Summary: An environment-conscious brand has to follow a dedicated path which is slow but rewarding when it comes to preserving the earth. Most sustainable fashion brands are now switching to green initiatives to become carbon neutral. They are interacting with communities more and are adopting ways to promote slow fashion. Here’s how.
A sustainable fashion brand is one which not just works toward minimizing its impact on nature by judicious sourcing and introducing eco-friendly processes, it's a sum of several critical metrics that makes a community sustainable. Referring to investment in eco-friendly products and processes can be a myopic view of sustainable action. A sustainable fashion brand will ensure that minimum wage rates are paid to its workers, including women. It has to register with accrediting institutions for fair trade practices and also make necessary arrangements to reduce dependence on energy, water, and virgin forests for its manufacturing needs. Becoming a sustainable fashion brand is no longer an option since the United Nations has come out with Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
The United Nations floated the sustainable development goals 2030 to give a boost to the equitable and inclusive development of communities and the environment they thrive in. All member countries have already adopted the resolution that has 17 goals, which come with a compliance deadline of 2030.
The fashion industry has a massive carbon footprint. It is also one of the biggest contributors to water wastage and, unfortunately, is responsible for damaging marine habitats. The industry is a natural stakeholder in SDG 2030. A sustainable fashion brand can contribute directly to several of these goals. The most impact it can make is on the goals dedicated to responsible consumption and production, and climate action to save life below water and on land.
Now that we understand what a sustainable fashion brand is, let us find out the responsibilities that come with it. These actions will ensure that a clothing and apparel company is taking measures to make the environment, its goods, and the communities involved with it sustainable.
When it comes to becoming a sustainable fashion brand, you can never go wrong with organically sourced clothing fabrics. Cotton, wool, and silk are organic fibers and can be climate neutral, provided they are cultivated and/or harvested ethically with minimal wastage of resources.
One of the best ways of reducing carbon footprint is to recycle old and damaged garments and upcycle cut cloth pieces. Outerknown, a fashion brand, has made activewear from recycled fishing nets as a part of its commitment to renewable fibers in production.
Several brands are now investing in worn wear and second-hand outlets. This new dress culture has spawned from the efforts by sustainable fashion brands to reduce wastage. More than 90 million tonnes of fashion and textile waste arrive at landfills every year. These discarded clothes result in greenhouse emissions. Reformation, an LA-based clothing company, is making products by repurposing deadstock and discarded clothes.
Fast fashion is the main contributor to greenhouse gasses and the huge carbon footprint in the industry. The return to slow fashion with customized clothing and accessories is a positive move. Nike and Toesmith are among the brands offering customized footwear. There are brands that are pushing for capsule wardrobes with all-season and long-lasting clothing to address fast fashion. According to Statista, “durable clothing” is on the top of initiatives for sustainable fashion with 37% approval by the respondents in a survey.
Going forward, sustainable fashion brands are adopting zero-waste packaging. This includes switching to green packaging alternatives made from bioplastics, compostable, and organic materials. Recycling plastic, reducing the packaging size, and using non-plastic adhesive tapes are a part of the zero-waste packaging model.
It takes more than manufacturing eco-friendly products and shipping them in green packaging to be earth friendly. Sustainable fashion includes community participation and making the manufacturing climate carbon neutral. Brands have started taking these safeguards for a better tomorrow. This, in itself, is admirable. But a sustainable fashion brand will have to be dedicated to fair trade practices, which involve taking care of female workers in manufacturing countries and ensuring minimum wage rates to all.