Fast Fashion is manufacturing cheap replicas of catwalk and celebrity inspired fashion. These replicas often are made of harmful dyes and toxic chemicals, to keep them low-priced. But large production does not necessarily mean success. Many brands like H&M were left with an unsold inventory worth $4.3 billion.
So, the complicated question is whether Fast Fashion can become more responsible or will it die a slow death? The answer is what we will have to wait and find out.
The apparel industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined. Two major reasons for the industry facing environmental issues are overproduction and irresponsible manufacturing process. Cartier’s parent company Compagnie Financiere Richemont meltdown the unsold watches and reuse the material in the new ones, which still involves double manufacturing.
Burberry who previously destroyed unsold merchandise like many other brands have announced recently that it would recycle or donate the unsold ones, instead of destroying them. They are also willing to try and manufacture clothes as per the consumer demand and avoid surplus.
Many consumers, especially the younger generation now prefer buying sustainable goods. They are also willing to change their habits and are concerned about the impact on the environment. The consumers are also exploring other options to satisfy their fashion appetites. Secondhand dealers and online traders like ThredUp Inc. are becoming popular as consumers can sell their unwanted but fashionable clothing and buy new clothes at lower prices. The environmental, as well as cost concerns, are both addressed this way. The investors too have taken notice of ThredUp’s growing popularity and helped it raise more than $380 million funding, according to Crunchbase.
Retailers like Adidas and Ralph Lauren are also coming up with new concepts to be more responsible and sustainable. Adidas is experimenting with customizing strategy which will reduce product returns and increase customer satisfaction. Ralph Lauren meanwhile has pledged to use 100% sustainably sourced key materials by 2025.
H&M too while continuing with the Fast Fashion concept is looking to becoming more sustainable. They plan to use recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030 or innovative materials made from pineapple leaves and orange peel. The company will also help to make factories eco-friendlier by installing solar panels and other renewable energy resources.
Journalist and author Elizabeth L. Cline think that a holistic approach towards all the processes in the supply chain will bring about the desired change. She says, “The industry is not going away, the question is, how do we make it sustainable?”
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