Sustainable Fashion Round-Up: July Top 5
Sustainable innovations and green thinking continue to dominate fashion industry news, with ‘repair and renew’ initiatives, sustainable education and brand monitoring showing no signs of abating. Here, Stylus keeps you updated with the very latest sustainable wins.
- Taking a Lead in Education: We recently highlighted how important it is to educate the industry in our report A Sustainable Journey. And this month, Asos did just that – partnering with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion on a circular training programme for its in-house designers.
The bespoke course forms part of the e-tail giant’s 2020 Circular Fashion Commitments and includes workshops, discussions and lectures – equipping designers with best-practice techniques that consider the whole life cycle of products. The results of the pilot will be used to refine training and resources on circularity across Asos’s team on an ongoing basis.
- Circularity goes Social: Swiss brand Freitag – known for its upcycled transit bags – is also implementing strategies to reduce waste and overproduction. It’s launched the social-media-led initiative #GoneWithFreitag, which encourages customers to borrow a travel bag from the brand for their summer holidays rather than buy a new one. The service is free: borrowers are only asked to send in their holiday snaps, use the Freitag hashtag, and return the bag after two weeks. A great example of how easily circularity can be made tangible to the consumer in a fun and social way.
- Repair & Renew – In-Store Engagement: UK lifestyle brand Toast is blending sustainability and craft, hosting a series of sashiko repair workshops in a number of its stores between July and September. The brand is inviting customers to bring their worn Toast garments into stores, where British professional repairer Molly Martin will use the traditional Japanese craft of sashiko – the practice of reworking and repairing textiles through decorative piecing, patching and stitching – to reinvigorate cherished clothing by hand.
- Power to the Consumer: Furthering the consumer-led sustainable revolution is Good On You, an ethical shopping app that provides consumers with information about the sustainability of specific brands and products. Rating and explaining brand initiatives, the Australian app gives conscious consumers the opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions, while putting pressure on brands to improve, or be held accountable for, their production processes.
- Holding Brands to Account: Industry-focused auditing is not going away, with two agenda-shifting initiatives launching this month. The UK government’s Environmental Audit Committee announced an inquiry into the fashion industry – investigating the social and environmental impact of disposable fast fashion, and the harmful effects of clothing throughout its life cycle.
Meanwhile, environmental organisation Greenpeace is also provoking transparency, pushing to end the use of hazardous chemicals in the fashion supply chain by 2020 – a process it calls “detoxing”. The company has enlisted more than 80 apparel companies to commit to the cause, including Nike, Adidas, H&M, Inditex and Primark.
Greenpeace’s latest report suggests each brand is making improvements, with 100% implementing regular water-waste testing and pledging to disclose the results, and 72% publishing an extended list of their suppliers all the way down the chain (Greenpeace, 2018). The publishing of a report in itself is a great incentive for brands, with those visibly not signed up or making improvements left to answer why.
As the world’s second largest polluter, the relentless momentum of new sustainable fashion initiatives is gaining pace. It’s imperative that brands continue this uptick, promoting transparency, using sustainable innovations and setting a scalable, long-term agenda for authentic solutions to the problem.
As industry-focused auditing continues to hold brands accountable, savvy consumers will be increasingly privy to the sustainable – or unsustainable – practices of their favourite brands. Don’t get left behind.