionate about these issues.The pandemic accelerated a more interconnected online world and I have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, women and men in all regions.Geography and time zones are not the same limitations to collaboration as they were in the past.

What activism should fashion brands engage in?

Brands should consider engaging in issues that impact their business operations. Some areas include labor, trade, tariffs, immigration and environmental regulation.

Why should brands engage in activism?

2022 has been a year of unprecedented activity for fashion in the world of public policy. In the US,  from the Nation’s Capital to the Fashion Capital of New York, bills advanced that impacted core  operations of the fashion industry.  Congress and state legislators will be debating these and other proposals.  As a fashion business, why would you not want to be involved in a conversation that directly involves you? 

Over 230 years ago, the framers of the US Constitution crafted the First Amendment, which guarantees the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Today, this means voicing your opinions and sharing your values with your elected representatives.  Unfortunately, too many people feel intimidated or lack access to information to meaningfully engage with government. PoliticallyInFashion works to be a source of knowledge on issues and institutions so that individuals and businesses may fully exercise their First Amendment right.  

The United States is not alone in exploring legislation and regulation for the fashion industry. The UK, EU, and the Netherlands have recently undertaken robust oversight and review of sustainability, labor and environmental aspects of the industry. 

Hilary Jochmans is the Founder of PoliticallyInFashion, a community for all those in fashion – designers, manufacturers, artisans, retailers, models, lawyers, reporters, consumers – to learn about legislative and regulatory issues of key importance to the industry. She is also the of Founder of Jochmans Consulting LLC, a boutique government affairs practice. She can be reached at hilary@politicallyinfashion.com.

At the 2 November Luxury Law New York Summit, Jochman's will present,"Luxury, Politics, Sustainability." She will discuss how 2022 has been a year of unprecedented activity for fashion in the public policy world. Specifically, she will discuss the FABRIC Act, which would build on California’s SB62, the Garment Workers Protection Act and set a minimum wage floor by prohibiting, in many instances a piece-rate compensation. It would also create a new Undersecretary of Labor of the Garment Industry.  She will also discuss New York state's foray in fashion legislation with the introduction of the Fashion Act, which would require fashion retail sellers and manufacturers with over $100 million in revenue worldwide to disclose their environmental and social due diligence policies.

Click here to read the full agenda and here to book your place at the summit. For delegate enquiries email jasmindersoor@globalcitymedia.com and to learn more about sponsorship opportunities email mariasunderland@globalcitymedia.com. For speaker enquiries contact maryheaney@globallegalpost.com.