“All too often we’re witnessing production travelling in the wrong direction. Increased volumes and the use of vast quantities of petroleum based, synthetic fibres suggest this model is consequence free. It isn’t,” she said. “But in Tasmania I found growers producing fine wool for the global apparel industry with a deep understanding of the need to work within the earth’s biological capacity. They were clear that their role was not just as fibre producers, but equally as custodians of this incredible landscape. When someone has changed over 20 years to embrace sustainability so deeply, that is very moving – not to mention, instructive.”
The film shows Livia experiencing the landscape, the way of life and farming first hand as she meets a range of wool growers. Some were trapped in a boom-bust-cycle of increasing flock patterns and trying to produce through drought and floods before they made a decisive shift. Now they have embarked on an ambitious conservation arc, pledging to help restore the landscape and preserve both the environment and the fibre for future generations.
As well as drawing on the emotional connection to landscape by wool growers, the film tackles the issue of the growing use of synthetic fibres in fashion and the impact of that choice. Washing clothes made from synthetic fibres, causes tiny plastic fibres to shed, travel through wastewater treatment plants into public waterways. It is projected that by 2050 an enormous 22 million tonnes of microfibres will end up as marine pollution.
“We live in an age where 100 billion new garments are produced each year from virgin fibre, increasingly synthetics. These don’t degrade and are essentially without value. Now we know they become ocean pollution,” said Andrew, who travelled the world of fashion supply chains for the 2014 hit documentary The True Cost.
“If we don’t want this future we must make smart, value-led choices. Purchasing garments from the type of fine wool produced by the growers I met in Tasmania who are direct custodians helps us to become custodians too.’”
Forever Tasmania was launched with a viewing in New York in May 2018. Colin and Livia Firth were joined by Anna Wintour, Bee Shaffer and Francesco Carrozzini, Calu Rivero, Christopher Bevans, Andrew Morgan and Vogue’s Sally Singer and Edward Barsamian to celebrate the launch.