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Trend report lowdown: A Sustainable Journey

Now’s the time for fashion – the planet’s second biggest polluter – to actively embrace sustainability. Our latest fashion industry report reveals how brands and retailers can get ahead on a now-imperative journey.

The fashion industry isn’t known for being particularly sustainable, is it?

No, and that’s partly because it’s still the second biggest polluter on the planet. We live in a time when 90% of garments are thrown out prematurely (85% of which usually end up in landfill). But it’s also a time when things are beginning to change for the better. And they have to, because there simply isn’t an alternative.

What does this change look like?

Some of the most ground-breaking initiatives are coming from the unlikeliest of places – think traditionally non-sustainable denim brands, niche unknowns and one luxury group behemoth. A Sustainable Journey reveals the sustainable steps they’re taking, and argues that it’s high time for the high street to catch up. Before it’s too late.

How can they?

By re-thinking how they source raw materials, for one – a decision that can account for 50% of a brand’s environmental footprint. It’s a fact that the most damaging fabrics, in terms of their environmental impact, are those in the clothes you’re wearing now.

In the report, we reveal how technology is creating sustainable new textiles, and how others are being mined from waste and sea-based debris – a response to the sobering stat that, by 2050, there’ll be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

Aside from exploring new materials, brands and retailers need to make the most of what they have. Can they use dead fabric stock, or work out how to save water? Can they make products that last longer (and that consumers want to keep)? And, crucially, can they communicate in an effective, meaningful way that they’re serious about sustainability?

Is this easier said than done?

It’s true that many fashion businesses simply don’t have the knowledge to establish a thorough sustainability agenda. Support services, however, are on the rise. Covering everything from guidance to supplier introductions, they’re aimed at professionals – and some are free.

Are consumers taking the same sustainable journey?

They are. Where fashion brands are struggling with sustainability, conscious consumers are championing it through resales and swapping. In the report, we reveal how brands can capitalise on a consumer revolution that counts Anna Dello Russo and Kim Kardashian among its members.

What else will A Sustainable Journey teach me?

That pineapple leaves could represent a sustainable textiles breakthrough, why sustainable cloths like Tencel and Modal should be more of a focus, and how mining waste for sustainable fabrics – both on land and in the sea – comes with great back-story potential. 

If you’re a Stylus member, you can read A Sustainable Journey now. If you’re not, and you’d like to discover the benefits of joining, get in touch.