In recent years there has been a groundswell of interest in sustainability and the health of our planet. The sweltering heat waves, unprecedented flooding and raging summer wildfires have ushered in a new reality and more and more people are coming to understand that our environment may be fast approaching a tipping point. Extremes in weather are now the new normal and people, especially the younger generations, are truly concerned for the future.
Globally, the fashion industry is recognized as one of the top sources of pollution. With the rising interest and focus on the environment, consumers are increasingly looking to purchase products from companies that have a commitment to environmental stewardship. Younger buyers want to know that their hard-earned dollars support firms that share their social values and truly care about the planet. Increasingly, they are turning to sustainability brands that are truly striving to make a difference in the world.
Responsibility for the Supply Chain
Young consumers are increasingly demanding transparency and accountability when it comes to the production of the goods they purchase. They look for brands that are ethical and truly honor sustainability. As a result, the whole supply chain has come into view, from the sourcing of raw materials to the factory working conditions. It’s no longer enough to have slick marketing campaigns and great photo shoots.
Today’s buyer wants to feel great about the values associated with the beautiful items they are wearing. Companies must honor their commitment to being a good environmental citizen and treating their employees fairly. The lens of social media is constantly focused on the supply chain and egregious transgressions can sweep the Internet like wildfire and destroy a brand overnight.
Innovative Use of New, Sustainable Materials
The fashion world is known for bold expressions in color and design. With the increased desire for sustainability, innovation has now moved from design to the sourcing and even creation of raw materials. One of the most interesting examples of this is with products that are derived from algae. Several footwear companies are using algae biomass to create the perfect amount of raw material needed for the soles of their shoes.
For centuries, native cultures used plant fibers from items growing around them to fashion clothing. Now that sustainability is a hot topic, manufacturers are doing the same. One of the hot new trends is the use of pineapple fibers to create leather-like items. When you process pineapple leaves it creates a mesh-like fiber that mimics leather and can be used for anything from shoes to wallets and handbags.
Pressure to Reduce Pollution from Fashion
One of the most fascinating aspect of fashion to come into focus in recent years is the destruction or disposal of unsold fashion items. While some goods from mid-range brands and firms find their way to outlet stores and are sold to consumers at discount, high-end luxury companies have an image and price margin they are desperate to protect. As a result, rather than repurposing or coming up with innovative ways to use unsold products they typically destroy them.
Social media and investigative journalists have been fast to focus on these stories of needless waste, and consumers in turn are turning their outrage onto the brands themselves. Typically companies with huge piles of unsold luxury items burn them rather than donating them to charity and trying to do good in the world. They may also simply send the goods off to the landfill after shredding them. Because of these and other practices, fashion is one of the leading sources of environmental pollution.
If you want to make a true difference in the world you can begin by supporting companies and brands that truly care for the planet and our environment. Every dollar you spend on a sustainable product helps make a difference and encourages firms to truly begin to focus on values that help preserve our earth and way of life for generations to come.