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3 Power Moves That Are Helping Fashion Be More Sustainable

In a bid to keep up with the growing demand to be more sustainable, the fashion industry is trying everything – from resorting to downright greenwashing as an easy way out or doing the bare minimum. But some of their creative moves are proving to be effective, and here’s how they’re doing it.

Key Takeaways: 1. Made-to-order business models

Often considered the complete antithesis to fast fashion, slow fashion promotes a thoughtful yet more sustainable approach to wearing clothes. And fashion brands are embracing this concept by selling their clothes on a made-to-order basis. Usually seen in practice for custom wedding gowns and formal suits, the process delivers quality products with a great fit. When applied to a fashion business model, the ‘made-to-order’ strategy requires brands to create the garments that are sold as opposed to the traditional model of mass manufacturing every style in several sizes before selling. Applying this zero inventory model greatly reduces the chances for textile waste, overproduction, and surplus stock. Luxury designers like Prabal Gurung and Antonio Berardi attribute 20-25% of their sales to the made-to-order model with a 6-8 week turnaround, while small independent labels are already following suit. This model reinforces the idea of well-made clothing that lasts but it also reminds the consumer that slow fashion is worth the wait.

2. Repair services

No longer exclusive to just cars or electronics, fashion giants are now offering repair services to consumers to ensure the longevity of their products. In the UK, luxury department stores like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods have partnered with The Restory, an on-demand service providing modern after-care for luxury fashion. In the US, a similar concept in the form of Suay Sew Shop in LA offers repair services that aren’t just restricted to luxury fashion but to your existing wardrobe as well. Repairing your old clothes isn’t just in your best interest, but the planet’s as well. According to The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), holding onto a garment and extending its active life by just nine months can reduce its carbon footprint by 30%.

3. The rise of re-commerce

With an estimated 9 billion clothing items that were barely worn or idly sitting in US consumers’ closets last year, online thrifting became “a new pandemic habit,” as consumers not only sold second-hand clothing online, but a significant number (33 million to be exact) bought pre-owned apparel online for the first time in 2020. This year alone, a recent analysis by Future Market Insights (FMI) claims that the market valuation for second-hand fashion is set to surpass US$ 32 Bn. Like repair services, buying second-hand clothes keeps textiles out of the landfills and steers consumers from making impulsive new purchases. Luxury players like Gucci have realised this opportunity and are already collaborating with renowned consignment platforms like The RealReal to stay on track with their sustainability goals.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-08-17

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