Nowadays, most fashion brands are stepping forward to incorporate sustainable clothing and they are doing this by giving outfits a stylish twist based on ongoing fashion trends. For instance, most fast-fashion retailers are looking at ways to cut down their carbon footprints and are working towards a sustainable future. The manufacturing process at large is witnessing a transformation. Fashion retailers and apparel manufacturers are opting for nature-based fabrics. Chemical usage in processing and dyeing fabrics has been reduced considerably. Fabrics that are made with closed-loop processes help in conservation and ensure optimum use of resources. Industries are incorporating modern technology that enables them to reduce water consumption.
For instance, fabrics sourced from wood pulp are a great way to maintain green measures. Fibers sourced from certified sustainable forests help enhance the fluidity and softness of the fabric. These ethically sourced fabrics save landfills 6-7 times more than cotton and consume 3-4 times less water.
Sustainable fashion in modern times
Sustainable fashion is an all-inclusive term comprising of products, processes, activities, supply chain, packaging aiming to establish and achieve a carbon free industry built on social justice and ecological integrity. Sustainable material factors are assessed based on its impact on nature – how polluting and intense the water usage and carbon emissions are during processing and ensuring proper waste management at the pre/post-consumer stage, are all important.
Here are elements being addressed within the fashion industry in order to move towards sustainability.
- using more sustainable materials
- improving resource efficiency
- reducing waste
- addressing over production issues
- and, perhaps the least talked about, making the industry transparent and easy to understand for the consumer
One of the key steps most companies are implementing are recycling programs. The increasing environmental pressure has been building over a period of time on our ecosystem warranting reconsideration of our economic paradigm. This has urged commercial industries around the world to increase the efficiency of natural resource use and reduce the overall environmental impact.
Manufacturing units are making use of solar energy which is very beneficial in the conservation of depletable resources. Nowadays, fashion brands are becoming environmentally responsible by leveraging technology, automating production, and making packaging more sustainable. Bio-degradable packaging like corn starch, glassine, hemp, and craft paper are some innovative solutions that brands are opting for. Utilization of bacteria-based dyes, deploying a blockchain-based supply chain, and introducing traceability to increase transparency are some new-age solutions to better achieve the cause of sustainability.
Innovations making waves in a sustainable fashion
The evolution of digital traceability and how it can increase transparency in the supply chain has become a reliable option. This technology is enabling brands to trace their supply chains from raw material to finished goods and monitor suppliers for compliance. Companies can thus strategically target potential risks in their supply chains. There are firms that are working towards creating unique digital passports that are tied to a specific garment by a QR code or RFID that is to be shared with both the consumer and the company where something was manufactured. It describes the materials used, how many times it’s been owned by someone and its end-of-life information such as the most effective recycling practice representing the entire life-cycle of the garment.
All-encompassing changes such as rethinking business models and expanding the definition of regenerative fashion to include inherently eco-friendly practices will be of extensive help in decarbonising the fashion industry.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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