Why Retailers are Betting Big on Sustainable Fashion?
Why Retailers are Betting Big on Sustainable Fashion?

Sustainability is a strategical decision of operating in the ecological, social and economic environment without leaving any negative footprint. Businesses these days are focusing on being ethical and sustainable where social media is also acting as an essential tool in educating customers about its importance. Businesses too are promoting their activities and stories, raising awareness towards sustainability. As todays’ consumer is well-educated and environmentally conscious, thus making the fashion brands deliver the same too. 

Though the retail fashion industry is known for ‘trends’ and ‘fast-fashion’, there is a shift seen in the popularity towards sustainable fashion and eco-friendly shopping. 

As per the report by UN Environment Programme, “10 percent of global carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry”. Quoting that this is “more than all international flights and maritime shipping”. 

Fashion brands are now focusing on trending pieces in consumer’s wardrobes with responsible and ethical choices. The consumer is making conscious buying decisions keeping the organic and natural brand value of the retailer in mind, as the same reflects their personality too. 

There is a huge increase in search of ‘sustainability-related keywords’ as per the report by Lyst, which include searches like ‘recycled polyester, ‘vegan leather’, ‘organic hemp’ ‘Econyl’, ‘organic cotton’, ‘modal’ and many more. 

Fashion and Environment

Fashion brands are ready to change the game with the ultimate goal of ‘good for people and planet’. The global ethical fashion market is expected “to grow to $9.81 billion in 2025 and $15.17 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 9.1 percent” as per the numbers by sustainable fashion industry statics. 

There is a huge shift observed in consumer behavior during a survey made by Mckinsey towards sustainability goals. Consumers are more conscious in terms of their lifestyle to lessen the environmental impact, they are looking for more for recycling of the product and even expecting environment-friendly packaging too. Thus, sustainability is going to be on top of the mind of consumers and brands in the coming future by building emotional attachment and delivering end-to-end sustainable brands. 

Elisa Niemtzow, VP, Consumer Sectors & Membership at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) mentioned, “Consumers’ growing interest in ‘zero-waste’ and ‘no buy’ in fashion and beauty signals growing sensitivities in consumers to question their purchases and align them with their values.” 

A meaningful change is expected if consumers, businesses, and brands align their functions with SDGs for everyone with everything on it.

Sustainable and Conscious Fashion Brands 

The brand which achieved the highest rating when it comes to sustainability in fashion is ‘Stella McCartney’ known as a pioneer of eco-friendly ethical luxury fashion, which offered sustainable wardrobe alternative. The strategy of the brand stands on 4 strong pillars, which takes care of people (ensuring smooth supply chain), respect for nature (ensuring environmentally friendly fabric), caring for animals (ensuring animal welfare), and providing circular solutions (3R as environmental Mantra). 

Keeping all these benefits of being sustainable various brands are saving the planet from harmful pesticides and toxic chemicals. Every brand has a different focus in terms of serving Mother Earth and being sustainable, like empowering the rural weavers (FabIndia), using full natural Indian textiles (The Jodi Life), handspun fabric for fashion enthusiasts (KhadiCult), using organic cotton (Pero), recycled cotton (Chola The Label), engaging women in making re-cycled bottle (The Body Shop), eco-friendly textile (Anokhi), empowering rural women (Okhai), using organic fibers (Nicobar), zero waste mission (Doodlage, Insom, Homanwear), surplus cotton fabric (Pomogrenade) and many more. 

Many brands are adapting to a new eco-friendly fashion by a sustainable lifestyle, Mio Borsa producing vegan leather, Maati using up-cycled fabric, B Label is a revolutionary agro-based co., Viscose Staple Fibre by Aditya Birla Group as LIVA fabric, and a wide range of vegan apparel is made available by No Nasties. 

Todays’ consumer is ready to pay more for the brands promising for a healthy environment, up-cycling waste material, eco-friendly structure and reaching out to older generation to millennials by narrating their brand stories. 

Sustainable Fashion for Better Future

Brands have to be conscious from manufacturing (making) to end of use (disposing of) in the context of fashion. The practice of being ethical and sustainable should be a norm to be practiced by all fashion players in the coming time. 

Your consumer is well educated, show them in detail the fabric of your cloth, how the same is different from others with the business model your business is aiming for. 

According to a FashionScope report by McKinsey, “Sustainability is making ground in India, where the local market is forecast to reach nearly $60 billion in revenues in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world after the U.K. and Germany”. 

The government is also making its efforts towards making Indian fashion more sustainable; Arvind Mills and Raymond are promoting Khadi products in partnership with Air India and bamboo charcoal fiber was also highlighted by NITI Ayog Forum for North East. 

Whether the product is sustainable or not, brands have to market the same in an environment-friendly way by making the product more durable as well as focusing on the supply chain.

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