Consumers (especially millennials) believe in spending their money on products that are sustainable. Likewise, they are willing to spend more with brands that are socially conscious.
In this article, Luxeveda talks about the increasing importance sustainability within the fashion industry.
The environmental harm caused by the fashion industry is second to that of the oil industry. Over the years, the industry’s model has changed to a “take-make-dispose” one. Season cycles are shorter and consumers are constantly overloaded with new trends. It is obvious that now is when the model should shift to a circular economy to counteract the negative effects of this rapidly growing industry.
WHAT DOES CIRCULAR FASHION MEAN?
A circular business model in fashion is one where clothes are designed and made in a way that keeps them in use for a long period of time. It involves making clothes with natural, biodegradable dyes and materials that are safe so that when they are washed, they do not release microfibres that harm the environment. To put it simply, clothes should be designed by keeping non-toxicity, biodegradability, and recyclability in mind. The goal is to create solutions where materials can be used in new ways again and again.
WHY DOES THE FASHION INDUSTRY NEED TO CHANGE?
Majority of clothes are made of synthetic materials – when washed, roughly 1,900 individual micro-plastics seep into the water and eventually into our oceans. These microfibres can take up to 200 years to decompose. Additionally, they are injected into microorganisms which are eaten by fish, introducing plastic into our food chains.
DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING A CIRCULAR BUSINESS MODEL:
Realistically, it is very difficult for a company to be 100% sustainable. However, implementing sustainable practices within a brand’s supply chain is a possibility. For your supply chain to be sustainable you should:
- Ensure all workers part of the supply chain are fairly paid.
- Use farming practices that do not damage the land (no degradation or soil erosion).
- Design clothes that use natural dyes and material that can be recycled.
- Introduce initiatives that support and grow local communities where factories are set up.
- Create a safe and healthy work environment for garment workers.
- Treat wastewater and eliminating toxic sludge and chemicals.
- Have a hyper-localised and transparent supply chain.
Although it may seem far fetched, many brands have taken the initiative to move towards more sustainable business models. For example, Adidas has implemented a 3-loop strategy to manufacture a range of their shoes. Step 1 of the loop is using recycled materials to make the shoe. Step 2, also known as the circular loop is making products with materials that can be remade into something new. Finally, Step 3 involves engineering materials of the future, so when they come out of the loop they go back into nature, keeping the earth safe – the way it was intended to be.
Making this shift can only be done if brands across the industry work together, along with governments to make every part of the fashion supply chain sustainable. Industry players need to develop new solutions and scale the ones that work.
To implement technology solutions in your supply chain to enhance traceability and quality, contact team LuxeForGood.