Climate Week Recap: Sustainability Advocates Call for Environmental Action
The climate crisis is the most important challenge of our time, and action is needed to tackle the issue with the attention and seriousness it deserves. Samsung believes that our brand has an obligation to help stem the effects of climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.
That is why, this year, we hosted a series of events during Climate Week at Samsung 837, our flagship experience center located in New York City’s Meatpacking District that is powered by 100% renewable energy, the metaverse at Samsung 837X and on the Samsung US Discord server. The series, which ran from September 19-25, brought together sustainability influencers, advocates, and leaders from fashion, floristry, and technology industries to delve into ways to bring about broad societal transformation and ensure the planet is preserved for generations to come. The event lineup included powerful installations, thought-provoking sessions, and moving musical performances each day.
Among the highlights:
On Monday, September 19, Samsung invited modern floral design studio Flower Bodega’s Aurea Sanabria Moleai to take the stage alongside Fleetwood Florals’ Molly Burke, Brooklyn Blooms’ LaParis Phillips, Van Vliet’s Robert Luebcke, and Garbage Goddess’ Liza Lubell to discuss ways to help sustainability flourish in the floristry industry. Blooms are a booming business, but bouquets can have significant environmental effects – like that of floral foam, long-considered the ‘plastic bag’ of this industry – #nofloralfoam.
“There’s a lot of mystery and magic in floral design – especially related to events. People walk into a room, and they see something magnificent, but they don’t understand the process behind how the artistic installation got there and what happens to it post-event,” said Liza Lubell. “We want to educate our clients and our industry about designing with sustainability in mind. Our company is working towards zero-waste floral events by returning the hard goods, composting all organic floral material, and recycling and upcycling other items.”
On Tuesday, September 20, Denver-based fashion designer and sustainability advocate, Nicole McLaughlin, led a compelling panel discussion on driving change in fashion and tech that included North Carolina-based fashion designer, Paige Sechrist; New York-based eco-conscious fashion designer, Tracy Garcia; NYC Fair Trade Coalition Chair, Andrea Reyes; and Samsung Electronics America Head of Corporate Sustainability, Mark Newton. The group shared their views on ways to facilitate a sustainable design process, how to compel consumers to buy upcycled and recycled products, and how they balance sustainability with scale. More from this panel can be found here.
Later, Samsung 837 was transformed into a concert hall with a musical performance by artist Mikhala Jené. And the space was modified once again into a catwalk for Samsung’s simul-verse #RecycleUp fashion show, which was emceed by Nicole McLaughlin, and featured creative upcycled designs by Andrew Burgess, Reilly Fitzsimmons, Tracy Garcia, Gaia, Paola Gonzalez, Kevin Leonel, Chris Mena, Anna Molinari, Kelsey Reese and Paige Sechrist. The fun continued on TikTok with Samsung’s #RecycleUp challenge, where fans can show off their own upcycled creations through October 12th for the chance to win prizes.
On Wednesday, September 21, Rachel Ceruti, Founder and CEO of Reclypt, an upcycled fashion marketplace, joined the NYC Fair Trade Coalition for an upcycled fashion forum, an upcycled designer showcase, and a hands-on workshop to help individuals create upcycled clothing. For the forum, Rachel guided a conversation that included Void Asylum Creative Director Mario Miguelito, FABSCRAP Co-founder and Creative Director Camille Diane Tagle, and donateNYC Senior Manager and ReFashion Week NYC Coordinator Alissa Westervelt on how to reduce and repurpose textile waste.
donateNYC, a program of the NYC Department of Sanitation, shared a powerful stat: “The average New York City household throws away about 120 pounds of textiles a year. And New York City’s annual textile waste is equivalent to nearly 900 Statues of Liberty or over 4,500 subway cars.”
And Camille Diane Tagle noted, “As creatives, it’s incumbent upon us to think outside of the box by experimenting and trialing new ways to keep textiles in circulation – whether it’s upcycling, downcycling or recycling.”
Wednesday also marked the launch of the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, which challenges U.S. students grades 6-12 to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to create innovative, sustainable solutions that transform local communities. Find out more about this year’s contest here.
Lastly, on Friday, September 23, Alice Kim, Founder and CEO of PerfectDD, was joined by Rent The Runway President and COO Anushka Salinas, BYBBA Founder Pam Seidman, and climate activist Madeleine MacGillivray to talk about when inclusivity meets sustainability.
“There are plenty of ways to build out your wardrobe that don’t require buying really low-quality, high-volume products – more than half of which end up in a landfill. The fashion industry is amongst the top polluters of all the industries out there. So, I would say look for circular solutions like renting,” said Anushka Salinas.
Being sustainable tends to cost more and when asked about affordability for the full spectrum of Gen Z consumers, Madeleine MacGillivray noted, “The most sustainable item is the one you already have in your closet. And talking about accessibility is critical. In fact, the majority of people around the world have been and are continuing to be sustainable by reusing their items. It’s really a mentality shift. Instead of buying a ton of sustainable products, how can extend the life of what we already have.”
All told, it was a successful week that Samsung hopes helped to spark conversation, inspire both circularity and creativity, and ignite sustainable action! And don’t forget to join our #RecycleUp TikTok challenge for the chance to win awesome Samsung prizes.