“Sustainable fashion is not a trend; it’s the future.”
This emphasizes the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry. Striving towards a sustainable environment, various measures and initiatives have been taken at different levels. And a great amount of improvement has also been seen, and people and businesses have shifted towards strategies that promote sustainable development. Similarly, the fashion industry has also taken a U-turn, and many fashion brands have developed the concept of sustainable fashion. The fashion industry is one of the biggest sectors that contribute to the economy. According to a report given by the United Nations Commission for Europe, the apparel industry produces 20 percent of global water waste and 10 percent of global carbon emissions.
This calls for adopting and shifting towards strategies that fulfil the goal of sustainable development. Talking of sustainability, what exactly we mean by sustainability in fashion. Fashion sustainability is the method where clothes, accessories, and shoes are manufactured and marketed to minimise the environmental impacts that they would otherwise have. A sustainable item can be reused, recycled, repaired, and revamped to increase its longevity and reduce the toll being put on the environment.
Today, the fashion industry has changed a lot. What is prevalent is fast fashion, where people want something new every month. So, the brands have to be customer friendly and manufacture disposable products, which puts pressure on the textile industry, contributing to textile waste. But now the brands are moving to form fast fashion to slow fashion where quality pieces keeping the environment in mind will be produced. The products would be created with a thought of being ethical without compromising on trends and style. In recent years, various strategies and innovations have been done in the fashion industry, which has focused on sustainability to reduce carbon emissions, fabric waste, usage of water, and other resources. The report suggests that around 60 million tonnes of clothing are produced every year. Therefore, a tiniest of the change in this industry can contribute a lot to the environment. Let’s look at some of the innovations in recent years that have made the production and consumption of clothing more sustainable.
- The online clothing platforms have found clothes that fit your size to reduce fabric waste- Shopping sites like Myntra and Jabong have started with the feature of model and photography. The model features taking a measurement of a few consumers and, with the help of a machine-learning algorithm to suggest accurate and unique style and size. This feature would help the retailers manage their inventory and supply chain efficiency and boost consumer loyalty by providing them with the product according to their preferences. The photography feature helps retailers publish and launch their new collection with the help of models being digitally dressed for an infinite number of times with different styling options.
- H&M uses fabrics made from orange peel, and pineapple leaves– the brand’s latest collection has used the fruit material for its products, which would otherwise go waste. It has worked with three companies – BLOOM Foam, Orange Fiber, and Piñatex. BLOOM foam uses algae biomass to make the material for a shoe sole that is light and flexible. Orange fibre uses orange peel from the citrus fruits to produce an alternative to the silk. Piñatex, as the name suggests, uses the leaves of pineapples for vegan leather.
- Making Luxury wares from food waste- A Hong-Kong based startup ‘Dyelicious’ is achieving new milestones in the domain of sustainable fashion by converting the food waste to produce high-end luxury clothing and other items. The company uses kitchen waste to make dyes that will decompose on its own and not create pollution, unlike traditional manufacturing clothes. The process is known as the natural dyeing process where a series of events are involved from extraction, liquid preparation to colouring.
- T-shirts made with sustainable material and recycled– US-based clothing brands.
Marine Layer has joined hands with the Spanish textile factory Recover to produce T-shirts made from recycled clothing. The t-shirts are made by breaking and separating fabric blends and then extracting cotton fibres. These fibers are mixed with sustainable cotton, hemp, and recycled plastic fibres.
- A shoe that can be changed with wearing and fashion – The concept was developed by a student in Ireland where the customer can repair and customise the shoe as per their preferences. His project is named layer which is comprised of four parts- the uppers, soles, insoles, and fastening lace. The shoes are held together by lace and are not glued, which means the parts of the shoe can be replaced whenever required. The customer can order the part online, which has worn or is torn. The old parts can be replaced with the new ones and laced again. All the parts of the shoe are made from biodegradable plastics and recycled fabric. This way, the shoe can be recycled back when the user wants to discard it.
- Biodegradable stretch denim– The Italian denim brand Candiani denim has come up with the concept of stretch denim made with organic cotton wrapped with a biodegradable natural rubber core. This natural rubber elastomer comes from natural and renewable resources.
- The research collective Synflux has come up with creating clothes that perfectly fit the customer’s body. For this, 3D scanning will be done, and measurements will be taken and with the help of machine learning algorithms to find the optimum design pattern, thus reducing the fabric waste to zero.
- Reflaunt– This method involves connecting the fashion brands with the secondary market. The customer of the brand can donate, resell, or recycle their clothes through an e-commerce website of that brand by the click of a button. This way, the authenticity and ownership of the brand remain with them, and the customers can be retained from new purchases to second hand resell.
- Resortecs– this particular firm helps get rid of the buttons and zips that create a problem while recycling the garments. They have produced a thread that gets dissolved at high temperatures. This technology can be used on existing product manufacturing and recycling machines.
- Fashion platforms are offering custom made sustainable products- the global fashion software company unmade. This software works on providing custom made on-demand production. Companies have collaborated with this software company and offered the option of customization available to their customers. The customer can give a design of their own and see what the product would look like after it is produced. The software company ensures that the customer is shown the true picture of the product to the maximum possible, including the lighting, shading, size, and fit. With the help of the unmade order management system, the production team will link directly with the factories to give an accurate product. This will help reduce fabric wastage.
- Sustainable lingerie that stays fresh up to weeks- A Danish company named organic basics claims to have made underwear which stays fresh up to weeks without washing. They have treated their products with Polygiene that uses silver chloride to kill bacteria that caused the odour. It can kill up to 99% of bacteria present in it.
See Also: Sustainable Shoes