Responsible fashion through disruptive innovation and collaboration

Instead of waiting for a change in consumer behavior, The Bear Scouts rely on new solution models for the fashion supply chain

In an interview with Dio Kurazawa, Co-Founder The Bear Scouts

The Bear Scout
Source & Copyright by The Bear Scouts

Author: House of Eden

Through his work as a designer and many years of experience in the fashion industry, Dio Kurazawa knows the challenges of the industry very well. With The Bear Scouts, he addresses the central problem of fashion supply chains, by breaking the current standards through creative and innovative solutions together with brands and suppliers. This makes existing relationships responsible and competitive at the same time.

The Bear Scouts promote a trend-setting redesign of the supply chain through the potentials of circular economy, biodiversity, sponsorship or digitization. As a sought-after adviser Dio is also part of Ganni's Responsibility Board. He talks to us about the current state of the fashion industry and the importance of collaboration and innovation as an accelerator for change.

"A sustainable product is made from waste and or discarded materials, which can be reused until its returned to the earth to provide its next use"

Dio Kurazawa, Co-founder of The Bear Scouts

In which phase of the sustainable transformation of the fashion industry are we currently?

I would say we are in phase two of a long series of stories, with an unknown “fin” point. Fortunately, as part of Phase 2, we have already identified the existing issues. However, as typical in our capitalist system, we are now at the part of the story where many exploit the responsible fashion issue with greenwashing. I like to think of this as the "greenwashing stage", followed by the 1rd phase "show your receipts".

We’re slowly progressing, but not there yet. The stories after that will almost certainly be filled with a slew of commitments broken that consider 2025 and 2030 targets. Because Many of these commitments, no matter how well intended, require a greater relationship with the supply chain and circularity than is currently being experienced.

How do The Bear Scouts achieve their goal of "making supply chains circular" and what is the greatest challenge?

Most of our work is bringing suppliers, innovators and brands/retailers together to disrupt the current system. There are too many silos. We bring these clients together to help them better understand each others complexities. We find really disruptive solutions that are changing the way that products are sourced, produced, packaged, sold and reused.

The biggest challenge is always getting everyone together. Not just regarding aligning schedules, but removing the idea of competition. We put multiple retailers together, brands and suppliers in an effort to bring about real meaningful and measurable change. It’s working, but it’s challenging.

Source & Copyright by Ganni, Sustainable Software Collection

When it comes to adapting supply chains, companies primarily fear cost increases. Is that a legitimate obstacle?

When adjusting supply chains, companies are most afraid of cost increase, is this a valid obstacle? Cost is certainly a concern, but I’d also say that every department is impacted by such decisions - Design, Development, Logistics, Finance, CSR. It's not as simple as changing. The relationships that are built between suppliers and brands take years to cultivate. Starting a new relationship is almost always our last option. It’s much better to help brands existing suppliers to be more competitive through responsible innovations. We do love our supplier x brand Collabs that give both parties a chance to test innovations.

Why is circular economy the key to sustainability?

We’re creating and consuming far more than we’re recycling. We’re also using natural resources at an unsustainable rate to make these products. Circularity offers us the opportunity to feed the supply chain pre and post consumer waste products which extends the material life of a product beyond a single use.

What are the latest breakthrough innovations at The Bear Scouts?

I am excited about the creation of RFC which helps to narrow the inequality gap between brands and suppliers. However, I would say I’m equally excited about our latest partnership with BNV.ME, who are exploring NFTs and the metaverse. We have a lot of new innovations for material, finishing and packaging, but they are part of a drop we have with our partners, LN-CC, which is coming soon.

Jawara Alleyne x BNV blunt dress NFT

Source & Copyright by Jawara x BNV blunt dress NFT

What role does collaboration play?

Collaborations must be meaningful for all parties involved. We don’t typically focus on Brand to Brand Collabs as we always want to showcase our innovations and suppliers. We have just dropped a circular collection featuring LN-CC X HYMNE STUDIO X ONLINE CERAMICS by Scoop Portugal. The product used all deadstock materials. Four participants with great patience and energy.

Sponsorship is often seen as greenwashing, but why is your sponsorship model effective?

We help young, influential designers reach factory outlet centers for innovative and materials in exchange for marketing measures. Plus, our suppliers make amazing products for a huge number of influential brands. Most brands do not share their suppliers with others for reasons of competition. However, we question this and offer suppliers the opportunity to present their solutions on the brand platform. All of our products are delivered with a life cycle assessment that corresponds to our claim to responsible fashion.

Can Pre-Or and Made-2-Or be a solution to the problem of overconsumption and waste?

If we can over consume we will. Maybe some of us in the western world are finding alternatives to overconsumption, but emerging markets are experiencing disposable income for the first time. Their overconsumption story has only just begun! I don’t believe consumer behavior will change.

I do believe, however, that regulations force changes and thus perhaps make overconsumption more expensive. That will be the new dial "How much overconsumption can I afford?" However, pre-order and bespoke remain a part of consumption.

Source & Copyright by LN-CC, Late Night Collection

You are part of Ganni's Responsibility Board, who else are your favorite pioneers in the field of sustainable fashion?

GANNI / MARIAH ESA / GREG LAUREN / CHRISTOPHER RAEBURN / HYMNE STUDIO / NIKOLAJ STORM / UGO PAULON / LE TINGS / BETHANY WILLIAMS / FADE OUT / 424 / DIVISION / ZEGNA / VIRÓN

Thank you very much for talking to us, Dio Kurazawa

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