This week’s top sustainable fashion headlines:
Fifteen luxury companies, including Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Chanel launched The Disrupting Luxury report, outlining a sustainable roadmap to help the sector address the challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and rising economic inequality. It recommends that the industry engages in the circular economy by adopting regenerative sourcing products to ensure the availability of precious raw material. Also highlighted is the argument that luxury companies should assess how products affect society and the planet, and help ensure that supply chain workers receive quality training a fair wage.
Ownership is giving way to on-demand services across industries, from car sharing to music streaming. The fashion industry is also showing signs of shifting away from ownership with companies like For Days and Rent the Runway steadily growing. This shift would completely disrupt the industry and our relationship to clothing. More and more service based apparel companies will start to enter the market, however ownership will come into question within the supply chain as well with back-end solutions such as open-source design, sourcing or logistics platforms that allow companies to share what was once proprietary information, creating cost-cuts along the way.
According to a new report by the Walk Free Foundation the fashion supply chain funnels more money toward modern slavery than any other industry besides tech. The report states that $127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of including modern slavery in their supply chain are imported annually by G20 countries, a group of nations which account for 80 percent of world trade. Suggested as a first step is citizens and governments everywhere acknowledging that we’re all implicated in this mess, not just the countries where the slavery is happening.
During a Business of Fashion gathering, industry leaders had an unusually frank and anonymous conversation about sustainability. Seven key insights emerged about how fashion can embrace the circular economy.
- Don’t count on consumers to lead the charge – we cannot wait for consumers to shift their purchasing behaviour.
- Some consumers are still confused about what sustainability means – the industry and media need to help educate consumers on how their purchasing decisions impact the world.
- Consider reframing what consumption means – can we change how we participate in the fashion system?
- Concerns about job elimination – can circularity create jobs to offset any loss of jobs from automation?
- Not every consumer can afford to be conscious – although sustainability is often seen as a luxury, middle classes are becoming better at reducing and reusing in effective, practical ways.
- Finding a way to get started is sometimes the hardest part – small business can work to make small but meaningful steps while large businesses can shake the economics of the system.
- Collaboration is key – no single actor can change the system, we need cross-industry coordination.