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Each month, The New Fashion Initiative invites a leading voice in the sustainable and ethical fashion revolution to answer 17 questions about themselves, both personal and professional. It’s our green and socially conscious spin on Vanity Fair‘s beloved Proust Questionnaire. This month, our interviewee is Akari Shono, Digital Solutions and market development manager of North America at Avery Dennison, an innovative and sustainable packaging company. Among her many efforts, Shono helps brands and retailers gain supply chain visibility and transparency and use data to better connect with consumers.

1. What is your favorite article of clothing?

Anything silk. It keeps me cool in the summer and warm in winter. 

2. What is the most wonderful thing about the fashion industry right now?

I’m excited to see fashion industry players are investing and focusing on sustainability. At Avery Dennison, sustainability is at the core of our business values. For us, it’s not just a feel-good trend. For every product and solutions that we develop and deliver, we carefully evaluate how it could lead to positive environmental impact. 

3.  What do you think is the most shocking thing about fashion today?

The disastrous impact of the apparel industry on the environment by now is well-known (hopefully). But whenever I hear unnerving statistics about how the industry contributes to 20% of global industrial wastewater and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy-intensive production, it makes me think how businesses need to work together to make things right again. 

4. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?

I’m rediscovering my motherland, Japan. Nara is my favorite. It’s a city that appreciates the beauty of traditional design and handicraft, which often translates to the repurposing of used kimonos and 200-year-old buildings for modern usage such as cafes, boutiques, and residences.  

5. What is your favorite indulgence?

I love beauty products whether it is skincare or cosmetics. I’m guilty of hoarding serums, essential oils, and wacky eyeliners, but it makes the inner 15-year-old in me so happy.

6.  What makes you happiest?

Traveling always sparks creativity and joy in me. 

7. What environmental or social problem are we overlooking?

We are experiencing the renaissance of grassroots environmental and social activism. Information about how individuals and communities could help is more accessible. However, in a modern day where people are busy making a living, and, especially in a country in which the socioeconomic inequality is alarming, it seems like a luxury reserved for people of means. I believe there’s a lot more corporations can do. I would like to see the weight on the conscience, time, and wallet of the people transferred to businesses even more. 

We are experiencing the renaissance of grassroots environmental and social activism… but it seems like a luxury reserved for people of means… I would like to see the weight on the conscience, time, and wallet of the people transferred to businesses even more.

Akari Shono

8.  Are you more introverted or extroverted?

I’m an introvert and still figuring out the subtle art of small talk. For now, I create the illusion that I’m a sufficiently amusing conversationalist by listening to people talk. 

9. What do you do first in the morning?

I catch up on my Instagram feed as soon as the alarm goes off. Horrible habit. 

10.  What was the happiest moment of this past year?

Last year, I married my best friend. 

11. Best professional moment of your life thus far?

My decision to start working at Avery Dennison last year. I’m proud to be part of an organization that believes in sustainability as a business. Its belief gives purpose to the suite of technologies such as our Intelligent Labels / RFID and JANELA, our Internet of Things solution, to transform supply-chain visibility and transparency in fashion, beauty, and food sectors.

12.  Can you describe the last outfit you wore that made you feel amazing? 

My grandmother’s beautiful, indigo tie-dyed silk “scarf.” It lends an air of elegance. What most people don’t know is that it is actually an obiage (sash to hold together an obi), which would be considered a silly piece to repurpose into anything else in Japan. But I figured no one would find out in the States! 

13.  Favorite movie?

Before Sunrise starring Ethan Hawk and Julie Delpy.

14.  How do you recharge?

If I can’t travel, cooking something new from cookbooks or NY Times recipes

15. What three words describe you best?

Restless. Experimental. Active. 

16.  What makes you laugh the hardest?

The Office. 

17.  Favorite book?

Ursula Le Guin’s Earth Sea.

Read Questionnaires with Sass Brown, Ronald van der Kemp, Kim Jenkins, and More
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