The way we produce and consume fashion has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. Fashion has now become accessible to everyone and it is not necessary to be "top of the range" to be able to afford the latest trends, which thanks to fast fashion have a lifespan of about two weeks until to the next fashion. comes to stores. Consumers have thus become accustomed to the availability of “cheap deals” from the fashion industry without being fully aware of the industry's devastating impact on the environment.
The fashion industry is worth three trillion dollars a year but is the world's second largest polluter after oil due to the materials used to make clothes, two fibers in particular. First, cotton makes up 40% of our clothing and is a natural fiber that uses a lot of water, it takes around 2,700 liters of water to make a t-shirt. The use of harmful pesticides during production also releases toxins into the water and air. Second, polyester is a synthetic fiber used to make clothes that are heavily dependent on dwindling oil and gas reserves. The reality is that these statistics can no longer be ignored and consumers are increasingly aware of the dangerous impact of the fashion industry on the environment. Consumers have started to invest in brands that are actively looking for sustainable alternatives like Fairtrade cotton and using dead stock. Many are beginning to wonder what the future of sustainable fashion will look like.
So, what does Sustainable Fashion look like?
There is no doubt that the textile industry is threatened by a variety of social, human rights, environmental and trade factors, and the ability of the industry to become sustainable in the future remains a hot topic. Designers, entrepreneurs and corporations come together to create ethically sourced clothing. Big brands are realizing how important sustainable fashion is to their consumers, making it much easier for them to shop ethically and support eco-friendly brands. Sustainably produced clothing is no longer considered “outdated” or “uncomfortable”. Instead, they're stunningly stylish and getting lots of celebrity endorsement who invest in sustainable brands to protect the environment and make a fashion statement. The number of sustainable brands is endless.
It's unclear how long it will take for the retail brands already established in the industry to be fully sustainable, but that doesn't mean they don't need to start somewhere. For example, H&M recently launched its H&M Conscious collection and aims to source 100% cotton from sustainable sources by 2020. Sportswear and clothing giant Adidas has produced ocean plastic shoes with a 3D printed midsole in 2015 to help stop the ocean. plastic pollution. It just goes to show that current textile production methods can be constantly challenged and redesigned to achieve a more sustainable future. For sustainability and eco-friendly fashion to have a sure footing in the door, there are a few factors to consider:
1. Collaboration is essential.
Brands need to join forces to see change. It is not possible to succeed in isolation. Brands need to communicate with each other to learn from each other and collaborate, including consumers, industry leaders and NGOs.
2. Aesthetics still matter
To win consumer support, sustainable fashion must free itself from the stigma of being weird, unflattering, or made up of odd color combinations. Aesthetic products will always drive the fashion industry, and once brands try to distance themselves from them, consumers will lose interest.
3. Sustainability is the way forward
Eco-friendly fashion is no longer reserved for a select group of environmentally conscious consumers, because most consumers care. There is a strong business case for sustainability, as consumers are no longer interested in just the product, but in the brand as a whole. They invest in brand identity and values and are constantly on the lookout for brands that are synonymous with sustainability and ethics. Brands that don't act quickly to implement sustainable practices risk losing sales as they lose customer loyalty and negatively impact their brand image. Would you like to share your thoughts on the future of sustainable fashion? Do you have questions about the apparel industry in general? Leave a comment below! We are here to help you.