The fashion & apparel industry has a huge negative impact on the environment. Its multilayered supply chain remains complex as many brands are not aware of where their products come from in the supply chain. Also, very few brands are connected with their suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint. This complexity and lack of transparency have led to an increase in Green House Gas Emissions by 4%, according to the McKinsey 2020 Fashion on Climate reports.  

Brands & retailers are realizing the importance of environmentally damaging practices and are willing to make eco-friendly choices as consumers are more attracted to eco-friendly brands. The 2021 Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics Benchmark Survey reports that 2/3 of US online consumers wish that companies were more transparent. In this article, let’s explore the factors that are driving fashion & apparel retail sustainability.  

Factors Driving Fashion & Apparel Retail Sustainability 

1. Factories & Brands willing to reduce waste & recycle materials 

Designing & developing a garment will generate a lot of waste. Designers can use high-end designing software for drafting patterns and technologically advanced cutting machines for high accuracy and precision. Accurate designs will reduce the waste generated.  

Brands like Looptworks have come up with ways to recycle unusual materials from leather jackets, airplane seat covers, wetsuits, belts, etc. to create laptop sleeves, wallets, clutches, and other products. Also, brands like Patagonia introduced the ‘Worn Wear’ campaign for repair services and guides to encourage people to use products for longer.  

2. The need for transparency & traceability 

Sustainability and traceability go hand in hand. Many brands are partnering with traceability solution providers to improve transparency & traceability in the supply chain. Brands can rely on technologies that provide transparency of production methods and traceability of source materials. Moreover, consumers choose brands that provide detailed product information.  

3. Regulatory Compliance Bodies 

There are regulatory compliance bodies like support Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) which is an industry organization aimed at creating a framework for worldwide sustainable apparel production. SAC includes Higg tools that provide details of how a material is produced by the companies. Additionally, it offers complete self-assessments of its facilities and social policies. There are multiple SACs across the world that drive social sustainability throughout their supply chains.  

4. Consumers demand sustainable fashion 

The 2020 IBM & NRF study reports that consumers would pay 35% more for eco-friendly brands. As consumers increasingly embrace social causes, they are demanding brands that reflect their values. Consumers want good value, convenience, and products/services to simplify life and are willing to pay for those benefits. 


The above factors force the brands to measure, manage, and track value chain sustainability using the PLM software. They can make better business decisions using trusted data. Additionally, brands can reduce wastage, and water usage, and improve factory working conditions to drive fashion & apparel retail sustainability. The software will also help product designers to understand the impact of the materials they use to develop the product.