List of initiatives by a few brands for fashion sustainability

Sustainability and ethical business practices are one of the largest problems plaguing the fashion industry today.

Just as often as they’re in the news with regards to new outfits and designs, they’re also in the news for their unethical business practices, sweatshops, copyright infringement and general disregard for the environment and engaging in heavily polluting practices for the sake of profits.

Fortunately, the rise of information dissemination in the modern era means that consumers are more socially conscious and aware today than ever before.

The ease of access when it comes to information means that consumers can easily find out what their favourite apparel companies are doing, how their clothes are being made, what materials are being used and what nefarious activities the corporation is involved in.

This also means that consumers are constantly confronted with negative information about brands whenever it gets the slightest media coverage on the internet, ensuring that it also forms a negative image in the mind of the consumer regarding the corporate.

After all, a fashion accessory or a fashion commodity is not just about style and comfort. It is also about personality, a reflection of the likes and dislikes of a person, their choices, social views and opinions.

Wearing a brand engaged in exploitative practices is definitely not the sort of personal reflection or image we want to project to the world.

It is also perhaps ill-advised on some level, be it ethical or moral, to support a brand engaged in exploitative practices.

Another feature of the modern era is the interconnectivity that the internet provides. This makes it easier for people to form bonds and communities.

It also makes it easier to pursue common policy goals, and conduct activism by engaging multiple people in multiple countries.

This is something that has been used to great effect by fashion consumers, forcing companies to listen to their demands for a cleaner manufacturing process, and more environmentally sustainable clothing.

The efforts of consumers have resulted in brands taking steps and measures to address the concerns.

For example, Patagonia, the US-based fashion brand taxes itself 1% on every sale and dedicates the money to the conservation and preservation of the environment.

It has funded over 1,000 projects working for environmental causes. Inditex, the parent company of Zara, Massimo Dutti and many other fashion brands has also taken steps to address issues present in its

manufacturing process. It has pledged to use 100% more sustainable cotton by 2023, and cellulosic fibres by 2025. It has also committed to use sustainable or recyclable linen and polyester by 2025.

Besides these steps taken by companies, there are also individual projects in the fashion industry working to make the process more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Jeans Redesign Project is a project that works for sustainability in a very specific niche, enforcing standards of durability, recyclability and material health.

It has been adopted by 53 brands and manufacturers, such as GAP, Hilfiger, H&M and more. They attach labels to the products that follow their guidelines, adding the tag for consumers to spread awareness about products that are eco-sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The Pearl Source partners with non-profits committed to women’s issues and contribute a percentage of every pearl earring, pearl necklace or any other pearl jewelry sale for issues related to women’s safety and welfare.

Gucci, the famous luxury high-society brand, launched its own initiative called Chime for Change, which is a movement dedicated to gender equality.

The project as a massive success, having raised over 17.5 million dollars, funding over 450 projects for programs in more than 89 countries and more than 150 NGO partners.

H&M, the Swedish multi-national fast fashion retailer has also done its part in ensuring it contributes equally to the sustainability process, having received the number one distinction in Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index, using 65% of materials from recycled or more sustainable resources, reducing packaging by 14% and uses cotton that is 100% recycled, organic or sourced more sustainably.

Tom’s Shoes is also a brand that is B-Corp certified and it invests one third of profits to grassroots organisations

While there is a still a long way to go and a lot of distance to cover, all of these steps show that major fashion companies and the fashion industry as a whole are on the right path, the path to sustainably produced eco-friendly clothes.

Featured image: Pixabay

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