It’s no longer a secret the fashion industry isn’t exactly the champion of environmental and social sustainability. Scandals continue to plague the industry, and it seems they’d rather keep the wool pulled over consumers eyes.
Some brands however are champions and working for real change in the industry. By seeking change, they are ensuring the way they produce clothes is ethical, environmentally friendly, responsible, and transparent.
Here are 7 trends contributing to positive change within the industry:
Grounded People has always felt this is a critical step in creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly product, and it looks like the trend is on the rise.
This is a good thing. As more brands buy into an ethos of repurposing old textiles it helps to divert waste away from landfills and back to consumers. Additionally with more recycling facilities coming online the overall cost will also be reduced, meaning more competition for brands who choose not to go this route.
This one feels like a bit of a no-brainer in 2022, it seems the only thing lacking is the will, especially among the largest most profitable brands.
Another area where Grounded People has been adamant from the beginning.
Transparency in the product chain is essential to creating more ethical clothing. When consumers are able to see how their clothes move through the chain, they are better able to make choices to fit their lifestyle and their morals.
Having transparency would also help to eliminate some of the scandals to have cropped up over the last 25 years around environmental impacts and exploitive labour practices.
Ultimately these kinds of initiatives benefit everyone throughout the chain from farmers to labourers, to consumers, and even brands.
Here’s to hoping this one takes off.
Regenerative agriculture is a method of farming that doesn’t involve tilling and grows a diverse range of crops. This not only helps with soil viability but also helps remove more Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, in fact these techniques sequester more Carbon Dioxide than they produce.
By employing agriculture into their plans, brands are starting responsible practices from the ground up. The added benefit for brands is they can use the reduction in greenhouse gasses to offset their footprint elsewhere in the production chain.
The production of textiles, and other materials for clothes hasn’t been the most ecologically responsible. Traditionally farms producing the raw materials are often situated on clear cut lands and completely decimate the native species of plants and insects with the ability to control pests and weeds.
Additionally, many of these cash-crops planted on the fields are imported and have little in the way of defenses to local flora and fauna. This means chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are employed to protect the crops, leading to soil issues, and pollutants entering the water table and effecting the broader region.
By increasing biodiversity in agriculture it reduces the need for chemical intervention and helps protect the people and land surrounding the farm.
Sometimes synthetic materials have fantastic benefits. Materials can be lighter, be more warming and provide excellent water proofing. However, the benefits largely extend to specialized applications.
For the average consumer and the average brand there are alternatives that are traditional, sustainable, and much more ethical in their production. Take for example vegan leather which often means petroleum based. A newer alternative being used by some brands is created by using cacti. It can be created using no toxic chemicals and is even partially biodegradable, most importantly it feels like leather.
The reality is the use of organic materials predates synthetics by centuries, wool is naturally water resistant and one of the best insulators. There are several sources for natural rubber which can be used in a variety of ways. Cork has been used extensively in the production of footwear and is highly sustainable.
One of the most important factors in the creation of your clothes are the people who create your clothes.
For decades the people involved have been largely ignored and treated poorly. Scandals in the late 90s help bring to light the employment of sweatshop labour in the developing world. While some large brands have learned lessons from this, many have not, which has lead to fires, deaths, and factory collapses, with few people and brands being held accountable.
The shift to a more responsible, transparent, and accountable supply and production chain helps to alleviate these issues.
Even though most mass-produced textiles and clothing are still being made in the developing world, some brands have taken it upon themselves to create change. Fair wages and good working conditions are becoming more common. This allows for workers to better provide for their families.
Additionally, some brands are partnering with organizations on the ground to help support and improve the communities where they operate. Sometimes this means building schools but can also mean making environmental investments and help improve the lives of everyone in the region.
It’s a trend for every year. Vintage and second hands shops have always been a great way to find clothes otherwise unobtainable due to cost or availability. They also serve a secondary, and perhaps more important purpose. Environmental sustainability.
Where recycling of materials helps to take care of one of the three sustainability pillars, secondhand shops help with the other two. They help reduce the demand for new products by allowing people to reuse products others no longer want.
It helps divert clothing from landfills and breathes new life into old clothes. Many people frequent second-hand shops in search of gems no longer produced, but also look for things they can repurpose and upcycle into something totally unique and new.
Even though secondhand shops have been around almost as long as clothes, their importance continues to grow and remain an important trend for 2022.
The Future is Bright
As consumers become more environmentally and socially responsible there will be greater pressure for brands to follow suit.
Some brands like Grounded People will be well positioned to cater to changing attitudes and lead the way to creating a more sustainable fashion industry.
The reality is, these trends need to become standard production practices across the industry, especially where workers and the environment come in. It seems more brands are seeking to become more responsible.
Change is on the horizon.