The COVID-19 crisis has brought the fashion industry to its knees. To survive, textile and apparel companies must adapt to the shift in consumers' demand for sustainability.
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters globally. It produces large amounts of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions every year. It's also responsible for the massive exploitation of natural resources, deforestation, water, and energy consumption.
Sustainable clothing is becoming a priority to reduce the social and environmental impact of fashion. Post-COVID-19 consumers think carefully about how they spend their money. They focus on sustainable clothing.
Large players in the fashion industry must take massive action to reduce pollution, waste, and carbon emissions. They must also carefully think of the right communication strategy to keep trusting and loyal customers.
“As we face uncertainty in the world, we become more careful and considerate with how we spend our money. Opportunities are only growing larger for brands doing the right thing. [...] One of the most difficult parts of sustainability is how you communicate it to your consumers. Innovation requires costs that need to be put into innovation, and it takes time for it to scale to an appropriate level where it’s profitable. And with that, you have to communicate with your customers to let them understand the reasons why this is more expensive and the benefits of it.”
- James Bartle, Outland Denim Chief Executive Officer
Unfortunately, sustainability is a marketing strategy and many fashion brands make misleading claims about their environmental impact. This is called greenwashing, an ever-increasing trend in green business, as consumers demand more eco-friendly products and the industry struggles to adapt.
Sustainability is the future of fashion. The textile and apparel industry cannot thrive without it. Profound changes in the way we produce and consume clothes are necessary.
They not only require technological innovations but also collaborations with suppliers and manufacturing partners. The industry must become sustainable and ethical, putting the welfare of people, animals, and the planet before profits.
“We can’t forget the people in our pursuit of sustainability. There’s often neglect on either the environment or the people. We must address both of them together to make a real impact.”
- Bert van Son, Mud Jeans Chief Executive Officer
The rise of fast fashion over the last 20 years made us consider clothing as a disposable commodity. Buying new clothes is faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before.
But every piece of clothing we purchase as consumers impact the Earth, people, and animals living on it. We must care more about #WhoMadeMyClothes to create a better tomorrow for future generations.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.