Sustainability is defined as:  noun

The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level: “the sustainability of economic growth”

avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance: “the pursuit of global environmental sustainability.”

Before I began writing this article, I decided to ask some folks what “sustainability” meant to them. It’s a subject that surrounds us daily.

For those of us who live in the Western USA, especially California, sustainability is always top of mind, specifically water and power (electricity).  Regarding water usage and our lack of rain, I’ve often wondered, “Why are we not using science to seed the clouds to make rain?”


Every State needs to be looking at upgrading their electrical infrastructure.  We are currently living with daily Flex Alerts and regulations to reduce the number of days we can water our lawns!  Electric cars are multiplying on our roads daily.  Yet, our electric infrastructure doesn’t seem to be evolving fast enough to handle all our current demands for electricity, let alone the push for more electrical cars on the road. Perhaps instead of buying Twitter we can call on Elon Musk to upgrade our electrical grid!

Fashion and Sustainability:

Denim has long been a popular fashion staple.  You all know the denim industry used to consume ghastly amounts of water in the creation of denim finishes. Kudos to the denim industry as they were one of the first to embrace alternative ways to reduce water usage and the disposal thereof.  This is an international issue.

The subject is rocking our world. Generations X, Z and Y are all learning about our environment and wholeheartedly embracing the care for our little planet Earth. When discussing fashion and sustainability, those of us of another generation before the purchase would ask: “Will this item be something that lasts?” We never really looked beyond our self-gratifying needs. Crisis has a way of moving the needle regarding what we pay attention to and the implementation of systemic changes.

A caveat to our world today is the influence of celebrity on everything!  We are an instant-gratification society whose conspicuous consumption has helped drive manufacturing and retailing to new heights. Coming out of the covid era (hopefully), we see companies taking a stand on many issues, one of which is sustainability – reviewing how they can implement ways to conserve energy, which is just one of the many positive reactions coming out of our time when the world stood still. Or did it really?

The past two years have also shown us the importance of “sustaining” our relationships.  Now more than ever it has been important to use these networks to secure, propel and support our ability to be relevant and sustainable in our post-covid world.

What if more folks went back to working in offices? Would this actually save money and natural resources?  All those folks working from home had to see their water and electric bills soar! Much will be said and written about the exodus from the office, but I haven’t heard or seen the study yet on the increased cost to the remote worker.  Just saying…

Those of us who have had the pleasure of remodeling a home know all too well of the laws which now address “sustainability” and expense to home builders. Material costs are just the tip of the conversation. Making a home sustainable for fire and flood has become top of mind to all who own properties.  Let us look at the effect of severe climate changes. We are faced with more frequent and drastic swings in our weather patterns. The historic pendulum of significant weather changes has shown that there is a real world need to ensure the longevity of building materials and innovation to embrace these drastic weather-related changes. Here, too, one can find the  industry rising to meet the needs of current and future habitation given our changing environment. In California, concerns have grown regarding building on ridgelines and wildlife preservation, with each concern having now taken center stage in our political conversation.  

No longer can we SALLY (same as last year) just about anything we do. Prospering today and sustaining into the future will require us being resilient, open to new ideas and smart about how we use our historic knowledge.  Do you think we’ll be able to sustain that resilience?  We hope so.

As president of footwear for Informa Markets, Leslie Gallin developed the FN Platform, the footwear shows at Magic. Gallin scouts the world’s best new designers and trends, providing unparalleled business insights and access into the world of footwear and beyond. Gallin is a board member of Footwear Distributors/Representatives of America, American Apparel and Footwear Associate, Two Ten-Footwear Charity and From Fashion with, among others, and has held positions at World Shoe Association, Geoffrey Benne, Escada, Louis Feraud and Pauline Tigere. She has been featured in Footwear Plus, Footwear News, O The Oprah Magazine, Vegas, Fox’s Good Day LA, Extra TV and more.


Leslie Gallin  

Meridian Group