While the fashion industry continues to dominate the world with catwalk shows and new clothing line releases, behind the glitz and glamour lies a very huge problem: fast fashion. Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by majority of retailers to describe apparels that move swiftly from runways to flagship stores to further meet new trends, hence, the extreme demand for quick and low-priced clothes increasing. Apart from that, it’s also highly damaging the environment.
But like what they always say, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. In the current state of the retail business world, sustainability is making waves. The emergence of sustainable fashion is one which manufacturer are using to discuss the detrimental effects head on, constantly innovating the industry to become more environment-friendly and taking away the stigma that is currently attached. Sustainability is bridging the gap between fashion and environment.
Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy.
Sustainable and Ethical Fashion
Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
The product can be called sustainable only when it is made from renewable environmentally friendly resources, but besides that, the manufacturing process should also result in some environmental benefits, require minimum energy and cause no pollution.
Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.
Traceability is the ability to track any Garment through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Along with the fabric and the labor working conditions traceability of the garment is also equally important for the consumers to know.
It is clothing that is created with eco-friendly fabrics and is created in the most ethical ways possible. The trend in moving toward more sustainable products also benefits the workers behind the scenes. Not only are the clothes created better for the environment, but the workers who have created the clothing are being more compensated and treated better.
The ECO-Friendliest Materials:
- Bamboo Fiber (Rayan): Bamboo rayon is marketed as an eco-friendly fiber. Its water efficient, it rapidly regenerates, and it’s a carbon neutral fibre.
- Bamboo Hardwood: Attractive alternative to hardwood flooring because of its cost, durability and eco-friendly properties.
- Cork: Cork is a 100 percent natural, biodegradable and renewable resource. Cork trees are an environmentally sustainable resource.
- Hemp: Hemp is much more resistant than cotton. It is hypoallergenic and non-irritating to the skin. In fact, hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics currently available. The plant is very naturally resistant to pests and growth requires little water.
- Soybean Fabric: Soy fabric is an eco-friendly fabric made from the hulls of Soybeans. These are taken from the waste of food production, rather than harvesting the Soybeans especially for this purpose, meaning that nothing is wasted.
- Organic Cotton: Organic cotton means cotton that is grown without using harmful pesticides, chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. The methods and materials used in organic cotton farming maintain soil fertility and reduce negative impacts on rivers and fresh water sources close to the cotton farms. Thus, organic cotton produces 94% less greenhouse gas emissions.
Why Should Brands Go Green?
Go Green is a famous slogan and a common name of environmental movements around the globe. It unites people who care about nature, want to produce less waste and reduce our ecological footprint on the planet.
Going green can turn from a huge problem into an excellent business solution. Promoting eco-friendly products is, first of all a great contribution to reducing the carbon footprint and helping people to uphold our role as high-minded and thoughtful stewards of the planet. But it can also make a profitable business with the right marketing approach.
- Social responsibility: Chemicals and pesticides invade drinking water and groundwater, polluting its fish and even reaching human consumption. Organic and eco fibers grow without any pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- Biodegradable: Eco and organic fabric biodegrade naturally over time. Synthetic fibers eventually become waste and let off harmful toxins when they degrade.
- Health: Many people are allergic or dislike wearing synthetic textiles. Eco fabrics have all the properties of the new synthetic breathable fibers with added softness and drape. They feel better against the skin.
- Popularity: Organic foods have been around for a while and it is a natural evolution that organic and eco-friendly fabrics will also gain popularity. Eco and Organic fabrics once considered an alternative are now entering into the mainstream.
With 42 percent of millennial and 37 percent of Generation Z claiming that they want to know what goes into their products before they buy. Shopper these days are the most aware than ever before about the impacts of the fashion industry on the environment, and are making much wiser and conscious decisions. Therefore, it is vital for brands to build trust with modern, socially conscious shoppers.
The study calculates that transitioning toward sustainability yields a USD 20-30 billion financing opportunity per year to develop and scale disruptive innovations.