A new ‘cloth’ for sustainability

The so-called, ‘sustainable fashion’ is now more than a theory. Consumers today are taking a closer look at the food they consume and the chemicals they put into their bodies, they are also shifting their purchasing decisions to create a cleaner environment through the clothes they wear. One of the biggest culprits in the fashion industry is “fast fashion,” or clothes made cheaply to meet demands for the hot new styles. Yet, fast fashion is putting our future planet at risk. (Cotler, 2019)

“Sustainable fashion considers the entire supply chain and life cycle of a garment, from where and how it is made to when it ends up in our landfills. It is important for consumers to think about how their purchase affects the environment, the lifecycle of their garment, and how to invest in clothes that last longer.”

Sustainable sourcing is fast becoming a top priority for fashion companies. McKinsey’s 2019 Chief Purchasing Officer (CPO) survey of sourcing executives reveals ambitious targets – and highlights the transformation needed. It also shows that social and environmental sustainability has become a main priority for apparel companies, just as it is becoming an increasingly important matter for consumers and governments. (Achim Berg, 2019)

A skeptic might ask: does this spotlight on sustainability represent a move towards the long-term transformation of the industry or is it simply the fashion of the season?

Most survey respondents expect the industry to transition to a much more sustainable model by 2025. They predict wider use of sustainable materials, and improved ecological footprint, increased transparency, and strengthened supplier relationships and purchasing practices. But most apparel companies will need to shift current practices dramatically if they are to deliver on such bold expectations. (Achim Berg, 2019)

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