Sustainability in fashion is a highly complex issue. This is why it has no simple, one-sided solution. On the contrary, as we have already pointed out when discussing the complexity and the need for more sustainable fashion, this issue requires a global approach. And the contribution must come from many different players: firstly, from clothing and accessories brands.
But what can manufacturer companies actually do? Let’s take a look at five counter-trend practices to bring sustainability into the fashion industry.
Sustainability practices in fashion
1. Support slow fashion
The “slow fashion” movement opposes fast fashion and emphasises the need to produce durable garments. The quality of the materials and tailoring of clothes, but also the design of timeless lines, are key prerequisites for producing garments with a longer life cycle. And brands that wish to promote sustainable fashion should take this into account.
2. Set up an ethical supply chain
Consumers wish to make responsible and conscious choices and want to know where garments come from, how they were produced and what the overall impact of their production is. They demand transparency, and brands that believe in sustainability in fashion would do well to adapt. Many companies have already started to provide detailed information on their procurement and production processes and are setting up an ethical supply chain, composed of partners with the same values.
3. Implement green sourcing
Fashion companies must adopt more sustainable material procurement strategies. They can choose to use materials such as recycled polyester or organic cotton and other regenerative textiles to reduce the use of harmful substances and promote responsible agriculture that has a positive impact on ecosystems while supporting local communities.
4. Change dyeing processes
Synthetic dyes are difficult to reclaim and risk polluting groundwater. Brands have two alternatives: reduce the use of synthetic dyes or use more sustainable ones. Eco-friendly dyes are generally less efficient and brands risk not maintaining a consistent shade on all garments. Nevertheless, this could be an opportunity rather than a drawback: sustainable fashion is about unique garments, one different from the other.
5. Optimise production processes
Fashion companies could make production processes more efficient so that both business and the planet benefit. For example, they could:
- implement energy-efficient solutions for powering plants to reduce carbon emissions;
- adopt technologies to use less water and recover waste water;
- reduce waste during production phases and recycle production waste;
- recycle unsold items and promote circular economy;
- prefer packaging made of recycled and recyclable cardboard, eliminating plastic.
These best practices are just a few ideas for bringing sustainability into fashion and still require the collaboration of brands with other businesses along the textile supply chain. We can contribute to the area of circular economy. So, while brands focus on creating more durable garments that are easier to repair or recycle, we focus on extending the life cycle of products that are already on the market.