Gail Whiteman introduces the Eco-Toga


Gail Whiteman

For her inaugural address on 1 April 2011, Professor Gail Whiteman, Ecorys NEI Chair in Sustainability & Climate Change, will wear an Eco-Toga made of Returnity fabric. This fabric is Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified, produced with a low environmental and social impact and is, after use, totally recyclable.

Professors traditionally wear a long black gown (toga) during formal cortèges and academic events such as inaugural addresses, as a symbol of wisdom. As a new professor with a specific interest in Sustainability and Climate Change, Gail Whiteman wondered how best to ‘walk her talk’ - starting with her toga. Whiteman: ”An academic gown is made of cloth: fabric that has an impact on the planet like all products we consume. I wondered whether it could be produced in a more eco-effective way?"

The toga is the result of a cooperation between sustainable fashion label DutchSpirit, Gail Whiteman, and De Togamaker. It is the very first time such a toga has been developed; it is a unique experiment in eco-fashion. “Of course, an Eco-Toga cannot save the world, even if it is the first,” says Whiteman. “But this small act of innovation by like-minded individuals is a step in the right direction. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”