The fashion world has always availed itself of the materials that are popular at the time. In the past, the fashion world could only use what there was- including materials that were created from animals. Science discovered new materials and soon the fashion world could create items that had no resemblance to anything found in nature, including sequins, sparkles and shiny fabrics.
Some of these materials harm the earth in many ways- not only are they created in factories that spew black smoke into the sky, but they may be chemically dangerous as well. The finishes used to make these fabrics beautiful may be even more harmful, especially when potentially toxic dyes and fabric protectants are added to change their color or make them resist staining. Growing cotton requires a lot of land and the cotton is chemically treated once it is harvested. Buying organic cotton eliminates some of the chemicals after the fact but does nothing to address the huge amount of land that is used.
What type of background is necessary for this career?
You would need at least a demonstrated aptitude for design to begin, although it would be better if you had a degree. You should also realize that most designers do not get to start out on their own and that you would be applying for positions in the design houses and working your way up. Having a brilliant idea that would separate you from the pack or would make you stand out is key to getting noticed and moving the process along a little faster. If you know someone in the fashion world, it is even better. What skills should you have?
While design should be one of your main skills, you should also know that you will be dealing with different types of people, from raw material suppliers, to the seamstresses who will sew your finished design to the models who will be wearing them. Make sure that you develop a rapport with all of them as much as possible and gently ease them into being on the green team rather than forcing a philosophy down their throat. Who is the target audience?
All it takes is one celebrity of any level to wear your green designs to get you catapulted closer to your dream. Find a list of the actors and actresses who are reportedly going green and approach them with a proposal- they can wear your green design and mention your name which benefits both of you. If you can manage to get a celebrity to wear your item and mention your name, you will have an in with the crowd that follows celebrity trends as well. Who are the competitors?
Anyone who is involved in the fashion industry can tell you that it is a rough business to break into and become successful with. For every one idea that you have, ten others that are similar will be had by designers in other design houses. Simply being green will no longer be enough because it is no longer the novelty that it once was.